The Pellucid Perspective - July 2011 - (Page 4)

TEE TIME MARKETING Permanent tee times, Chicago-style By Jim Dunlap eteran golf course operators, many of whom are carrying well-worn AARP membership cards in their wallet, fondly remember the good old days of lotteries and pre-dawn lines of eager golfers hoping to secure a precious Saturday or Sunday morning tee time. With some increasingly rare exceptions, those days are gone, for now if not forever, but for many Chicago area public course operators, they not only know how many people will be on their tee sheet every weekend morning throughout the golfing season, but who those players will be. The concept of permanent weekend tee times was once more prevalent throughout the Midwest and other short-season, short course supply Northern markets than it is today, but the tradition lives on in the greater Chicago market. A number of Chicago area courses still successfully market and sell permanent tee times, and while many are no longer booked for the season from dawn to 11 a.m. or later each weekend as they once were, there are a number who are pre-booked until 9:30 or 10:00. “One of the things that always used to help us was that we The practice is declining, but still popular among Chicago-land golfers and courses V could give tee times for the season,” said Frank Jemsek, who runs the four courses at Cog Hill of the seven that the legendary Jemsek clan operates in the Chicago market. “I always thought that places where the winters were bad, or where it’s harder to get a tee time, were the best places to offer permanent tee times. As it becomes easier to get a tee time, you tend to lose your ability to sell permanent times.” That said, Cog Hill is still doing just fine with permanent times. The club offers two permanent tee time programs, one featuring courses 1-3, and one that includes the best known track, number 4 or Dub’s Dread, which has hosted numerous PGA Tour and other top professional and amateur events. Permanent time holders on the 1-3 course program fill the course each weekend from 5:30 to a little after 10 a.m., while the pricier #4 option is slightly less packed with permanent times. Pricing and payment strategies vary While the advantages are obvious to having the cash in the bank ahead of time for 30 or 40 foursomes for 22-26 weekends, not all Chicago-land courses prefer – or are able – to do it that way. Some, like the 36-hole White Pines Golf Club in Bensenville, Ill., charge for their 20-week prime season permanent weekend times at rack rate at the beginning of the season, with players then paying only for carts if they want them when they show up each weekend to play. Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale, Ill., and Cog Hill take a small initial deposit from permanent tee time buyers - $500 at Indian Lakes and an amount equal to two weekends of times at Cog Hill – then have players pay each weekend when they show up, with the deposit refunded or applied to future bookings if they fulfill their commitment. At Traditions at Chevy Chase in Wheeling, Ill., the 23-week season is $1,598 per player, based on a blend of spring and summer rates, including handicap service and a cart. Permanent tee time buyers can either pay for the whole season up front at a slight discount, or split the full fee into two payments. For courses who don’t charge the full season fee up front to hold the tee times, no-shows are always a concern to some degree. Courses deal with that in a variety of ways. “If somebody can’t make it, we help them sell the time,” said Golf Operations Manager Bob Falkiner at Chevy Chase, who also caters to his regulars with weekly games and a private club member-like approach. At Cog Hill, Jemsek said the facility used to be much more aggressive about charging groups for any no-shows, but now they try to accommodate their regulars by filling in the groups with walk-ons, singles or twosomes. If a group has less than four players, and won’t accept an available walk-on, Jemsek does charge for the empty spot. (The family’s July 2011 4 The Pellucid PersPecTive

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - July 2011

The Pellucid Perspective - July 2011
The PGA of America hits the restart button on player development
Permanent tee times, Chicago style
Positive P.R. leads to course record revenue month
Exploring the alternative golf universe
Jun 2011 YtD weather impact, May 2011 YtD utilization
Life at the top of the market
Minneapolis, MN Core Business Statistical Area (CBSA)
Comings & goings
Musings from the rough

The Pellucid Perspective - July 2011