The Chatter for Growth is Growing..................

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The Chatter for Growth is Growing……..

As we move through another snowy month, our golfers dream of warm days and fast greens.  The PGA Show, recently held in Orlando, had a very upbeat feel.  The buyers were buying and the sellers were happier than they have been in quite some time.  Meanwhile, there was chatter, strong chatter, about the growth of the game or lack of it.   We had a popular golf brand CEO tell us people leave the game "because its no fun!"  We also had a computer executive launch an alternative to the game.  His new slant is called flogton.  I think we need to focus.

As a golf executive recently said to me; “we have had enough talk about growing the game, we need to do it!”  I agree.  Golf is a great sport, maybe the greatest, but we keep looking for reasons and barriers to the game’s growth.  Anyone reading this understands three of the standard barriers to the growth and success of golf; It’s is costly (especially in the beginning), it takes several hours to play, and it is difficult to play well.  And yes, we as an industry seem to have taken much of the fun out of the sport.

Which one of the three do you believe is the greatest inhibitor?  I believe it is the difficulty barrier.  When will golfers play more often?  When they acquire new clubs and when they are playing good golf.  Heck, when a golfer is playing well, they are looking for a "game," reverse that and the clubs get locked away for what could be a long hiatus.  What to do?   


Here are the High Fives for growing rounds and new golfers;

Ø  Educate all who serve the golfer on the real economics of golf today.  Ignite motivation!

Ø  Create a program to teach new golfers the game for FREE or for a nominal fee in group sessions

Ø  Build “sample” sessions on learning golf for all residents within 20 minutes of your club

Ø  Build a simpler fee structure that rewards times played, not holes played

Ø  Create a long term supervised practice program for all golfers.  These can be held after 5:00

The golf professionals are the quarterbacks for growth.  Reward them for new rounds played as they invest their time for the game.

It’s time to stop the chatter…………….



All golf courses must: Lower the cost of practice balls.. People only get better through practice... If it cost a nickle a ball, then 40 balls would cost 2.00. 80 balls would cost only 4.00. 120 balls would cost only 6.00 ! This would solve many problems.. 1. People would improve dramatically ! 2. With improvement comes excitement to play the golf course. 3. With improvement people play faster. This = more income to the facilities. 4. Beginners would want to take up the game. 5. Interest in the game would grow tremendously. 6. Golf would become more "fun" because course would less intimidating. 7. Demand for golf would grow. 8. When demand grows, people invite friends out. 9. People attract more people. Courses fill up the t-times !

The best way to speed up play is to offer economic incentives to golfers. The following is one possible example: If a foursome finishes under 4 hours they receive an cash rebate of their green fee of perhaps 20%...So if your green fee is 35.00 and your group returns to the pro shop within 4 hours of teeing off, each golfer will get 20% back. Receiving $ 7.00 back. 1. Slow groups must wave faster groups thru. 2. Golf would be much more fun ! No waiting ! 3. Many golfers would have time on time on their hands to buy lunch, food, drink in the clubhouse.. More income to the club. 4. Faster golfers opens up more tee times per day. This means more revenue for the club. 5. Faster play would increase demand. More demand = more golfers ! 6. Golfers have more satisfaction in general for faster play. Then they want to return creating more demand to play and this is more revenue for the club. 7. Players have more time for the 19th hole, generating revenue for the club. 8. May encourage more golfers to take an electric cart, which could also speed up play and more revenue for the club.

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