In the case of where a business is ‘strapped for cash’ logic would dictate if there is found to be too much of something for sale it would be good to discount the price and move it on. Would this logic persist with private club’s selling open tee-times?
Predictably, many of the private golf clubs around the country have taken the path of thinking selling open tee-times would bring in needed revenue. This sure sounds good, but in reality, what works in mainstream business does not always work in GOLF.
The onslaught of golf tee-time services onto the internet may not be helping the private golf clubs who sign up for these service in hopes of generating needed cash. In an article published April 2010 on golfbizwiki.com written by JJ Keegan, Managing Principal for Golf Convergence, Inc. titled, Heros and Villians: Who will Survive , the report on how tee-time services, aimed at promoting private clubs services and raising needed revenue from their empty tee-sheets, really are not of big benefit to private clubs who are attempting to meet their financial goals. What these sometimes desperate golf clubs received in return for offering tee-time booking services the opportunity to sell at any price the popular private club’s open tee-times could be working against them, their members and the general public’s interesting in playing golf.
It seems in the first place the private club industry may have made a huge mistake in offering in any manor their open tee-times to the general public. The concept of a private club is it is private and not open to the general public. That is what the membership of these clubs are paying for so how does opening the teesheet to non-members help the club?
Information on how the tee-time services are not helping (or working) are now surfacing illustrating some of the problems related to opening the closed gates of private clubs to the general golfing public.
The following is a Real Life story received from a contractor of a private club who reports how the private club decided to take the tee-time service route in hopes of it boosting its membership enrollment and improving their revenue horizons backfired on the club.
Ya Gotta Be Kidding?
At a very upscale private golf club in Golf-Mecca, USA, two of the club’s members were overwhelmed when they arrived at the club’s 80 bay driving range to find it completely unoccupied. This was especially concerning after hearing from the pro-shop clerk the tee-time they was the only one available for the day.
As the two took their position on the range to start their pre-game warmer two golf carts toting four golfers came around the bend and abruptly stopped at the driving range waiting area.
As the foursome noisily rattled their way through their golf bags to pull out the golf clubs they were going to use on the range one of the golfers stepped over to the two members asked the time of their tee-time. One of the members replied the time of their start and asked the golfer if he was a member of the club. The golfer replied saying they were not members and had each bought one of the tee-times the private club offered online.
Since none of them had played the golf course they thought they would take the opportunity of the ‘great deal’ they found online. Of course the two members were curious what the ‘deal’ was and figured it was of some discount from the $275 guest fees. However, when one of the member asked the golfer how much of a deal this group received the player joyfully answered..’$55 each’.
The members took a quick look towards each other and simultaneously remarked..’You gotta be kidding!’ One of the members continued with saying, ‘the guest fees here are $275!!’. The golfer gleefully responded..’Yaw, we know..isn’t that cool?’
What resulted from this incident maybe going on around the country at other private clubs, or if not now, will more than likely start being addressed very soon by the members of private clubs who use discounted tee-time services. The two members in this story had only been members of the very exclusive golf club for 18 months and had bought into the private club’s membership plan for $175k each and agreed to pay in excess of $900 a month in monthly members fees. Two months after they signed their membership agreements with the club the club was forced into bankruptcy.
Immediately after the non-member golfer reported to these members what they paid to play the private club, one of the members confronted the owners group that managed the private club inquiring why the club was giving out such deep discounts green fees for prime tee-times and why were there not more tee-times available for the members. He was naturally given the run around for a few months by being told he needed to talk to ‘so-in-so’ and that person saying he knew nothing directing him to see ‘so-n-so’.
Through this member’s persistence he found from visiting with one of the lower level club’s employees that the club signed into an agreement with an online tee-time service to sell large blocks of tee-times in the morning and afternoon in return for building the club a new web-site and performing a modest amount of social media marketing for club’s membership programs.
When the club member went back to the owner group to complain and showing in the membership agreement he signed with them a year ago where members would be offered ‘exclusive’ tee-times scheduling and the members are offered tee-times on a first come first serve basis, he was told by the ownership group very flippantly ..”Well, that is how it goes when you are in bankruptcy!”
As a result of this club formally agreeing to allow a third party tee-time service to sell large numbers of tee-times, the member started the formalities to sued the club and its ownership for violation of membership agreement. The outcome was settle before court papers were filed, to keep the incident out of the public eyes, for a rumored ‘astronomical’ amount of cash.
What Did Golf Get Out of It?
On the surface it sounds like an excellent idea for the tee-time booking service to market the private club’s membership package to those who purchase tee-times through their online service. However, in reality, the tee-time services put forth a feeble effort to market the club’s membership opportunity and are more motivated to sell a high volume of tee-times.
It seems the online tee-time service are not helping the private clubs in any manor. More than likely there are many similar incidences going on out in the golf world that will never come to light. Wouldn’t it have been better for private clubs to reduce membership fees and monthly dues to reasonable pricing to lure more members to take up more of those tee-times at private clubs..or is that too simple of thinking for logical thinkers?
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