Receding daylight, back-to-school, football preseason and the FedEx Cup all point to the winding down of the 2019 golf season for much of the US and provides a little breathing room for retrospection on what worked/didn't work for your course. For a number of our readers (who tend to be planners and strategic thinkers), it also means time to start formulating their blueprint for success in 2020. An integral part of that planning is starting with an assessment of the size, shape and changes in the market.
I call this outside-inside thinking and it's standard practice in every other industry I've worked in but a relatively rare practice in golf for some reason. Part of it is that most operators work in a hyper-local business environment; they live and work in a small draw area and limited competitive set and understand the many local nuances of their communities, needs/desires and how they shift over time. That's "inside thinking" and everyone does this intuitively (they do it in varying levels and success, that's one of the differentiators between operators or anyone could run a successful golf course). Most of our progressive clients do a more formal, quantitative market analysis every other year to provide this outside-inside "check". In this issue, I'm going to outline through an example market analysis what they're looking for beyond their extensive "local knowledge":
- "Market analysis used to be hard, messy, inconsistent and inconclusive" - A quick chronology from this previous reality (back in 2001 when Pellucid entered the industry) to today's tools and approaches which are exponentially better but still lagging most every other developed industry of our size
- A quick spin through Duluth, MN - Given that there's current emotional debate around the municipal golf portfolio up north, we'll apply Pellucid's Golf Local Market Analyzer (GLMA) tool for an "outside" quantitative perspective
- How pervasive is market analysis as a planning tool vs. a retrospective diagnosis of "what went wrong?"