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U is for Utilisation…

This week we wanted to discuss utilisation and how it can influence green fee price. Historically, golf courses have used a weekday and weekend price, and then more recently ‘early bird’, ‘morning’, ‘afternoon’ and ‘twilight’ pricing has become popular.

The idea behind this pricing strategy was to help drive demand to where the course was quiet, however some courses went down this pricing route in order to compete in the local market, rather than taking into consideration when their golf course was utilised. Pricing based on competition is just one factor to consider when creating a pricing strategy, much like utilisation is a factor (albeit an important one to consider). The key to any pricing strategy is finding the right price, for the right person, at the right time.


This sounds like a simple premise, but this goal needs to take into account three critical elements: the price; the customer: who they are, what they value, and what they need or seek from their purchase; and the time they play and book.

The second element is one of the most important when considering pricing strategy. Understanding the customer and their motivations is crucial to balancing their perception of value with your prices. This means the marketing ‘resource/department’ has a big stake in the price. Many golf facilities do not have distinct marketing resources, and plenty of golf managers have many different roles to take on during their working week. It is therefore important to remember that when you’re developing a pricing strategy it is the marketing role you are in. Whilst price has a lot of stakeholders, it requires communication and a dialogue with customers – essentially how this green fee (or other offering) gets to market.

Anyhow, back to utilisation. Ideally, every user of the golf course would book into your technology solution, which can then produce a report on the utilsation of tee times by hour and day. However, this is not always going to be the case, but it is good to produce a report similar to the below even if it does involve some guess work. It is also important to consider the times of year that this report will change.

In summary, this type of utilisation report is very powerful and a great base for considering price. However make sure you consider other relevant factors when creating your pricing strategy such as (but not limited to): Competitors, course condition, customer type, time of year/weather, local events, lead time and booking channel… I could go on. It is also worth noting that this list will vary depending on the golf course, along with the impact of each factor.
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