Smart course managers plan effectively to seize the (Father’s) Day

Getting in the spirit to leverage a major highlight on golf’s calendar

For a host of reasons, Father’s Day has long been a highlight of the year for golf courses. Strong operators have historically gone all-out with events, special programs and enticing offers.

Partly it’s done to maximize revenues on that Sunday (and the Saturday before), partly it’s a chance to build loyalty—and thus future business—by enriching the experience for dads and sons or daughters who choose your facility for celebrating the holiday.

At some courses, a gallery of photos showing staff members posed with their fathers gets mounted in a prominent place—all part of the sentimental atmosphere the day inspires. Another special touch that’s been used is a trivia quiz about notable father-son combinations in the game’s history—Old Tom Morris and Young Tom, the famed instructor Davis Love, Jr. and Davis III, tour players Craig and Kevin Stadler, and so forth, including local father-son combinations with recognized golf achievements.

A quick father-son (or father-daughter) team challenge out on the practice green is something that’s also been tried—closest to the cup from 60 feet for prizes, with Dad hitting the lag putt and junior playing in from there. At one upscale facility a special display of ties went up and there was a contest for children under 12 to see who had been taught by Dad to tie one into a proper knot—the winner received a silk necktie of the old man’s choosing as a gift, boxed and wrapped with a bow.

Every year, the support team at GolfNow has Father’s Day marked in bold on the calendar. Working with course clients, they encourage the use of creative themes and programs while making sure that strong, straight-ahead promotional messaging goes out and hits the right targets.

“One of our busier times of year is definitely the run-up to Father’s Day,” says Miles Markiewicz, GolfNow Plus Specialist. “Working with one of our courses to make that day a big revenue generator, we build off the branding work we’ve done on a regular basis with them.” The strategy he’s referring to is the reputation of that particular course as an active promoter of special offers and value-add opportunities. “Their push for Father’s Day is going to succeed because when their audience of golfers goes looking online they’ll be thinking, ‘I know these guys are going to have some kind of special I can take advantage of.’”

Some of them will already know the specifics about an offer, based on posts via social media that Markiewicz will have coordinated and deployed. Especially for this particular occasion, research is needed in order to target the audience in optimal fashion. “All our data and analytics at GolfNow tell us how to reach the right market for Father’s Day—it comes down to demographics and best practices,” Markiewicz explains. He has been looking at Facebook stats of late, zeroing in on the demo of males age 35-56. “We know they play lots of golf and that it’s a group with children the right age to be setting up a family booking,” he says.

The offers that work tend to be packages with add-ons like range balls, food, beverage – even pro shop merchandise – that can be selected and pre-paid. All of it would give the booking a strong hook, even though the pricing leans toward a relatively higher rate, based on projected demand. The “e-gifting” trend that has shown such growth lately is allowing GolfNow Plus Specialists to build new revenue streams for client courses—Father’s Day being an ideal application for this technology. The ItsOnMe e-commerce software can be set up to flow seamlessly through a course’s own website, opening up the opportunity for golfers to make add-on or stand-alone gift purchases with ease and lots of choices.

“When we’re working on something like Father’s Day, we get the basic promotion put together and then we look at how we can build on that with e-gifting,” says Markiewicz. “The golfer who takes advantage of it just makes a couple of clicks and now he’s got his dad a voucher for lunch or some other item.” ItsOnMe is sophisticated enough that the specialist at GolfNow can embed a single link in a social media post, so that golfers who receive it can click the link open and use it to make purchases simply and easily.

Courses in his portfolio that have worked most effectively to build a sense of community and engagement through social media will, according to Miles, catch the most interest around peak-interest dates like Father’s Day. The good news for any course that has lagged behind in this area, reports Markiewicz, is that Father’s Day is also a great community-building opportunity. So, along with providing smooth greens, cold beverages and friendly service that day, get busy taking photos and videos and otherwise capturing content that will grab attention on-screen after the fact. Archive your best reviews from that day, as well—especially the ones that mention a great outing for dads and kids, and save them for the marketing push you’ll be making next Father’s Day. It’ll be here before you know it.

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