If you were running a restaurant, you’d want to know whether customers were satisfied with their meal, if they would recommend your place to their friends, and if they planned to come back.
Everyone in the golf business needs to be asking those same questions.
Customer satisfaction, the likelihood to recommend and to return are the three pillars of customer loyalty research. They’re also the key components to the NGF’s Golfer Dedication measure, which was introduced in this year’s Participation Report as a way to quantify the commitment of golf’s customers.
We measure satisfaction by asking golfers how much fun playing golf is for them.
Likelihood to return is based on their answer to the question of how likely they are to continue playing golf in the future, assuming they’re healthy and financially able.
Golfers are also asked how likely they are to recommend the game to someone (sometimes called “the ultimate question”) and, lastly, how they would classify themselves on a five-point golf passion scale, what we call here at NGF our “Nuts to Nots” scale of avidity.
After combining golfer’s scores on these four measures, we then segment golfers into three groups: “most dedicated,” “dedicated,” and “least dedicated.”
What our research shows is that there are between 19 and 20 million “dedicated” golfers who account for approximately 94% of all rounds played and spending in golf.
What’s perhaps most encouraging is that 80 percent of golfers are dedicated to playing the game and say they are likely to continue for years to come.
The research shows dedication has little to do with how old you are or how much income you have. Additionally, you don’t need to be a low-handicapper to be dedicated. Our most dedicated golfers play bogey golf, on average. What matters most is how much “fun” golf is to you.
How about your golf business?
Whether you make golf equipment, run a golf course, or provide some other golf product or service, do you know how loyal your customers are? Do they recommend you? Are they planning to stick with you?
Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting, said that the purpose of business is to “create and keep customers.” Accordingly, all of us in the golf business should always be asking ourselves how we’re doing on customer creation and retention. Are we doing everything we can to attract new customers? Are we innovating fast enough to keep them?
These questions apply equally to the game itself and to all of the businesses that serve those who play.
To continue to prosper into the future we all need to create and keep more customers.
(Top photo courtesy of Golf Tourism Solutions)
Joe is in his 35th year with the NGF and has served as President and Chief Executive since 1989. One of the industry's leading experts on the business of golf, Joe has published a myriad of studies and reports about the state of the game and, as a speaker, is frequently asked to provide insight and information on consumer and economic trends affecting golf's present and future.