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Reaching more golfers

 

Hear from Director of Golf and General Manager at Grand View Golf Club, Tom Beeler.

Marketing your golf course

 

Mike Dahlstrom, VP of Sales & Hospitality at Palm Beach National Golf Course, shares his perspective on course marketing. 

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The Latest from The Index

Rising popularity of golf simulators can generate extra revenue

Oct 19, 2020

Huntingdon Country Club is enjoying its 100th anniversary in 2020 by celebrating the past while looking toward the future. Despite the ongoing health pandemic, the semiprivate club has welcomed new members and experienced a boost in rounds, creating a solid year for the bottom line. But an unexpected revenue-generating opportunity also has turned into the icing on Huntingdon’s celebration cake.

While the best-maintained greens in the area are reason enough to keep golfers coming back to Huntingdon CC, the club’s not one to rest on its laurels. Their decision to renovate an old grill room in a historic section of the clubhouse – and install a Full Swing simulator in the space – also has been a real game-changer this year.

“It really is a great enhancement,” said General Manager John Cook about the golf simulator. “It is offering extra value for the members. They are able to play golf year-round.”

Cook, a long-time member of the Huntingdon CC, was hired as the general manager in 2019 when new ownership took over the club. When he started exploring the idea of renovating the club’s old grill room, he found a large storage area he didn’t even realize existed. It was the perfect size for a simulator, 12 feet by 30 feet with 10-foot ceilings. The bar area of the grill room is highlighted by the wall of champions, a display that celebrates all past champions at the club. It inspired the grill room’s new name, the Champions Sports Bar and Indoor Golf.

To modernize the facility, Huntingdon CC bought new appliances for the kitchen and new furniture for the bar. The entire room was repainted to match new flooring. Two TVs hang on the wall in the bar, and there’s another in the simulator room. After researching which simulator to buy, Cook settled on Full Swing with the updated E6 software. It allows golfers to play some of the world’s best courses, such as Pebble Beach Golf Links, Bethpage Black and Oakmont.

The new bar and simulator room debuted late last December. The winter leagues that started in February surpassed Cook’s expectations by attracting 20 two-person teams. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic shut down the bar and the league in the spring but Cook already had seen its potential. A new season will begin again in January and Cook has high hopes that the leagues will gain in popularity.

“My original goal was 10 or 12 two-person teams,” he said. “They like the bar. They like to play golf in the winter. It only takes an hour to play nine holes. It definitely will grow.”

Cook has already seen a difference in his own game: “It feels like real golf. It has helped my game tremendously. I would not touch a club until April (in the past). Now I play November through March.”

The simulator is also open to the public to rent by the hour. Families and businesses can rent out the entire bar for birthday parties or corporate events. A new menu serves pub-style food centered around appetizers and other items that are quick to make – pizza, chicken wings, soups, nachos and more. In addition to golf, the Full Swing simulator offers a variety of other games, where participants can pitch a baseball, hit slap shots at a hockey goalie or throw dodgeballs to knock out zombies.

“It’s like playing video games on your own big-screen TV,” Cook said. “That brings a family atmosphere. I’ve had members bring their kids out to play games. We want to promote that more. We can get 50 people in bar comfortably. With the way it is remodeled, it feels like a very nice tavern. From club standpoint, it is a source of additional revenue in the off-season. It helps us to brand our country club in the community that this is a great place to come. It is a key part of our future business plan.”

Click here to learn more about how GolfNow can help you unlock revenue potential by bringing a Full Swing Golf Simulator to your clubhouse.


PMP Boosts Exposure for Destination Golf Markets During Health Pandemic

Oct 13, 2020

The travel industry has been on shaky ground as of late due to the ramifications of COVID-19. Traditionally flooded with out-of-state visitors checking in with golf clubs in hand, some golf resorts and top courses throughout the U.S. have seen the flow at that tap slow to a drip and now are looking at alternative solutions to fill the gaps.

Some good news was heralded in by the National Golf Foundation, whose data revealed that traveling golfers’ desire to play different courses during the health pandemic has not waned, but now they’re getting to the course by car rather than by air. Two out of three golfers said they will be driving to their next destination this year – even up to seven hours – which has grabbed the attention of marketers now busy shifting their marketing efforts to accommodate a more regional and local focus.

For any golf course looking for that extra marketing edge to help fill its tee sheet and heighten its presence within its market, GolfNow’s Premium Marketing Program (PMP) is a time-tested, enhanced solution.

“PMP is gaining a stronger foothold in the marketplace,” said Jennifer Hanson, National Sales Director for GolfNow Partnerships. “It targets the right golfer at the right moment with the right message to drive traffic to a golf course’s booking engine on GolfNow.

“These additional eyeballs, paired with a high conversion rate, leads to more bookings and, ultimately, more revenue for the participating golf course,” she said. “Our partnership goal is to drive more local traffic to your course, as well as help you stand out to the traveling golfer unfamiliar with the courses in your area.”

Eligible partner courses who invest in PMP benefit from a wide array of advantageous placements and optimized positioning on both GolfNow and Teeoff. The clearest advantage is top placement among the search results seen by golfers when shopping online in a particular market. That top placement has enough prominence to be a real advantage. Other added benefits, like Instagram take-overs, assistance with stay-and-play packages through Golf Advisor, and opportunities for exposure on GOLF Channel’s Morning Drive, are reserved for PMP participants. The product-development team at GolfNow has tweaked and improved the program steadily, using performance analytics along with feedback from course operators. The revenue record over that period tells a powerful tale of effectiveness.

“I realize a lot of courses don’t have the resources, time or expertise to stay on top of their marketing, which makes it more imperative to use the Premier Marketing Program,” said Joe Dahlstrom, Chief Operating Officer, Paradigm Golf Group. Paradigm manages a portfolio of more than 15 private, resort and daily fee golf facilities throughout the U.S., including Bali Hai Golf Club in Las Vegas, Nev.; Dobson Ranch Golf Course in Mesa, Ariz.; Palm Beach National Golf and Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Maui Nui Golf Club in Hawaii.

“For no out-of-pocket expense, you can have some of the industry’s best marketers keep your property top of mind through digital, social and email campaigns,” he said. “In addition, being part of PMP gives you access to top quality data and the ability to reach new customers with special offers, branding messages and more.  We have had huge success with the program.”

PMP golf courses are part of an exclusive group, with just over 1,300 enrolled in the program. Being a good fit is all about how engaged and energized an operator is, and whether the course’s strategic ideas align with the concepts on which PMP is based.

A welcome destination for golfers since 1972, Palmbrook Country Club in Sun City, Ariz., has never been a course to rest on its laurels, making it a great PMP partner. “The PMP program has been great for gaining access to golfers that we weren’t exposed to before,” said Director of Golf Mark Kruse, who joined the PMP program in July. “It also broadened our reach with golfers online and our social media platforms have gotten more popular since we started.”

PMP courses are also featured in daily emails to the platform’s golfer database, which are geo-based. A major benefit is appearing in the “Best Bets” email—this is exclusive to the PMP level of partnership and when you land in that spot you are the only option the golfer—arriving with cash in hand and intention to buy a tee time—will see.

“That’s 100 percent share of voice,” says Hanson, with emphasis on the once-weekly email, “which by any measure is a huge value.” In addition to that exclusive Best Bets positioning, participating courses also gain access to the “Book Early” email. It spotlights PMP partners and is delivered to golfers’ inboxes based on their booking behavior and similar course interests.

To learn more about the PMP program, click here


GOLFNOW Industry Headlines: October 13, 2020

Oct 13, 2020

HEADLINES FROM THIS PAST WEEK: