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Last Update :9/18/2017

Golf 2.0 Notes - Sept. 7, 2017

Golf 2.0

Independence Golf Club
September 7, 2017

Phil Owenby, Elliott Wilson (Director of Golf, Independence GC), Jonathan Ireland (GM, Kinloch), Tripp Sheppard (VGCSA Director of Membership & VIP Card), Chase Rogan (GCSAA Field Staff), Phil Hilliard (Meadowbrook Club), Eric Snelsire (Bayer Crop Science, ESAGCS Past President), Tyler Eastham (Norman & Associates, ODGCSA, VGCSA, MAAGCS, NGCOA-MA), David Norman (Norman & Associates, ODGCSA, VGCSA, MAAGCS, NGCOA-MA), Brantley Smith (Regional Sales Mgr, EZ Links), Greg Terry (Accounting Director, Kinloch), Tom Riley (VP of Talent Management, BCG), Bobby Kidder (GM, Magnolia Green GC), Will Jarrett (Director of Marketing, Independence), Bill Antone (Where this is Green LLC, Air2G2 aerator sales), Dan Taylor (Superintendent, Independence), Giff Breed (Owner, Independence GC)

  • Free Lessons
    • Kelly Hall at Independence spends 4 hours of his Saturdays open for family lessons and individual adult lessons. They have seen steady growth in attendance.  Wednesday $20 – “Tips with Kelly” plus beer and a burger
  • Driving Range Games
    • Cosmic Golf
    • Putting vehicles on the driving range – surprisingly popular and the driving range was full
      • Old school golfers didn’t like the cars on the range, tradition
      • Younger families really enjoy the innovative and fun aspect
  • Chase Rogan mentions the issue with finding laborers and the issue with the low wages for workers. Lots of Superintendents have issues finding quality laborers and keeping them. How can superintendents create fringe benefits to keep the good workers?
  • Tripp Sheppard mentions how VSGA is adamant about growing the game and notes that growing the game means different things to different people.
  • David Norman mentions the transition on the PGA Tour with the “young guns” coming into their own and overtaking the tour. Flamboyant fun young guys that draw a lot of interest on television.
  • Traditional Golf vs Fun Golf
    • DN mentions the tradition of how players tee off – starting times. Daily fee golf courses have demand pricing, certain times cost more. A club in LV does a 10 am shotgun off-season – if you want to play that is when you play – lots of people around, meeting and greeting, creates buzz, can it reduce labor costs? Consistent and you know what you are getting.
      • Tom Riley mentions that labor would remain basically the same but the important thing is the consistent programming of the events, maybe tailor it to a theme and be consistent with the frequency that you do it.
      • Jonathan Ireland mentions this program is more about the shortage of daylight during a particular time/season, and the shotgun start is a way to maximize the revenue
      • Tom Riley mentions Georgia – people are not playing much on Saturdays because of NCAA football.  One idea is to do split tees to maximum the amount of revenue realizing that the majority of people will play in that time frame.
        • David Norman mentions promoting a way to play golf and watch football at the same time – with technology advanced golf carts it makes it a viable option – Elliott Wilson “We are going to do it!”
      • Bobby Kidder mentions that the shotgun start may create a pace of play issue, especially for the difficult daily fee course and courses
    • Elliott Wilson mentions that you can’t quit on an idea immediately, give it time to mature. If it is not successful scrap it and trying something new.  Employee morale is extremely important to your product, can rub off on customers.
    • Phil Owenby mentions a key element different than traditional golf is the social aspect
    • Phil Owenby mentions the theory: Hooks 40,40,70 model (how a restaurant does it)
      • Restaurant – if one enjoys their time the first time is it is 40% they come back, 2nd time 40% chance they come back, 3rd time 70% chance they will come back again…How do you get someone in for the third time?
      • Red napkin given to first timers lets staff know they are first timers. A simple coupon and greeting by management can get them in the second time. On the second visit offer a free desert for next visit, this can get them there the third time.
      • Golf examples include, free lessons, Free Gatorade, Free shirt
    • Elliott Wilson and Jonathan Ireland mention connecting with the people is very important.
    • Bobby Kidder plays rounds of golf with customers to enhance their experience.
    • Phil Owenby mentions the leadership is important and making your employees feel good who will in turn make the customers feel good. The little things are important, how the locker room staff treated you, signature snacks, and other aspects that create a value for the individual.
    • Tom Riley mentions a study of what is valuable to the consumer? Can be different depending on the customer. It is important to find out what is valuable to the bulk of the customer base / employees. Examples include:
      • A beverage cart that runs throughout the day
      • Good course conditions
      • Pace of play
      • Value Benefits for employees
        • Health Care
        • Free lunch
      • Don’t treat people how you want to be treated, treat them how they want to be treated.
      • Promoting the health benefits is a good strategy
      • Maximizing the baby boomers now and be strategic about the next generation, millennials will come to the game as time goes on.
    • Will Jarrett mentions Independence has done a synthetic sledding hill during the cold season to get non-golf revenue and it has been a gigantic success, kids having a great time and families using the facility buying food and drinks, etc.
    • Tom Riley mentions that BCG does the Player Development Program
      • Year-long commitment
      • Monthly fee
      • Access to the golf course 2 hours before dark, plus free range balls - $29 a month plus cart fee of $9 or $10.
    • Bobby Kidder mentions that at Magnolia Green juniors play free with paying adult during twilight.
  • Time Related Best Practices – maximizes and exponentially increasing your time
    • Daily Practice Pass – to use the practice facility only
    • Kingsmill did a program – 3 lessons in one day
      • Iron practice – customers then tend to play 9 holes
      • Woods practice – customers then tends to play 9 more holes
      • Putting practice
        • A way to keep people at the golf course all day, eat lunch and play
    • Short loops – 3-6 holes
    • One example is a pro that sells lesson packages at the beginning of the year which includes free range balls all year and 20 lessons. Goal is for them to take more than twenty lessons.
    • Giff Breed mentions quick golf – they sell the rounds by the hole, each hole costs x per played, would usually be done in the evenings.
    • David Norman mentions a certified “fast track” – pace of play, playing ready golf, not playing by the “honors rule”, a governing body could set up the certification
    • Jonathan Ireland mentions an incentive program - if you finish under a certain time you get something, free range balls, discounts in the grill, etc.
    • Tag Marshall (pace of play mgmt. software) mentioned by Tom Riley – a way to track player’s playing time
    • David Norman mentions the Wednesday night shootout – put your name in the hat and you will be paired with a group and shotgun start in the late afternoon.  Many players have dinner & or drinks after the round, impacts F&B revenue plus encourages golf and intra club networking
    • Bobby Kidder mentions leagues, discounted memberships for neighborhood residence, but not daily fees
  • Additional Topics for Future Meetings
    • David Norman mentions the drop off in golf at Virginia resorts being due to business who usually have golf outings are moving to just the meeting without golf.
    • Tom Riley mentions the lack of diversity of golf
    • Cost of Maintenance and Labor


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