Pro tips

Why every golf manager should know of the chain of touchpoints

As a golf club manager, do you fully grasp the factors influencing the golfer's experience? Beyond the lush greens and fun rounds, there exists a web of interactions that shape the whole experience of being a member or guest at golf clubs – and these interactions are known as the chain of touchpoints.

Lucas Balleby
November 12, 2023

A golfer steps onto the crisp green with the sun casting a golden glow over the freshly cut course. Next, the golfer is greeted by friendly on-course staff and informed about the current pace of play. After the round, it's time to dive into the restaurant's spot-on menu and look at various products at the shop.

This is a great example of a golfer's journey, an experience shaped by many factors – the chain of touchpoints.

The chain of touchpoints is like a never-ending web of interactions between golfers and the club, where each interaction helps shape the overall experience. A smooth booking system, a warm welcome at the entrance, and communication about course maintenance are some elements that make up the links in the chain.

Paying attention to every link is what sets successful golf clubs apart. And the better you are at enhancing all the links, the higher the chances you'll provide a nice experience, increasing the loyalty and lifetime value of members and guests.

One of the methods to discover, understand, and improve the touchpoints at your club is customer experience management. This tool helps you manage and get an overview of the golfer's journey from start to finish, making it easier to get going.

The chain of touchpoints.
Figure 1: The chain of touchpoints. Source: Players 1st

Because, at first glance, it seems complicated to know where to begin when talking about touchpoints. Perhaps, the focus quickly turns towards the course since this is often seen as the main product. While the course surely impacts the overall experience, the golfer's journey goes beyond the round itself, both before and after it takes place.

When a brief greeting turns into profit at the restaurant

A thriving golf club is like a finely tuned machine, where every touchpoint work together. And focusing solely on upgrading one part of the machine doesn't necessarily make it run more smoothly. If one part of the golfer's journey is lagging, improving another already well-run area will not simply make up for it.

Yet, acknowledging every part of the journey can sometimes be challenging. For example, having the energy to greet every member and guest can be tough during a stressful day at the club. Even though it seems harmless to forget a simple greeting like a handshake or nod, it could potentially lead to the golfer deciding not to visit the restaurant after their round, resulting in a loss of potential revenue for the club.

And how does that work?

If the restaurant struggles to draw in golfers, it's not just about the menu. Data indicates that negative episodes during the golfer’s experience make it less likely that the golfer will end up at the restaurant after the round.

The players journey - the chain of touchpoints.
Figure 2: The data is withdrawn from U.S. clubs pre-COVID-19 and are based on guest experiences. Source: Players 1st

Understanding the journey is the first step towards satisfaction

In golf, the journey is as important as the destination. Sure, a gorgeous course will make every golfer happy. But if the rest of the experience is so-so, it will most likely impact your Net Promoter Score (NPS). In short, this powerful metric shows if members and guests will recommend your club to others. And their answers are often a result of whether your chain of touchpoints makes up an overall experience worth recommending.

If you want to provide better experiences at your club, understanding the journey your members and guests go through is a great place to start. The next step will be using NPS as a compass that guides golf clubs in evaluating touchpoints and service areas, shedding light on where the golfer's journey might fall short.

By understanding and optimizing these touchpoints, golf clubs can create an atmosphere that leaves golfers not only eager to return but excited to share their experiences with others, which you can use in your marketing as well.

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