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Warren Bailey

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Online Tee Sheets: When Free Isn't Really Free

Posted by Warren Bailey on Thu, Feb 05, 2015 @ 10:16 AM

As golf courses close all around, the ones that remain must work harder and smarter to make sure they are maximizing all potential income and revenue sources. Many golf courses make the mistake of cutting or slashing payroll, forcing fewer people to do more work, to maintain a level of service previously expected from the golfers who play at your golf facility.

proshop-SMIt’s amazing how many golf courses that are still using cash boxes or cash registers to take in money. Using stand-alone credit card terminals that are so old, they are most likely no longer PCI compliant and now your customer’s data is more susceptible to a breach from hackers.

With the advent of PC-based point of sale systems, the ability to track customer/member information improved, inventory received and sold is more accurate, ringing food and drinks, plus keeping bar tabs became easier, and golf courses had a better way to track revenue.

But along the way, it was pointed out that the main way a golf course receives revenue is tee times. Tee times in the form of green fees and cart (pull or power) fees. A golf course has a fixed number of tee times each day, each week, each month, and each golf season. Barring bad weather and of course, the geographic location of a golf course, each golf facility needs to make as much money as possible by filling those open tee times.

How Do Third-party Online Tee Sheets Work?

With electronic media integrating into the golf world, the 3rd-party online tee sheet company was born. Simply go to a golf course website, pick an open time, enter in your e-mail address, contact information, and your credit card number, and the time is reserved. Easy, right? But did that information go only to the golf course or did the 3rd-party tee sheet company also receive access to that golfer’s information? And what are they doing with that information? Why, sending that golfer e-mails about other golf courses, not yours, that are offering discounted pricing. Or where to purchase merchandise at a lower price than what is offered at your pro shop.

How is this on-line tee sheet software being paid for by the golf course? Well, you only need to provide them with one or two tee times a day that are sold by the 3rd-party company, posted on your tee sheet and their own website, at a discounted price, and the golfer(s) show up with a coupon or printout saying their golf (and cart) are paid. The only chance the golf course has of generating any revenue is to sell food and beverages at the snack bar or the grill. The 3rd-party tee sheet company is likely “giving” golf courses the software in exchange for those one or two times per day.

How Much Does "Free" Cost?

sunrise_golf-SMWell, let’s do some simple math. The average round of golf with cart fee runs $40 per person. The third-party company offers these times at a discounted rate of $25 per person. They fill two time slots with four players each. That means 8 golfers x $25 equals $200 per day.

Suppose your golf season runs about 200 days each year. For reality sake, say 50 of those days are washed out due to weather or maybe the tee-times were not filled. That leaves 150 days where two tee times a day were filled and sold. 150 days x $200 equals $30,000.

Your “FREE” software allowed $30,000 of revenue not going to the club. Oh, and for this “FREE” service, you are being asked to sign a multi-year contract. No wonder a golf course does not have to pay much up front. The really sneaky part is how virtually invisible the whole process is for a golf facility. The golf course does not see money not coming in; they only have a bottom line report of sales. Who sees that revenue in their reports? The 3rd-party tee sheet companies.

And just how good is the point of sale system?  How many buttons and menu screens are needed to ring up a single item? Or a series of items? Ringing through golfers should be as fast as checking out at a Target or Walmart. See how fast they scan products, or touch a button to ring in a non-scannable product? Your pro shop or snack bar should be doing the same speed. Faster rings means more golfers moving through the line.

What is the Alternative?

The other option is to use a golf course managment software with built in tee sheets. The software we use is called AIMsi, but there are others. Using a point of sale software like this allows for a great deal of flexibility.This is because we build customized point of sale programs for your specific facility. All golf courses are similar in many ways, but also very different. Do you sell green fees/cart fees as a combo price? Do you offer multiple prices based on a golfer’s specific membership or patron type? All customer/member data is yours to keep. All your inventory tracking is yours.

How are online tee sheets in golf course software different?

The difference is you set the price for all the tee times and sell those times as you see fit. What the golf facility pays for is the hosting fee for the online tee sheet and the web security from data breaches. Hosting fees start at $6 a day or the price of one pull cart. Adding the ability to book times on a smartphone or tablet means your cost is $10 a day or about half a power cart rental. That means your cost for hosting an online tee sheet, which the golf course controls ALL the times, is roughly 200 days x $10/day or $2000 per golf season. 

What causes golf courses to pause is that the cost is NOT invisible. You are being asked to pay a monthly fee. But again, the bottom line is by controlling the price on all your tee times, the golf course earns all the revenue. The next trick is having a person control marketing those tee times. This is where an updated website, using Facebook, Twitter, and all forms of social media come into play. It costs a golf facility ZERO to market your golf course with social media, and yet it barely gets used.

Call American Metro to learn more about the AIMsi software. American Metro is ready to handle your software, Hardware, and integrated credit card solutions. Cost-effective and with a strong sense of customer service.

Call us at 651-645-2005 or use the button below, to receive your free quote. for more information, you can also download the AIMsi product brochure.

 AIMsi Quote Request  

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Tags: AIMsi, Golf, Online Tee Sheet