There are so many different types of golfers, just like there are different types of hockey players.
In hockey, you’ve got NHL players or ball hockey players. There are house league players or guys who play pickup hockey with their buddies on Friday nights. Some play all year long and other just skate on outdoor rinks in the winter.
The same holds true in golf. My dad, for example, took up golf later in life. He loves the game, but nine holes if usually good and a shorter course is better for him.
You’ve got nine-hole courses that do very well, but you’ve also got bigger 18-hole courses that do well, too. Golf is a business in which you can’t forget about the $20 nine-hole guy and you certainly don’t want to forget about the $200 18-hole player.
Again, there are so many different types of players and people with various economic thresholds for playing the game and it’s tempting to try to be all things to all people, but you don’t want to come off as something you’re not.
We’ve got to figure out what kind of course we run, who we are, what kinds of rates we want to charge, what type of conditioning we’re going to have, what our service level is going to be and go from there when it comes to who we’re trying to attract to our facilities.
If you’re going with minimum service and lower conditioning levels, then you’d better not target the businessperson from the financial district who is going to bring out three clients for a round of golf.
On the other hand, that businessperson might come to your golf course and bring his/her kids or buddies who don’t golf all that much, so while your facility may not get that business on one level, it will on another, so you don’t want to ignore him/her.
I love playing St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto, but I also play Beaverbrook Golf Club, a public course in Minden, Ont.,, which is near my cottage.
There’s business there for all of us, but it’s tough to be all things to all people. The important thing is that we identify who we are and go from there.
The main thing is that we don’t try to be something that we’re not when it comes to getting our message out to the public.