PGAs of EuropeThe Golf Course – PGAs of Europe Home of the PGAE Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:07:33 +0000 en-gb hourly 1 What Does a PGA Professional Bring to Your Club? Mon, 01 May 2017 20:55:44 +0000 & the PGA of GB&I's Paul Wisniewski explore the benefits a PGA Professional can bring to a facility and why they add huge value to a business...]]> and the PGA of GB&I’s Paul Wisniewski explore what benefits a PGA Professional can bring to a facility and why they add huge value to the whole business…


A question often asked is, What value does a PGA professional have at a golf club? The answer can be quite a lot.

Does your club have a PGA Professional?  Are you looking to recruit one?  Perhaps you had one in previous years but not anymore?  Times have changed and so has the role of the PGA Professional at club level.  In the heady days of property booms and third houses a PGA Professional at your club was seen as a sign that things were good, that business was strong and having the pro there was just something that clubs did.

Fast forward a few years and clubs saw their incomes drop and many responded by letting their PGA Professional go (or perhaps not taking on a PGA Professional) as they perhaps didn’t see the value that they brought.  Nowadays though, the modern PGA Professional is an invaluable asset to a golf club and it’s great to see how diverse and integral the role has become once again, the role of the PGA Professional is back where it belongs.

Given the right circumstances and direction a PGA Professional can add significant revenues to any club.  The logo for PGA Professionals contains the phrase “The heart of golf” for a good reason.  It’s not because they’ve gone through rigorous training and feel they deserve it. It’s because they’ve gone through rigorous training, have learned about golf clubs from the inside out, have likely spent more time in golf clubs than even the most dedicated club members and they are the lifeblood of any club.  The PGA pro doesn’t only stand in the shop to answer your questions anymore, they are involved in so much more behind the scenes and here are some of the ways in which a PGA Professional can add value and revenue to your club;

1. Knowledge

A PGA Professional goes through an intensive three-year training programme covering all aspects of golf club management as well as the physical aspects of playing the game.They have a broad knowledge of everything required to run a golf club and can be a great source of knowledge on a wide range of topics from membership to marketing.

2. Revenue

This is a key area in any business but in a golf club there are so many ways to increase & control revenue. Why not engage with your current PGA Professional and ask their advice on this and see what they can come up with? Equally as important as revenue is cost control and again the training that PGA Professionals receive puts them in a unique position to advise and assist with this.

3. Customer service & interaction

The person at a golf club who has the most customer interaction is the PGA Professional (43%, with the next person being the GM at 13%). They are the face of the club.Whether it’s a members competition on a weekend or a friendly fourball playing on a Tuesday afternoon, the PGA Professional is likely to be the person who greets you, explains the club policies, encourages you to have dinner or buy a shirt from the shop and this interaction can lead to repeat business and of course the increased market perception for your club.

4. Advice

More and more PGA pro’s are being asked to join in on committee meetings to offer advice and guidance.This is wonderful to see but many more Irish clubs could benefit from the input of a PGA Professional in this area.It shouldn’t only be competition committees, the PGA pro can be a useful asset in any committee, they know your club as well if not better than you do, they know all your members, they get direct feedback from every single visitor and surely that should make them the first name on the committee sheet?Don’t forget too that your PGA Professional is also a great source of knowledge on the latest equipment, clothing and many can even advise on some nutrition and exercise regimes if you’re so inclined – this is an under-utilised but greatly effective members asset.

5. Lessons

Many people only see the PGA pro as just being someone you go to for lessons – obviously this is far from true but lessons are a big part of what a pro can bring to a golf club.If a member can get a lesson from a good PGA Professional at their home club then they will do so.Players from other clubs can come to your PGA pro for lessons too which increases the public profile of your club. Moreover the pro can give introductory lessons and programmes aimed at getting people into golf who have never played.This can result in membership increases and further revenues for the club.Did you know that if someone takes lessons they play 20% more golf, spend 65% more on F&B and spend 70% more on retail?

6. Marketing

This is an interesting one as along with the pro and the manager, marketing was one of the first things to be cut when revenues dropped in Irish clubs.Through their personal contact with golfers your PGA pro is marketing your club, through giving lessons to non-members your PGA pro is marketing your club, through their interaction with other PGA pros and through them being very good at their jobs your PGA pro is marketing your club.It doesn’t always have to come down to spending money, but if it does then your PGA pro is well positioned to advise you on where is best to spend it.They eat, sleep, live and breathe golf, if it’s happening in golf they will most likely know about it so why would you not ask their opinion?

7. Member recruitment & retention

A recent survey found that 100% of people who took coaching lessons from their PGA Professional stayed as a club member the following year. That’s a staggering statistic when you consider the membership turnover in many golf clubs.When it comes to member recruitment the PGA Professional is probably the first person that any prospective member will meet.They will come in to ask questions, get forms or to play a round and see what the course is like.The pro can have a huge impact on recruitment and an educated, friendly face who knows about the club is the ideal person to have dealing with new members.

These are just some of the benefits of having a PGA Professional at your club, there are so many more and to talk to someone at the PGA about it or if your club is looking to recruit a PGA Professional you should contact Paul Wisniewski at the PGA Irish Region on Email: or Telephone: 085 8821756.

What Does a PGA Professional Bring to Your Club?
Applying a Yield Pricing Criteria to Your Group Booking Business Fri, 21 Apr 2017 06:19:10 +0000 Promote Training Promote Training, the golf club management eLearning specialists, look at how any club can apply yield-based pricing criteria to their group booking business...]]>

The last part of the series of articles from Promote Training, the golf club management eLearning specialists, looks at how any club can apply yield-based pricing criteria to their group booking business.

It is difficult to talk of driving green fee revenues in a group-booking context without talking about variable pricing strategies. And you can’t talk about variable pricing strategies without talking about yield management. According to Wikipedia yield management is:

“…a variable pricing strategy, based on understanding, anticipating and influencing consumer behavior in order to maximise revenue or profits from a fixed, perishable resource”

Understanding, anticipating and influencing your customers starts with the analysis of the correct data – a statistical trawl of what’s going on within the business, especially on the golf course. The depth and level of the data we can derive and the analysis thereof drives the criteria we can use to vary our pricing points.


Many clubs are operating a basic variable pricing strategy already – they charge a lower amount for winter group bookings knowing they’re a ‘harder sell’. Conversely, some coastal clubs with great drainage actually charge a premium.

Day of the Week

Again, some clubs are already doing this. At its most basic, they are charging a premium to play at the weekends. Some charge slightly more to play on a Friday as well. In most cases, Monday to Thursday is lumped in together and priced the same.

Number of Participants

This one is less practiced in the UK industry and a significant opportunity. A group booking of 120 people is extremely precious and quite rare (in most clubs) – why wouldn’t you price it accordingly? You probably wouldn’t get 120 paying visitors if the group booking didn’t exist – so you can afford to lower the price and still be significantly better off. Conversely, a group booking of 8 people isn’t as lucrative in terms of monetary value and may restrict a larger booking enquiry coming in afterwards – isn’t that something that should be charged at a premium?

An important additional point to your terms and conditions are needed here – “If any discounted or agreed price is on the basis of a minimum number, this set price will only apply if on the day the set number of participants attend”. A golf day arriving with less than the number confirmed could push the price up – that’s not something easily communicated to the organiser if they didn’t know it could happen.

Tee Times Booked

All clubs have popular and unpopular tee times. Unfortunately, many clubs only have a gut feeling as to when they are. Knowing precisely what your peak and off-peak tee times are allows you to vary the price for group bookings. If 2pm is usually very quiet, why wouldn’t you offer a discount? If 9am is usually very busy, why wouldn’t you charge a premium?

Sales Window

We’ve already spoken about our desire to increase the sales window – to encourage organisers to book early so we understand the future group booking trends earlier and can take action as required. A variable pricing strategy that encompasses this criterion can help shift the window.


This is a slightly different criterion but something that needs to be considered carefully – those odd days that confound our data-driven criteria. For instance, Mondays in April may be quiet – but what about Easter Monday? That has the potential to be quite popular. Fridays in September may be quite busy – but what about the week the Head Greenkeeper is doing his biannual hollow coring and top dressing? Should you be charging a premium on this Friday for a course in less than perfect condition?

No Catering

It’s probably an unfortunate consequence of a wider society change that in many clubs, group bookings are choosing to have less and less catering elements to their event. Where once the majority of bookings had a sit-down 3-course meal at the end of the day – at many clubs today they are in the minority. So, can we box a little clever here and add a silent ‘No Catering’ surcharge to the events that have little or no food? There’s nothing more frustrating than an enquiry coming in afterwards that want the full 3-course presentation dinner included but can’t get the tee times because a booking with no food at all has already confirmed.

The word “silent” in this instance means that the organiser doesn’t get to know they’ve been charged it – it simply gets added onto the green fee. Keeping it silent in this way provides a great opportunity to offer a discounted catering up-sell nearer the date of the event. It will be perceived as a discount by the organiser but won’t actually be a discount for the club – it will simply be the removal of the no-catering surcharge.

A variable pricing strategy based on just these seven criteria can have a dramatic impact on a golf clubs’ group booking revenues. In some instances many prices will be discounted – sometimes quite aggressively. In other cases, by understanding when we’re busy prices will be increased. But in both circumstances, they will be priced on a fixed criteria derived from historical fact. From a quantitative perspective, that’s something difficult to argue against.

Promote Training give away a Group Booking Pricing Tool with their “Driving Green Fee Revenues” eLearning course. Visit to learn more about this, and other strategies to grow your club’s green fee revenues.

Image Components by Freepik
Applying a Yield Pricing Criteria to Your Group Booking Business
Encouraging Repeat-Play From Your Green Fee Customers Thu, 06 Apr 2017 09:29:19 +0000 Promote Training Promote Training look at the principle of encouraging repeat-play from visitors using a loyalty card mechanism...]]>

In the second of a 3-part series of articles, Promote Training, the golf club management eLearning specialists, look at the principle of encouraging repeat-play from visitors using a loyalty card mechanism.

The first and arguably most important green fee promotion to implement are the promotions that encourage loyalty and repeat-play at your course.

There are broadly three themes to increasing any green fee revenue:

  1. Attracting new golfers
  2. Encouraging repeat golfers
  3. Increasing average value

If you plough straight into a promotional campaign that aims to attract first-time golfers to your club, you won’t have the benefit of the incentive mechanism to encourage their repeat custom after they’ve played the course.

Let’s take a look at one great promotion that encourages repeat-play and customer loyalty – the green fee Loyalty Card.

Loyalty Card Concept

Loyalty cards are not a new concept in either the golf industry or wider retail and hospitality sectors. I’m sure many people have a loyalty card or two tucked away in their wallets or purses!

The concept is simple – buy a product or service multiple times and after x number of purchases, receive one for free.

A well implemented, on going loyalty card scheme can work extremely well for any golf course – either pay and play or semi-private.

An effective loyalty card can be the backbone of your green fee marketing strategy.

There are, however, key issues to consider very carefully prior to creating your card. These issues almost exclusively revolve around the terms and conditions.

Expiry Dates

The biggest realistic target audience for our visitor green fee product is the nomadic golfer. The make-up of this profile of golfer suggests they play on average up to 2 times per month. By offering them a loyalty card what are we trying to achieve?

  • We want them to play more than twice a month
  • We want them to play at our golf club more often

A loyalty card without an expiry date doesn’t encourage the customer to play at your golf course more often. It doesn’t even give a reason to play golf more often. That’s because it has no timescale attached that breaks their habit of playing twice a month.

In most cases where a loyalty card doesn’t have an expiry date, the golfer plays as many times as they ever did. They also play your course as often as they ever did. Except this time, after x number of rounds, they get a free one. 

No expiry date = no urgency to play your course = no change in their normal pattern of play

When to expire a loyalty card will depend very much on how generous the loyalty is in the first instance and what time of year it’s being offered.

Our nomadic golfer plays, on average, twice a month – but that won’t necessarily be a consistent twice a month, every month. Golf is a seasonal game and we know that the weather has a huge impact on the number of rounds on our golf course.

We could make an assumption therefore, that our target nomadic golfer may play:

  • Once a month between November and March
  • Twice a month in April and October
  • Three times a month between May and September

A card that offers the 6th round free and starts in November with a 3-month expiry date is a little optimistic. Our golfer may only normally play once a month during the winter – so the free round would be perceived as unachievable.

On the opposite end of the scale, a loyalty card that offers the 4th round free and is released in May, with an expiry date of the 30th September, is extremely generous. It could be that it’s giving too much away.

Exclude Discounted or Free Rounds

“Stamps not issued for free rounds of golf” – this is an important condition to remember when creating your loyalty card.

“Offer excludes Twilight rates, pre-paid or free green fee vouchers” – this option is very much down to the club to decide. Clearly, a loyalty card offering stamps for discounted twilight rounds may be giving away free rounds during peak times in return.

In Conjunction with Other Offers

Ensuring the loyalty card cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers is probably a condition worth mentioning on all green fee promotions. In fact, it’s one to mention on all promotions throughout the club.

Golf Society Days

“Not to be used in conjunction with any group booking above four players”

Again, it’s down to the individual clubs to decide whether they want to allow stamps, or redemption of the free round, to golf society day participants or not. There are arguments both for and against it and these need to be considered before making a decision.

Remove Peak Tee Times

You may want to consider limiting stamps, or certainly the free round redemption, based on the tee time.

Many clubs would want to limit the number of free rounds redeemed at the weekend. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they would want to limit the number of stamps given at the weekend. A full loyalty card of stamps received for weekend play logically deserves a free midweek round as much as any other (more so in fact).

There are also peak times of the year to consider – the week between Christmas and New Year for instance. Often, this period can be quite busy for golf courses and it’s something to consider if you’re intending to run a loyalty card over the December month.

Promote Training’s “Driving Green Fee Revenues” eLearning course is packed with ideas and strategies to encourage repeat-play and also attract new visitors to your club. Visit to learn more about this innovative eLearning course.

Encouraging Repeat-Play From Your Green Fee Customers
Data Collection – Performance Monitoring To Ensure Efficient and Effective Course Management Thu, 19 May 2016 19:10:33 +0000 The R&A Keeping a record of how the golf course is performing, in financial, playing and environmental terms is essential if the facility is to be well run...]]>

Keeping a record of how the golf course is performing, in financial, playing and environmental terms is essential if the facility is to be well run, offer good value to its customers and be able to justify its operation to the wider community.  Course management that provides quality playing surfaces and which cares for the environment is dependent on good decision making based on facts and figures. 

Economic Performance

The course is your prime asset and you need to know what you are spending on its upkeep and where your money is going. The annual audit is usual practice for business. Keeping a record of income and expenditure is essential if the performance of the business is to be measured and analysed so that management can adjust practices to assure future prosperity.

The golf course can make up 70% or more of a golf facilities total expenditure and it is important that costs and revenue from course-related activity are tracked and reported on.  Club and course managers need to find a means of:

  • Providing clear information to committees and boards
  • Assessing where more money can be made and less spent
  • Demonstrating the success of management practices
  • Developing an even more efficient and effective programme

There are software programmes available to enable data recording and reporting, with the most basic being a simple spreadsheet.

On average, 60% of direct costs related to the course will be for staff. The greenstaff’s time is, therefore, precious and should not be wasted. Do you know where, on the course, the staff spend their time?

Surveys have shown that on some courses, up to 27% of staff time can be spent looking after bunkers! Are you able to prioritise time so that the areas golfers consider most important – the putting surfaces and green complexes – receive the most attention? See the real value from your staff by focusing their efforts on the areas of the course that will improve your business prospects.


Playing Performance

The performance of the golf business is directly related to the performance of the golf course.  The course is the primary asset for the business. So, why not audit the performance of the course in a similar way to that of the business?

If you can demonstrate that your management provides consistently good or improving performance of putting surfaces, then the club knows that it is investing wisely in the course and in you and your staff.  The following assessments should be undertaken on a regular basis:

  • Holing Out Test. Records the final outcome of putting surface preparation – the reliability of the surface in terms of getting the ball in the hole.
  • Smoothness and trueness. Available through the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) Programme.
  • Firmness – a key measure when it comes to the receptiveness of surfaces, ball reaction on landing on the green and the year-round playability related to drainage.
  • Trueness/smoothness – important to consider ways of reducing surface imperfections that interfere with the roll of the ball.
  • Speed – useful to assess the consistency of putting surfaces, both through the year and between greens.

In addition to these playing performance criteria, there are critical agronomic measurements that, if assessed regularly, will inform turf management and ensure healthier turf and better playing performance – these are soil moisture and organic matter.

Target ranges can be set for all of the above, but these must be realistic and achievable within the confines of the site and available resources.

Environmental and Social Performance

The Course Management team need to keep a record of the inputs required to present the course to a good year-round standard, related to cost and playing performance targets.

Holding good information and reporting on water, pesticide, fertiliser and energy use and waste production are key elements for the golf course operation and also for justifying the course management programme in environmental and social impact terms. Golf facilities should be transparent in this regard to demonstrate that the game is a responsible user of land that does not pollute.

Beyond this, use of top dressing and other materials has an impact on budgets and the environment, be it directly related to the golf course or in terms of the supply chain and where these materials are sourced.

The Golf Environment Organization (GEO) OnCourse® Programme provides an excellent means of recording and reporting on these aspects of sustainability performance.


Making Data Work For You

The R&A has produced a list of Evidence Fields, which is available from its website, This is a list of financial, playing performance and greenkeeping practice data that needs to be collected and analysed if the performance of the golf course is to be monitored and improved.

Much of this data can be used to achieve environmental certification. The financial information can also be used to assess the benefits to the business of going through such a certification process.

Recording data is only of value if it is used for the benefit of the course and the business. Interpretation of results may require expert assistance, particularly with regard to the agronomic elements. The club management team must work together to get the best out of the golf facility and this has to reflect well on their contribution to the business.

This article appears courtesy of The R&A. For more information visit

Data Collection – Performance Monitoring To Ensure Efficient and Effective Course Management
Golf Member Referrals – The Lowest Hanging Fruit Wed, 27 Apr 2016 07:05:58 +0000 Promote Training In the first of a 3-part series of articles by Promote Training, they look at how referral marketing can create a valuable source of new members for a golf club]]>

In the first of a 3-part series of articles by Promote Training, the golf club management eLearning specialists, we look at how referral marketing can create a valuable source of new members for a golf club.

Membership referrals are simply new members who have been introduced to the club by current members.

The concept of referral marketing is nothing new – indeed, there has been plenty of research on the subject with many studies professing the virtues of referred custom as opposed to new custom from complete strangers.

So why is the concept of ‘referral’ so potentially rewarding for our club?

Benefits of Referrals

The power of recommendation

People trust the opinion of other people in their lives that they respect – family members, friends or work colleagues. For instance, we’ve all watched a television programme that we’ve heard other people talking about – that’s exactly the same referral principle. We heard it from people we know therefore we trust their opinion.

Targeted marketing

Unlike many other forms of marketing, referral is laser targeting at its most effective. Members know their friends, family and/or work colleagues pretty well. They can spread your membership message to the very audience you want to target.

Data quality

Due to the nature of referral the quality of the data is more likely to be correct, without false email addresses or such like.

A trusted sales pitch

We’ve all had the unfortunate experience of being on the receiving end of a door-to-door sales person. No doubt most of us didn’t buy anything from them based on issues of trust. How could you be sure those products they were selling are genuine? How do you know they’re going to work? How do you know they’ve not “fallen off the back of a lorry”?!

“Trust” is an important part of the buying decision for any consumer. We are far more likely to buy from someone we trust – so to encourage members to perform our ‘sales pitch’ for us will be making full use of a perceived trustworthy communication channel.

See the research below conducted in the Nielsen Global Survey of Trust in Advertising. Powerful proof indeed.


Huge volumes of people

Not just huge – the entire world! Certainly the entire world if you are to believe in the theory of six degrees of separation. This is the notion that everyone is six steps away, by way of introduction, from every other person in the world. It’s the underlying principle of social media in many ways. You know six people, who each know another six people, who each know another six people – and by the time you do that six times you have a connection with, well, absolutely everyone.

Golfers like to talk golf

It’s true in many cases that golfers like to talk about golf. It stands to reason – golf is their pastime and their leisure pursuit of choice. It also seems that the sport itself has a lot of conversational ingredients. It almost sparks debate and conversation, perhaps as golfers try to rationalize exactly why they play like they do and/or why Rory McIlroy plays like he does. In any event, if you invite a golfer to talk about their golf they usually have a fair amount to say.

It attracts the same types of people

It is often the case that people get on better with other people ‘of the same type’ as them – “birds of a feather flock together”. When you are encouraging members to refer people to the club – you are encouraging people with similar characteristics to them. They may be similar in terms of political persuasion, affluence, professional background, age range and/or in terms of social attitudes. This then helps create a membership body that mixes well with each other, encouraging a happy and harmonious group of customers.

Referred members are less likely to leave

We like to call it “stickability”. It is in the dictionary:

“A person’s ability to persevere with something; staying power”

This is the notion that someone can be more ‘attached’ to a club and therefore less likely to leave. It’s a topic that plays more of a part in our membership retention course, but it’s worth mentioning as a benefit to referred members. As soon as they join they know at least one person at the club, which gives them an instant familiarity and makes integration into the club’s day-to-day happenings a lot easier. This often means they’re a lot less likely to leave in the immediate future as they are socially tied to the club.

Placating Members with Referral Opportunities

It seems some golf club members believe that commercial common sense and financial prudence ends at the gates to the club. They want their club to remain a largely exclusive hideaway from the outside world – to be a hidden sanctuary from society. The very same members are usually the first knocking on the Managers door with incredulity at seeing external advertising of the latest membership promotion.

This is where a pro-active, highly-valued and visible referral campaign within a club can go a long way to placating such members, who rightly or wrongly feel aggrieved at any external membership promotions.

In itself, it won’t convince them of the need for the club to grow the number of members – but it may help convince them that they also have an opportunity to personally benefit from the growth if they refer new members to the club.

In fact, it’s true to say that the preferred route to growing a club’s membership base is through referral, for all the reasons already given. As such, there doesn’t appear to be any logical reason why a club wouldn’t implement a member referral initiative if it were also advertising externally for new members.

Referrals are the lowest hanging fruit – they’re the easiest to pick.

To learn how you can create a referral culture within your golf club, along with other membership lead generation tactics, visit and discover more about the “Generating Membership Leads” eLearning course by Promote Training.

Golf Member Referrals – The Lowest Hanging Fruit
Ten Facts About Golf in Celebration of Earth Day 2016 Sun, 17 Apr 2016 13:46:42 +0000 PGAs of Europe As part of the celebration of “Earth Day” on April 22, here are 10 facts about golf that help promote the sport and the environment]]>

Golf is a sport for a lifetime that delivers more than 2 million jobs and $69 billion in annual economic impact while contributing $3.9 billion per year for philanthropic causes — more than all other sports combined.

A professionally managed golf course also can demonstrate environmental stewardship and provide a place to meet exercise and fitness goals. Just walking 18 holes, for example, can burn more than 2,000 calories.

As part of the celebration of “Earth Day” on April 22, here are 10 facts about golf that help promote the sport and the environment:

  1. Golf courses are professionally managed landscapes where environmental stewardship is important – from using water and nutrients more efficiently to implementing improved methods of erosion control.
  2. In general, the golf industry is striving to deliver firm playing surfaces that are better for everyone and improve the bottom line. More than two-thirds of golf courses report that they are keeping turfgrass drier than in the past.
  3. The golf industry is continually investing in research to identify drought-tolerant grasses and improve water conservation through best management practices.
  4. Golf courses continue to adopt water conservation practices, reduce irrigated acreage and use innovative technologies, such as targeted irrigation systems and ground moisture measurement tools, along with weather monitoring systems, providing the science to water only when and where it is needed.
  5. Irrigated areas on golf courses have decreased by more than 14,000 acres between 2006 and 2014.


  1. Use of recycled water has increased by 32.7 percent from 2006 to 2014. Recycled water now counts for 25 percent of all water used on golf courses.
  2. Golf courses routinely have recycling programs to reduce and reuse.
  3. More than 90 percent of a typical golf course is comprised of turfgrass, a water body or other natural areas that prevent erosion, filter runoff, and provide for cooler temperatures when compared to urban settings.
  4. More than 70 percent of acreage on an 18-hole golf course is considered green space that provides benefits to the ecosystem, reduces maintenance and supports wildlife habitat, including protected species.
  5. Through governmental affairs involvement, professional education and public information, the golf industry continues to promote environmental responsibility as a widespread industry practice.

Find out more about Earth Day at and tweet using #EarthDay2016. For more information form the World Golf Foundation visit

Ten Facts About Golf in Celebration of Earth Day 2016