Response to GOLFNOW Merger with EZLinks

Posted by on 1:14 pm in The Posts | 0 comments

As you may have seen in today’s news, the purchase of EZLinks by NBC Sports Group merges the two largest online tee time agencies (OTTAs) into one entity.  This puts into one set of hands the lion’s share (some estimate now over 90%) of the golf industry’s aggregated, online tee time inventory. Many details of how this will evolve are unknown, including if software platforms will be combined, if and GOLFNOW will remain as separate brands in the marketplace, etc.  I’m sure executives at both companies will be...

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Processing Payment Processing

Posted by on 7:00 pm in The Posts | 0 comments

With all due respect to Ferris Bueller, “The credit card processing world is changing pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” As operators of golf courses, you know merchant processing used to be a pretty predictable situation. Customers swiped their cards in that electronic brick on your counter. You reconciled the charges with your POS system. Your bank account received the funds in a few days. Monthly statements came in the mail that showed what you paid in fees. Rinse and repeat. Reading those...

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Reclaiming the Game

Posted by on 6:49 pm in The Posts | 0 comments

Every town in America has dead retail space. You know what I’m talking about. The place that used to be a Walgreens. It’s been sitting empty for months – or years – with the “For Sale or Lease” sign in overgrown landscaping in the parking lot. Every time I see these vacant spaces, I think of golf. I think of the burgeoning “golf entertainment” business. I think of places like Beyond Golf Bar + Kitchen in La Vista, Nebraska. Or Venue on Main in Columbia, South Carolina. Places where the general public comes to play, eat and drink, or where the...

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Are OTTAs Golf’s Disintermediaries?

Posted by on 1:05 pm in The Posts | 0 comments

“I don’t believe most golf courses need the OTTAs’ marketing services to meet the natural demand for golf in our marketplace, nor do I think they stimulate incremental demand for golf.” Wow. Now that I read that a month after the print dried on the last issue of Golf Business, it sounds rather harsh. I think it’s because I’ve become friendly with a couple individuals trying to make a go of it in the Online Tee Time Agency world, despite my skepticism, and I don’t feel good about using my bully pulpit in ways that could damper anyone’s success...

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Why GOLFPASS May be the Worst Thing for Golf Courses Since the Bartered Tee Time

Posted by on 9:58 pm in The Posts | 0 comments

While there are promising indicators and progressive things happening in golf that cause me to be quite bullish about the long term prospects of our industry, the business of running golf courses in America – by and large – has been a slog for the past 15 years. The supply and demand curve has been moving in the wrong direction since before the Great Recession. Most experts agree the number of course closures will continue to far outpace course openings for the next decade. If you compare the average price of a round of golf ($38...

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A Year in View

Posted by on 4:55 pm in The Posts | 0 comments

I love a good metaphor. As someone who gets to tell the story of our industry to the media and other audiences, I love a well-placed, well-delivered metaphor. Each January in this column, I like to pause and share what the recent 12 months have been like for NGCOA, and allude to what’s coming. Metaphorically speaking, what’s in our rear view mirror, and what do we see in our windshield? And I love that clever piece of optimism about why the rear view mirror is small and the windshield so big. I feel the same about NGCOA and the golf industry...

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Think Transformation

Posted by on 2:06 pm in The Posts | 0 comments

The 2018 Golf Business TechCon recently wrapped up, and naturally my mind is on the future of the industry. At the event, we had an evening of fun at Las Vegas Topgolf. It was a typical Thursday night, and the place was jam-packed. NGCOA member Debbie Jeffries, owner of RiverRidge Golf Complex in Eugene, Oregon, shared an interesting observation with me about the patrons at Topgolf. She noticed all the “golfers” playing in the bays were deeply engaged in the metrics and data being captured, such as swing speed, ball flight, distance to the...

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There’s a Much Better Story to be Told Here

Posted by on 3:28 pm in The Posts | 0 comments

The Charleston Post & Courier recently ran an article about issues in the golf industry, and the role NGCOA plays in telling the story of golf, especially to our friends in Washington. Shortly after the article appeared online, someone Tweeted a reply that golf should do a better job telling our story. I couldn’t disagree. But then again, who is “golf” in this context? When speaking to the press or those outside of golf about the issues we face in the industry and the opportunities we have to grow the sport, I often use this same...

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Pinehurst Gives Permission

Posted by on 11:18 am in The Posts | 0 comments

For the second year in a row, I survived the “buddies golf trip” to the Pinehurst area of North Carolina with 11 other guys looking to have fun and spend money. What could go wrong? I’m happy to report that nothing did. We had a wonderful time, and I am compelled to share two things from my experience. The 12 of us played three traditional rounds of golf at some of the wonderful public courses in the area. Then we squeezed in some late afternoon play at the new short course at Pinehurst Resort called “The Cradle.” Hopefully you’ve read about...

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Pride of Ownership

Posted by on 3:12 pm in The Posts | 0 comments

Last month, I made my annual pilgrimage to a member’s property to spend a full day shadowing an owner and witnessing the daily challenges of course operations. My objective is to gain greater understanding and sympathy for our rank-and-file member, and in turn, bring those insights back to the NGCOA office. Upon my early-morning arrival at Pine Ridge Golf Course in Paris, Texas, I had a seriously scary feeling. I knew Cathy Harbin, owner and operator, had a morning outing scheduled, and the sky was looking ominous. It was a visceral reminder...

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