Golf Management Monthly - May 2016


Dear Friends, 

News and notes from Billy Casper Golf, owner-operator of more than 140 golf courses, country clubs and resorts across America:

Yes!  Yes! Yes!

Despite considerable rain nationwide, golf rounds were up an impressive 5.5% in Q1, including a 13.2% rise in March compared to a year ago.  Industry experts predict the participation trend will continue through the core golf season, assisted by excitement from The Open Championship, PGA Championship, Olympics and Ryder Cup during a 75-day span beginning mid-July.

Best in Show

To draw golfers, operators need every edge they can muster.  One of BCG’s specialties is navigating the process of getting our courses highly rated in media rankings.  We regularly connect with raters and intimately know the criteria by which courses are judged.

BCG and Buffalo Brand Invigoration Group – our in-house marketing and public relations division – contributed to 29 courses ranked on Golfweek’s 2016 “Best Courses You Can Play, State-by-State” and “Top 100 Modern Courses” lists.

Wintonbury Hills Golf Course (Bloomfield, CT) and Lake Presidential Golf Club (Upper Marlboro, MD) are top three in their respective states.  High-ranking Buffalo BIG clients include The Champion at PGA National Resort & Spa (Palm Beach Gardens, FL), Pound Ridge Golf Club (Pound Ridge, NY) and Salish Cliffs Golf Club (Shelton, WA).

Another feather in Buffalo BIG’s cap:  Perennial favorite and host of the PGA TOUR’s RBC Heritage, Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines Resort ranks No. 47 among the “Top 100 Modern Courses.”

Cloud 9

With air fares down and a proliferation of fun on Americans’ minds, traveling to play golf is at an all-time high.  This is aided by positive aviation statistics:

  • 80% of fliers are satisfied or very satisfied with their experiences
  • 45% of 18- to 34-year-old travelers are flying 1.5 times more than 20 years ago
  • Today’s average round-trip costs $33 less than last year
  • New equipment and technology have led to a 53% improvement in bag handling, a delight to golfers traveling with clubs
  • Airline competition is prompting in-flight perks like complete movie libraries and gourmet menus by celebrity chefs
  • 91% of all domestic passengers book flights online which lowers fares

Growing the Herd

Successful business breeds new business.  This is why BCG was recently selected to manage Centennial Park Golf Course in Munster, IN, thirty miles south of Chicago.  A testament to environmental responsibility, Centennial Park’s nine-hole golf course was designed by Tim Nugent and is spread across 200 acres of reclaimed landfill. With an unmatched eye for detail and progressive operating platform, our teams are creating unforgettable experiences for local and regional golfers and families.  Unintimidating player development programs are leading the way in engaging the community – beginners are especially welcome. 

Travel Trends

The majority of drive-to vacations are within two hours from home.  Golfers, however, adopt a three-hour radius which makes marketing to a super-region, well, super important.  Expect more players to load their clubs in car trunks this summer:

  • Gas is projected to be a low $2.04 per gallon beginning in June; drivers have saved nearly $12 billion versus last year
  • More than one-third of families plan to vacation 50 miles or more away from home

Marketing Master

There are many reasons BCG-managed courses fill tee sheets and generate record revenue.  One of them is our people who are considered the industry’s best marketers.

A shining example is Emily Clark.  Joining our family in 2010 as a Regional Director of Marketing, she rose through the ranks with a passion to develop and lead innovative outreach programs.  The ability to give golfers what they want, when they want it and how they want to consume it earned her a promotion to Vice President of Marketing.

Clark now oversees field-based and corporate marketing directors and associates who leverage BCG's data-driven approach.  Her team creates revenue growth strategies and implements pricing recommendations, sales monitoring, media buying and design services.

Regal Legacy

Colonial Heritage Club, managed by our Billy Casper Signature private club division, was voted the top course in Virginia by GolfAdvisor, the trusted home for hundreds of thousands of reviews and recommendations for golfers by golfers.  Minutes from historic Williamsburg and designed by the renowned Arthur Hills, the gorgeous parkland-style layout bested more than 300 eligible courses with 4.5 (of five) stars.

Billy Casper Signature’s network of private country clubs is hailed as the most approachable and valued in America.  The company is recognized for attracting and retaining thousands of members annually through original campaigns highlighting the unique benefits of private club lifestyles.

To learn how Billy Casper Signature can help your club appeal to a new generation, kindly click here.

Masters Green

Ever wonder about the price of admission to The Masters?  A breakdown:  Monday, $372; Tuesday, $400; Wednesday, $782; Thursday-Sunday (four-day badge), $4,000.

While the “tradition unlike any other” can be an expensive endeavor, it upholds golf’s appeal as sky high.  And get a load of this:  After Tiger Woods confirmed he would compete in the 2015 Masters, weekly badges climbed more than $1,000 each.

Youth Movement

Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko and now Bryson DeChambeau illustrate golf’s superstars are getting younger.  That’s great news for a sport whose icons of the past decade appear on their way out.  At 45, Phil Mickelson has scaled back his schedule while Woods, now 40, is doing all he can to simply return to competition.

With the millennial set more focused than ever on physical fitness and technology, golf’s new guard is tapping into fresh marketing opportunities.  Dustin Johnson is the first golf endorser of the premium sports drink BodyArmor, joining James Harden, Mike Trout and Andrew Luck.  Red Bull counts Rickie and Lexi as energetic ambassadors and 1Above, the maker of anti-jetlag tablets and liquids, signed Ko to assist in its ambitious global expansion. 

More than football, baseball and basketball, golf’s superstars are relatable.  While most of us can’t kick a field goal, belt a home run or dunk, many can ace a par 3 on any given day.

Time to Talk?

Have you done your spring cleaning?  Effectively and efficiently marketing your course through proper channels?  When can I call you to discuss why the grass is greener with BCG?

Very truly yours,

Joe Goodrich
Executive Vice President
Billy Casper Golf