Operator Stories

Keeping Up With the Golf Surge

The golf participation surge experienced during the current health pandemic has been one of the few bright spots for many golf courses around the world. But the rush to the first tee hasn’t come without its challenges. Golf course operations are now busier than ever.

Considered a safe sport for social distancing and the lack of available recreational alternatives have made golf the first choice for an entirely new type of clientele. Although April took a huge hit during the peak of course closures, total online rounds have been up year over year for every month since, according to GolfNow. Additionally, the National Golf Foundation has reported the number of beginners, returners and youth are up considerably, and golf could see an increase of a half a million junior golfers by the end of the year.

Combine this increase in demand with new operational safety protocols required during the pandemic and you have a recipe for added stress and strain on your staff.

So, while all of this is happening around you, ask yourself … Are you keeping up with the increased call volume from interested golfers? Are you able to answer each call and satisfy all the questions while adequately tending to golfers who need your attention in your shop or on your course? Are you also catching those after-hours inquiries when you’re not there?

These are important questions for any golf course operator. While booking online steadily becomes a preferred method of booking a round of golf, the telephone remains the leader in the clubhouse, by far. If you don’t have a telephone strategy, you could be missing out on new customers and incremental revenue.

El Rio Golf Club, a Matt Dye-designed, 18-hole championship course located in the heart of Arizona’s Mohave Valley, recently began utilizing the phone expertise provided by GolfNow’s Answers service.

“We pride ourselves on our outstanding customer service, but we also are a smaller staff so we’re not always available to answer phone calls at busier times,” said JJ DeLeon, General Manager. “We added GolfNow Answers just over a month ago and so far, it has been a great addition to ensure we never miss a call, whether it’s an inquiry about a tee time, membership, or even tournament and banquet referrals. It’s also contributed to helping improve our overall business efficiency.”

According to Todd Triplett, Vice President for Sales & Customer Success at GolfNow, every call is optimized.  For example, if assisting a golfer with a tee-time reservation, the Answers service professional also captures additional information that can be used to market back to the golfer.

“Golf course staff have enough responsibilities on their plates without having to remember capturing the extras that are automatically included as part of our Answers service,” Triplett said. “It’s standard procedure for us to collect email addresses and other important information that can be added to the course’s GolfNow database for future correspondence with the golfer.”

Additionally, consumers these days are increasingly relying on technology to help them communicate through a variety of channels. And lately, instant messaging has become a popular option. Because the industry is more open to change than ever before, added features to the Answers service also includes two-way texting, Facebook Messenger and website chatting. These features provide yet another way for golf courses to communicate with their golfers and widens the channel of opportunity for more productive business transactions.

Click here to learn more about GolfNow Answers.