Golf Pro Advisor: Who Are Your Best Customers?

golf pro advisor

You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule. That’s where 80% of a business’ revenue comes from 20% of its customers.

That 20% is a customer segment. And those customers need special attention.

Golf operations have customer segments, too. Most head golf professionals have a mix of customers (members). Some spend a lot of money on lessons and equipment. Others spend little or no money.

It’s important to break your membership into customer segments. You want to tailor programs and communications for each segment. You also want to give each segment the appropriate attention.

Your “Customer Segments”

I’ve created a model based upon a hypothetical club: The Fictional Golf and Country Club (FGCC) with 500 golfing members. I divided the golfers into five segments:

  1. Heavy Hitters –Play at least three times a week, take numerous lessons, and spend a lot in the golf shop.
  2. Enthusiasts – Play at least once a week, take some lessons and clinics, and spend a bit in the pro shop.
  3. Occasionals – Play at least twice a month, take a couple of clinics a season, and spend a small amount in the pro shop.
  4. Low Spenders - Some may play a lot but this group spends relatively little money on lessons/clinics and in the golf shop.
  5. Juniors – Play a lot during the season and take lessons and clinics. Parents are willing to fund improving their children’s golf games

Don’t take this too literally. The segments and numbers are for illustration purposes only. You can create your own assumptions.

What does matter is the logic behind the assumptions. I’ve created an Excel sheet (click here) you can use to build your own segmentation model.

Who Are Your Best Customers?

Here is a snapshot of FGCC’s customer segments.


For instance, the Heavy Hitters represent 10% (50 golfers) of the golfing membership. Yet, they represent 28% of the golf operations’ revenue.

On the other hand, Low Spenders represent 30% of the golfers but only 13% of the revenue.

Why is this chart important? First, it tells you who your best customers are. Second, it tells you where your risks and opportunities are.

The risk is that you’ll lose Heavy Hitters. The opportunity is that you can move golfers up the food chain. Enthusiasts become Heavy Hitters, Occasionals become Enthusiasts etc.

The other point is that you couldn’t even compile this chart if you didn’t have detailed data about each member: Number of lessons and clinics taken and amount spent in the golf shop. That requires a tracking system.

If you used QuickBooks for your invoicing, you’d already have the necessary data for a segmentation model.

What Differentiates Your Customers?

What differentiates a Heavy Hitter from an Enthusiast? Heavy Hitters are willing to invest more money in their games.

Here is the data per golfer for each segment. For instance, a typical Heavy Hitter during a six month season will take 12 lessons, visit the range 24 times, and spend $1,500 in the golf shop.

unnamed (1)

Now, let’s look at the revenue each segment generates (see next chart). Here’s how the math works for Heavy Hitter lessons, as an example.

Golf –  Total – $66,000

  • 50 Golfers x 12 lessons each = 600 lessons
  • 600 Lessons x $100 Lesson Fee = $60,000
  • 50 Golfers x 24 range visits each = 1,200 visits
  • 1,200 Visitis x $5.00/Visit = $6,000
  • Shop – 50 Golfers x $1,500 each = $75,000

What Are Your Customers Worth?

The two charts below show the relative worth of each segment. In total dollars, Enthusiasts are the most valuable segment. They spend $195,000 (vs $141,000 for Heavy Hitters)

However, on a per golfer basis, a Heavy Hitter is worth almost twice an Enthusiast ($2,820 vs $1,560)

unnamed (2)

unnamed (3)

The Next Step

Once you’ve built your segmentation model, it’s time to take action. You need to build programs for each segment

That’s the subject of the next Golf Pro Advisor.

I am happy to review the segmentation model for up to 30 minutes on the phone with any golf professional at no charge. If you’re interested, please email me at  

How Much Money Can You Make in 2017?

golf pro advisor

In the January issue of the Golf Pro Advisor (Are You Ready for the 2017 Season?), I discussed the importance of setting both “performance” goals and overall financial goals.

A performance goal, for instance, would be the number of lessons you want to generate this year. That in turn drives your overall lesson revenue (financial goal).

In this issue, I provide an Excel model that will help you forecast your revenue with performance targets. Here is a link to the model.

To achieve your goals, you must have very specific performance targets such as “x” number of lessons per month.

How the Model Works

As an illustration, the model uses a hypothetical example -  the Fictional Golf and Country Club (FGCC) with a six month golf season. You, of course, should input the numbers that apply to your club.

FGCC has 500 member families. There are 1500 potential golfers (husbands, wives, and juniors). But there are only 500 active golfers.

The model covers four “revenue streams”:

  • Lessons
  • Clinics
  • Driving Range
  • Tournaments

Golf shop revenue is generally a big part of a head pro’s income. But that is a more complicated model. I plan to address the golf shop model in a future issue of the Golf Pro Advisor.

This model assumes that a certain percentage of Active Golfers will take lessons and clinics, spend time on the range, and play in tournaments. Key “performance drivers” are:

  • Active Golfers - Number of active golfers
  • Participation -  % of active golfers taking lessons, participating in clinics etc. (Participating members)
  • Frequency - Number of lessons, clinics etc per participating member per month
  • Fee - Average lesson fee, average clinic fee etc.

Here are FGCC’s performance drivers, based on 500 active golfers:



The Excel model has two tabs: “Targets” and “Summary”. The “Targets” tab has grids for each of the four revenue streams (Lessons, Clinics, Tournaments, Range).

The “Summary” tab shows a summary of the performance drivers (see grid above) and a revenue summary (see “Set Your Targets” section below)

Make assumptions about your club’s performance drivers (Active golfers, Participation, Frequency, and Fee) and then set performance targets for each area.

Input that your performance drivers into the appropriate grid in the “Targets” tab and the model will generate monthly and seasonal performance goals as well as monthly and seasonal revenue.

The summary for all four revenue streams will appear in the Summary tab.

An Example

Let’s look at lesson revenue as an example. The other three revenue streams. (clinics, range, tournaments) work the same way.

unnamed (1)


The model assumes that 25% of active golfers take an average of two lessons a month during a six-month season. That’s a total of 250 lessons a month. Here are the calculations:

  • 500 active golfers x 25% = 125 Participating Golfers
  • 125 Participating Golfers x 2 lessons/month = 250 lessons a month
  • 250 lessons/month x $100 a lesson= $25,000 a month x 6 months = $150,000

Set Your Targets

Here is an overview of the annual revenue generated for FGCC. (See “Summary” tab in the Excel Model)

unnamed (2)


The key point is to set monthly goals for your golf operation. A lesson target of $150,000 is very vague. How are you going to achieve it?

A target of 250 lessons a month (10 lessons a day) is very specific.You can easily track it. Set monthly performance targets for each of your revenue streams.

If you have good records, you can set targets based on history. If not, make assumptions and then tweak them as you get more experience tracking activity.

Also, your targets should be ambitious but realistic.

Is it realistic to assume that on average each of your active golfers will take three lessons a season?

  • 1500 lessons divided by 500 Active Golfers = 3 lessons per golfer

Is it realistic to assume that that on average that each of your active golfers will spend $500 a season to improve his/her game?

  • $256,000 (Total Season Revenue) divided by 500 Active Golfers = $500 per golfer

Achieving Your Goals

Now comes the hard part. How do you achieve your goals?

If your goal is 250 lessons a month, does that mean:

  • 250 members each take one lesson?
  • 50 members each take five lessons?
  • 500 members take one lesson every two months?

There is a big difference.

If it’s 250 members, the challenge is to get each member to take more lessons. If it’s 50 members, the challenge is to get more members to take lessons.

In the next issue of the Golf Pro Advisor, I will explore this further.

I am happy to discuss the model at no charge. Interested golf pros should feel free to email me at to schedule a 30-minute consultation. 

Are You Ready for the 2017 Season?

golf pro advisor

It’s January. You are probably busy planning for the upcoming season.

Your highest priority may be completing the items on your checklist:

  • Hiring assistant pros and shop assistants
  • Scheduling vendors to visit at the PGA show later this month.
  • Purchasing equipment and merchandise
  • Setting fees for lessons, tournaments, driving range, and bag storage
  • Developing promotional programs
  • Scheduling tournaments and other events

But have you considered the most important item of all: determining your goals for this year?

In an ideal world, your goals would drive your checklist. You’d define your goals first and then tailor your checklist accordingly.

That may not be practical this year. You’ve got too much to do. You’ve got to complete your checklist first. But you still can do some planning before the season starts.

Break down your 2017 plan into these categories:

  • Financial goals
  • Performance goals
  • Activities and programs (Your checklist)
  • Tracking member activity – Lessons, Clinics, Tournaments, Purchases

Financial Goals

You may not have closed your books for 2016 yet. But you probably have a pretty good idea of how much money you made.

How much money do you want to make in 2017? Look at revenue and expenses for 2016 and, ideally, several years before that.

Analyze the trends and then set a target for your 2017 bottom line. To get to your bottom line, you need a goal for each of your major sources of revenue:

  • Merchandise and equipment sales
  • Lessons & Clinics
  • Tournament Fees
  • Range and bag fees

Performance Goals

Your financial goals are WHERE you want to go. Your Performance Goals are HOW you’ll get there.

Some of your income, particularly your salary from the club, is already fixed. You can’t control that.

However, you can control member-generated revenue. You can set the fees and you can project the number of lessons, tournament participants necessary to meet your revenue target.

Here’s an example:

300 lessons (performance goal) x $100 a lesson (Fee – program) = $30,000 in lesson revenue (financial goal)

Your metrics will drive your revenue. Those metrics include:

  • Number of lessons
  • Number of clinic participants
  • Number of tournament participants
  • Number of members taking lessons
  • Frequency of lessons per member
  • Makeup of merchandise and equipment sales

Your Metrics Matter

Your club’s software and the golf shop point of sale system may provide some or all of the data above. At the very least, it should provide totals for the sources of revenue.

Beyond that, ideally, it should provide information on each member’s activities and enable you to perform analyses. For instance, if there were 300 lessons last year, how many members took lessons and how often?

Did 60 members take an average of 5 lessons each or did 150 members take an average of two lessons each? There is a big difference.

If the answer is 60 members, you want to develop programs to get more members to take lessons. If the answer is 150, you want to encourage members to take more lessons.

This information will drive your communications programs plus special efforts as playing rounds with members and providing free tips on the driving range.

Tracking Your Metrics

If your club’s systems don’t provide the information you need, you may have to set up a parallel system to track member activity.  For this, you’ll need CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. There are a number of inexpensive and easy-to-use CRM software programs on the market.

You’ll want to know for each member how many lessons they took, what was discussed during the lesson, what merchandise they purchased, and the clinics and tournaments they participated in.

One of your shop assistants may be able to input most of the data. Your assistant pros or you will have to put in the information about the lessons.

Having all your members’ info in the database will allow to track individual members’ skill levels and preferences. The information about your members can also show trends that will guide your marketing, programming, and purchasing decisions.

The bottom line: To improve your bottom line you need detailed information about your members! If you don’t have an effective tracking system, make that a priority for 2017.

Any U.S. tax advice contained in the body of this website is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by the recipient for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code or applicable state or local tax law provisions.