Golf Management Monthly: February 2016


Dear Friends,

The nation’s blizzards didn’t slow down Billy Casper Golf.  Owner of the largest “known golfer” database, our sophisticated marketing system segments customer-member profiles and tailors messages based on their unique buying behaviors.  Throw in BCG’s dynamic pricing models akin to the airline and hotel industry, and this type of hyper-targeted outreach is virtually unheard of in golf.

News and notes from our herd:

Growing Up

More than 25% of the U.S. population are millennials.  On the precipice of entering their prime earning (and spending) years, the 18- to 34-year-old set is re-shaping the economy and will change the way we buy and sell for decades to come.  In golf, millennials: 

  • Represent 28% of America’s nearly 25 million players
  • Are projected to increase their rounds played by more than 10% in 2016
  • Spend roughly $5 billion on golf annually
  • Who swing a club for the first time say they are “hooked” 25% of the time

Triumphant Trio

BCG’s winning teams have a track record of improving the quality of golf and financial performance of courses nationwide.  Golf Inc. magazine judges agree, naming three of our general managers among its “Operators of the Year:”

  • Gary Huebner (1757 Golf Club, Dulles, VA) earned first place in the daily-fee category for increasing rounds and revenue by 12% and 13%, respectively.  Banquet and restaurant sales also hit record highs in 2015 under his leadership.
  • Chris Strand (Dauphin Highlands Golf Club, Harrisburg, PA) topped the municipal list for producing a 15-year high in profits.  The BCG veteran oversaw a nearly $750,000 investment, including a complete facelift to The Five Iron Grille.
  • David Peru (Devou Park Golf Course, Covington, KY) also won top honors for boosting rounds by 15.1% and overall returns by 20.4%.  His drive to engage a wider audience helped Devou Park become the local hot-spot for men’s and women’s leagues, tournaments and outings.

Pop Culture

Jordan Spieth continues to prove he’s the “can’t miss” kid of sports marketing.  Shortly after dominating the field at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Coca Cola signed the World No. 1 to one of the richest deals in company history.

Spieth, and the sport he represents, will appear in everything from TV commercials to digital and social media campaigns.  Reports are that the new partnership puts golf’s superstar on the same level as global icons LeBron James and Taylor Swift. 

With continued stellar play, a relatable personality and multi-national companies backing him, golf’s new face will keep the sport in the spotlight for years to come.

The Climb

Golf course owners are set to reap the benefits of these wallet-filling energy trends:

  • Crude oil hitting 13-year lows of less than $28 per barrel
  • Americans paying less to heat their homes and drive their cars

Add this to the mix:

Since the recession, the ratio of 25 to 54 year-olds in the workforce has hit a record high of 77.4% of the total population.  History shows when labor picks up, wages follow suit.  As a result, we are spending extraordinary amounts of money on experiences versus goods and products.

Excitement Abounds

2016 promises to be one of the most important years in golf history.  On the player side, the rise of a “Big Three” (Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day) and Lydia Ko’s popularity among junior golfers is fueling participation.  On the event side, the British Open, PGA Championship, Olympics and the Ryder Cup are being played within a roughly three-month span. Golf will consistently be in the global news.

Corner Kicks

The United States won the recent FootGolf World Cup in Buenos Aires, besting Argentina, Holland, Great Britain, Italy, France, Mexico, Japan, China, Korea and 16 other competing countries.  Three U.S. team members earned their spots via the inaugural U.S. FootGolf National Championship at BCG-managed Sydney Marovitz Golf Course in Chicago. 

FootGolf is a hybrid golf-soccer sport that is attracting new audiences worldwide and adding meaningful income to BCG courses.  Installation is fast and inexpensive, and provides healthy returns within a matter of months.

Keep Pace

We’ve hit the ground running in 2016 and invite you to come along for the ride.  Kindly contact me to discuss how our deep knowledge of the game and those playing it can benefit your operation.