The chain of touchpoints: How fast greens reduce restaurant visits

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The chain of touchpoints: How fast greens reduce restaurant visits

Players 1st data shows that fast greens are causing bad flow, which in turn results in significantly fewer customers at club restaurants and a lower Net Promoter Score. While bad flow is aggravating as such, it also has implications for other parts of the player journey - clubs need to be aware of how customer touchpoints interact in order to provide a  smooth and pleasant player experience. 



Speedy greens are slowing down the flow
Although opinions on green speed may vary, most golfers will agree that fast greens are usually always better than slow greens. Indeed, professionals love a fast green, and surely the varying speed of greens at tournaments always makes for an interesting game. As such, green speed is a significant element of the game of golf; it is something professionals care about and may have strong opinions on - greenkeepers in particular may view green speed as a matter of professional pride and integrity.

However, Players 1st data shows that fast greens often actually result in bad flow because players will spend more putting attempts, thus moving slower through the course. When course flow is appropriate this effect will be less significant, but if the flow is bad fast greens will only serve to make it much worse.

Generally speaking, the higher the skill level of the player, the more he or she will benefit from a fast green, however, this is also true the other way around: the vast majority of golfers, amateurs, so to speak, will be at an increasing disadvantage the faster the speed of the green. In this sense, high green speeds will typically impact the flow of the course negatively.

How green speeds affect experience of flow


The chain of touchpoints
A player’s golfing experience, whether good or bad, is determined by a variety of concrete and ethereal factors, however, in the context of customer experience management it’s useful to view it as the sum of “the chain of touchpoints.”

The chain of touchpoints refers to the many encounters where customers and clubs engage with each other, whether to provide a service or exchange information or otherwise. These touchpoints are important in and of themselves, but collectively they constitute the overall player journey and ultimately a player’s experience at the club.

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Innumerable potential factors may be influencing player experience, but for the sake of clarity let’s focus on a few important aspects of the player journey: Feeling welcome, flow and on-course staff. The chart below shows how these factors influence restaurant visits and club NPS on weekends and during the week if all three are performing above (orange) or below (grey) average.

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It’s important for clubs to take all links in the chain of touchpoints into account and to find a way to make them work with each other instead of against each other. One weak link weakens the entire chain, but strong links will also make other links stronger; if clubs can harmonize the touchpoints in the player journey and make them work in unison they can provide a great experience for players.

Something as “simple” as too high green speeds can in fact have widespread implications for golf club businesses. Notably, other touchpoints who are performing well may be able to mitigate some negative experiences from other sources, but to be operating at highest capacity all touchpoints need to be performing well.

Touchpoints and restaurant visits
As depicted in the charts below, restaurant visits are determined by a variety of touchpoints, although they also generally tend to vary during the week. High green speeds are very likely to affect course flow negatively, which in turn means less customers in the restaurant - typically because they are either too annoyed or simply do not have the time. No matter how good the restaurant, if guests are having a bad experience on the course due to bad flow, it will certainly mean less restaurant visits.

Club atmosphere is also tremendously important; players need to feel welcome in order to have a good experience, and when guests are feeling comfortable and appreciated they are much more likely to visit the restaurant. In a similar sense, meeting friendly and service minded on-course staff also increases this likelihood.

Examples of touchpoints that affect the desire to visit the restaurant

Touchpoints and NPS
The charts below illustrate how the same touchpoints each influence club NPS. NPS also tends to vary a bit during the week and will typically be lower on weekends, since people who have the time to play from Monday to Friday, like senior citizens, will generally be more content.

In terms of club atmosphere it should be evident from the chart that feeling welcome is a fundamental ingredient in a good golfing experience. The difference in NPS between feeling welcome and not feeling welcome is quite significant; while a lot stands to be gained in this regard, clubs also have a lot to lose by neglecting to make players feel welcome.

Similarly, the difference in NPS between medium to good flow and bad flow is also very significant, although we suspect this is not exactly news to anyone. Furthermore, meeting on-course staff also provides a boost to NPS, and, indeed, the on-course service area has continually shown itself to be an area where clubs can influence guests’ experience for the better. 

Touchpoints and their relation to NPS

The player journey
In the end it’s all about creating an enjoyable journey for the players. It’s important to tend to all individual touchpoints - the course needs to be crisp and green, staff needs to be warm and welcoming, the restaurant needs to be appealing and appetizing - however, if a club’s restaurant is suddenly finding it hard to attract customers it’s not necessarily because of the food. In all likelihood the decline is caused by another weak link in the chain of touchpoints, such as bad flow or staff failing to make guests feel welcome.

Green speed is an important part of the game of golf, but if a club is having trouble with bad flow perhaps it’s time to consider lowering green speeds a little. Not all players are pros and perhaps an insistence on pro-style greens are in fact hurting your club’s revenue streams. A healthy golf club is a finely tuned machine in which all service areas and touchpoints are working together as one to provide a great experience for green fee guests and members alike.


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