The Pellucid Perspective - March 2014 - (Page 4)

Golf course operations The feminine touch Not necessarily a man's world when it comes to solving golf's challenges By Jim Dunlap t oday's golf industry is increasingly focused on ways to at- the course together after work. The course becomes a date night tract new players to replace the Baby Boomers that Father on Saturdays with the locally popular "Chapmans" (Pinehurst Time is in the process of harvesting. The most visible tar- or American Foursomes format) event, followed by a gourmet get market for new golf customers is women. Given that some- meal. A challenging course, Shadow Valley added forward tees where around 25 percent of U.S. golfers are female while their to make it more accessible to women and beginners, and Hutt gender makes up 51 percent or more of the population, the selec- estimates that 30 percent of the course customers these days are tion makes mathematical, if not historical, sense. The combined women, compared to around 10 percent in 2000. populations aged 50 or younger are an even larger target, and are "We look at what the competition is doing, and we try to proving equally problematic in terms of golf participation. New do something different," Hutt said. "You've got to get the whole approaches at the golf course facility level are obviously called family involved. We don't advertise - it's all one on one with our for, and who better to create and execute them than women who customers. We don't discount, either - it's all value-added. We have already scaled golf 's barriers and cracked the glass ceiling of offer our customers gourmet coffee and a cookie for free, and if golf course and club management? they want a shot of brandy in the coffee, that's free too." The genesis of this article was a communication with Arthur As far as women being better suited for adapting to change in Little, a financial manager who, with his wife the industry customer base, Hutt said, "I'm Jann, successfully operated a golf course on not sure about that, but I do think women in little, who now the Maine border for a number of years. To general are more detail-oriented, and they're spends a fair amount more proactive while men are more reactive. stimulate play among women, families and busy professionals, they ignored the scoffing of his time trying to But it's still kind of a man's world out there." from competitors and did things like creatLinda Rogers, a former president of the spread the gospel of National Golf Course Owners Association, ing forward tees for all age groups and skill levels, offering pay-per-hole rates and even bold experimentation is celebrating her 25th season as the coproviding babysitting for customers. Any of owner of Juday Creek Golf Course near throughout the that sound familiar? Ten years or so later, not South Bend, Indiana, where daughter Miso unheard of, eh? Little, who now spends a industry, opined that chelle Wittig is putting her MBA to use as fair amount of his time trying to spread the the general manager. Women and juniors are some of the smartest key elements of the facility's success. gospel of bold experimentation throughout the industry, opined that some of the smart"Probably my favorite program is our jugolf operators he's est golf operators he's encountered happen nior league golf program," Rogers said. "It's encountered happen grown tremendously over the years. We have to be women. He's not certain of the secret, which is certainly not limited to women, but nearly 100 kids involved and they pay memto be women. his guess is that by and large, women may be berships, so it's profitable for us. The coaches better listeners and more willing to design are college golfers, or men who play a lot. non-traditional programs and strategies that People's lifestyles have changed over the their customers will respond to. We found a number who seem years, and we've established programs to accommodate that." to validate that theory. "Women are so busy," added Wittig. "We'll have 11 different Judy Hutt, a 40-year industry veteran, manages Shadow Val- programs running this summer [for women]. You have to be in ley Golf Course in the competitive Boise, Idaho market. Hutt touch with what moms want, such as our "Mom and Me on the said the course annually tops the "Best of Treasure Valley" con- Tee" program. Last year we developed what we call our Golf sumer survey for golf courses, and a brief look at some of the of- Immersion Camp where kids spend time learning about course ferings Hutt and her staff have put together provides some hints maintenance, landscaping and the F&B operation as well as golf, why. An early adopter of the now gospel edict that successful and we'll have two of those this summer. We all have to particiclubs and courses offer something for the whole family, Shadow pate in bringing in new golfers." Valley offers a juniors program for $45 that enables juniors to play for $5 in the late afternoons. In the summers, when it's the Wizard of fun light until after 9PM or later, tee times starting around 7PM are When you walk through the doors of Toad Valley Golf Club priced at $1 a hole, which Hutt said nets the course about $500 near Des Moines, Iowa and a woman greets you wearing a nama day in evening revenue and allows families to spend time on etag that says Allison George, Wizard of Fun/General Manager, 4 The Pellucid PersPecTive March 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - March 2014

Where is golf pricing headed in 2014?
The feminine touch
Colorado Section PGA enters tee time fray
Historic course going back to nature
February '14 golf weather impact: Tough sledding for golf
Overdevelopment storm still blankets Minneapolis
ClubCorp acquires Prestonwood CC and its two courses
The crime of the century

The Pellucid Perspective - March 2014