Summer 2014 www.GolfIncMagazine.com 29
For every wonder that technology brings,
it also sometimes brings an unexpected
Texting, for instance, is great.
Texting while driving? That’s not so
Online tee-time innovations? Fantastic!
After all, online technology allows golfers
to book tee times at their convenience. All
it takes is a couple of clicks and they’re set.
However, many golf courses rely on
outside firms, like GolfNow, to provide
the online technology. For compensation,
these third-party firms seek tee times,
which they sell from their own portals, at
Customers love the deals so much that
they expect them — all the time.
And now we have — at least some golf
course owners argue — a race to the bottom, as courses cut green fees to remain
competitive with the discounted rates.
How low do they go? Try 99 cents.
Um, that would be the bummer, these
So forget droughts or changing demographics or the economy. Some in the golf
industry fear golf’s biggest threat is third-party tee-time marketers who barter tee
Scott Merchant, who co-founded Golf
Pipeline, a booking site that doesn’t offer
such discounts, wrote on his firm’s blog:
“Unfortunately, technology and technol-
ogy firms have played a significant role in
helping to degrade the price of green fees.
In my opinion, all of the ‘marketing’ ploys
that are out there in the industry do their
best to ruin the golf course’s brand and
He’s hardly alone.
Johnny LaPonzina, president of
Professional Course Management, wrote
recently of his concerns:
“I believe the explosion and growth in
these barter tee-time practices is a serious
and imminent threat to every PGA golf
professional’s job and to every public and
Booking a round online is easier, quicker (and often cheaper) than ever.
But, while the technology is great, it’s creating a headache for operators
who are struggling with discounting. Some are concerned that third-party marketers who barter rounds are doing more harm than good by
driving down prices.
BY MIKE STETZ
Is this Golf’s