Archive for January, 2010

The NGF customer loyalty awards are based on surveys fielded through NGF’s Voice of Golfer Program. Awards are given to facilities that had the highest customer loyalty and most improved customer loyalty. Multi-course operators are also recognized for outstanding customer loyalty across their entire portfolio of properties.

I would like to start by congratulating the management team that set the record in 2009 for having the highest customer loyalty score of all time for any one facility…


Honours Golf manages Farmlinks Golf Club. In 2009, Farmlinks broke its own record, of having the highest customer loyalty for any facility measured by the NGF! This is the third consecutive year that Farmlinks has achieved the best customer loyalty for a golf facility within its pricing category.

The NGF multi-course operator award has two categories, management companies and municipal golf system.

For the management company award, the NGF recognizes both:

Both Honours Golf & OB Sports won the award for having the highest customer loyalty across all of their managed properties.

For the municipal golf system award, the NGF recognizes the:


The Decatur Park District earned the award attaining the highest customer loyalty for a municipal golf system across all of their facilities.

For facilities within the $40-$70 price range, Sand Creek Station Golf Club in Newton, Kansas, earned the honors of having the best customer loyalty in 2009. Sand Creek Station Golf Club is managed by:

KemperSports also earned the most improved customer loyalty award at Highland Park Country Club (>$70 Peak Green Fee) and at Goose Creek Golf Club ($40-$70).

For facilities under the $40 price-point, Lake Spanaway Golf Course in Tacoma, Washington, attained the best customer loyalty in 2009. Lake Spanaway Golf Course is managed by:

The full list of award-winning courses, municipalities and management companies are:

First Category – Facilities with Highest Customer Loyalty Scores

Premium (>$70) (1) City State Company  
FarmLinks Golf Club Sylacauga Alabama Honours Golf Winner  
The Newport Dunes Golf Club Port Aransas Texas KemperSports Runner-up  
Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club Gulf Shores Alabama Honours Golf Runner-up  
The Wilderness at Fortune Bay Tower Minnesota KemperSports Runner-up  
Kelly Plantation Golf Club Destin Florida Honours Golf Runner-up  
Standard ($40-$70)  City  State  Company    
Sand Creek Station Golf Club Newton Kansas KemperSports Winner  
Rock Creek Golf Club Fairhope Alabama Honours Golf Runner-up  
Morro Bay Golf Course Morro Bay California County of San Luis Obispo Runner-up  
Tunica National Golf and Tennis Tunica Resorts Mississippi KemperSports Runner-up  
Value (<$40)  City  State  Company    
Lake Spanaway Golf Course Tacoma Washington Premier Golf Centers Winner  
West Seattle Golf Course Seattle Washington Premier Golf Centers Runner-up  

Second Category – Facilities with Most Improved Loyalty Scores (2008 to 2009)

Premium (>$70) (1) City State  Company  
Highland Park Country Club Highland Park Illinois KemperSports Winner  
Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club Gulf Shores Alabama Honours Golf Runner-up  
Longbow Golf Club Mesa Arizona OB Sports Runner-up  
Tijeras Creek Golf Club Rancho Santa Margarita California OB Sports Runner-up  
Standard ($40-$70) City State Company    
Goose Creek Golf Club Leesburg Virginia KemperSports Winner  
Falls Road Golf Course Potomac Maryland Montgomery County Runner-up  
Pipestone Golf Course Miamisburg Ohio KemperSports Runner-up  
Northwest Golf Course Silver Spring Maryland Montgomery County Runner-up  

 Third Category – Multi-Course Operators

Management companies:  City  State    
Honours Golf Atlanta Georgia   Winner  
OB Sports Scottsdale Arizona   Winner  
Municipal Golf Systems:  City  State      
Decatur Park District Decatur Illinois   Winner  
County of San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo California   Runner-up  
Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation Baltimore Maryland   Runner-up  

(1) Green fees are based on peak season weekend with cart.

The official press release announcing award winners can be found here.

My Take: Congratulations to all facilities that earned recognition from the NGF for customer loyalty in 2009. 2009 was a very challenging year for golf operators, yet the recognized facilities are overcoming market pressures by gaining wallet share, through customer loyalty.


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As we enter a new decade, we face many challenges: a depressed economy, an oversupply of golf courses and stagnant rates of player development. Yet today’s message is one of hope. In the face of all of these challenges, many operators may not recognize that a sizeable opportunity exists – the opportunity to convert your infrequent and regular golfers into diehards.

Through NGF’s Voice of Golfer system, we have been collecting information over the past several years from golfers about the courses that they play. Based on our analysis of over 200,000 surveys, we have found that golfers fall into one of four groups: Diehard, Regular, Infrequent and Transient. Understanding these groups is key to your opportunity to capture more rounds from these customers.

Golfer Segment Description Size of segment Facility Rounds
Diehard > 50% Wallet Share 22% 62%
Regular  <50% & >25% Wallet Share 23% 21%
Infrequent <25% Wallet Share 46% 15%
Transient  Play 3 or less market rounds, regardless of wallet share. 9% 2%


  • The lifeblood of a golf course, they play 31 rounds a year at the subject course and 39 rounds in the market, resulting in the subject course capturing 79% wallet share from these customers.
  • Account for a whopping 62% of all rounds at the subject course.
  • Represents the greatest risk to a golf course – lose some of these customers and rounds will plummet.
  • Since golfers like variety, the opportunity to get more rounds out of these customers is low.


  • These customers know your course well and it’s likely one of their top three courses in the market.
  • These customers give you between 25% and 50% of their rounds.
  • The opportunity level with these customers is still good: they play on average 17 rounds at other local competing courses.
  • 23% of all customers fall into the Regular category.


  • The group representing the most opportunity. These customers play 36 market rounds but only 3 at the subject course, resulting in a 10% wallet share and 33 rounds going to competitors.
  • The largest group, almost half of the population of customers at a golf course are infrequent.
  • Converting just 37 infrequent customers to Diehards would result in an extra 1,000 rounds as Diehards play 27 more rounds than infrequent customers do. This is very attainable: 37 infrequent customers represent only 2.7% of all infrequent customers for a typical course.


  • Customers who played less than four rounds in the local market in the past 12 months.
  • Either out-of-towners or very seldom players.
  • Very limited opportunity due to the fact they play three or less market rounds.

Below is a table that profiles these different player types for a typical golf course.

Player Type % of Customers Avg. Market Rounds  Avg. Wallet Share Avg. Course Rounds Played Annually Number of Customers Number of Rounds % of Course Rounds
Diehard 22% 38.7 79% 30.5 660 20,130 62%
Regular 23% 27.3 37% 10.0 690 6,900 21%
Infrequent 46% 36.2 10% 3.5 1,380 4,830 15%
Transient (Plays 3 or less market rounds) 9% 1.9 N/A  1.5 270 405 2%

My take: You need to be able to identify and communicate with all groups of your customers. My hunch is that most golf courses have databases that are comprised mostly of their diehards. If you want to grow rounds, it’s critical for you to market to your regular and infrequent customers. The opportunity to communicate with them is there. THEY ARE ALREADY COMING TO YOUR PROPERTY.

The infrequents have the opportunity to deliver many additional rounds to a course. Marketing your course to your regular and infrequent customers is vital as these customers have the capability to become diehards. THEY ARE FREQUENT GOLFERS – JUST NOT WITH YOU.

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