The Smartphone - here to stay !

The number of golf clubs now considering a Smartphone App has grown by 1000% in the previous six months up to March of 2013, according to the Golf Club Management website ( meaning that it is one of the fastest trends in golf club history.

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind now that the Smartphone revolution is not a passing craze, indeed many have equated it to the period when electronic typewriters gave way to the Personal Computer.

Here in the UK and in many parts of Europe over 60% of mobile phone users own a Smartphone and figures now show that the amount of time spent using a Smartphone to go online for research, shopping, booking tickets, accessing our bank accounts, etc. is fast becoming more popular than on a PC or Laptop.

So having accepted these facts then golf clubs are beginning to realise that in order to market themselves more effectively in the 21st century they really need to seriously consider the merits of having their own App.

Golf Club or Golf Course App !

However in these difficult times it is very easy to overlook priorities and for the vast majority of golf clubs it is falling membership and the accompanying reduction in revenues that are of critical importance.

So developing an App that is aimed at the membership, whilst having a lot of excellent benefits for members, the problem is that there is a danger of being seduced into "having our own App” without analysing its long term financial viability.

The bottom line is that a golf club is a service provider that has two distinct clientele; the members and the visitors

From an App’s perspective these are two very different groups who are fundamentally poles apart when it comes to the way they look at a golf club, what they demand from a golf club and the experiences they have when they're at the golf club.

The Members Smartphone App

The Members Smartphone App is mainly about better communications.

As a high percentage of golfers now have Smartphones then they will have it with them around the clock and so it has become an essential way for golf clubs to get in touch with their members. This would be for all the reasons one would normally want to get in touch such as for competition entries and results, social functions, booking tee times, club news, course condition, and many other subjects and so gone are the days when they had to rely on members reading the club notice board... although they are of course still actively used in all golf clubs.

The use of GPS incorporated into Smartphone Apps so that golfers can easily calculate the distance their ball is from the hole is another feature that can be included in a membership App and have great appeal for the members.

However there is one aspect of a Golf Club Members App which is, when you stop and think about it, quite strange and that is they very often include a guide to the golf course! The very last thing a member needs is a guide to the golf course...

Even a GPS system is questionable because they will know every single blade of grass on the course, know exactly what each hole is like to play and what clubs to use in all weather conditions known to man!

However this is NOT the case for the visiting golfer and hence why a golf club should think very carefully about their priorities and set down a Smartphone strategy.

The Visitors Smartphone App

Every year the KPMG Golf Benchmark Surveys show that the main criteria for the golf tourist in choosing where to go for their next golf holiday are the quality of the golf courses. Whether they’re a golf tourist or a group of golfers looking to have a day’s golf somewhere the same issue applies... what the golf course is like!

Golfers have different likes and dislikes when it comes to golf courses just as they do in most other areas of their lives and so it is only natural that they will want to do a bit of research online and as we have said earlier a great deal of this will now be on their Smartphone.

The visiting golfer not only wants to know what the golf course is like but also what the green fees are, what discounts are available for groups, what facilities and services you offer, can they book a tee time online, directions for getting to the course, a look at the scorecard and any other general information that may be useful for a days golfing.

With the exception of tee time booking then none of the other items would be of any interest to the golf club member!

Budgets and Affordability

Falling membership in recent years has seen an increase in the number of travelling golfers... golfing nomads... who enjoy playing different golf courses on a regular basis. There has also been a general increase in the level of society golfers and so whilst membership revenues may have fallen this is being compensated for by increased green fees for many golf clubs.

However it isn’t just falling subscription fees but the increase in utilities and the costs of keeping a golf club in top rate condition that also have a diminishing effect on profit levels.

So given the above facts which to a greater or lesser degree are faced by most golf clubs in the UK then in UGolf Media’s view it is very important to consider the following;

Do we need to increase green fee revenues?

Do we need to encourage members to spend more?

If the answer is Yes to either or both then you need to seriously consider having a Smartphone mobile app and is then a question of affordability which in these very difficult times then you need to decide who to target; the member or the visitor.

How UGolf Media can help

UGolf Media build image rich Course Guide Mobile Apps which are extremely cost effective, have no ongoing monthly fees and are designed to target the visiting golfer with the sole intention of seducing them to come and play your golf course.

This would be marketed via your website, emails and stationary, adverts, indeed in any way that you would normally communicate with golfers and for a cost equivalent to the green fees from a small golf society then you should recover those costs within a very short period of time.

We can even incorporate a sponsors branding so that there would be zero cost and long term profitability even if the sponsor was changed every year (UGM would have to make a charge for these changes) but we do leave the sourcing of the sponsor to you as we know our strengths!

We can also build a members app designed to your exact specifications but this would have to be priced seperately and would depend entirely on those specifications.

With both of these Apps we do not charge any ongoing monthly fees.

Our only ongoing fees are the annual hosting fee of £45 per application.

To view our Course Guide demo please scan the QR Code shown below with your Smartphone QR Code reader or alternatively enter your email address in the box provided and click send but read that email in your Smartphone. You will find a link in that email which when tapped will take you to the demo.

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