The Official Home for Asian Golf Awards
The prestigious and much sought after Asian Golf Awards programme is now enshrined in its own dedicated web site. This virtual museum in cyberspace is devoted to recognising and honouring the best in the Asia Pacific Golf industry – men and women and clubs that collectively help deliver a world class experience for golf! It is widely regarded as the “Oscars” of the Asian golf club industry. The programme has just finished its 19th year and winners in over 50 award categories were recognized during the staging of the Asian Golf Awards in Bangkok, Thailand. 


By Andrew Wood

Far too much emphasis in the golf industry is put solely on the condition of the course, which for better or worse is usually about where it’s going to be. On invisible “service” or in creating an “experience” which in most places exists only as a word in their outdated websites!

I bet you have had some of your most memorable days ever at some sheep infested club in the Scottish Highlands, with awful weather, a colorful caddie and wee dram of local whisky afterwards. The total sum of club membership, a nice day out at your local daily fee course or a weekend away at a resort includes far more than just the quality of the golf course. Some of it is tangible some of it not but the “experience” they get, whichever one it happens to be, is what will bring them back or not!

The more you do to make every step of that experience memorable for all the right reasons the more chance they will choose you. That does not mean spending a ton of money. That does not mean trying to pretend your club is something that it is not. What it does mean is that you have to think out of the traditional, conservative golf box. It means transforming your operation into something different with a simple paradigm shift in the way you think and operate.

At seminars when I ask the audience usually made up of course owners, managers and golf professionals what business they are in, the top three answers are always;

The service business
The people business
And of course the golf business

What few people realize is that the answer to this critical question fundamentally changes how an operation is marketed, sold and run and therefore changes the experience it provides to the customer.

The customer shows up at the club, ultimately for the one key factor few ever mention. He is there to be entertained, by your course, range, staff, food, drink and the experience you provide by allowing him to interact with people of similar interests.

Golf is the vehicle by which you entertain your members and guests

The more entertaining you make your marketing, emails, website, letters, social media posts, tournaments, social events and just the everyday experience of wandering around your clubhouse, the more value you will deliver. Therefore, the more people you will attract and the longer they will stay.
If your customer is not entertained he will look for his entertainment not just at other courses but at the stadium, mall, bowling alley, movies and a million other places. Understanding that your competition is not just other clubs, but every other form of adult entertainment makes a profound difference to how you approach the creation of value at your club.
Creating “Kodak Moments”

The term a “Kodak moment” was part of an iconic ad campaign in the 70’s and 80’s so successful it survived the actual company. Who although they invented a digital camera squashed it as they thought it would damage their lucrative camera film business.  The phrase was used when taking a picture of someone or something at a particular moment that will never be forgotten.
Your goal should be to provide multiple opportunities for you members and guest to have “Kodak moments” If your members and guests are not taking pictures and sharing them you are NOT doing it right!
This a concept you can embrace at every level of your operation from your course all the way backwards to your rest restrooms in fact it was rest rooms that first alerted me to the value of this concept.
How can you make one hole on the course really stand out? TPC in Florida has 18 great holes but only one of them is famous. The 18th a Doral, St Andrews or Pebble Beach also come to mind. One hole so special it defines the entire course experience.
Maybe it does not even need to be a compete hole perhaps just a special bunker? If they are taking pictures and sharing on social media, you are doing it right!
 Green Monkey in Barbados
Perhaps a few flowers could turn a boring par three into a masterpiece?
You don’t have to spend a fortune to create a WOW Factor, You can attract people to your club in simple ways;
Unexpected ways
Whimsical ways
Fun ways
Memorable ways
Engaging ways
Often ways they can’t or won’t articulate in surveys and questionnaires … But they will where it counts, with their wallets!
Even very minor things can enhance the guest experience, for example this distance marker gave me a chuckle on a long second shot to a par five.
Negative signage on golf courses is one of my pet peeves. There were over 100 of these signs on this course, run by a major golf association telling you where, NOT TO GO.  There are better more positive and entertaining ways to tell your guest what to do and maybe even make them smile in the process.
This rest room at Gam’s golf course in Switzerland certainly gave me cause to take a picture
I have no idea why Spiderman is climbing up the clubhouse wall at Siam Country Club, Plantation course in Pattaya, Thailand but I took a picture and shared it anyway, tagging the course an promoting it to thousands of my fans and followers on social media!
 I have played golf around the world at over 1,000 courses and have yet to be offered anything but a green or white, gray or blue standard golf cart! If a club had just five unique carts at a premium price would some players rent them? Take pictures of them? Share them on their social media? Enjoy their day just a little bit more? Remember the course?
This may not look like much, but it was voted the #1 golf food item in the USA by Golf Digest and has been served by the same family at the Olympic Club, in California for over 5 decades. This burger dog is almost as famous at the course! Pine Valley the number #1 rated course in the world is known for its’ Snapper Soup (turtle) the National Golf Links (#13 in the world) for its’ lobster sandwich.  
There are lots of ways courses can make their ranges more interesting form targets to ship bells, to old cars and even aero planes as targets.
Well I hope these ideas got your creative juices flowing on how you can create some additional “Wow factors” at your club.  Engage and entertain your members and guests at a higher level. And create instant opportunities for people to click and share the excitement of your efforts with thousands of people through their social media. In effect creating your own marketing army. Most important of all these little touches will add up to an intangible bond with your club. No one that people mention in the surveys but one that will lead to increased loyalty and long-term success!
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