Summer 2014 www.GolfIncMagazine.com 15
move the needle,” he said. If people try
and take up the game in their 30s and 40s,
they have a tendency to get frustrated and
give it up, he said. “I don’t think a high
percentage stick with it.”
He also holds events meant to attract
younger people, such as a flip-flop open
slated for later this summer. That means
no spikes, just flip-flops. On Fridays,
scrambles are held; teams of four try to
beat each other. Loud music and beer and
trash talking are all key components.
“We’re doing a lot of that stuff,” he said.
JEFFREY C. SMITH
“We’re trying to have some fun.”
He admits such promotions would not
go over very well at another course he
manages, Eagle Glen Golf Club, in Coro-
na, because it attracts traditional golfers.
Because one of his golf courses is located
near Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis
Cardinals, Jeffrey Smith ran into a lot of
baseball people. He became friends with
many of them.
And one suggested he do something the
Cardinals were doing to enhance revenue:
dynamic pricing. When the rival Chicago
The same could be
done for golf, he was
told. Charge more on
a sunny Saturday than
a cold and overcast
Tuesday. Heck, charge more on a sunny
Tuesday than a cold and overcast Tuesday.
“I was skeptical,” said Smith, principal
and CEO of Walters Golf Management, in
St. Louis. “And I was wrong.”
It works, he said. While a number of
courses are experimenting with the con-
cept, he’s fully embraced it. The 20 facili-
ties he owns or manages all use this dy-
namic pricing, he said.
It’s so sophisticated that prices can
change by the hour depending on de-
mand, availability and other factors. It’s so
radical that there is no fixed rate for any
tee times. The rates are always changing.
What you paid last Saturday might not be
the same as what you pay on the next Sat-
urday — even if you’re teeing off at the ex-
act same time. It could be more or it could
It depends on the variables. Too many
operators rely on straight rates and lower
them to attract golfers if demand goes
down, he said. That may attract golfers but
it won’t maximize revenue.
Dynamic pricing does, he said.
“‘Discounting’ is golf’s dirty word,”
Smith said. “We’ve removed it.” n