The Website: Attracting New Golfers
Consumers go through a 5-step journey of purchasing: the need or desire is recognized, the search for more information, evaluate the options, the initial purchase, and then finally the after-purchase evaluation. Many golf courses do not have the luxury of turning away golfers and every tee time matters (as does the price of tee time, read about benchmarking here). So how do courses know if there is an interruption with a cog in their golf course marketing that deters business?
Understanding how consumers evaluate their options helps each golf course determine the weight of their online presence as most consumers research online. The online existence of the golf operation should have the same branding and professionalism as the golf course itself. The website of the golf shop should be created while keeping in mind the experience you want the visitor to enjoy. We wanted to examine the golf courses in Arizona and see how they are performing.
Arizona Golf Industry Report of Websites
We conducted an index of 251 golf courses from March 20-24. From Phoenix to Scottsdale, Tubac to Yuma, Arizona golf courses' websites were dissected, searching for evidence of updates and quality information.
The key identifiers of an active and impressive website were:
- Easy navigation bar
- Updated copyright
- Staff directory, emails preferred
- High image quality
- Consistent font usage/legible copy
- Images used naturally throughout the copy
- Well-formatted design, easy to read and explore
The websites were initially scored on a 0-5 score. A 0 rating is reserved for golf courses with no internet site. A 1-2 score was below average, and the website is needing serious help. A 3-4 score on their website was better than most, but still had a few bridges to cross, and a scorore of 5 got an "A".
Eighteen golf courses of the 251 did not have a website. Of the 251 sites, 111 scored a 1 and 73 scored a 2. Twnety nine golf courses scored a 3 and eleven scored a 4. Surprisngly, five golf courses scored a perfect 5/5 score for their website.
A common trend relied on the location of the golf course. Courses in Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Tucson seemed to be spend more time on the quality of their website. Golf course websites from courses in outlying areas needed some attention.
A very typical situation was the golf club sharing the website with the city's website or in the community's page. The most common issue with these pages is a lack of quality information or images to do the golf course justice. More often than not, the websites looked less like an extension of the golf brand and more like a 3rd party website where the perception of the golf course isn't a priority.
Why is it important to have a great website?
Consumers go to the internet to research where to spend money and coming to a website that is poorly formatted and has "coming soon" on its widgets devalues the establishment and makes them look less than attractive. A uniform brand takes time to develop and polish, but it will ensure that you are not losing new business because of your website. Check back next week to learn more about what makes a great website.