Best Ideas for Your Golf Course

What happens when you go to six golf conferences. . .

I’ve been on a speaking tour for golf conferences this last month.  I’ve really enjoyed it because I have gotten to know many people who have provided me with lots of different ideas that I can implement at my golf course.  Many of them are very simple changes that will make a huge difference.

Since it’s the start of a new year and you might be making plans for change, I thought I’d share my top five favorite ideas with you that you might be able to implement at your own course.

At the Indiana Golf Conference, they had a speaker who was in the baseball business.  It was so interesting to hear all of the many similarities between the baseball business and golf.  The first two ideas come from him.

IDEA #1 – Staff Retention

In order to motivate seasonal staff to stick with you for the long haul, he rewards a 50 cent/hour year-end bonus for every hour worked throughout the year if the staff member sticks through the end of the season.  The second staff idea that he implements is that he provides a $100 referral bonus to staff members who refer a friend and the friend stays through the end of the year.  (Can you say friend motivation to stick around?)

I think these are two great ideas.  When you think about all of the money wasted in constantly training new people, I think it makes a lot of sense to do what’s possible to get someone to stay until the end of the season.

IDEA #2 – Email Addresses from Outing Participants

The baseball guy provides a sponsored hat to all of the participants of the business outings that come to the ball field.  They all get a slip of paper with requests for their information.  When they turn in the paper with their name and email address, they are given a cool hat.  There’s many win/win situations with this because the hat is fun and can be seen around town (good publicity), the hats are sponsored, so there’s no cost to the baseball team, and it’s a great way to get additional email addresses.

I’m not sure if I want to offer hats, but I’m definitely going to offer something to my golf outing participants that is worth them handing over their email addresses.

IDEA #3 – Golf Outing Coordinator is the VIP

The sales person knows who the person in charge of the golf outing is, but do the rest of your staff?  Think of how special the outing coordinator would feel if every staff member knew who s/he was and was treated as the VIP of the day.  This would be a super easy idea to implement!  Put a special band on the outing coordinator and notify your entire staff of the outing coordinator’s name, so they can look for the wristband and easily identify the VIP!

IDEA #4 – Texting for Service

The golf course in Canada that won the Idea Fair had a very simple customer service idea that really helps when you’re short staffed without a Marshall or just want to provide a great experience.  When the golfer checks in, they are asked to provide their cell number in order to receive the customer service text.  The texting is automatically designed to send out a text an hour after they tee off which basically asks, “How is your round?  Is there anything you need?”  This service allows the golfer to respond back if something is wrong – slow play, looking for drink cart, etc.  The second text is set to be sent out after 4.5 hours and simply thanks them for coming and hopes that the round was enjoyable.

The service they use is called Bam Text It’s great because it’s a two way conversation – so the golfer is able to reply to the automated texts.  The important part is that this service is only used for customer service, so no promotional material is delivered.  Just a super easy way to improve customer experience.

IDEA #5 – Separate Your Businesses

Granted, this is definitely the most complicated idea that I found while at my golf conferences, but it’s the one that I’m most excited about implementing at my business.  It’s going to be a big job, but I think the benefits are HUGE.  I have struggled with marketing the wedding business and miniature golf course at my facility for years.  The menus on the website always seemed wrong and brides get confused by all of the “golf junk” in the way of them making a decision about holding a wedding at my facility.  The same was true for my miniature golf course.  I’ve struggled because I all but ignore these two major components of my business because the website is more geared to the golf course.

I spoke with several people who completely separated these businesses online.  They have their own domain name, menu bar, and it’s much less confusing.  Everyone I spoke with saw a drastic increase in their weddings when they made a distinct separation.  They were quick to tell me that it wasn’t a divorce as the golf is still clearly evident in the pictures they use for the wedding website, but the menu makes more sense and the copy on the site is more wedding related.

The more I thought about this idea, the better it got and has really given me a release to some of my marketing struggles that I’ve had.  The brides on my email list really don’t care what golf specials that I have, yet they provide their email address.  Now, I can tailor their experience based off of their needs and share wedding related information with them instead.

It’s going to be a massive undertaking, but I’m really looking forward to getting started completely changing my golf course’s website.  It’s definitely a January project as I have some other more pressing items to complete first.

There you have it!  My top five ideas that I’ve taken away from the conferences that I’ve attended.  If none of these ideas trip your trigger, then never fear!  I’m going to be attending several more golf conferences and I’m sure I’ll gather some more interesting ideas.