How can we put more people on the course?

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To the credit of the golf industry, there are a number of national grow-the-game initiatives in place. Play Golf America, The First Tee and Get Golf Ready all offer a variety of programs aimed at teaching beginners – both youngsters and adults – the game. And most have done a good job of exposing large numbers of people to golf.
 
What’s less clear is what happens when that newcomer to the game “graduates” from these programs. All too often, golf course operators seem to think their job is done when the instructional period is completed. But savvy managers know that’s just the beginning.
 
Does your course have a “mentor” program that pairs these newbies with some of your regulars? Do you offer special prices on equipment or greens fees to those who complete a training sequence at your property? Do you or your staff do quarterly follow-up phone calls or e-mails to the graduates personally inviting them back?
 
There are plenty of other ideas for encouraging more play from new golfers. At the Golf Inc. Conference, to be held Sept. 14-16 at the La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, Calif., the session entitled “If golf isn’t working, why not and how do we fix it” will examine some of these critical issues, offering ideas for operators and owners.
 
What other related topics would you like to see explored at the conference?  

Comments

What is Golf Inc.'s stance on GolfNow.com and what the Golf Channel is doing?

We've been running a successful mentoring program for many years that we call "Nine and Wine" in which we pair seasoned golfers with newer (and sometimes brand new) players. The program is very effective at providing new or rusty golfers an on-course experience in a non-threatening environment during which they can gain their sea-legs, so to speak. Retention numbers are strong. It's the perfect "graduation" event for Get Golf Ready.

What does Golf Now and Golf Channel have to do with this discussion?

The comments and concerns are spot on. Here are Meadowbrook Golf we have developed "Golf for the Fun of it!", an adult player development program. Our real concern is the same; "what to do after graduation?" We now believe that new golfers must be provided specific opportunties for personal growth for a full year. Last month, we developed "Golf Sisters" a program for all women graduates. We continue to think of ways to promote the game and provide programs for the 700 people in our program. I applaud the article as timely and thought provoking. Jack Dillon

Keeping with the thought about GolfNow.com and what the Golf Channel is doing? What is Golf Inc.'s stance on creeping bent grass...? :-)

Recently I asked in a forum the very same question, but regarding the Hungarian situation where golf is considered as a elite sport? What would you do to change Hungarians' attitude toward this beautiful sport?? People who answered me they recommended many great ideas. If you want to know I am ready to share with anybody.

I work in the industry on the wholesale side, teach in the industry as an LPGA Professional and teach a First Tee program, a LPGA/USGA Girls Golf program and multiple EWGA clinics so I see the industry on a big and small perspective. I teach a great deal of new golfers. My goal is to get them on the course the first or second week, no later. By the third lesson I have them playing short holes. The key is the follow up. Courses need to start evening 3 or 5 hole rates that are for newer players. Start at 6 or 7pm and run the events for an hour to 1 1/2 hours. Discount greens fees, something like $10.00 and if possible have a professional around to help out. If we had a regional on national "Tee it up" Program that included multiple courses doing this it would help.

You want more golfers on your golf course? I have the only real solution, eliminate 25% of the golf courses in your direct competitive set. Every operator needs to realize the lack of profitability in this sport(busines/industry) is due to the fact that their are more pies (golf courses) than their are people who want to eat pie (play golf). Eliminate 25% of the facilities in each active market and those left standing will become profitable. I assure you golfers will not quit the game just because XVZ course closes down.

One final note. Operators take note your real customer the guy who buys memberships, clubs, apparel and eats and drinks at your facility does not want hybrid golf or any change to game he loves. We won't watch flag football over the NFL on TV or 3 inning baseball. Quit trying to alter the game we love and support. The problem is not with the core golfers it stems from greedy developers, poor management and the fools at the National Golf Foundation who were certain the game needed a golf course a day to be built just to keep pace with demand.

you can upgrade your corse and advertise that it is new and improved, even if you only did the smallest thing to it. you could have rental equiptment avalible cheap and advertise it as so. the best way is to have a deal avalible for excample, buy 9 holes, get a 3 hole game free.

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