Golf Management Monthly: August 2016


Dear Friends,

For all retailers, the goal of business is to do more of it.  Yet while the end result is clear, the path to success can be as tricky to navigate as the 967 bunkers at Whistling Straits.

Do you know:

  • How many customers you have and who are the best ones?

  • Where your consumers come from?

  • How many you’ve gained over the past year and, more important, how many you’ve lost?

  • How the public learns about your business and what marketing channels work best?

  • If people open your e-mails, who clicks through?

  • If your prices are right and which offers generate the most interest?

  • Whether (or not) your customers value the services you provide?

If your business can’t answer these queries, you’re falling behind.  Today’s world demands a data-driven approach primed to capitalize on actionable insights, and Billy Casper Golf (BCG) knows this.  That’s why nobody targets, compels and activates public, private and resort golfers like our team does.

News and notes from our golf-course management experts:

Almighty Algorithms

Akin to airline and hotel industries, our sophisticated and proprietary dynamic pricing models capitalize on filling tee times with historically low demand while maintaining rate integrity.  Given the increased presence of online reservation channels, strategies to optimize yield by channel are imperative for golf courses.

BCG Director of Marketing Analytics Adam Kempton discusses smart dynamic pricing HERE.

Quick Transformation

Our private club division, Billy Casper Signature (BCS), was recently selected to re-open and operate Regents’ Glen Country Club in York, PA.  Situated within an upscale residential community, it features a breathtaking golf course designed by renowned architect Arthur Hills and the elegant Box Hill Mansion. 

We are not wasting time returning the club to its former glory as a neighborhood centerpiece.   Membership re-classifications and aggressive promotions are already favorably impacting member acquisition and retention.  The uptick also stems from confidence in the professional and sustainable operating plan Billy Casper Signature created and is following.

Other private clubs under BCS management are also achieving significant growth.  For example, a “Free Dues for Life” contest has made the Country Club of Winter Haven the talk of Central Florida.  This list of success stories go on.  Kindly contact me to learn more.

You’re Hired

Evidencing economic stability, the U.S. added 287,000 jobs in July, the best monthly gain since October 2015.  Far exceeding forecasts, a rejuvenated Wall Street sent stocks soaring.  Squashing fears of an imminent recession following “Brexit,” the S&P 500 recently clinched a new record high.  Not far behind, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and NASDAQ are showing positive gains, pointing to a rising trend in consumer confidence.

Connect Fore

Just as important as a greens renovation, bunker restoration or clubhouse enhancements is ensuring your golf course’s IT infrastructure is up to modern standards.  Today’s golfer is glued to his or her phone and computer more than ever, so providing high-speed, reliable Wi-Fi network in and out of the clubhouse is vital.  Furthermore, telecommuting has grown 103% since 2005 as more than 3.7 million employees work outside the office half the week.  Conducting business from the clubhouse is becoming increasingly popular and historic Pittsburgh Golf Club evidences the benefits of staying connected.  This is why one of the first steps BCG and BCS takes upon operating a course, club or resort is to conduct a full-scale infrastructure assessment that accounts for the visible and invisible.

Home Run

Highly-amenitized gated communities – properly marketed with assistance from BGC’s high-powered, in-house Buffalo.Agency – are poised for strong new home sales.  The trend data is impressive:

  • Prices rise a modest 3.5% on average
  • Values rise double digits in 85% of 275 DMAs
  • Sales of existing homes up 9%, most since 2007
  • New construction sales up 16.6%, highest since 2008
  • Mortgage rates are well below 4%, nearing all-time lows
  • Energy costs down 8.9%
  • Credit loosening – FICO score of 723 lowest in four years
  • Buying is nearly 40% cheaper than renting
  • Millennials starting families aids 36% YOY suburbs growth
  • Roughly 35% of builders, remodelers working green, smart homes; 5% CAGR

While knowing the numbers is a key first step, it’s also incumbent on marketers to play to prospective golf-centric homebuyers’ unique value system.  To us, its components start with “s:”

  • Swing – Influence of golf setting
  • Serenity – Peace from open space
  • Schools – Rankings and reputation
  • Strength – Convenience to fitness
  • Status – Moving up
  • Social – Like-minded people
  • Security – Appreciating investment
  • Style – Architectural delight
  • Sterling – New beginnings

So you’ve developed an audience and know what they want.  That’s great, but how do you reach them?  Our team thinks predominantly digital:

  • 73% of home buyers initiated search online
  • 92% relied on Internet in some way during process
  • 50% used mobile or app
  • Average 11 searches online before visiting a real estate site
  • 69% of site viewership originates from local search term

Go For Gold

Justin Rose and Inbee Park became golf’s first gold-medal winners in 112 years at the Rio Olympics.  They joined Henrik Stenson, Matt Kuchar, Lydia Ko and Shanshan Feng on the podium, highlighting a star-studded field of 60 men and 60 women representing 41 nations and bolstering golf’s global appeal. 

With coverage streamed to millions of TVs, tablets and mobile devices worldwide, the final 90 minutes of competition railed only The Masters in household rating (5.6) and digital viewership (8.8 million) in 2016.

This evidences substantially greater interest in playing is here and now.  Latent demand is poised to take lessons, buy clubs and apparel, and head to driving ranges and golf courses near us.  It’s incumbent on owners and operators to properly and proactively take advantage of this movement.