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February 2017 Industry Report

With the Super Bowl this past weekend, I thought you might find the following relevant.


NFL versus the PGA Tour

Golf, like all activities, sports, and hobbies, is competing for a slice of a consumer’s time.


You might find of interest golf isn’t the only sport “taking it on the chin.”


The NFL Wild Card games averaged 30 million viewers this year, down 7%.


To put it in perspective, the 2016 Masters had a viewership of 8 million. Average “run of the mill” PGA Tour events average between 2-4 million viewers.


What does this teach us? Yes, we need to be proactive. Yes, we need to nurture programs to help grow the game. But, we must recognize we are not a sport/industry for everyone. On a typical Sunday afternoon, only 1% of television viewers are watching golf. Shouldn’t we target this 1% to play more, versus “shooting in the bucket” for new players?


Here are a couple of interesting facts per the National Golf Foundation and Forbes. I think they provide a snapshot into our industry’s future and possible opportunities:


(1)  In 1998, high school boys’ golf team participation peaked at 167,000 players (ponder: where are the next generation of players going to come from).

(2)  Since 2006, each year more courses have closed than opened (ponder: supply/demand is sorting itself out).

(3)  Of the courses that closed, 66% charged less than $40 guest fees during peak season and 97% were public (ponder: what does that say about golfing demographics).

(4)  Fathers with children under 18 spend an average of 2.6 hours per week participating in sports. Mothers are even less at 1.4 hours. (ponder: how long does it take to play 18 holes).

(5)  Last year, 618,365 spectators attended the Waste Management Phoenix Open (ponder: golf is still a cool sport).

(6)  Florida is the top state for golf with 1,000+ courses. Surprisingly, Michigan has more courses than California. (ponder: how do seasonal clubs manage revenues versus courses open all year).


Passing the Skim Test

The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, from November 2016, report 5.2 million Americans were hired during the month. That’s a lot resumes to review!


According to Monster.com, their top advice to write the “perfect” resume:


(1)  Determine your objective.

(2)  Clearly and concisely state your qualifications.

(3)  Highlight your sought-after skills.

(4)  Find a way to have your resume stand out.


Crafting an effective marketing message is no different.


Picture yourself sitting at a desk with 100 resumes to review. My guess is within 5 minutes your stack would be narrowed to 10.


Consumers reviewing a Facebook, magazine, or website ad are no different. They very quickly determine if they will engage with your message.


Thus, it is critical to produce content that passes the skim test and leads to deeper interest.


Look at your website as a first-time visitor. Does your critical information jump off the screen? Do you effectively sell yourself within three seconds of viewing? If not, consider investing time and resources into establishing what your brand stands for.


Picture is worth a thousand words

We live in a visual world. Dedicate one hour of your time and print out your homepage and the homepages of your direct competitors. Then, gather a focus group of five. How do you stack up? Is it time to invest in new photography? Tip: Most websites are moving toward a video intro-roll. With the proliferation of drones, the cost of producing video content has dramatically dropped. The downside. Often the video is herky-jerky, jarring, and moves to fast. If you are going to introduce video, do it right.


A smart crisis management move

The golf clubs along the coast from Vero Beach to Hilton Head suffered greatly during Hurricane Matthew. During my trip, last week, I heard of what I thought was a brilliant and proactive move on the part of one general manager. With the hurricane expected to take direct aim at his club, the general manager contacted a tree trimming company 48 hours in advance and made a deal. The agreement: I hire your team for the next 10 days at 150% of normal pay and you store your equipment on-site. His thinking? It will be easier and quicker to “cut yourself out” versus “cut your way in.” Both the club and tree trimming company took a gamble. If the hurricane missed the area, the tree trimming company had steady work at 50% above the regular rate. If the hurricane hit, the tree trimming company would likely be giving up the opportunity to charge 300% more. Similarly, the club risked paying 50% more for regular tree work if the hurricane missed…but had a guarantee of labor should the worst-case scenario happen (which it did).


Update: Kirtland Golf Ball

In last month’s report, I discussed the threat of Costco’s highly regarded golf ball and its threat to pricing. It looks more and more likely this was a “one time” buy from Costco. Currently the golf ball is unavailable and multiple reports suggest it was distressed inventory of golf balls that Costco purchased – not a major push by the retailer for a long-term position in golf.


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