72 % of companies are drinking their own bathwater. Are you one of them?




Golf Inc Summit takeaways




Golf Inc Summit is always a great opportunity to connect with some of the best and brightest minds in the business and this year was no exception. There were many sessions packed with valuable insights on the state of the industry, its future and how to capitalize on best practices to drive club performance and grow the game.

One of the highlights for me came from Larry Gulko – the closing Keynote Speaker - who gave a thought provoking presentation entitled “What golf courses can learn from the most successful brands in the world”.  

As part of his presentation, Larry quoted the prominent research company Bain & Company who found:

“80% of companies surveyed by Bain & Company believe they deliver a “superior experience” to their customers. When Bain asked customers about their perceptions, only 8% reported a superior experience.”

So, 72% of the companies were way out of touch with their customer’s perceptions!

This highlights a common communication issue that we often see in golf clubs – they believe they have a close relationship with their members and guests who are “not afraid to let them know what’s on their mind”.

As a result, clubs often do not see the need to implement a rigorous third-party survey process to augment their anecdotal member feedback – often resulting in a situation where the club is overly sensitive to a familiar and often vocal minority who may not necessarily represent the views of the overall club population.

General Managers are therefore often very surprised when they see the results of their surveys for the first time as the feedback may not align with their past assumptions of member views.

The solution to bridging this communication gap is to pay more than just lip service to your survey processes and methodology.  If you are a private club, consider doing semi-annual or even quarterly surveys with a subset of your membership database to maintain a regular pulse on your members.

If you are public, ensure that you are surveying your daily fee players by integrating your surveys with your tee sheet so you automatically invite players to provide feedback. In addition, make sure you are capturing player email addresses wherever possible to maximize the number of survey invitations you are sending.  You can also consider small incentives to encourage participation in surveys and drive response rates.

A well-executed customer experience survey program will help ensure alignment between club boards/managers and their members and guests. Furthermore, to maximize use of the survey data, it should also be incorporated as a key input into the decision-making process at your club. This will ensure that scarce resources are being allocated to the areas highlighted by your members and guests, allowing better decision making with lower risk.  This in turn will improve overall member satisfaction, retention and help drive membership growth through strong club branding and word of mouth referrals.

Peter Smith
VP, Players 1st, North America


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