Using Subscriptions to Maximize Revenue

Let’s cut to the chase: golf courses can add a predictable revenue stream by starting a subscription model at their facility.

In the last couple of years, as we’ve worked with partners like Supreme and management companies who have needed unique functionality, we’ve started to see the value of this “subscription golf” model—one which adds an element of consistency that many public golf courses don’t often enjoy.

We believe the industry as a whole can benefit from the strategy, which is why one of our product managers presented about the subscription golf model during our annual User Summit in May 2021. 

The blog post below is a summary of Christian’s presentation. The information presented has been collected over the past two years, in coordination with Supreme Golf and client facilities.

foreUP clients who want to learn how to use the system to create this program for their course can reach out to their Sr. Account Manager (email to be connected with yours.) 

Using Subscriptions to add Predictable Revenue to your Golf Course

a presentation by Christian Arntsen, Product Manager, in May of 2021 at the virtual foreUP User Summit. 

I think given the last year, we can all agree that predictable revenue would be pretty stellar and any opportunity to take advantage of that would be ideal.

First, I’d like to point out that there are two important numbers when it comes to your golfers. The first is going to be A, the number of rounds that they are playing at your golf course, and the second is B, the number of rounds they play total, whether it’s at your course or all courses.

Golfers want to be better at golf, and I don’t think anybody would disagree that the better they get at golf, the more they play. So the better they are at golf the more the B number increases.


Creating Weatherproof Revenue

So really the question arises: how do we help golfers to play better? I’m going to explain how our subscription model can really drill into that and help you as an operation to develop better golfers while still collecting money.

All golf courses should have some form of distressed inventory. It could be low occupancy on a Tuesday afternoon, every course is unique and every course knows what those distressed inventory times are.

Typically, we see a course that has distressed inventory turn to a third-party marketplace to help offset that inventory, to fill those times, but we all know the shortcomings and the traps associated with that. You lose ownership of your customers, and they’re not somebody you can market to in the future without collecting their data.

Some customers will only visit your course if there is a deal going on in a third-party marketplace, so we want to make sure that you’re capturing those customers and maximizing the number of times they’re coming into your facility.

Most clubs don’t have a highly utilized ancillary revenue stream. Every course I’ve been to has some form of clinic via lessons or has had a range. So how can we kind of wrap this all into a single experience at your facility so you can drive up revenue?

The foreUP subscription model seeks to package the underperforming areas of your operation into a product that a member is going to pay for monthly. The monthly fees create a weatherproof revenue stream for you, which is really awesome because we all know that when a thunderstorm rolls in nobody’s golfing and that is lost revenue.

But if a customer is paying for a monthly subscription then is it lost revenue? The answer is no, and that’s what we’re aiming for.


Making Subscriptions Work for You

You can tailor your subscription to help fill tee times. If your Tuesdays are historically really slow, maybe this subscription says that on Tuesdays golf is free for pass holders who pay 45 a month, or they get a free bucket of balls.

You know what it’s going to take to get those golfers in because you know your golfers. Your account manager can really help you to understand how to build those scenarios out to meet the specific needs of your customers.

One thing that I really like about subscription management is that a lot of courses have had concerns with in the past was requiring customers to keep a card on file. The fear may be that the customer is just going to go online and remove the card.

Well, the system is smart enough to know that they shouldn’t let the customer do that, so if they have a recurring subscription attached to their profile it will not let them remove the last applied payment method. They would either have to add a new one to remove the old one, or they would have to wait till their pass or subscription is canceled.

There is so much more that could be covered, and that’s where you’re going to need to lean on your account manager to help build the right subscription model for your operation.

I would highly recommend that you spend some time looking into this, see the pros and cons, how many of your customers are already pass holders, and how many of them you think would be more likely to switch to a monthly.

I can tell you this much: we’ve seen great success at courses that have implemented this and we know that it can work for you, but we don’t know your operation the way you do, so the experts on our side coupled with your knowledge is going to be an awesome pair.

Not a foreUP client? Get a demo today.

Christian Arntsen is a former foreUP product manager.