Understanding whats really
happening in the industry and how to deal with it successfully will
determine long-term profitability for golf clubs. Here are a few random
statistics, facts and, perhaps, a few surprises to think about. We
can help you sort them out, determine what they mean to your future
and figure out how to use them to build success.
- Golfer demographics
are changing. The hot demo today is 29-49.
This group doesnt
have time to plan
have time or the finances to travel to faraway golf destinations, preferring to play
at courses and destinations within a three-hour drive. Time is the
new currency of today.
- Golf brings in
1.5 to 3 million new players each year. We lose about the same number.
Why? Playing a round of golf takes 4½ hours at best. We too often beat up the average
player. Plus clubs dont put enough concentration on developing
casual players into avid players and investing in the service needed
to make the experience less intimidating. Growth is basically
flat. There have to be
- "Overbuilt" describes an increasing percentage of regions, many of
the nations major metropolitan regions. Yet even within undeveloped regions many golf clubs
are still struggling. The problem lies outside the ratio of golf
holes to population.
- How far in advance
do golfers plan their golf vacation? Not that many years ago it was
one to five months. Today its
two to six weeks.
travelers plan their vacations on the Internet. A great percentage
of travelers complete their travel transactions on-line. Golfers
travel more frequently than all other affluent sports participants.
In fact, more golfers took a domestic trip in the last year than
skiers, tennis players and sailors combined.
- Golf course construction
over the decade has been primarily high-end... and a competition
for who could build the toughest challenge. Yet most golfers are
high-handicappers who feel beat up by the course and the fee.
- According to
the National Golf Foundation, the number of rounds nationally were down 10 to 20% in 2008-2009. But the range in performance
from desperate to thriving is enormous
regions. Specific situational analysis is needed not blanket
- In the face of
declining rounds, the focus at courses nationwide has been on cost containment
and cost cutting with limited impact, since so many expenses
at golf clubs are relatively fixed. And reducing the level of customer
service is not the answer. In fact, level of service and value for money
spent are primary factors in choosing where to play. Those clubs focusing
energy and resources on increasing revenues have the best chance of
- High staff turnover
is one of the major problems in golf course management. As the economics
of golf course operations tighten, more and more golf clubs are recognizing
that the human resources part of the business requires more attention.
More staff recognition, better communication and competitive compensation
to retain quality people should be a priority.