Page 16 - GBC Eng winter 2021
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 Source: Back-To -Normal Barometer, September 16, 2021
Golf Business Canada
unemployed and displaced during the pandemic, many of whom were being subsidized by government stipends (such as CERB). The results of the research affirmed that over a third of these “COVID unemployed” were willing to remain on the sidelines. Further, our findings informed and foreshadowed what many are labeling as “the great resignation,” where the pandemic and a greater focus on alignment of one’s personal values and those of hiring organizations continues to fuel a significant worker shortage, high turnover and increased wage pressures.
In ongoing interviews and discussions with golf course superintendents, architects and facility operators, the issue of finding and retaining quality labour at competitive rates remains a primary concern, particularly on the course maintenance side. Our research has consistently shown the quality of the green complex and overall course conditions to be at the top of the list of golfer satisfaction drivers. If perceived quality falters, and if golf facilities cannot profitably maintain relatively better service and overall customer experience than presently struggling competitive leisure activi- ties, we risk regressing back to pre-pandemic levels.
So, the ultimate questions for golf facility operators and the industry as a whole surround not only the duration of the surge, but what proactive measures should be taken to continue to exploit and prolong it. Therein lies the Goldilocks metaphor, that is so germane to finding the right answers. What is too hot? What is too cold? And what is “just right” in terms of your consumer facing strategy and marketing messaging?
As the Barometer and other custom research that we have conducted over the last twenty months have shown, we are living in an incredibly divisive time. Our Barometer subscribers have marveled, along with us, at the “Two divisions of North America” that have emerged and the deepening of the gulf between them, over the course of the pandemic. While golf may be largely removed from the chasm of partisan legislative politics, there is also a variety of experiential needs and desires that golf facility operators, OEMs and others servicing the game must be quite mindful of.
As I alluded to earlier, one of the byproducts of the pandemic golf surge and the dedicated efforts of many in the game, is that we have made great strides and put strong industry focus on making golf more egalitarian. In late September, nearly two thirds of golfers agreed with the statement,
“In late September, nearly two thirds of golfers agreed with the statement, “There are more new golfers playing the game now than there were at this time, last year.”
“There are more new golfers playing the game now than there were at this time, last year.” We’ve seen the proliferation of alternate golf facilities. Nine hole rounds continue to be popular and we can directly attest from some of our recent work, to the benefits of steering golfers towards proper tee box selection based on one’s abili- ties and desired experience.
We’ve also done some formal and informal attitudinal golfer segmentation over the past year plus. The slight tinges of grey in what remains of my hair are perhaps reflective of the fact that I did my first golfer segmentation work of this type, while a PGA of America staffer, nearly three decades ago. Looking back at the evolution of who the golfer is and has become, provides compelling

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