Knowledge Library

Reap the rewards of dynamic pricing

Mar 12, 2020

Better Revenue Management and a Streamlined Operation

Credit for inventing “customer journey” as a service concept goes in part to a Swedish airline executive, Jan Carlzon, who also introduced the world's first separate cabin for business class. The “journey” metaphor went on to become a core idea for anyone who serves the public.

Golfers booking tee times online begin their journey before they actually arrive at the facility. When the reservation can be made with ease—and price options can be factored into the decision—that customer is off to a satisfying start. As dynamic pricing is used more and more in the golf industry, golfers are viewing it as the new normal and operators are appreciating its advantages.

You can see it in practice at Stonewall Golf Club in Gainesville, Va., where Kyle Backers is the head golf professional. Tee times there—as everywhere—are perishable assets that draw fluctuating demand based on weather, day of the week, time of the day, competing leisure options and multiple other factors. Pricing dynamically downward to sell times in low demand and dynamically upward to capture top dollar for times in high demand is basic logic, as Backers sees it.

“It’s how the hotels and airlines and sports teams do it,” says Backers, “so it’s pretty much expected by anyone who is looking down at their phone and trying to schedule something they want to do.” When Stonewall began pricing dynamically, the clientele barely mentioned it, much less complained about it.

Not all dynamic pricing is created equal, according to those who work with it every day. A golf course might choose to initially use it in the off-season only, or in-season but only midweek, or in some other limited fashion. Nick Hall, a Plus Specialist within GOLF Business Solutions who works with Stonewall Golf Club, has watched the revenue management picture brighten for his partner golf course there. Hall generally sees courses move from partial use of dynamic pricing to full use. Even then, the price matrix on the computer screen can end up showing quite moderate variances in dollar amount.

You can adopt dynamic pricing and still actively manage rates. For Backers, the days when he handled the tee sheet himself were marked by considerable hesitancy. “Having Nick, our specialist, make our price adjustments turns out to be more effective,” he says. “When it was up to me, I was too concerned about making a mistake.”

A basic goal of this digital tool is to increase utilization and maximize revenue, according to Hall, but you do it based on objective data. “Dynamic pricing is not a blunt instrument,” Hall says. “The parts of the week or day that have shown high utilization are tested and often get price-adjusted upward.” He refers to this as “challenging the ceilings” on price. Not long ago at Stonewall, a tee time that was very much in-demand was booked at $11 more per round than a comparable tee time was in previous years. Backers certainly took note of it. “It was a cool thing to see,” he comments. “That foursome of golfers had a choice to buy the time or not and they wanted it.”

Studies show that giving consumers an array of understandable options speeds up their purchase decisions. To the extent the price-selection factor contributes to more people booking online, that’s absolutely a good thing. Having golfers provide their contact data when they book digitally makes database-building more efficient and it changes the atmosphere in the golf shop as the customer journey continues and players check in.

“One thing I love about dynamic pricing is the way it frees you up to connect with the golfers, getting to know them and making sure they have a great experience,” says Backers. “If I didn’t have GOLFNOW running our tee sheet and managing it in a way that brings the most golfers out here, I’d be sitting at the computer doing it myself—and not doing as good a job.” Even merchandising gets a potential lift, according to Backers. “There’s more time for customers to look around and more time to check whether they might need golf balls or a glove or a shirt,” he reports.

Consumer experiences that are “frictionless” are a holy grail of 21st-century marketing. Booking golf using digital tee sheets that are dynamically priced fits with that paradigm. And it fits with what Kyle Backers sees as a new kind of motivation for the golfer of today, versus what he witnessed earlier in his career.

“It used to be a big deal to play the most expensive course, or the hardest course, and impress your friends that you did it,” Backers says. “Now people want to get a decent deal on their green fee, make a hassle-free reservation, enjoy their round, play music in the cart, have drinks after, and just keep it fun.” When he describes a day on the links that way, it sounds like an enjoyable journey indeed.


Market yourself with video

Mar 11, 2020

Fact: Your Golfers Are Visual and Social

It’s no longer enough to just attract new golfers, but the savvy golf course operator also employs strategies that also build relationships to keep them coming back. Sounds like common sense, right?

An innovative breakthrough a generation ago, “relationship marketing” now has become commonplace. Nowadays, course operators are considering the golfer “journey.” It’s important, of course, that golfers buy a tee time from you, but what are some of the methods you should be employing to leverage those purchases to create long-term relationships?

That’s what John Brewer Jr., General Manager of Split Rock Golf Club in Orient, Ohio, has been thinking about for years. With the advent of easy-use handheld technology, one of those ways he’s discovered is to incorporate short videos as a high-powered, highly effective tool in that effort. Teaming up with his GOLF Business Solutions Plus Specialist, Melissa De La Paz, Brewer has been planning, producing and posting weekly videos, then tracking the results and continually refining strategy.

"A local company that does video production and marketing for small businesses made a presentation to us that included some of the results they could deliver, in terms of click-throughs and likes and so forth,” says Brewer. "The numbers were basically the same as what we’re achieving on our own, in our work with Melissa, so that was very satisfying to see.”

An outsourced firm may be able to deliver video content that is more slickly produced, but for the team at Split Rock that doesn't seem to matter. Golfers who follow “The Rock” on Facebook and enjoy the videos don't mind Brewer’s simple approach.

“We're doing this to start a conversation with our customers and see where it leads," says Brewer." It's personal. It’s not fancy in the least, and maybe that's why people come into the shop and start talking about our videos and ask us what we’re planning to do next.”

All marketing and selling should conclude with a call-to-action—that’s the accepted wisdom. But in relationship marketing the action isn't necessarily a purchase. In 2019, Brewer worked with de la Paz on a video promoting a used-ball donation drive that resulted in some 20 golfers showing up with buckets of shag balls that had been gathering dust in their garages.

“We had an unexpected range ball shortage and I know for a fact that half our players have a big stash of scuffed balls they can’t seem to toss out," explains Brewer. “We put out our request via video and got a great response. Everybody was talking about it—that's the whole point anyway, the back and forth interaction.”

Mike Hendrix, Vice President of Clubhouse Solutions, agrees completely with the Split Rock concept of video that is home-cooked, folksy and sincerely personal. The point of it is pure connection, not communication of the sort a marketer would use to convince consumers they should change cell phone providers or have their home checked for termites. Getting your home checked for termites might be a necessity but, unlike playing golf, it’s not something you actually want to do.

“When you are selling golf," says Hendrix, “you're basically inducing a person to do the thing they want to do. They want to engage with their favorite activity in their favorite environment. So, let’s just get the engagement process started—and video is the tool for that. It’s natural and easy to consume video—especially on your smartphone, which is where so much content gets consumed these days anyway.”

Led by Hendrix and Clubhouse Solutions Specialist Gabriela Vaughan, the GOLF Business Solutions team produce Clubhouse Bulletin, a rapidly growing video newsletter customized for private clubs as a way for them to connect with members. In this case, the homemade look and feel isn't appropriate, yet there's still a need for a warm, upbeat and personal tone. The natural ease and charm of on-air personality Bailey Chamblee supply those qualities.

By using broadcast-quality production elements, with the GOLF Channel Newsroom as a backdrop, a Clubhouse Bulletin segment holds a viewer’s attention as it delivers engaging content—news, events and important updates. Other production values include professional course imagery, a scrolling information ticker and club-specific branding in each video.

“Club GMs and officers will view a sample segment and assume there's a high cost to get involved," says Hendrix. “But the cost of entry for a club to add this powerful communication tool and really build engagement is very reasonable.” While it's generally a means of connecting with and retaining the existing member, Clubhouse Bulletin enrollment also allows a club to create an outreach video showcasing it for potential new members.

Humans are wired to process information visually––it's how our brains work. Human golfers are wired to enjoy their experiences at your course or club by personally connecting with the people who provide them with service and a great product. Short videos inviting viewers to come and enjoy themselves will make a strong impression—and produce business results that make everyone happy.


Instructor Plus offers the teaching Pro expert consultation, proprietary management tools

Mar 11, 2020

What's good for the golf course is good for instructors, too.

The past decade has brought waves of sophisticated technology to help dedicated golf instructors diagnose swing flaws, communicate with students, design drills with biofeedback and generally bring a scientific process to the lesson tee. What instructors haven’t been offered—until now—is support to address the business challenges and missed opportunities that have long frustrated them.

The remedy to all that is Instructor Plus, a comprehensive and customizable technology platform and service for golf instructors. Inspired by GOLF Business Solutions’ Plus management and marketing service —currently being used by nearly 1,400 golf courses nationwide—Instructor Plus combines expert consultation and proprietary management tools. It’s all designed to help instructors improve and sustain their businesses in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

“We know that facilities that have high-quality teachers see more play and more spending from the golfers who engage with their instruction programs,” said Lorin Anderson, vice president of Instruction for GOLF Channel. “Instructor Plus creates continual opportunities to grow this engagement through professionally managed marketing while freeing up the instructor to spend more time on the lesson tee, where he or she is most valuable.”

There’s been enthusiastic response to Instructor Plus in its first year. The technology is one of many business-to-business platforms within the GOLF Business Solutions portfolio. Golf coaches and teachers have been embracing the package, made up of a dedicated marketing agent with a unique suite of technologies. It’s a unique opportunity for teaching professionals to access the expertise and tools they need to customize and boost their marketing, sales, social media and back-office functions. An obvious bonus benefit is having time freed up to concentrate more fully on their students.

The technology behind Instructor Plus is designed to benefit any instructional operation, from sole proprietors to multi-instructor, stand-alone facilities. Instructors can choose between a full-service option or a do-it-yourself Toolkit, which provides the instructor with a customized, mobile-friendly website, robust instruction-scheduling software, an email marketing tool and a coach-student communications app.


Reviews and Ratings: Why they work

Feb 27, 2020

Best practices for reputation management

Average golfers may be ill-equipped to know all the strategies operators incorporate to produce a great golf product, but they are all experts on whether or not they had a good experience at your facility. Here in the digital age, they put that expertise to use by writing online reviews.

It was six years ago in 2014 that online reviews took on such importance within GOLFNOW that a separate business unit, GOLF Advisor, was established in response. Mike Lowe, Vice President and General Manager of GOLF Advisor, has been involved from the beginning with golf’s leading source of course ratings and reviews. “We saw the potential for user-generated reviews and built a great foundation on GOLFNOW,” he recalls. “Within a year, GOLF Advisor had become the Internet’s leading source for golf course reviews.”

According to the industry research group ReviewTrackers, U.S. consumers see themselves in a dialogue with businesses they review. Seven out 10 surveyed customers said they expect to get a reply from brands they review. Approximately 52 percent of those surveyed say that when posting a review that’s positive they expect a reply within seven days. When posting a review that’s negative, a full 72 percent expect to see a posted reply in that same time span.

Those expectations aren’t generally met, however—63 percent of respondents say they have never heard back from a business after writing a review. Which means your golf course is probably ahead of the game if it responds promptly and appropriately to golfers’ reviews of your product and service.

GOLF Advisor’s rapid trajectory has brought it to a point where the platform now hosts 1 million-plus reviews covering more than 15,000 courses worldwide. The customer-supplied reviews have special value, given the profile data that virtually comes with every one. “You know that the golfer giving five stars on a particular course is 55 to 64 years old with a three handicap,” Lowe explains. “It’s also possible, at times, to have a name associated with a review. This gives anyone who looks at GOLF Advisor the best of both worlds—reviews from actual golfers whom their peers relate to.”

That attention to high-quality content has unquestionably paid off. “When we launched, we had no presence in the search engine rankings,” Lowe says. “Today, a major percentage of our traffic comes from search. We rank extremely well for destinations and also really well for golf courses. That strong SEO presence not only is great for getting new customers, but also, once that golfer finds us, they use us as one of their stops. They look to us for advice.”

Lowe says his team is blunt in explaining the importance of ratings and reviews to operators who may take a casual approach to them. “There is no cost to respond to reviews, change photos, feature the course’s strongest characteristics and so forth," he continued. “Operators can choose to engage or not to engage, but the ones who do get involved really benefit.”

Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Fla., can attest to that. “To say that GOLF Advisor reviews and ratings have helped the resort is quite an understatement,” said Pat Farrell, Director of Golf Sales. “Golf rounds and golf package growth are up substantially.”

GOLF Advisor sets itself apart from other consumer review platforms because only golf courses are reviewed, no other product or service categories. Also, the other general platforms only have one overall category, so, it's difficult to truly know how into golf the reviewer is. GOLF Advisor not only has the overall category, but six subcategories that let the golfer rate everything from conditions to friendliness. And golfer profiles show how many reviews they've written, as well as the option for handicap and age information. Golfers can filter reviews by which players and reviewers are most like them.

“Even the highest-rated courses receive negative reviews or comments from time to time, said Brandon Tucker, GOLF Advisor managing editor. “If what a review said rings true, an operator can comment on it using their official GOLF Advisor course account. It’s an efficient way to let the review-poster know that their issue is being addressed. It's also totally constructive to point out anything in a review that is a misunderstanding, or statements that are factually inaccurate.”

Thanking someone for complimentary remarks goes a long way toward cementing a loyal customer relationship. And when a golfer cites something that was lacking in his or her experience, acknowledging the issue directly, perhaps even offering a bounce-back round at a discount, is a proven way to restore a customer’s perception.

Tucker likes to remind operators—especially those concerned about negative review—that the overall average for courses is 3.9 stars out of five. “Most golfers are sharing great experiences,” he says. “And on those occasions where there may have been a bad review because of a course condition or a temporary situation at the facility, our algorithm heavily weighs reviews based on recency. A bad review in the distant past isn’t going to poison your rating forever.”

Reviews are valuable currency, and the more a course has, the better. “Print up business cards that ask golfers to visit GOLF Advisor and rate their round,” Lowe advises. “Have your cart and bag-drop staff pass the cards out. Train them to ask every customer about his or her round and ask for the review. Some operations have iPads available so employees can ask for the review right there with the customer.”

It helps to include a link to the course’s website in email and social communication, and to add a ratings widget to it. Courses can ask their GOLF Business Solutions rep for window decals and other signage. But face-to-face communication is also key. Pro shop staff, greeters and outside service staff should all be asking for feedback on the experience.

If you have a GOLF Business Solutions booking engine, you can have your rep turn on post-interaction emails to trigger a notification to golfers to write a review based on their last visit.

Finally, Lowe reminds all courses to put their best foot forward on GOLF Advisor by updating photos and content and to dedicate some time daily to engaging with reviewers. Two-way conversation is your opportunity to thank customers, acknowledge when you’ve made a mistake and show every potential customer the experience they can expect.

Want to learn more? Check out the latest articles on our knowledge base >>


Solutions for golfer acquisition

Feb 27, 2020

Here’s an unfortunate scenario when it comes to golfer acquisition: You welcome a first-time customer who pays his green fee in cash, plays his round and drives away, leaving only his name from the reservation. No other personal data was captured.

Professionals who specialize in golfer acquisition might give you credit for an acquired new golfer but ONLY if you’ve got a way of communicating with that person on a programmatic basis.

Take it from Nicole Roach, Senior Director, Consumer Marketing for GOLF Business Solutions, who makes it her mission to encourage golf course managers to always be thinking about adding to their “audience” of golfers who can be marketed to effectively. Solid golfer acquisition and retention strategies not only make good business sense, they also are critical to a truly successful operation.

In fact, someone who actually booked but didn’t play your course still counts, in her book. The golfer you’ve never heard of who books a round but then cancels should still be considered one more you’ve acquired, she believes. “You add that person’s data and now your audience is one golfer ahead,” Roach says. “Audience building is what it’s all about.”

It’s common knowledge that acquiring a new customer is way more costly than retaining one you’ve already got, so it’s worth being a little bit scientific about the newly acquired. Roach believes a course can benefit greatly by subdividing acquisition into multiple categories and tracking the progress of each.

“Someone can play your course once, play it multiple times, or join your loyalty program – those are all ways of including them in your acquisition data,” she says. “This qualifies as ‘acquisition’ if you can just get the person to provide a name and email address or get them to sign up for your SMS messages containing offers and other content.”

It helps to know certain patterns underlying your course’s play. So, if you recorded 25,000 rounds last year, was there an 80-20 rule in which 2,000 golfers played 10 times each and the other 5,000 rounds were played by a couple thousand folks playing a few rounds each? Roach points out that when you acquire Golfer A and Golfer B, one may have been totally worth the effort, the other less so.

“One way to look at it is to ask whether a given round could have been booked at a higher rate than what you actually got,” she says. “You make that happen by increasing the part of your audience that is relatively less cost-sensitive.” It’s valuable to know your total “uniques,” she says, i.e., the number of different people who teed it up at your course.

To determine a comfortable cost-per-acquisition (CPA), Roach suggests looking at your gross margin (per round) across a full year of operation and using that as a benchmark. “If your margin per round is $8, spending $8 in marketing and other outreach efforts to acquire a golfer is very sensible,” she says. Obviously, you’re not devoting all your profits to this one purpose, just using the margin metric to create an acquisition rule of thumb.

If you’ve plugged along and amassed a fairly large and relatively active pool of golfers who are engaged with your course, you don’t want to slide backward. No database goes a year without drop-offs, but the GOLF Business Solutions viewpoint is that losses should be minimal. “It should always be under 5 percent, and with our client courses we shoot for under 1 percent,” she says.

How does a golfer you’ve acquired become one that you’ve lost? That’s always the little mystery that needs solving. It starts with defining the period where the losses occurred and looking closely for whether any notable changes were made. “‘What did we do differently’ is the question you want to ask,” says Roach. That could include emailing golfers too often, emailing them too seldom, changing your message, discontinuing specials, or some other shift.

“That’s where email is particularly helpful,” Roach says. “It gives you the most response data. You can count your opens and click-throughs and usually find what you need to reverse a negative trend fairly quickly.” Of course, there are trends in your database and trends in play—two different (though perhaps parallel) performance areas. On the play side, loss consists of the “defector” whom you’ll program into the software as a somewhat regular customer—with a per-year minimum number of rounds—who stops showing up. “You can set that for 30-, 60-, and 90-day flags to be sent up,” says Roach. “You’re talking about a player who’s gone dormant that the course wants to reactivate more than re-acquire—and there are incentives you’ll use to make that happen.”

Caring for the database that holds and shows your acquired golfers is like caring for the turf on your fairways and greens. Frequent and consistent checkups are the way to go. “We suggest that courses look at their databases on a monthly basis, at least—really the more frequently the better,” Roach says. “That lets you see your trends and gives you a way to aggregate enough results to make good conclusions, plus sufficient time to plan your next initiatives.”

Golfers have lots of choice, so the very fact that you’ve built a large following of players who are engaged to a certain degree and could become more so is a tribute to the quality and consistency of what you bring to market. And some of them you’ll please to such a degree that they’ll find you downright captivating. 

Want to learn more? Check out the latest articles on our knowledge base >>


Keeping stats on your teaching business is the key to success

Feb 10, 2020

Any veteran teacher will have a general feel for when things are going well, but the one way to be sure is by the numbers. Here are your key indicators.

We don’t truly know if we’re succeeding unless we can mark our progress using metrics—and stay on track by checking our numbers over time. That’s a fact of business life that only recently has gained major importance in golf instruction.

So, when a golf coach is asked how things are going, and they say, “My business is great,” they’re not providing much of an answer. The natural follow-up question would concern year-to-date gross revenue. What’s that number? Next question after that: How am I trending compared to my 2020 goals? And it’s always good to ask the simple question: How many lessons did I teach last month?

It’s natural to conclude that business is good because you can make the mortgage payment or because you felt like you were on the go all day. But imagine if you could use goal-setting, long-term strategy and ongoing measurement to boost your business 15 percent—or 25 or even 50 percent. Wouldn’t you want to give that a try?

If you agree with the premise, next step is selecting the stats and metrics to load onto your spreadsheet. Here’s a partial list:
 

  • Total lessons taught
  • Type of lesson taught
  • Total revenue
  • Revenue by category
  • Total fittings
  • Average order value
  • Close percentage
  • Renewal percentage
  • Number of referrals
  • Range revenue per student
  • Rounds played by students
  • Food and beverage sales to students

In choosing what numbers to track, you’ll want to consider what your club or facility cares most about. Which metrics will help you illustrate the monetary value you bring to the table? What coaching-related activity most drives the overall success of the club? What’s most important to the facility’s bottom line? And, obviously, what’s most important to your own bottom line?

Managing by measuring is always a three-phase exercise—historical, current and future business. Start simple: How many lessons do I have scheduled in the next month? Next three months? Next 6 months? Next 12 months? Going out a full year may seem like overkill, but once you set up that data point you’ll want to continue monitoring it.

Your lessons-scheduled may be your most important indicator of success. The more lessons you have scheduled, the more you’re going to teach. The more you teach, the more people get better. The more people get better, the more they buy, and the more they tell their friends about your services.

When you’re the busiest game in town you can also charge more for your services. Funny how charging more should reduce the number of students you have but often has the opposite effect—there’s a real perception out there that more expensive coaching means better coaching.

A high volume of lessons on the books is important for your business but it’s even more important for your students’ improvement. So often there is a long span of time between lessons with a student only to have them come back looking the same as they did before their previous lesson. Movement patterns take time in ingrain. The more time you have with your students the more likely they are to get better.

Meanwhile, all that time spent with students will strengthen the relationship and deepen the trust. That additional trust will open up more opportunities for clubfitting and therefore merchandise sales as well as golf trips and other potential revenue streams. Again, none if this is as important as your students playing better golf. The additional time spent with them will take you beyond just being a pro they come to for tips. It will allow you to become their golf advisor, their friend and—most important—their trusted coach.

Want more tips of the trade? Checkout more instructor articles on our knowledge base


Your time between lessons needs time-management discipline

Feb 10, 2020

The between-lesson period is valuable to instructors and tends to be under-utilized, even wasted. Here’s how to make it a business asset.

For coaches who are back-to-back with lessons all day, deploying between-lesson time effectively isn’t an issue. But most teachers have a fair amount of down time. This time should be managed wisely, if you wish to become as effective and financially successful as possible. Poor use of in-between time tends to be particularly common with instructors who are building a book of business and starting to become quite busy.

As for those full-book coaches mentioned above, they actually need to create schedule breaks. Blocking a half hour of time on your schedule in the morning and a half hour during the afternoon (as well as a lunch break) allows you to recharge. Even coaches who appear to have endless energy run into challenges if they try and grind through the day without breaks.

If nothing else, they’ll tend to fall into a pattern of always running late—a prime source of customer complaints. And while they seem to have unlimited energy it’s an open question whether the last student of the day got their best effort. Making time in your book to regroup leads to consistent performance. Your customers will appreciate it.

Extra time has to be used effectively. It’s the key to being able to finish the day and truly leave things at work—instead of going home to a pile of business-maintenance chores. Vow to yourself that you’ll accomplish as many business tasks as possible during scheduled breaks. In-between time should first be used for outbound calls and emails to students who currently aren’t scheduled. Call them and see how things are going, with your goal being to book their next session. Using this valuable time to call people who have left you a message to book another lesson is a misuse of time. Nothing addresses this issue like a good online booking service—set one up, if you haven’t already.

Again, some of it is recharge time. After you’ve reviewed key takeaways with your students, delivered their homework and booked their next lessons, you need to get away by finding a quiet place on property where you won’t get sucked into conversations that aren’t productive.

Also, don’t waste your unbooked time by simply going long in your lessons and eating up your break time. The longer lessons go, the more likely teachers are to give students too much information. And a confused student does not make for a successful student. Don’t try to wrap up your lessons by “ending on a good one,” as you may be there all day. Yes, there are times when you need to give someone an extra few minutes, it just can’t be standard procedure. Students appreciate starting on time and ending on time. A coach who is constantly behind schedule creates frustrated students.

So, study your habits. Seek the opportunities for productivity and organization that you may have been missing. Do this well enough and you may find time to actually practice your game a bit between lessons! Want to learn more tips of the trade? Check out more instructor articles on our knowledge base


NBC Sports Group and MPower MSL Announce Strategic Partnership to Connect More Golfers Around the World to the Game

Jan 22, 2020

Australia’s Leading Online Golf Destination, iSeekGolf.Com, to be Operated by NBC Sports’ GOLFNOW within the World’s Largest Tee Time Marketplace

 

ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 22, 2020) – NBC Sports Group and MPower MSL (ASX:MPW)(MSL), operator of the tee time booking platform iSeekGolf, today announced a long-term, strategic partnership to enhance the online tee time booking experience for golfers everywhere.

 

The partnership will boost innovation and product development for the benefit of golf courses and golfers throughout Australia. NBC Sports' GOLFNOW will assume operations of iSeekGolf.com as an extension of its current tee time distribution platform, connecting iSeekGolf’s golf club partners with more than 3.5 million registered GOLFNOW users who can book a tee time at a selection of over 400 partner courses in Australia and nearly 10,000 around the world.

 

MSL customers can continue to advertise and sell their available tee times on GOLFNOW/iSeekGolf, while golfers will enjoy the ease and convenience of searching and booking tee times on one platform.

 

“Providing solutions for more than 9,000 golf courses around the world, GOLFNOW’s tee time distribution marketplace, as well as its best-in-class technology and services, position us as an industry leader at the intersection of golf and technology,” said Brian Smith, general manager, GOLFNOW & Emerging Businesses. “This partnership with MSL further solidifies our commitment to invest in golf in Australia and will benefit from the distribution and marketing reach of GOLFNOW and the brand recognition that iSeekGolf already has built among golfers across the country.”

 

“MSL is pleased to partner with NBC Sports, one of the world’s leaders in digital business driving innovation into sport with its technology. Our technology platform has centralised golf membership and handicapping in 11 countries and helps run some of the world’s most iconic sports, leisure and hospitality organisations, including 60 percent of the English Premier League,” said Craig Kinross, MSL’s Director of Strategy. “Our partnership with NBC Sports’ GOLFNOW to operate iSeekGolf will provide great benefits to Australian golf clubs and golfers into the future by providing access to our industry-focused, market-leading technologies.”

 

GOLFNOW, which launched in Australia in 2017, is part of the NBC Sports portfolio of golf-lifestyle businesses tailored to the needs of passionate golfers. The portfolio also includes GOLF Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour with events held across Australia, China, New Zealand, and North America; and GOLFPASS, a digital membership program that connects golfers with hundreds of perks and benefits related to the things they love to do most, like playing golf, improving their game, watching great videos, shopping and traveling. GOLFPASS launched in Australia in October 2019, following earlier introductions in North America (February) and the U.K. & Ireland (July). MPower MSL is a global provider of hosted SaaS and on-site solutions to clients in the sport, leisure and hospitality sectors with 1,200-plus customers in more than 25 countries.

 

 

ABOUT NBC SPORTS GROUP’S GOLF DIVISION

NBC Sports Group’s GOLF division delivers multimedia golf content, technology, and services. Anchored by GOLF Channel – co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 – GOLF content is available to nearly 500 million viewers in nine languages across more than 70 countries around the world. GOLF features more live coverage of the sport than all other U.S. networks combined, including global tournament action from the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, European Tour, NCAA, THE PLAYERS, The Open, Olympics, Presidents Cup, and Ryder Cup, as well as high-quality news, instruction, and original programming. Delivering unmatched coverage from the world of golf via GOLF Digital, fans can access 24/7 live streaming through the NBC Sports App, as well as complimentary coverage via PGA TOUR LIVE on NBC Sports Gold. In addition to these all-encompassing media platforms, NBC Sports connects the world to golf through a wide array of technology and lifestyle services, including GOLFNOW, the world’s largest online tee time booking platform; GOLF Business Solutions, solving business needs through leading technology, marketing, and services; GOLFPASS, an all-in-one digital membership delivering comprehensive benefits tailored to the modern golfer’s lifestyle; Revolution GOLF, the world’s largest direct-to-consumer digital platform in golf, offering best-in-class video instruction and game improvement products; GOLF Advisor, the ultimate digital destination for the traveling golfer, featuring the largest number of user-generated golf course ratings and reviews in the industry; GOLF Academy, a North American network of instructional facilities; and GOLF Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour. GOLF’s global reach originates from its world headquarters in Orlando, Fla., and extends to its international office in Belfast, Northern Ireland; regional offices across North America, Europe and Australia; and also includes collaborations with Sky Sports, and serving as the Official Media Partner of St Andrews Links.

 

About MSL Solutions Limited

MPower MSL (ASX:MPW) is transforming the sports, leisure, and hospitality sectors globally. Some of the world’s iconic sports and entertainment companies and PGAs rely on MSL every day. We create the systems that connect every department of a business from point of sale and club membership to marketing, financials, and the workforce to deliver real-time visibility on staff levels, customer engagement, profits, and revenue. It’s these pieces that work together that turn ordinary moments into extraordinary memories.

To discover more about MSL please visit www.mpowermsl.com

 

 

-NBC Sports Group-

NBC Sports Group Media Contacts:

 

Suzanne Pelizzari

Executive General Manager, Sales, Marketing & Partnerships

MPower MSL

Suzanne.Pelizzari@MPowerMSL.com

 

Dan Higgins

Communications Editor

GOLF Channel

Dan.Higgins@GolfChannel.com

+1-407-355-4018


More proven marketing tips for dedicated instructors

Jan 10, 2020

In our November 2019 issue, we offered a batch of innovative marketing ideas that coaches could implement quickly. Kick off 2020 with these additional tips:

Create programs and opportunities for late-shift professionals:

Executive chefs at fine-dining restaurants are well-paid. So are hospital radiologists and other non-9-to-5 professionals. These are prime candidates for your weekday coaching business—people who need a distraction from their responsibilities and a new challenge that's fun and engaging. Could you create a "Golf Clinic for Clinicians" from the nearby hospital, custom-designed to fit their schedules? How about creating a series of clinics for chefs and wait staffers at the top five restaurants in your market? One way to kick-start an outreach to medical professionals who work late hours is to link your event to their hospital's annual golf tournament fundraiser. If you are the golf coach who becomes well known to these networks, word will get around, and your business will enjoy an excellent pool of clients who follow a different schedule than the rest of the world.

Stage a putting expo and show all the putting-performance help now available:

All under one roof (although there's no actual roof) you can gather your staff of instructors, a putter-fitting expert, perhaps a rep from a manufacturer known for its putter line, putting practice-aids, an AimPoint teacher and all sorts of other resources from this putting-intense era for a putting expo. Acclaimed teacher Nicole Weller called her event at The Landings Club in coastal Georgia a "Putting Fair." Weller's members received coaching in distance control, putt reading, and alignment/aim, along with all the other bells and whistles gathered on her practice green. The direct result was increased exposure by members to the club's golf professionals, nine putters sold at the fair plus interest in spin-off lessons, extra practice sessions, and clinics to advance ideas that were discovered during the fair.

Connect your golf instruction offerings to the yoga community:

It's highly impressive to see how intently golf coaches have studied bio-kinesiology and other aspects of the fitness-golf connection. Question: Do any of the 1,000 or so regular yoga students in your area know that flexibility and golf success go together? Do the yoga instructors? Think about this: Whatever value the local yoga teachers feel they are delivering to their students, you could give them one more arrow for their quiver—they are helping their clients develop the type of flexibility, balance and conditioning that a good golf swing thrives on. Any yoga student who has remotely considered trying golf is, at the very minimum, going to get a little thrill at knowing they've got a significant advantage over the non-yoga beginner—and that's an incentive for them to come to the tee. How about a Get Golf Ready just for active yoga students? Or a demo at the yoga class showing how well a limber and yoga-trained body can make good golf swings? Self-improvement is the umbrella concept for the yoga student and golf student alike—make that connection in your local market and see what happens.

Market to league golfers (who can arrive early):

It's a familiar summertime sight in public golf—league golfers hustling to the tee because they have so little time to get from their place of business to the course. But some league players aren't in that time crunch and can arrive long before teammates. This means there is quite likely some form of coaching and pre-round prep that could fit into this time slot. Try surveying the league database to see who wants to show up early for putting, chipping, or perhaps some bunker help. The sessions would be relatively short and would often use a group format, so the out-of-pocket for these customers can be on the low side. Meanwhile, they become candidates for your full programs, and an advertisement for your skills if they start winning more than their fair share of matches. Use Your Email Signature to Drive Traffic to Your Offers, Events, and Ancillary Products: Every email you send to an active client or prospect can have multiple "actionable" links/buttons. Do you conduct New Student Assessments? And do you have a dedicated booking page on your website for NSA's? Embed a link to that page in a message that says: "Click here for an in-person assessment of your golf skills" or words to that effect. If you market a swing aid or practice app that golfers can learn about online, create a hyperlink button for that. Every email you send can and probably should have this calls-to-action, which are easy to create—there are even online tools for customizing them to your preference.

Got a marketing tip? Send it to lorin.anderson@golfchannel.com, and we'll be glad to share it—with proper credit to you—in an upcoming issue.


Where teaching meets club fitting, decisions to make

Jan 10, 2020

The old ideal was for every teacher to learn club fitting and take care of their students' gear needs. It turns out there's a range of fitting solutions.

When the first fitting carts appeared on lesson tees 30 years ago, the companies that provided them preached that club fitting was the province of the teaching professional. Instructors were told that the club purchase should be a transaction between a teacher and his or her student, based on the precision-fitting methodology. From that point forward, it's been up to instructors to decide whether to embrace this idea fully or find other ways to address the equipment needs of their students.

There's quite a variance among top instructors as to how much or how little club fitting they do. On the enthusiastic end of that spectrum is Cathy MacPherson, a noted professional based in Middleton, Mass. These days she's got two methods of handling the equipment needs of her students—fit them herself or use the services of Club Champion, as 400-plus of her fellow professionals also do.

MacPherson has kept hands-on club fitting in her repertoire even as she's benefitted from the Club Champion arrangement that began two years ago. Over that time, she's had dozens of students go through a Club Champion fitting and purchase clubs. She considers the program a win-win. "Their business model is impressive, and we've had a great flow of communication," says MacPherson. "I've gotten to know their fitters, and we talk about how to do what's best for each golfer. That's been a key element to success."

At the larger academies, a job description of a specialist in golf gear has emerged. An example is the Mike Bender Golf Academy in Lake Mary, Fla., where Matt Wilkes is one such expert—although Wilkes does teach his roster of students along with running junior clinics and coaching groups of women players.

Despite how advanced his golf-equipment skills have become, Wilkes still sees the world through the eyes of a teacher. No matter how inappropriate a client's clubs maybe, Wilkes will still "point them to instruction" if their baseline ability to make a swing that advances the ball is below a certain level. And yes, his nationally known colleagues Cheryl Anderson and Mike Bender do assign to Wilkes the step-by-step of a club fitting session needed by one of their students, albeit with substantial consultation based on their swing diagnosis.

There will always be full-time instructors—and you may be one of them—who have a talent for fitting clubs, enjoy doing it, and connect teaching with fitting in an organic way. One such coach is Bill Abrams, director of instruction at Golf Solutions Academy in Crete, Ill. For Abrams, there are multiple reasons to keep the gear aspect of golf performance under his aegis. Generally speaking, it enhances continuity in the teacher-student relationship, he argues quite convincingly.

"We give students whatever we can to help them improve, whether that's swing technique, a fitness regimen, better course management—and those things tie back to equipment," says Abrams. "A student can build their core and their upper body, and at that point, the clubs may need another look. With the juniors, especially the boys of a certain age, I might switch them through two or three shafts a year."

The cost of shaft changes of this type is no significant factor, either. Abrams sources UST shafts at a discount, he uses PGA Trade-in services liberally, and he's "built a library of fitting shafts over the years that gives me a lot of options." Shaft couplings that allow instant switch-out, no epoxy needed, also facilitate Bill's approach. Even set configuration can be affected by what gets taught. As strategic thinking improves, a golfer may decide they need a couple of new hybrids that offer a better chance to play from optimal positions.

Meanwhile, the fitting has an artistic side, in which the golfer sees and feels results that are naturally pleasing to the eye. "The trajectory of the shot, the curve, the full flight, the hang time—all those things matter to golfers," Abrams says. The gear side of Bill's annual revenue comes to between 15 and 20 percent, he says. And that's not counting the loyalty factor among lesson-takers that his skill and ingenuity as a fitter help build.

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