Here’s the top 3 things I learnt while editing the magazine in March
The Golf Business editor Alistair Dunsmuir looks at how, from Wimbledon to fireworks, the game is working together to boost participation.
Golf’s governing bodies are thinking outside the box
Some of the most important bodies in golf are thinking creatively about how they can help boost participation of the game. In March we had The R&A announce that to speed up the game golfers will be allowed to putt on the green with the flagstick left in the hole.
More radical is what the professional game is doing. This year’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth has booked rock band the Kaiser Chiefs to play, while the European Tour is launching a two-day tournament at the Centurion Club, Hertfordshire, this May, that will involve six-hole golf, amphitheatre-style stands, a fan zone featuring Q&As with players, ‘caddie cams’, on-course player interviews, music and fireworks.
These could be some of the developments the game needs to attract younger people to it.
Golf needs to be more like tennis
In one respect anyway. The flagship tennis event of the year is, of course, Wimbledon, and tennis clubs typically report a surge in activity due to the tournament. The clubs themselves welcome this, so most promote Wimbledon at their venues, and encourage players to watch the tournament in tennis surroundings.
The Open is to British golf what Wimbledon is to British tennis, but as The R&A’s CEO, Martin Slumbers says, that’s where the similarities end.
“There are many golf clubs who don’t even have the date for the Open Championship in their diary. I’d say there are more of them that don’t have any signage in the club about the Open, and probably more of them who don’t sell tickets. I think there is a big short in our relationship with clubs. Certainly if you compare to tennis.”
Investing in customer data is worth it
Mytime Active, which runs 16 UK golf venues, is testing a ‘customer service tracker’ to help it meet consumers’ demands.
Over 1,500 people have already provided information about their on-course and off-course experiences, and this feedback is proving highly useful to the group.
Customer data can help improve the product you offer, it is a way of measuring customer satisfaction, it can provide an actionable insight to create a better customer experience and / or business decisions, it can improve member and visitor retention, and it can even be used to identify potential customer advocates.
In short, without customer feedback, do you really know that you’re getting it right?