Tagmarshal on the golf course
Increasing criticism from professionals on the Tours has heightened the focus on slow play at the highest level.
But while new programmes are being introduced among the elite, at grass-roots level, many golf courses have already found a solution to members and guests’ pace-of-play concerns that not only improves the golfer experience, but also increases revenue.
Slow play is the bane of a golfer’s life – and it is no different for golf course owners, operators and managers. Golf course management system provider Tagmarshal has come to their aid with real, actionable and proven solutions to tackle the issue, improving pace and flow of play, and through this, the player experience.
The company is achieving remarkable results with some of US golf’s biggest names: prestigious courses such as US Open and US PGA Championship host venues like Baltusrol, Erin Hills, Valhalla, and Pinehurst Resort & Country Club; the TOUR Championship host East Lake Golf Club; and Ryder Cup locations such as Kiawah Island, and the 2020 host, Whistling Straits, as well as more than 200 other leading clubs.
The effect Tagmarshal has had on both the player experience and revenue generation at these clubs began to turn heads closer to home too; in Europe, Open Championship venue Carnoustie has led the way, with prestigious names like Ballybunion, Waterville, West Cliffs, Real Club de Sotogrande and Alcanada following suit.
What persuaded them to use Tagmarshal was its proven ability to optimise on-course operations and make a significant difference to a venue’s bottom line. It uses data to improve and optimise – and it has the results to prove it.
There are two systems available from Tagmarshal: Classic Tag and 2Way Mobile devices. The Classic Tag system consists of small transmitters attached to golf bags of walkers, caddies or buggies, and their locations are transmitted by GPS to Tagmarshal’s cloud servers. The real-time data, from these devices, feeds back to on-course staff, or to the pro shop, and golf office. It allows course staff to efficiently identify groups that are out of position, and intervene in a proactive, non-confrontational manner.
This results in a balanced course flow, improved player experience, consistent round times and player time freed up to spend on food and beverage and in the pro shop. Additionally, the 2Way Mobile devices offer yardage and automated, dynamic-pace updates for players to self-manage; but, true to the 2Way name, messages can also be sent to golfers on-course requesting players to move back into position or offer assistance, if required, as well as for geofencing alerts, severe weather warnings, or food and beverage orders.
What is more, marshals – who are often perceived as, and are as popular as, traffic wardens – become flow advisors and, empowered with accurate information, are able to demonstrate potential problem areas to the golfers, with clear visible data, resolving issues proactively before they affect the field flow. This allows them to focus on assisting, instead of policing, players.
Tagmarshal managing director Stephen Knoop explained: “Courses now have the tools to inform players they’re on track, or that they’re falling slightly behind. This means players no longer feel they are being policed; when players have awareness, they can self-manage better, which benefits everybody on the course and off it.”
Data shows partner courses are routinely able to shave off between 14 and 24 minutes from an average round in just six months, using Tagmarshal’s systems – the equivalent of one or more tee-times per day.
This all combines to ensure a well-balanced on-course experience, and optimised player satisfaction in what is a key factor in golfer enjoyment. At Erin Hills, an improvement of 17 minutes per round resulted in new customers and $140,000 in additional green-fee revenue last season.
And, at Carnoustie, a year-on-year increase of 29 percentage points, on the number of rounds within 10 minutes of desirable pace, contributed to the Angus resort winning the award of ‘Scotland’s Best Golf Experience’, at the recent 2019 Scottish Golf Tourism Awards.
Leanne Mirrey, Carnoustie’s head of customer experience, explained: “This year we moved over to (Tagmarshal’s) 2Way devices mid-season, and they have made remarkable results in the short time we have utilised them.
“Not only can our team monitor pace of play on and off the course, but golfers and caddies also have direct real-time results at the tips of their fingers. The Tagmarshal team has been outstanding in assisting our team every step of the way to ensure a smooth transition, and we look forward to continuing our partnership to provide a world leading golfing experience to all our guests.”
Tagmarshal is able to point to many similar testimonials from resorts and clubs of all different sizes, and Knoop added: “We are offering a service to clubs that can generate additional revenue while improving the player experience. Our partners increase golfer satisfaction while increasing the number of rounds, improving pace and flow of play, freeing up time to spend on food and beverage and in the pro shop, all generating additional revenue.”
According to a survey conducted by the United States Golf Association (USGA), in 2014, more than 74 per cent of respondents agreed strongly that pace of play was critical to their enjoyment. Not only is it affecting their pleasure, but many also stated it was causing them to play less golf, which remains a huge red revenue flag for operators.
Course feedback and data shows that through pace-of-play management and on-course optimisation, Tagmarshal is able to improve the player experience, increasing loyalty and driving repeat play, and additional F&B spend, affording material benefits to both players and operators.
Knoop concluded: “All the research continues to demonstrate that flow and on-course experience are key when it comes to keeping golfers happy and retaining their business, at all levels of golf club. The opportunity to increase revenue simultaneously is one that golf as a whole should be keen to embrace. Its enthusiasm in doing so, will go a long way to determining the future of the sport and its venues.”
For further information on Tagmarshal, please visit Tagmarshal.com, or call
Stephen Knoop on 00353 86 052 5077 or
Neil Docking on 0044 7858 003 190.