I Really like this article circulated by Course Trends, an internet web page developer specializing in golf courses. However, sometimes the reality is that struggling golf courses need ANY revenue they can attract just to keep the lights on.

Mike Kahn

Don't Compete On Price

Everyone knows that when you compete on price, it's a dog-fight where it's the last man standing with only one winner - the one with the lowest cost basis.

If you operate in a super saturated golf metroplex, where there are 30, 40, 50, or even hundreds of golf clubs and you don't have the lowest cost-basis, you better not compete on price. And even if you could, eventually someone is going to come along with a lower cost-basis and beat you.

The quickest way to increase your profit margins is by becoming the first and only choice for your customers and prospects. That means you work really hard, I mean really hard, and consistently, sometimes for years to attract and retain your customers. And you stand firm, rather than cut your prices in reaction to your competitor's latest price cuts. Sure you may take a short-term dip, but you will prevail by excelling at customer service.

Easier said than done, I know. But here are fives steps for developing a competitive edge:

1. Competitive Pricing, but not necessarily the lowest price. Customers can usually tolerate a 20-30% price difference between competitive products. $39 green fees versus $30 green fees from your competitor; you're in the competitive range with 30% more revenue and double the profit.
2. Facility Quality that is unmistakable from the moment someone steps foot on your property. It's the small stuff. Clean restrooms, soap containers filled, paper towels and toilet paper stocked. Restaurant condiments that are topped off, fresh coffee, trash cans emptied and tables cleared even when it's busy. And obviously, a course that is consistently maintained and groomed. Clean range balls, and practice facilities maintained with the same quality as the course.
3. Service that is consistently excellent and transports your customers away from their day-to-day world. Golf is entertainment and entertainment is escape. Staff training, measuring, reviewing, and more training is the quickest way to guarantee your success.
4. Marketing that is aggressive, constant and omnipresent in your market. Maximize your marketing budget with Search Engine Optimization, Customer Segmentation, Email Marketing, and Direct Mail. Use Sponsorships to help pay for radio, print, and other more costly media. Work with a Golf Marketing Leader like CourseTrends that specializes in marketing golf facilities.
5. Deliver everything you promised and 1% more. You don't have to exceed your customer's expectations by 10, 20 or 50%, just exceed them.

Lastly, in the area of marketing, you must segment between your members, daily fee players, and event planners. You must appeal to their unique and specific needs, offer value individually, and aggressively communicate with them, to ensure you create undeniable loyalty.

MIKE KAHN ADDS...: If you do plan to lower prices to compete, be sure to indicate in your marketing material that you are offering temporary savings from the normal or posted rate. Make it sound like the offererd lower rate is temporary - even giving a reason ("See our newly renovated bunkers!", or "We've speeded up our greens and we want your comments!"). And don't overdo it. People catch on to phony deals and claims. In fact, the strategy can backfire if you continually offer discounts.

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