Operator Stories

Bergen Point succeeds with new tee-time strategy

Great customers, previously beyond reach

The golf season this year started strong at Bergen Point Golf Course. That’s the good word from Bob Miller, GM and Director of Golf at this county-owned facility in West Babylon, NY.  Miller and his staff are known for providing service approaching the private-club level, their challenge was simply getting a larger audience to sample the Bergen Point experience. Exposure with the GOLF Business Solutions Platform filled that need.

As a result, Miller is generous in telling his GOLF Business Solutions representative, Lindsey Wellenstein, that the course’s recent success “is a tribute to how good your product is.” There are solid numbers to back that statement up.

“Since we got started with the Platform this spring, we’ve seen a 30 to 35 percent increase in business,” says Miller. “In the month of May, we had 440 players come in through the GOLFNOW portal, at $65 per round. That’s $28,600 in revenue we wouldn’t have taken in otherwise.” Miller’s GOLF Business Solutions-provided analytics show 6,600 views of his course in May and another 4,400 in the first two weeks of June. Views lead to bookings.

In the relatively short time Miller has worked with Wellenstein, the two have built a strong rapport and check in with each other regularly. In part through Lindsey’s input, Bergen Point scored a difference-making publicity coup right as the good weather was arriving on Long Island. “In conjunction with the PGA Championship at Bethpage State Park,” says Miller, “we got some nice exposure for our golf course on GOLF Channel’s Morning Drive.

Miller and his staff make sure to treat their long-time regulars with appreciation, but they’ve tried to go the extra mile for new players in the Millennial bracket that make their way to Bergen Point via GOLFNOW bookings. “Our tee sheet indicates all our GOLFNOW people,” says Miller.” We tell them that if they’d like to warm up we will comp their range balls, which they really appreciate. If they’re here early for their time we’ll get them loaded on their cart and let them start using it right away.” Very commonly these newer customers will let the Bergen Point staff know they don’t get treatment like this elsewhere. “When they tell us that,” comments Miller, “we can be pretty sure they’re saying it to their friends, which translates to very valuable word-of-mouth advertising.”

The course has expanded its audience not just in quantity, but also demographically. “These customers are younger, they book online, they book at all hours of the day and night, and they don’t complain,” says Miller. “They all take carts, whenever they play. They are a demographic of golfer we haven’t seen around here in the past.”

His sense is that they also are not particularly price-sensitive. “Suffolk County, which owns the property, regulates what we can charge for green fees,” explains Miller, who is a concessionaire paying rent to the county and operating the golf business as his own.

Miller made a key personnel move when he hired Tim Baker as course superintendent. Conditioning at Bergen Point has steadily improved to a point where, this season, “the greens are perfect,” says Miller. “There’s no other word for them.” So, it’s a clear case of the right product, at the right time, being marketed effectively.

To learn more on how GOLF Business Solutions can attract more golfers to your course, CLICK HERE.