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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2019 Changes to the Rules of Golf
Stuart’s of the opinion, just like Rory McIlroy, that the rules are the rules…just deal with it. At first, his opinion surprised me. Stuart is a big proponent of making golf accessible to the next generation of players.
As we talked further, he made it clear that the rules themselves are not the issue making newcomers feel confused or overwhelmed – it’s more in the messaging to newcomers and the “on-boarding” processes in our sport.
Many of the rules, especially those having to do with etiquette, are designed around safety, pace of play and convenience. If our messaging would do a better job of clarifying, he believes that the rules would not be nearly the sources of confusion they seem to be.
In fact, things like our focus on medal play rather than match play seems to be perpetuated by media coverage of the major tours. Match play simply isn’t conducive to television.
Using Data to Drive Net New Business to Your Golf Facility
Stuart has many years of experience consulting and performing research for golf facilities – marketing research, feasibility studies, comparisons, operations reviews, etc.
As his career has taken him through various technological endeavors, he is one of the most qualified individuals I can think of to speak to the importance of data-driven decision making in golf operations today.
Data allows club owners to understand the ecosystem that they exist in – their customers, competition, and potential differentiators.
“Data is going to do nothing but become more and more important” – Stuart Lindsay
The problem is that aggregated data in the golf industry has been extremely hard to come by. Rounds, spending, and participation data is complete fragmented largely because point-of-sale systems haven’t evolved to the point of truly integrating their respective data sets yet.
Stuart points out the importance of comparative data – simply measuring performance relative to prior weeks, months, years in real-time will prove to be a game changer for golf facilities.
He also points out that club operators need to be paying attention to this stuff and who is “owning” their customer data. Companies like Google and Facebook, as well as 3rd party bartering systems are really good at selling off customer data. This can drive a wedge between your club and your customers if you’re not careful.