Stuart Lindsay has been in technology and data-driven marketing research since the early ’80’s. He’s one of the golf industry’s foremost thought leaders on industry trends, localized marketing research, weather impact statistics, and fact-based decision-making for club operators.

Today, we’re digging deep into where the golf business has been and where it’s heading…and most importantly, what club owners can do about it.

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buying-power

So, lot’s of clubs can’t (or won’t) shell out 6-figures for a full service management contract – for good reason in many cases…

But in a lot of markets, it’s becoming harder and harder for stand-alone clubs to compete in terms of economies of scale and buying power…

So what can the “little guys” do to contain costs?

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marketing-country-clubs

In today’s Golf Course Owner and Operator’s Forum, we’re discussing how to market your golf facility.

I’m leading a discussion on strategies that golf courses typically fail to consider. Golf is what we call a “Considered” buying process. The time it takes to usher someone along the customer lifecycle from stranger to loyal customer is often considerable – 2 to 6 months or more.

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Data in the golf industry is completely fragmented. There are more than 20 major point of sale systems (think cash registers with accounting software)…and they don’t speak the same language.

There’s really no system of aggregating and using big customer data in the golf business…until now.

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giving-without-expectation

At the core, KPI Golf is built around the principle that golf courses serve as the epicenter of the communities in which they reside. The local living environment goes the way of your country club – jobs, recreation, real estate values, quality of life.

This is a story of how we have chosen to model our company – giving without expectation of anything in return.

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lesson

We’re working with a couple different golf courses right now to deploy a test run of free golf lessons as a marketing instrument. The program is part of KPI Golf Management’s push to get golf courses reconsidering the relationship golf instructors have at their facilities.

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membership-sales

The private club model is changing. In the past, exclusivity and privacy was highly touted. Nowadays, younger generations don’t look nearly as favorably on these kinds of policies and clubs in general – of course there are elite exceptions.

Most golf courses are working harder and harder to attract and retain membership.
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networking

If you’re 20 or 30-something and you don’t know how to play golf, you’re making a huge career mistake. All the old dudes running companies are retiring and play more golf than any other part of the population right now. It’s not going to last forever though. Read more

Golf course in deep fog

KPI Golf responded to 2 requests for proposal today – one of which was a whopping 90 pages long!

So, you can probably imagine the work that went into composing a 90-page RFP. I won’t mention which golf club it was, but they spent a whole lot of time, energy and money on conducting market research, surveys, competitive analysis, and outlining much of the club’s recent history. Read more

golf carts parked at driving range

John Brown is talking with one particular golf course owner about operating expenses on our Club Operator’s Forum. This is a 6-week program where we discuss golf industry trends, and share insights on how club owners can compete and make life better for themselves.

It’s common practice to stick with vendors for long periods of time, especially if you feel like they’re “taking care of you”.

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pga show

We had a great 2019 PGA Show.

KPI Golf struck an incredible collaboration deal with MG Orender and Hampton Golf to deliver their new Hampton Connect club management software to the market. Read more

free golf lessons

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kpi-golf-hampton-golf

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Download:  Word Doc  |  Text Doc

Jacksonville, Florida, January 25, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Hampton Golf, which currently lists 28 golf courses under management has joined forces with newly formed KPI Golf Management.

Hampton Golf’s President MG Orender and KPI Golf’s Principal Founder John Brown have known each other in the golf business for more than 30 years. John built Brown Golf Management until selling and retiring in 2017.

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John Brown discusses the options that struggling and underperforming golf courses have. The first big misconception is that professional advice and exploratory conversations only come with hard sales pitches for club management contracts. This isn’t the case at all.

The logic first step to take is to pick up the phone and call a consulting or golf management company. KPI Golf offers free phone consultations, investing hours in learning about the club’s challenges and assessing best fit.

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golf-course-ownership

John bought his first golf course at the age of 23. Ever since, he’s been involved with owning and operating golf facilities of all kinds around the country. In this podcast episode, he discusses the great things about club ownership as well as the downside that comes with it.

Either way, in his 5th decade in the business, John’s always got interesting things to say and value to bring. Read more

aerial view of golf community operational gains of $2.5M

Case Study

Facility: 81 Hole Private Golf Community with 4 Clubhouses, Marina, and 1,200 Members
Location: Southeastern United States
Ownership: Private Ownership/Developer
Focus: Containing Costs and Return to Profitability
About: This is a very successful well established golf community with associated real estate, marina and many other components. Their $23 Million operating budget has gotten away from them leading to an annual loss of $1.5 Million.

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kpi golf careers

Country clubs bringing in outside management do so in one of two major ways:

1. They recognize they need help and expertise to help them move forward optimally.

2. A firm offers to inject some capital over time in exchange for ownership stake in the club (equity vs. non-equity). Read more

Sable golf course closing

Visiting my parents in Southwest Florida this week. Their golf community lost their golf course a couple years back and it’s super sad to see.

All the residents came here for social golf, sunshine and fun…now they have to take their games on the road.

I talked with a group of them about strategies for underperforming clubs and how things could have been different. Read more

golf villas

There is no solution that allows for anything other than constant oversight and management. This is because conditions, economies, market positions, competition, and consumer preferences are always changing.

The only way to compete is to evolve with the times. Golf courses are quickly finding that they are not different.

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golf course

When I go to Germany every summer, the days are very long. The sun rises around 4:00 am and sets around 10:30 pm. Golf courses over there have come up with a very creative (and simple) solution for bringing in revenue during those odd hours of the day when nobody is working.

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cute girl golfer purple shirt

We’ve been living in a thriving economy filled with a huge wave of avid senior golfers for the past 5-10 years. That’s not going to last forever. Golf course owners need to aggressively push for winning market share in their local competitive set…or they’ll lose when things shift. We’re talking strategy and tactics for winning in the next downturn.

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golf course clustering

KPI’s John Brown and Casey Bourque discuss the advantages of golf course clustering for golfers, staff members and for operators. According to John, this was a hugely successful strategy that helped many of his managed clubs in the past. Whether it’s buying power, shared supplies, or improved opportunities for customers to play golf, clustering is a great idea.

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private golf club turnaround

Got questions or want to be on the show?

Email me or hit me up through Twitter (@caseybourque) or social media and I’ll make sure I help you out. Look for live Q&A sessions and call-ins. Subscribe on your favorite podcast platform to get Golf Essentials every day.

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inclusion-based-golf-instruction

Got questions or want to be on the show?

Email meor hit me up through Twitter (@caseybourque) or social media and I’ll make sure I help you out. Look for live Q&A sessions and call-ins. Subscribe on your favorite podcast platform to get Golf Essentials every day.

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board room following golf club risk management meeting

John Brown, Sr. is back and ready to compete with his former company, Brown Golf Management.

His new company, KPI Golf Management, will seek third-party management contracts, consulting work and leasing, mostly with private clubs. Read more

golf course owners graphic

Dec. 11, 2018: John A. Brown Jr. – Principal, KPI Golf Management | john@kpigolf.com

The economy has been frothy for a long time now. Baby Boomers are retiring and playing a ton of golf…but neither will last forever.

This article is aimed at helping golf courses in tight markets to win market share while you still can, offset your senior players as they begin aging out of the system, and survive the next wave of golf course closings.

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golf essentials podcast

KPI Golf’s Casey Bourque and John Brown discuss the golf marketplace and how underperforming golf clubs can compete. The truth is that golf participation is down and common sentiment is that there are still more golf courses that need to come off the market to bring supply & demand equilibrium.

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casey bourque

KPI Golf’s Casey Bourque speaks at the Golf Academy of America campus in Orlando about the state of the golf business and why complacent golf courses are going to lose when the economy takes a turn. Radical ideas to attract Gen-Xers and Millennials are required to replace the Baby Boomers who are eventually aging out of the system. It’s a big-time land grab right now that won’t last long.

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senior community golf players carrying bags

Case Study

Facility: 18 Hole golf club with small clubhouse
Location: Resort area in the Southeastern United States
Ownership: Member owned
Focus: Growing revenues while trimming operating expenses
About: A small annual budget of $850,000, but a great public golf course with small food and beverage operation. A typical story after the market downturn – the club was originally built as part of a moderately priced housing development that had long since been sold out. This facility was losing money.

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marketing a private golf club in new england

Case Study

Facility: 18-Hole golf course, practice facilities and fine dining
Location: Northern New England
Ownership: Privately owned by a single individual
Focus: Market positioning, membership sales and establishment of golf operations
About: This was a full golf course design and construction of a brand new exclusive private golf club. The course was built over the top of a failed public golf course on a large beautiful piece of ground. This was a startup project, owned by one man, engaging a high profile golf course architect.

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golf course irrigation system near green

Case Study

Facility: 18-hole championship course, fitness center, large pool complex, indoor and outdoor golf practice facilities, multiple restaurants with catering.
Location: Southwestern United States
Ownership: Formerly owned privately until membership group purchased the club in the mid-2000’s.
Focus: Cost Containment
About: This club was struggling to break even financially despite a rich history and strong local reputation. With so many amenities and club assets, there were a few major, and unique hurdles that we needed to overcome to be successful.

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swimmers represent an underserved private golf market

Case Study

Facility: 18-Hole championship golf course, indoor and outdoor pools, indoor and outdoor tennis, large fitness center, and multiple dining and catering venues.
Location: Northern New England
Ownership: Formerly developer owned. Membership group bought golf course and facilities out of bankruptcy.
Focus: Pivoting club operations for a locally underserved private golf market
About: This was a developer owned private facility that went through bankruptcy. It has world class amenities and a great golf course designed by a famous architect. The current membership group bought the golf course and facilities out of bankruptcy.

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Municipal golf course upgrade in southeastern US

Case Study

Facility: 54-Hole public municipal golf course
Location: Southeastern United States
Ownership: Municipal – County Owned
Focus: Containing Costs and Return to Profitability
About: This is a county-owned golf facility that was losing several hundred thousand dollars on an annual basis. Because of its municipal status, they couldn’t make a great deal of money through the operation, but certainly didn’t want to lose. We were charged with helping the facility break even.

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golf bridge private club turnaround

Case Study

Facility: An 18-hole, 350 members country club with golf, pool, tennis and dining
Location: Northeastern United States
Ownership: Individual Private Ownership
Focus: Containing Costs and Return to Profitability
About: This is a well-established country club with an annual operating budget of $3 Million. When we were brought in, the club had been managed by another golf management company. The club was losing $350,000 annually

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financial turnaround for this oceanside private club

Case Study

Facility: Private Full Service Country Club on a Barrier Island
Location: Southeastern United States
Ownership: Member Owned
Focus: Financial Turnaround & Cost Containment
About:  Club offers 18 holes of top-end golf, beaches, pools, tennis, fine and casual dining, property ownership, equestrian, and other amenities in a secluded private island environment. Despite a roster of over 900 club members, this facility was bleeding money. The annual operating budget of $20 million was sinking this extraordinary place slowly but surely.

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