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GolfClubAtlas.com => Golf Course Architecture => Topic started by: Mike_Young on December 04, 2017, 05:01:06 PM

Title: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Mike_Young on December 04, 2017, 05:01:06 PM
Name me 5 things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf at most courses without affecting it or perhaps even saving dollars.. 

So many things are constantly added to the game by the industry as needs and yet they often cost the individual course while making money for the industry vendor. 

1.  World Golf Foundation
2.  National Golf Foundation
3.  1/4 inch height of cut on teeing areas
4.  GPS Systems in golf cars
5.  Handicap System
6.  Premium golf ball such as Pro V
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on December 04, 2017, 05:25:11 PM
In the UK you can reduce the cost of golf by 40% by having a clubhouse containing just a sale area to take green fees, sale golf balls, tees, hot and cold drinks, beer, snacks (up to burger & chips). Just Mans/Ladies toilet facility. (1-2 persons)


Reduce number of bunkers, keeping their identity but with grass.


Maintain fairways once a week in a half v half pattern.


Maintain tees once a week at 15mm with the same mower that cuts the tee banks.


Maintain greens at 6mm with every other day mowing.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on December 04, 2017, 05:26:04 PM
Any course yardage over 6850 yards that only 0.01% play.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 04, 2017, 05:34:03 PM
Autonomous maintenance. No course needs more than two people on staff. One to program the robots and another to maintain them. Every task can be performed during nongolfing hours mostly at night. Bring silence back.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Jim Hoak on December 04, 2017, 05:39:39 PM
No need for maintenance, water, fertilizer for first 50+ yards off every tee.  Let it go brown.  If someone hits into it, they'll be happy that it will probably bounce out.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Matt Frey, PGA on December 04, 2017, 05:48:04 PM
Cut down on water usage on the course. Additionally, this may seem obvious, but keep an eye on other utility expenses. I had a General Manager tell me recently he was able to cut the club's electric bill in half by turning off lights in rooms that weren't being used. HALF!
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 04, 2017, 06:01:44 PM
Cut down on water usage on the course. Additionally, this may seem obvious, but keep an eye on other utility expenses. I had a General Manager tell me recently he was able to cut the club's electric bill in half by turning off lights in rooms that weren't being used. HALF!


Wow!!! How much was he paid to figure that out? Only another $110,000 and he will earn his salary. If you want to save real money start at the top.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Matt Frey, PGA on December 04, 2017, 06:05:25 PM
Cut down on water usage on the course. Additionally, this may seem obvious, but keep an eye on other utility expenses. I had a General Manager tell me recently he was able to cut the club's electric bill in half by turning off lights in rooms that weren't being used. HALF!

Wow!!! How much was he paid to figure that out? Only another $110,000 and he will earn his salary. If you want to save real money start at the top.


John, like I said, it sounds obvious, but you may be surprised how many clubs just neglect things like this and then bemoan the size of their bills...
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 04, 2017, 06:27:01 PM

Name me 5 things that can be eliminate to reduce the cost of golf at most courses without affecting it or perhaps even saving dollars.. 

So many things are constantly added to the game by the industry as needs and yet they often cost the individual course while making money for the industry vendor. 

1.  World Golf Foundation
2.  National Golf Foundation
3.  1/4 inch height of cut on teeing areas
4.  GPS Systems in golf cars
5.  Handicap System
6.  Premium golf ball such as Pro V


Mike,


lists that go on longer than they should ;D


You just need one thing added and that is an understanding of the concept of value for money.


Too many people expect high standards at low prices and too many people are willing to pay idiot prices to play.


Jon
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 04, 2017, 06:34:12 PM
How are the people willing to spend ridiculous prices to play a problem? 
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on December 04, 2017, 06:35:56 PM

Cut down on water usage on the course. Additionally, this may seem obvious, but keep an eye on other utility expenses. I had a General Manager tell me recently he was able to cut the club's electric bill in half by turning off lights in rooms that weren't being used. HALF!


Wow!!! How much was he paid to figure that out? Only another $110,000 and he will earn his salary. If you want to save real money start at the top.


John,


Perhaps true, but I recall the results when management companies stocked golf courses with 25 year olds making $25,000 per year.  Not good.  Experience pays, but I do agree not all managers are anywhere near equal.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on December 04, 2017, 06:43:11 PM

Name me 5 things that can be eliminate to reduce the cost of golf at most courses without affecting it or perhaps even saving dollars.. 

So many things are constantly added to the game by the industry as needs and yet they often cost the individual course while making money for the industry vendor. 

1.  World Golf Foundation
2.  National Golf Foundation
3.  1/4 inch height of cut on teeing areas
4.  GPS Systems in golf cars
5.  Handicap System
6.  Premium golf ball such as Pro V


Mike,


As usual, you are probably more than a bit off in your efforts to be to golf what Scrooge is to Xmas.....


What is NGF membership for a course?  $1000?  Divided over 30,000 rounds, that is $0.03 per round, not significant.



Not sure about what WGF or USGA handicap costs are, but suspect they are the same ball park to any course using them.

1/4" is actually a pretty high cut for tees these days, certainly not out of line with current turf types.  And, probably same mower for collars and tees, so a different setting would probably cost money, not save.


Will agree on GPS in golf cars, although they are popular, may speed play, and the cost should be coming down.  Not sure what percentage of courses have them, but see no reason for some golf czar to outlaw them, as opposed to letting the free market determine whether or not they pay off for the courses that offer that.


Costco has apparently put a dent in the price of a premium ball, and there is no obligation for anyone to buy them.  Since that Consumer Report study showing the Nike Power Soft was 99% of their top Tiger branded ball, I haven't bought the ProV I or similar.  If others want to, it doesn't raise my cost to play golf.


A potentially good thread, but a lot of other examples are more to the reality of the point. ;)




Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 04, 2017, 06:45:59 PM
All the club managers where I play, both as a member and unaccompanied, are the best!!!


I just miss the days when the head pro decided what was best for the club. Give the head pro and the club champion a bottle of V.O. and figure things out.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Erik J. Barzeski on December 04, 2017, 07:17:06 PM
Not sure about what WGF or USGA handicap costs are, but suspect they are the same ball park to any course using them.
~$25/year, with juniors being free (GHIN). It's not much at all.

Will agree on GPS in golf cars, although they are popular, may speed play, and the cost should be coming down.  Not sure what percentage of courses have them, but see no reason for some golf czar to outlaw them, as opposed to letting the free market determine whether or not they pay off for the courses that offer that.
Also, courses may appreciate being able to monitor pace of play, keep carts out of certain areas, etc.

Costco has apparently put a dent in the price of a premium ball, and there is no obligation for anyone to buy them.
Costco didn't sell enough to put an actual dent in it, but companies like Snell are doing a bit to disrupt the premium golf ball business. Plus, this is something that consumers can choose to do or not, unlike the other things listed.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Mike_Young on December 04, 2017, 09:25:04 PM

Name me 5 things that can be eliminate to reduce the cost of golf at most courses without affecting it or perhaps even saving dollars.. 

So many things are constantly added to the game by the industry as needs and yet they often cost the individual course while making money for the industry vendor. 

1.  World Golf Foundation
2.  National Golf Foundation
3.  1/4 inch height of cut on teeing areas
4.  GPS Systems in golf cars
5.  Handicap System
6.  Premium golf ball such as Pro V


Mike,


As usual, you are probably more than a bit off in your efforts to be to golf what Scrooge is to Xmas.....
Maybe I'm off in your opinion but Itlking of things that are of no benefit and yet increase the cost to the individual courses


What is NGF membership for a course?  $1000?  Divided over 30,000 rounds, that is $0.03 per round, not significant.
I don't care what it cost a course...that's minute.  It does the game no good and look at the amount of money the various vendors donate to support such.  I thnk there will be a good study coming out soon on this...



Not sure about what WGF or USGA handicap costs are, but suspect they are the same ball park to any course using them.
Same goes for WGF as does the NGF....as for the handicap, the game can be played with or without it...individual games are usually figured by the group and only 3% of handicaps are used in USGA tourneys....

1/4" is actually a pretty high cut for tees these days, certainly not out of line with current turf types.  And, probably same mower for collars and tees, so a different setting would probably cost money, not save.  Call 1/4 inch high if you wish...maybe it is but it doesn't need to be under 1/2 inch...


Will agree on GPS in golf cars, although they are popular, may speed play, and the cost should be coming down.  Not sure what percentage of courses have them, but see no reason for some golf czar to outlaw them, as opposed to letting the free market determine whether or not they pay off for the courses that offer that.  I'm not arguing if they are good or not...I'm saying they increase the cost for the player and the course...and genrate reveues for the vendor


Costco has apparently put a dent in the price of a premium ball, and there is no obligation for anyone to buy them.  Since that Consumer Report study showing the Nike Power Soft was 99% of their top Tiger branded ball, I haven't bought the ProV I or similar.  If others want to, it doesn't raise my cost to play golf.  I'm saying the Chrome soft and some of the lower priced balls from srixon and others play as well for 99.5 percent of the golfers out there but marketing has it where many high handicappers play the premium ball even when not forced to buy such...


A potentially good thread, but a lot of other examples are more to the reality of the point. ;)   I'm sure there are several 100 examples that do nothing to improve the game for the golfer and yet come to be expected and cost the individual courses which have to pass it on ....  it has become an industry built on the back of the individual courses who cannot pass on the cost....unlike most industries where the cost have to fall in line...

some more...

-souped up irrigation in the name of saving water...
- hyped bunker maintenance when less than 5 percent of a 95 shooter shots are played form sand.
- most cart path
- lightweight fairway mowing and attributed cost

Oh well...

Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Mike Nuzzo on December 04, 2017, 11:22:31 PM
Cart Paths
Tight irrigation spacing
Perched greens in the south
Perfect bunkers
Golf Organizations


JB
It isn't the cost of the golf organizations, it is the cost of their influence
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Tom_Doak on December 05, 2017, 02:53:05 AM
Any course yardage over 6850 yards that only 0.01% play.


I declare victory !  /s


Next I will work on the idea that tee mowers could be the same mowers for fairways, instead of the ones for collars.




Mike:


You forgot blowing leaves off the cart paths.  And, the PGA Tour.


Also, maybe, the turf schools.  Maybe the research they do has a place.  But I think that superintendents, like architects, should learn via apprenticeship; and if they did, they wouldn't be taught to pump up the budget so they could make more $.  I was really upset when I heard that in a formal lecture the first time I went to speak at a turf program.

Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 05, 2017, 03:45:20 AM

How are the people willing to spend ridiculous prices to play a problem?


Because it pushes the cost up and so decreases the number of people willing to pay it.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Sean_A on December 05, 2017, 04:47:51 AM
Carts paths is high on my list, but I wonder if in the long run no paths may mean more expensive golf because of fewer courses and fewer golfers. 

Less bunkering

Shorter courses

Fewer tees

Less water and feed

Higher cut for fairways

Ciao
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Tim Gavrich on December 05, 2017, 07:30:07 AM
- The negative influence of public figures who make golf seem like an unreachably expensive and grossly elitist pursuit to non-golfers
- The stigma against buying used golf clubs, especially for beginners; you could build a full and very decent set of clubs for a beginner on eBay for $200 or less, easily
- Rules against walking before a certain time of the day
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: JohnH on December 05, 2017, 07:37:27 AM
Any course yardage over 6850 yards that only 0.01% play.
[size=78%]Also, maybe, the turf schools.  Maybe the research they do has a place.  But I think that superintendents, like architects, should learn via apprenticeship; and if they did, they wouldn't be taught to pump up the budget so they could make more $.  I was really upset when I heard that in a formal lecture the first time I went to speak at a turf program.[/size]



Apologies as this wonít add to the specifics of this thread.


Tom,


I have a handful of colleagues that are Superintendents that never sat in a college classroom. It certainly isnít the norm, but it does happen.


I only speak for me. I was never taught to pump up a budget as a means to inflate my pocket. On the contrary, I was taught to do more with less, which has served me quite well throughout my career.


Cheers

Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Mike_Young on December 05, 2017, 07:45:36 AM


Apologies as this wonít add to the specifics of this thread.


Tom,


I have a handful of colleagues that are Superintendents that never sat in a college classroom. It certainly isnít the norm, but it does happen.


I only speak for me. I was never taught to pump up a budget as a means to inflate my pocket. On the contrary, I was taught to do more with less, which has served me quite well throughout my career.


Cheers

John H,
That's good you were taught that way.  But haven't you seen what TD is speaking of?  I have heard it spoken almost word for word that it is critical to work for more "budget" ... 
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Eric Smith on December 05, 2017, 08:03:13 AM
Name me 5 things that can be eliminate to reduce the cost of golf at most courses without affecting it or perhaps even saving dollars.. 


Eliminate heat and air in the house. Just eliminate the building. Kiosks work in other businesses such as self storage.


No Land line / internet. One cell phone for the owner operator.


No Pavement in lot or on the course. Crushed stone is fine.


Lobby local tax assessor for a reduction in appraised value of the course.


Work. All the time.


Will this help? Who knows? Is the NGF really the evil empire? Asking for a friend.




Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: JohnH on December 05, 2017, 08:17:32 AM


Apologies as this wonít add to the specifics of this thread.


Tom,


I have a handful of colleagues that are Superintendents that never sat in a college classroom. It certainly isnít the norm, but it does happen.


I only speak for me. I was never taught to pump up a budget as a means to inflate my pocket. On the contrary, I was taught to do more with less, which has served me quite well throughout my career.


Cheers

John H,
That's good you were taught that way.  But haven't you seen what TD is speaking of?  I have heard it spoken almost word for word that it is critical to work for more "budget" ...


Mike,


Yes, I have. Iíll leave it at that. I was merely pointing out (which Iím sure Tom is aware) it was not always taught that way. Not in my specific instance, anyway, which was nearer 25 years ago.



Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Jay Mickle on December 05, 2017, 09:31:31 AM
Carts included in the greens fees. If carts where an ala carte item I believe that more people would walk and preserve the turf. I also believe that the cost of the round of golf could remain the same and cart fees could be an added source of revenue and there might be a need for fewer carts to be leased or purchased.
Caveat, I am a walker and not much enamored with carts in the first place.


Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Mike_Young on December 05, 2017, 09:33:32 AM


Apologies as this wonít add to the specifics of this thread.


Tom,


I have a handful of colleagues that are Superintendents that never sat in a college classroom. It certainly isnít the norm, but it does happen.


I only speak for me. I was never taught to pump up a budget as a means to inflate my pocket. On the contrary, I was taught to do more with less, which has served me quite well throughout my career.


Cheers

John H,
That's good you were taught that way.  But haven't you seen what TD is speaking of?  I have heard it spoken almost word for word that it is critical to work for more "budget" ...


Mike,


Yes, I have. Iíll leave it at that. I was merely pointing out (which Iím sure Tom is aware) it was not always taught that way. Not in my specific instance, anyway, which was nearer 25 years ago.

I agree...
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Tom_Doak on December 05, 2017, 11:32:01 AM

Tom,


I have a handful of colleagues that are Superintendents that never sat in a college classroom. It certainly isnít the norm, but it does happen.


I only speak for me. I was never taught to pump up a budget as a means to inflate my pocket. On the contrary, I was taught to do more with less, which has served me quite well throughout my career.


Cheers


John:


Good for you.


My anecdote was from about 25 years ago.  I don't know if all turf schools teach that way or not, but that was one of the big ones, and they sure did.  So I made a point of mentioning that if I owned a course I would see it more as you do.


Many architects pump up the budget, too, but we don't have a standard curriculum.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on December 05, 2017, 11:45:51 AM

I'm not sure this is fair to supers.  While every major city has one to a few dozen top end clubs that spend money in what seems to be crazy fashion, most courses are severely under funded and their superintendents are fighting for bigger budgets just to get up to somewhere near average.


My club, until sold for warehouses, had a $400K budget when I joined in 1991, and had a $423K budget when closed last year.  It was a mid level club, and dare I say, it was probably typical.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 05, 2017, 11:49:18 AM
In all fairness, a rising tide will raise all salaries.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Garland Bayley on December 05, 2017, 12:42:32 PM
...- The stigma against buying used golf clubs, especially for beginners; you could build a full and very decent set of clubs for a beginner on eBay for $200 or less, easily
...

You can do a lot better than that at Goodwill!

I played with a guy once that proudly showed me his set of top line clubs. Every club was a different manufacturer or model. He pick them up one at a time at thrift stores.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Garland Bayley on December 05, 2017, 12:43:17 PM
Multi-piece ball.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Tom_Doak on December 05, 2017, 12:54:01 PM

I'm not sure this is fair to supers.  While every major city has one to a few dozen top end clubs that spend money in what seems to be crazy fashion, most courses are severely under funded and their superintendents are fighting for bigger budgets just to get up to somewhere near average.


Jeff:


My comment was about a lecture in a turf school -- not about superintendents as a group, or the individuals who attended that school, so I don't see how I was being unfair to them.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Peter Pallotta on December 05, 2017, 01:59:14 PM
From the perspective of a public/semi-private course golfer -
1. Recognize that times change. Every course I play seems to offer the same 10-15 item lunch and dinner menu, but I've hardly ever seen anyone eating anything but burgers and fries. It sure seems that fewer and fewer public/semi-private type golfers are coming in early/sticking around afterwards anyway, so why go to all that extra effort (and waste) in the (now too large) kitchen and lounge? How about specializing in one simple menu-item - say, a pea-meal bacon sandwich, either with cheese or without? Let it be your 'signature'.
2. Don't sink too low. It saddens me to think of course owners using/offering those golf.now green fee specials. Set a fair price and stick to it - the kind of golfers who will come to your course only if/when your $40 fee is available for $30 are not the golfers you want, and won't be the kind to come back anyway (unless you go even lower). I get annoyed at those golfers too - come on: if we can afford $30 to play golf we can afford $40, and nickle and dime-ing all the courses in town will eventually mean there are no courses left.
3. Talent helps. My modest 1970s semi-private has wonderfully playable greens, and there's never been a hitch. The expensive golden age private up the street 'lost' 6-8 greens over two consecutive winters. I wouldn't know how many different factors are involved here (and I'm not naming names because of it), but the super at the first course seems to be managing better than the super at the second.
4. Find little things that are nice. I think an important thing in getting repeat plays is that golfers find the over-all experience of being at a course a pleasant one.  Little things: clear signage and flow and friendliness from the parking lot to the first tee; maybe a minute or two more between tee times (and announce them over loudspeaker as they're coming up, with our names...On the tee now at 9:30, the Jones group; on deck off at 9:41 the Smith group; the 9:52 Baker group, you're up in 20 minutes); maybe the truck/machines/crew cleaning up bunkers or getting to changing the pin locations can wait until well into the late afternoon if not done by early morning -- I think few of us mind a messy bunker or yesterday's pins if it means not watching maintenance crews scrambling to stay out of the way/stay in front of us all round long.   
5. Recognize that things change (Part 2). I hate to say this, but I think the days of the pro-shop at these public/semi private are gone for good. Save the space and the outlay of capital - very very few of your customers will be buying golf bags, let alone new clubs, from the local course/pro shop ever again..and not shoes or wind-breakers either. Widen the selection of the golf balls you offer, and sell tees and gloves.     
Modest changes, realistic ones - cut costs a bit on one side of the ledger, and have happier (potentially repeat) golfers on the other side.
I wish all the course owners good fortune and good ideas. 
Peter
     
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Jason Topp on December 05, 2017, 02:14:48 PM
Is affordability really that much of an issue?  It seems to me it is possible to play a decent round of golf for around $50 in nearly every location in the US. 


Ken Macdonald in Tempe, AZ is less than $40.  West Palm Beach Muni is a terrific course with nonresident rates of less than $50.  Rustic Canyon is $50 if you start at noon. 







Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: David_Tepper on December 05, 2017, 02:24:01 PM
Alternatively, this thread could be titled "How can golf course owners & operators lower their overhead to increase their profit margin?" ;)
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Ryan Coles on December 05, 2017, 03:05:50 PM

Things that reduce the cost of Golf:

Smaller, circular greens.


Narrower Fairways that don't interact with fairway bunkers.


No tree removal.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Mike_Young on December 05, 2017, 03:43:59 PM
Why does a golfer have no issue with paying 2.5 times the cost of a driver in 1990 or double to cost of balls and 3 times the cost of a putter and yet thinks he should pay the same green fee now he did in 1995?  Makes no sense but yet GolfNow did 59 million in barter last year.

If a car today cost the same as 1995 and yet the tires, the engine and other parts had increased at the same rate the car would be done...

Therefore we have to learn to "back into the pricing"... if all we can get is $40 round of golf then the $400,000 budget Jeff mentions is the top...and it can be done....I'm just wanting to hear as many ways as people can think of and see what I missed...
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Pete_Pittock on December 05, 2017, 05:46:37 PM

Raised tees. Just build 'em flush with the ground, or just stick the tee markers somewhere.
Scorecards.

Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Mark_Fine on December 05, 2017, 06:03:28 PM
For those here who play mostly public golf courses, many of the "cost reduction" ideas are already very much in play.  Things like reduced water and less overall maintenance such as less bunker raking, less frequent cutting of the greens, fairways, rough, less chemicals,...Most public courses are on very tight budgets.  The courses that are  not can afford it or at least think they can.   
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Mike Sweeney on December 05, 2017, 06:49:09 PM
Name me 5 things that can be UPDATED to reduce the cost of golf at most courses without affecting it or perhaps even saving dollars.. 



1) Eliminate 6 holes, creating a 12 hole course with the 12 best holes. Use that 50-75 acres for alternative revenue sources.


2) No rough, one cut aka the old-Augusta National.


3) Variable pricing - Saturday morning is expensive, Monday morning is in-expensive.


4) No sit down carts, walking/buggy push/pull carts are fine.


5) Rounds (12 hole), must be played in 1 hour and 52 minutes, so that we can get more people around the golf course.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Daryl David on December 05, 2017, 07:15:21 PM
Lots of interesting ideas. One question:  Why is lowering the cost of golf an objective?  Is it to benefit players?  Benefit course operators?  Increase play?  Attract budget conscious leisure spenders?


If golf as a sport needs fixing, is cost what we should be focused on?
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Brian Finn on December 05, 2017, 07:19:06 PM
5) Rounds (12 hole), must be played in 1 hour and 52 minutes, so that we can get more people around the golf course.
Why 9.33 minutes per hole?  Seems pretty arbitrary. Wouldn't a round 2 hours (120 minutes, 10 minutes per hole) make more sense (in every possible way)?
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Mike Sweeney on December 05, 2017, 07:29:43 PM

Why 9.33 minutes per hole?  Seems pretty arbitrary. Wouldn't a round 2 hours (120 minutes, 10 minutes per hole) make more sense (in every possible way)?


For this exact reason. The specificity of the time makes it a real time, rather than the old "our goal is...." Thanks :)
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Pete_Pittock on December 05, 2017, 07:31:55 PM
Reduce the number of clubs in a set by half.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Brian Finn on December 05, 2017, 08:06:13 PM

Why 9.33 minutes per hole?  Seems pretty arbitrary. Wouldn't a round 2 hours (120 minutes, 10 minutes per hole) make more sense (in every possible way)?


For this exact reason. The specificity of the time makes it a real time, rather than the old "our goal is...." Thanks :)
(https://i.imgur.com/CCwnrgN_d.jpg?maxwidth=640&shape=thumb&fidelity=medium)
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Mike_Young on December 05, 2017, 08:18:31 PM
Lots of interesting ideas. One question:  Why is lowering the cost of golf an objective?  Is it to benefit players?  Benefit course operators?  Increase play?  Attract budget conscious leisure spenders?


If golf as a sport needs fixing, is cost what we should be focused on?
For operators to remain in business......
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Sean_A on December 05, 2017, 08:19:45 PM
Pietro

I don't get your last sentence of the 2nd point.  Are you saying don't accept the discount on offer?

Ciao
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Peter Pallotta on December 05, 2017, 08:49:47 PM
Yes - I guess that's basically it, Sean. 
A friend (who rarely plays my favourite local course) called once to say he'd gotten us a "deal" at the course for later that day -- I think it was $28 for what is usually a $40 round.
I played that round, and since then have purposely made sure never to even ask about let alone try to get that kind of deal again.
No, I don't have money to burn, and I'm not particularly altruistic and/or foolish. But:
- since I've rarely done anything else to "support local golf" (e.g. like becoming a member of a club)
- don't play all that very often
- like the people who own and run my favourite course
- can play that same course later in the afternoon for its then regular fee of $35 (thus saving only $7 with the "deal"), and
- want to support the courses I like best and not have them enter a 'race to the bottom' with courses I like less

It just feels, literally, like the least I can do to try to help keep my local golf scene healthy. I can spare that $7 or so as a very small gesture in support of the game.

Now, if it was a very well-heeled and high-end club that usually charges $300 but that is offering a special (or I have a British-American friend who knows someone who knows someone), I am going to take that discount in a heart-beat!

Peter

 
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 05, 2017, 09:27:16 PM
Which is more valuable to a club: 25 new members willing to spend $20,000 per year, or...Management finding $500,000 in budget cuts?
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Mike_Young on December 05, 2017, 09:57:26 PM
Which is more valuable to a club: 25 new members willing to spend $20,000 per year, or...Management finding $500,000 in budget cuts?

For such a club it would definitely be the new members....for the average course in US it would be the budget cuts in an economically efficient way that did not decrease play.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Jon Wiggett on December 06, 2017, 03:33:03 AM

In all fairness, a rising tide will raise all salaries.


and yet the gap between the haves and have nots has widened quite a bit in the last 30 years or so John so your cute sounding sound bite is a bit hollow.


Which is more valuable to a club: 25 new members willing to spend $20,000 per year, or...Management finding $500,000 in budget cuts?


Clearly the 25 new members but what if you cannot find them?
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Rich Goodale on December 06, 2017, 06:49:58 AM
1.  Rollback the ball to a uniform performance standard, somewhat similar to the Titleist Professional in terms of distance and non-cutability.  Elite balls now cost c. $15 for a sleeve, whereas elite tennis balls cost under $3 a can.  And it's damn hard to cut or lose a tennis ball....
2.  Fuggeddaboot irrigation if your course is not located on a desert.
3.  No concrete or asphalt paths (sorry JakaB......)
4.  Downsize your clubhouse,restaurant and pro shop by half, and then by half again, and then again until they match demand.
5.  Hire a pro who is capable of running the club and pay him or her a good salary.
6.  Hire a greenkeeper who is capable running the maintenance of the course and pay her or him a good salary,
7.  Abolish the commitee/council/board/etc. of worthies and replace them with members who are willing to work for and with (but not manage) the pro and the greenkeeper.


This is just a start......


Rich
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Jim Sullivan on December 06, 2017, 08:12:07 AM
Golfers
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: John Kavanaugh on December 06, 2017, 10:44:39 AM

In all fairness, a rising tide will raise all salaries.


and yet the gap between the haves and have nots has widened quite a bit in the last 30 years or so John so your cute sounding sound bite is a bit hollow.


Which is more valuable to a club: 25 new members willing to spend $20,000 per year, or...Management finding $500,000 in budget cuts?


Clearly the 25 new members but what if you cannot find them?


My reference was inside the club. When a Super makes more eventually all the other department heads make more with the club manager making the most. There is very little reason for anyone to fight a large and growing maintenance budget.


I find it odd that 25 new members seems to be the obvious preference to a budget cut. Let's just hope they don't pull a PCCraig and goober up all the best tee times. I doubt that any club could take on 25 new members at one time without a drastic change in culture.

Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Rick Lane on December 06, 2017, 10:58:08 AM
Because of lots of factors like aging demographics, people moving, etc, our club turns over about 15 people a year, some years more.   So we are in a constant "marketing" mode to attract people to fill those spots.  Its just reality.   Part of the "marketing" is the quality of golf, and other services, to compete with other area clubs.   Mind you, this is a club over 100 years old, and is full service with pool, tennis, paddle, big old clubhouse, the works.    If we had to do it all over it would be different, I think, but it is what it is now.   I read an interesting article from the manager of Dye Preserve a few years ago, where he said it takes $1.5mm to run a golf course (mind you, a high end one) and divided by 300 members, that's $400 a month per member, and any expense more than that was for "lunch".   I think that thinking is why place like Dye Preserve are going back to the future and are just golf clubs, with a small clubhouse, and maybe you can get a sandwich.   Much better model?   
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: David Wuthrich on December 06, 2017, 11:11:11 AM
I like that approach.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 06, 2017, 01:13:31 PM
1.  Rollback the ball to a uniform performance standard, somewhat similar to the Titleist Professional in terms of distance and non-cutability.  Elite balls now cost c. $15 for a sleeve, whereas elite tennis balls cost under $3 a can.  And it's damn hard to cut or lose a tennis ball....
2.  Fuggeddaboot irrigation if your course is not located on a desert.
3.  No concrete or asphalt paths (sorry JakaB......)
4.  Downsize your clubhouse,restaurant and pro shop by half, and then by half again, and then again until they match demand.
5.  Hire a pro who is capable of running the club and pay him or her a good salary.
6.  Hire a greenkeeper who is capable running the maintenance of the course and pay her or him a good salary,
7.  Abolish the commitee/council/board/etc. of worthies and replace them with members who are willing to work for and with (but not manage) the pro and the greenkeeper.
This is just a start......
Rich


Cracking post Rich. +1
atb
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Ian Andrew on December 06, 2017, 03:26:34 PM
Remove all the Trees


No shade, more sunlight, less inputs ...
No cleaning up after them ...
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Jeff_Brauer on December 07, 2017, 08:31:01 AM

Saw a stat yesterday that consumers (and golfers are a type of consumer) will pay on average 23% more for a good experience vs. an average one.  (And customer expectations have gone up over the years)  Some will pay more, some not at all, everyone is different, of course.


So, the real question is spending a bit more on things customers will typically pay more for, but a lot less on things that they won't.  While we can all name individual examples of spending with no return gained, in general, I would bet the managers of clubs and courses have this pretty well figured out.  It's almost "everyone knows" type stuff to focus on greens, then tees, then fairways, then rough with whatever dollars you have.


My personal waste favorite was a parks super who felt edging the cart paths for a crisp edge was a weekly task, whereas most places, even in aggressive growing seasons and Bermuda would do it once per month or once per quarter.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Tim Martin on December 07, 2017, 10:15:09 AM
Yes - I guess that's basically it, Sean. 
A friend (who rarely plays my favourite local course) called once to say he'd gotten us a "deal" at the course for later that day -- I think it was $28 for what is usually a $40 round.
I played that round, and since then have purposely made sure never to even ask about let alone try to get that kind of deal again.
No, I don't have money to burn, and I'm not particularly altruistic and/or foolish. But:
- since I've rarely done anything else to "support local golf" (e.g. like becoming a member of a club)
- don't play all that very often
- like the people who own and run my favourite course
- can play that same course later in the afternoon for its then regular fee of $35 (thus saving only $7 with the "deal"), and
- want to support the courses I like best and not have them enter a 'race to the bottom' with courses I like less

It just feels, literally, like the least I can do to try to help keep my local golf scene healthy. I can spare that $7 or so as a very small gesture in support of the game.

Now, if it was a very well-heeled and high-end club that usually charges $300 but that is offering a special (or I have a British-American friend who knows someone who knows someone), I am going to take that discount in a heart-beat!

Peter


Peter-I think it's great that you will pony up the extra coin to support your course. That said I think it's unrealistic to think that scenario repeats itself with any real frequency across the demographic at the public/muni/daily fee courses. Lower/lowest green fees often rule the day especially since 2008. In your reply number 32 you said "Don't sink too low". I disagree wholeheartedly that "If we can afford $30 to play golf we can afford $40" as a blanket statement. There are an awful lot of people who will run to the $30 course every time and for some the price difference may also be the demarcation line of being able to afford the round. Thanks.





Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Peter Pallotta on December 07, 2017, 03:17:07 PM
Tim - you may well be right. I'm certainly conscious about costs, and I know others are too. But:
1. The ripple effect of this sinking too low: the nearby (100 year old) 9 holer that now routinely charges $20 for all you can play after 2 pm; the 1990s course offering flex passes that price out at $25 a round. I'm not good with economics, and I don't know about the finances of these courses, but at those prices it sure feels like the "closing for new housing" signs can't be far behind.
2. I think there are limits to how much golf many of us can play, at any price. Except for retirees, modern life imposes certain limits. If most of the golfers I know can allow themselves one or two rounds a week, few I think will play a 3rd round if the price was $28 instead of $35; they don't have the time even if they have the money. Which is to say: these "deals" may encourage someone to play at Course X instead of at Course Y, but over-all I don't think they increase the total number of rounds being played. 
3. I think this golfnow/low pricing model may take the place of other (better?) approaches. The semi private I mention has yearly membership packages (that get you into the 3 members tournaments and some preferred tee times) priced so that you need to play 60 rounds a year (and the standard rate) to "make it worthwhile".  No one in my circle comes near playing 60 rounds a summer, especially locally. Wouldn't the course be better off offering membership that prices out at 30 rounds a year instead - which I think would bring a lot more of us to joining as members without dropping the standard price-per-round?
 
All tentative thoughts; but based on a hope that modest local courses can continue to survive/flourish, and the belief that this low-pricing model might serve in the very short term but not in the long one. As I said to Sean, my extra $7 is obviously nothing but a drop in the bucket - but it's all I can do.

Peter 
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Tim Martin on December 07, 2017, 04:04:52 PM
Tim - you may well be right. I'm certainly conscious about costs, and I know others are too. But:
1. The ripple effect of this sinking too low: the nearby (100 year old) 9 holer that now routinely charges $20 for all you can play after 2 pm; the 1990s course offering flex passes that price out at $25 a round. I'm not good with economics, and I don't know about the finances of these courses, but at those prices it sure feels like the "closing for new housing" signs can't be far behind.
2. I think there are limits to how much golf many of us can play, at any price. Except for retirees, modern life imposes certain limits. If most of the golfers I know can allow themselves one or two rounds a week, few I think will play a 3rd round if the price was $28 instead of $35; they don't have the time even if they have the money. Which is to say: these "deals" may encourage someone to play at Course X instead of at Course Y, but over-all I don't think they increase the total number of rounds being played. 
3. I think this golfnow/low pricing model may take the place of other (better?) approaches. The semi private I mention has yearly membership packages (that get you into the 3 members tournaments and some preferred tee times) priced so that you need to play 60 rounds a year (and the standard rate) to "make it worthwhile".  No one in my circle comes near playing 60 rounds a summer, especially locally. Wouldn't the course be better off offering membership that prices out at 30 rounds a year instead - which I think would bring a lot more of us to joining as members without dropping the standard price-per-round?
 
All tentative thoughts; but based on a hope that modest local courses can continue to survive/flourish, and the belief that this low-pricing model might serve in the very short term but not in the long one. As I said to Sean, my extra $7 is obviously nothing but a drop in the bucket - but it's all I can do.

Peter


Peter-I am a fan of the semi-private model you are describing. Maybe the owner and the golfer meet in the middle at $35 and although the profit margin decreases the pins stay in and hopefully rounds increase. I love these types of courses in and around New England but the farther from a metro area the tougher it becomes. As far as pricing I like a few limited round options as well as a full membership and have seen more creativity of late than any time in the last 35 years. A lot of clubs have literally reinvented themselves to stay relevant and it's great when that Ross 9 holer or whatever local favorite someone play's flourishes.
Title: Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
Post by: Sean_A on December 07, 2017, 05:42:27 PM
Yes - I guess that's basically it, Sean. 
A friend (who rarely plays my favourite local course) called once to say he'd gotten us a "deal" at the course for later that day -- I think it was $28 for what is usually a $40 round.
I played that round, and since then have purposely made sure never to even ask about let alone try to get that kind of deal again.
No, I don't have money to burn, and I'm not particularly altruistic and/or foolish. But:
- since I've rarely done anything else to "support local golf" (e.g. like becoming a member of a club)
- don't play all that very often
- like the people who own and run my favourite course
- can play that same course later in the afternoon for its then regular fee of $35 (thus saving only $7 with the "deal"), and
- want to support the courses I like best and not have them enter a 'race to the bottom' with courses I like less

It just feels, literally, like the least I can do to try to help keep my local golf scene healthy. I can spare that $7 or so as a very small gesture in support of the game.

Now, if it was a very well-heeled and high-end club that usually charges $300 but that is offering a special (or I have a British-American friend who knows someone who knows someone), I am going to take that discount in a heart-beat!

Peter

Pietro

I guess that is noble of you. I am one to think that whatever the lowest rate charged is the defacto the rate.  As they say, a penny saved is penny earned. But then I am not worried about my favourite courses closing.  It is also heartening to know that so many of the courses I played in Michigan before leaving are still open and still not charging much if anything more than they did 25 years ago.  I find this incredible. 

Ciao