Regarding the Golf Course Operator’s Bill of Rights…Published on 3rd April 2018 in Latest News, Promotion Links
I read NGCOA CEO Jay Karen’s article about the Golf Course Operator’s Bill of Rights with interest. But I came away from it wondering what Jay and members of his association (of which we are an affiliate) expect of their vendors and how they manage their relationships with their vendors.
First and foremost, we fully support the spirit of the Bill of Rights. Golf course operators should be empowered to advocate for themselves and protect their business interests against third-party vendors whose activity might negatively impact their bottom lines.
What strikes me about Jay’s article is the disconnect between partnerships with third-party vendors, sellers, or marketing agencies and course operators when it comes to the actual bargain that was negotiated. For example, I feel that Groupon and GolfNow are two of the worst things a golf course can do to sell tee times, but I also believe each of these third-parties are at least transparent in what they offer.
It’s the long-term impact of using these services that has caught some off guard.
I’ve spoken to some operators who express buyer’s remorse when it comes to their deals with third-party discounters. Anybody who has studied how price affects markets (economists and salespeople) could have predicted the impact GolfNow and Groupon would have on green fee prices and customer loyalty.
I’ve also spoken with operators who seem timid to adopt new tools or practices for fear that there will be some unintended consequence or fine print that traps them. Inaction is costly and harmful to individual courses and an industry that requires collaboration to “grow the game.”
Perhaps a valuable solution might be a guiding document of how to manage negotiations and expectations when it comes to dealing with vendors and agencies. This could prevent many of the “I didn’t know what I was getting myself into” conversations that no doubt occur at association meet-ups.