Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Golf Course Directories, Listen Up!

Yesterday I wrote about internet golf course directories being able to help private golf courses get new members. Today, I've got a bit more advice for you and it's for free. I don't believe you have to reinvent the wheel for your applications. Look at other industries that may be ahead of you and learn from them.

I'm a skier when I'm not golfing and I think that industry is a good example. There are a couple of online directories of ski areas. These directories provide lots of basic information, like directions, snow conditions and forecast. Plus they've got info on travel deals, lift tickets and area events - all things to help skiers decide where they want to go. In addition, if a ski area is big enough to have its own website, there's a link to that.

Why couldn't an online directory for golf be handled in the same way. Whoever does it right first is going to get the business. Ultimately we don't need more than one or two such directories, it's the same thinking behind why we don't need more than one set of 'yellow pages' at home.

Many golf clubs don't have a website, they're too small or not web savy or just don't see the value. But golf directories and websites have a lot to offer. Why have golfers waiting in line or in phone queues for tee times. Maybe you've got a slow day tomorrow, why not offer reduced rates. And for those that want to get new members, here's the perfect vehicle.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Save Golf, Let The Free Market Work

Talk to private golf club owners and you'll see that many are having problems, namely not enough members to support their clubs. Why? Because their old members are dying off and are not being replaced by younger ones. Add to this that there are lots of new courses being built every year, but the golf population is not growing. Every year as many golfers leave the game as take it up.

At some point in the past private golf was more affordable. Golfers got on waiting lists to get into the private clubs. When you've got waiting lists, free market thinking says you can go ahead and raise prices. Times have changed. Now many private clubs are offering 'deals' to entice new members, sometimes lowering initiation fees, annual dues or both. The problem is that they don't have a good way to market themselves.

I believe there is a solution to this problem and it's enabled by the internet. There are some very good programs for finding golf courses anywhere in the US. However, often details behind the courses are incomplete. Imagine one of these applications allowing clubs to post their membership costs. You could efficiently view the private club options in your area. I'm guessing membership requests would go up quickly for those priced right.

I see at least one problem to this solution. Many clubs are still snobbish, even when their numbers dwindle. They only want a 'certain type' of person to join. They want you to sweat your application process. I think economic reality is going to put an end to that type of approach fairly soon. Witness some of the newest and 'best-in-state' clubs that have sprung up in recent years. They are semi-private in that any one willing to pony up $100 or more can play. But they also offer straight forward memberships. Go their websites, see if the price of belonging suits you and you can be a member as soon as your check clears. And why shouldn't it be that simple. Why should anyone be deciding that someone else isn't fit to play for some reason other than being able to pay the cost?

For you companies supplying the golf directories, here's an opportunity. Grab it first and you may distance yourself from the crowd, doing clubs and golfers a service at the same time.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Drug Test PGA Pros? You've Got To Be Nuts!

With all the problems that other professional sports are having with drugs, particularly steroids, there's talk by some that professional golfers should be tested. Don't be ridiculous. If you know anything about steroids and about golf, I have to believe you'd agree with me.

To play golf at the highest level, you want flexibility and lots of it, not bulk. Imagine Jose Conseco or Jason Giambi trying to play golf. All that mass is going to make it near impossible. I remember when Barry Bonds was lean and wiry. I'm not saying he's taking steroids, but I know I'd take his old body any day for playing golf at the highest level.

And what about the steroid mentality of wanting to rip people's heads off. That probably serves you well in the NFL, but that's the last thing a golfer needs. Anyone who works at the game knows that controlling your emotions is at least half the battle. When pro golfers start bending their 3 irons around people's necks, that's the time to get out the drug test kits.

However, if pro golf continues to migrate toward 400 yard tee shots and wedges, then you might be tempting fate.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tip from Long Drive champion!

OK, OK, here it is (the promised tip from Long Drive Champ Sean Fister to add an easy 20 yards to your drives)

Says Fister,

"There are a hundred little tricks to hit the ball farther. But only one is absolutely, positively guaranteed to work for every golfer. All you do is turn your shoulders farther, all the while keeping the butt end of the club as far away from your sternum as possible. It takes practice and physical effort, but if you work hard at that for 2 weeks, you'll for sure pick up 20 yards with the driver."

There you have it.

Comments please.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sean Fister - An Easy 20 Yards!

In case you missed this in last months Golf Digest. Long Drive Champ Sean Fister is entirely self taught. To try to understand what increases distance Fister said, "I took 7 years worth of Golf Digests and divided them into stacks on my kitchen table. I went through every one and wrote down every distance tip I came across. It took a while, and when I finished I had 397 tips. I eliminated all of the duplications, then I went to work dealing with the tips that conflicted – stance, grip pressure, wrist cock, and so on. All of the contradictions I put to the test. Using each tip, I noted the balls I absolutely murdered. Tips that produced a ball in the "kill" column made the final list, which resides in a little black book I carry wherever I go. I call it the Bible"

Find out tomorrow the one (out of 397), absolutely, positively guaranteed Fister tip to add 20 yards to your drives and work for every golfer. Hmmmm, are you wondering yet????