Submitted by Kevin D. Rubel, Dr. Randall Griffiths and Dr. Annette Craven
The golf industry has become a highly volatile space due in part to recent economic troubles. Combining an increase in the number of courses with a shrinking number of rounds of golf being played has resulted in competition reaching new levels of intensity. Golf course managers are seeking new ways to respond to the increased competition. Some are introducing new and interesting amenities to retain and attract golfers to their courses. Recently, amenities in the form of new technologies have been developed and made available that aim to enhance the golfers playing experience. Websites now have the capability to provide online tee reservation systems similar to hotel reservations systems that allow golfers to start their game with a minimum of disruptions upon arriving at the course. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) make it easier to see where you are in relation to the hole, how far you are from the green, and which particular club you choose to make each shot. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a new technology that includes putting a transmitter in the ball and using handheld receiver to track the ball, allowing the golfer to find the ball quicker. However the return for investing in these new technologies has not been assessed. The need to assess the impact of this technology is especially important given that the typical golfer is older and my not value the types of technology being implemented. A survey of 56 golfers of all ages, playing levels, and experience was conducted to determine which factors impact a golfer’s choice to play a particular course, with technology being the main focus. The results indicate there are moderate correlations between demographics items and these new technologies. However, these correlations do not provide as much predictability as other factors typically used in customer segmentation. Several interesting significant correlations were found between gender and price as well as gender and location that could be of beneficial use for future study. Implications for golf course practice are discussed.