An Open Letter to the Golf Industry Owners, Directors, Managers, and Golf Professionals
Why a Centralized Information Technology System is Necessary in the Golf Industry
By Lee J.H. Lee, CPGA
What happens when you post something on Twitter or Facebook?
The information gets shared across the world instantly. This immediate horizontal flow of information is the greatest advantage that internet has over any other method of communication. However, while golf courses make use of many forms of online technology, the current industry marketing strategy focuses too narrowly on vertical flow of information (intra-net capacity) and it has fail to capture the full capability of the inter-net.
My name is Lee J.H. Lee and I am a member of Canadian Professional Golf Association. Before coming to the golf industry, my background was in political research field. I studied political science at University of Calgary from 2000 to 2005 and I specialized in researching the effect of internet on the operation of government. I will explain why this carries any relevance in examining the current state of the golf industry.
All information that is collected and shared within Canadian government agencies only moves vertically between federal government and provincial legislatures. In other words, when you submit information to a local authority, the information can move to different levels of authority (ex. provincial to federal government institutions) but the information does not get shared between same levels of government (ex. province to province). Sovereignty and political responsibilities of governments are constitutionally divided, thus inter-provincial sharing of information is not necessary and in many cases, it is constitutionally not possible. In short, Canadian federalism was incompatible with the inter-sharing nature of the information technology.
In order to overcome the conflict, the government had to come up with a new centralized infrastructure that can better gather, share and process information among government agencies. The creation of a centralized IT infrastructure has contributed and led to more efficient and effective means of serving the general public at large.
This state of dilemma resembles the current state of golf industry. There are numerous opportunities to gather information via individual golf course websites, booking system and social media (as an intra-net, vertical flow capacity) yet there is no effective cross inter-sharing system (horizontal flow of information between golf courses) that can benefit the golf industry as a whole and strengthen the position against other competing industries.
THE NEXT STEP
In order to strengthen our industry, there is a need for a centralized online system that can bring inter-sharing capability to industry’s current intra-capacity only information system.
STARTING THE PROCESS: THREE PHASES
PROGRAMS & BENEFITS
- iProshop: The first phase of the program is the iProshop (www.iProshop.ca). iProshop is a free online service provided by the Links Times (LiveGolfNews.com). It is currently available to all proshops in BC and it provides an inventory-tracking tool that is searchable by the general public. By utilizing this technology, iProshop can determine what items are most searched and match the data to a geographical area. Your course can benefit by carrying items that are determined to be in high demand.
- Central System for Booking Junior Programs and Camps: This program can match the demand to a geographical area. It will be integrated into the iProshop once the first phase of the program is in full use.
- Central Tee-time Booking System: The last phase of the program will resemble that of a central online booking system for travel industry like Expedia or Travelocity. This centralized system can determine the following information:
- Population of golfers in the region
- Population of online booking golfers in the region
- Consumer Behaviour
- Average rounds played
- Grouping characteristics
- Booking characteristics (Who and how tee-times are booked. We can also distinguish local bookings from out-of-area bookings)
- Most searched tee-times (date and time) at your course and in the region
- Most booked tee-times at your course and in the region
- Most Valued (dollar value per minute) tee-times
- Proshop Products
- Most searched items in the region
- Consumer search behaviour such as when, where, what and how products are searched
In order to integrate all three phases of the program, every golf course simply has to use and market the program. This will require MINIMAL EFFORT on your part as the system will be automated once the iProshop is incorporated into your existing program. All marketing materials will be provided to you as well.
Every golf course has its own tracking system. Whether it is a twitter account or an online booking system or a website or a manual tee-sheet, these retain valuable information that can be beneficial to your course and to the industry. The centralized system can better track behaviours of golfing public and the information can be processed to benefit your course and the golf industry as a whole.
When a consumer requires information, they search for it. The process remains the same with or without the internet. Internet has expedited the searching method yet this acceleration of process is not the greatest asset of the technology. The centralized system can bring full power of internet to your golf course and further, it can strengthen and make the golf industry viable in Canada.
Posted on March 26, 2012 7:40pm by Lee J.H. Lee
Please contact me with any questions or suggestions.