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August 01, 2016
Five Questions: Jared Williams, Golf USA Tee Time Coalition
What is the Golf USA Tee Time Coalition?
The Golf USA Tee Time Coalition is a joint initiative between the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) and the PGA of America, dedicated to providing solutions to some of the challenges of online tee time distribution.
The Coalition primarily exists to increase awareness and promote adoption of online tee time standards and best practices. We’re creating baselines for those companies that promote, distribute, and have access to a golf course’s distressed inventory. Just as the hospitality industry has Hotwire, Priceline, etc. In the golf industry there are “Online Tee Time Agents” selling green fees that a golf course might otherwise struggle to fill.
Why is this a hot topic amongst course owners, operators and PGA professionals?
Initially, golf courses wanted to market its courses to a broader audience. Many golf courses did not include marketing expenses in its annual budget because they couldn’t afford traditional marketing services or they simply did not want to pay for them.
As a result, online agents began offering services at no cost (online marketing, advertisements, various software services). In recent years, the barter option has attracted golf course operators who may lack the resources or willingness to pay for marketing services using traditional methods of compensation.
NGCOA and the PGA of America represent the supply side of the golf industry. Online tee time agents are the distributors, which routinely sell tee times at greater than 50% of the golf course’s normal daily fee or rack rate. The Coalition is working to make sure all golf courses are able to negotiate and establish maximum allowable discounts for online tee time agents.
What should the general consumer know about the Golf USA Tee Time Coalition?
For general consumers, the Coalition website (www.teetimecoalition.org) is a great place to visit to get a better understanding of the relationship between online tee time agents and golf courses.
Golfers are loyal by nature – from the brand of balls and clubs they play, to the shoes and gloves they wear, and even down to the course they play. Right now, golf courses are in a “tug-of-war” for the golfer’s loyalty with online tee time agents who lead with the message of discounted tee times.
Many golfers are surprised to learn that some golf courses earn little to nothing when golfers book on websites like GolfNow, TeeOff.com and Golf18 Network. Often times, this is because the golf course has paid for the services using barter. Payment by barter gives the online tee time agent the ability to control the price of the tee time (entire foursome) and keep all revenue from the eventual sale of that particular tee time. Typically, golf courses pay for their services by bartering at least 1-2 tee times per day.
What is the best part for you about working in golf?
The best part about my job is that I get to work around a game that has been so good to me. Through the game of golf, I’ve learned a lot about myself and basic principles that guide me daily: integrity, honesty, ethics.
Playing golf provided a means to pay for my college education and it has always been a goal of mine to give back to the game by working in the golf industry.
In my current role, I’m helping to ensure the viability of golf courses. It’s very easy to put in a lot of hours in the office and not even feel like I am working, as this is such an important role for the industry. I truly want to see golf courses thrive. The goal is for golf courses to have mutually beneficial relationships with online tee time agents – where golf courses view them as partners, rather than parties competing for golfer loyalty.
For those who want to find out more about the Golf USA Tee Time Coalition, where can they find educational materials and resources?
In order for the Golf USA Tee Time Coalition to be most effective, course owners and
The Coalition is currently monitoring trends in the online tee time space. Owners, operators and PGA professionals are encouraged to report concerns to the Coalition. We are categorizing the concerns by type, frequency, location and company. The voluntary standards created by the Coalition will be released in December 2016 along with a report card and rubric detailing how each company fared in the marketplace.
Jared Williams is the Managing Director of Golf USA Tee Time Coalition.
Learn more about him: Faces of Golf.