Let’s be real, if you play golf or have been around golf courses for any period of time, you’ve had this thought; “why is everyone so serious? Lighten up! You’re not saving lives!”
Traditionally, golf courses generate that kind of environment because they have tended to focus on upholding rich traditions, decorum, and the integrity of the game at the expense of creating a fun and friendly customer experience. That’s not to say that decorum and tradition and integrity don’t have their place in the golf business, but it’s the 21st century. Most recreational golfers these days want to have fun and be entertained, and leave stress behind.
The common approach and business model of golf course management centers around maintaining stiff and outdated rules and policies. In our opinion, this was the leading cause of the decreased participation and difficulty attracting new golfers in the pre-COVID era. Golf course managers are stuck in their way of doing things because that is “the way we have always done them,” or they manage based on creating the atmosphere they experience and expect in the finest clubs. Both are sure ways to failure, not only in the golf business but any business.
So let’s dig in. Let’s look at what we do differently at Paradigm Golf Group that has helped us transform dozens of struggling courses into successful, fun and upbeat operations.
Golf courses and golf course managers need to lighten up and not take themselves so seriously. With nearly 20 years of experience owning, leasing, managing, and consulting for golf courses all over the country, we have developed The Paradigm Way. Our customer-focused, zany, and maybe even goofy approach to golf course management and golf marketing may seem irreverent, but it works and it’s a hell of a lot more fun!
The Golf Biz Four Pillars:
Golf Management, Golf Marketing, Golf Management Myths and Golf Morons.
Golf Course Management
We already said it - “Lighten up! We’re Not Saving Lives.” It may seem simple, but one of the first things you and your staff need to do is be nice. Hire happy people! Hire fun people! Golfers golf at your golf course because they want to have fun and lose themselves for four hours. They come back to your golf course, or don’t, because of the experience you provide for them.
We turn up the music all over the golf course operation and offer blue-tooth speakers on our golf carts. We have a food truck at the turn with an outdoor bar. There could be corn-hole, or ping pong basketball and contests -- we make the entire golf course experience different and golfers love it, and they keep coming back.
No matter what amenities you have at your golf operation, your number one goal is to make it fun for your guests. Make them smile. Make them the coolest people on the planet. We all know golf ain’t all that cool...even Rickie Fowler is only marginally cool, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make your golfers feel cool and important.
It’s a simple thing - Make ‘em smile.
Golf Course Marketing
Stop throwing your money at newspaper ads and get with the times. You can’t stand out in the newspaper. You just can’t. Hell, most people stopped getting the newspaper delivered years ago.
Instead, get into the digital spaces and do something different. At Paradigm, we have generated some of the most creative and innovative marketing EVER to hit the golf industry and it is incredibly successful.
What’s our goal? - Making people smile. Well, that and generating rounds and revenue and raving fans. We use creative videos, music videos, contests and zany trick shots to create content traditional golf course marketers have never considered.
But by creating fun, upbeat and zany content, we also create FOLLOWERS and FANS. It all contributes to the overarching, fun and friendly experience you’ll find at all our clubs. And it works. We’ve turned around some real losers and made them flourish.
Look, you don’t need to be a great golfer to be a great golf course manager. In fact, we often deliberately hire outside the industry to avoid bringing someone in who has been indoctrinated into the traditional, stuffy world of clubhouse management. Hire happy, smart, nice people. It’s not rocket science.
Well, I’m just gonna say it and see what happens. Take advantage of the marketing reach of third party aggregates. You may personally feel that GolfNow is the bane of the golf world, but golfers love it and golfers use it. If you refuse to use GolfNow out of some personal bias or misdirected criticism of some organization or another, you’re not effectively running your operation.
You cannot run a successful operation without embracing the fact that golfers don’t want to call you or search the web to find you. I use GolfNow. I look at Golf Advisor. My friends all use it and we’re all in the industry. It is where millennials shop for everything. Nuff said.
People come to your course because they want to leave work stress, world stress and all stress behind. They want to have fun and be entertained. You are in a battle for their entertainment dollars. Make it fun! Lighten up! Turn up the music.
You’re not saving lives.