What are the golf development challenges in France?

By: Pierre Chevallier - Assistant GM @ Golf de Saint-Cloud December 27, 2017

Whereas pace of play might be the most crucial issue to face for golf development in France, time management for Club Managers is due to become one of most relevant KPI.

Take your time, not everyone else’s

When it comes to talking about his weekend and the time he spent playing golf, Jean is struggling with his job mates who did run, play tennis or go cycling. Because of one argument: only golf took on family time. 4 hours and a half to play, around 1 hour to go to the club and back, time saved for a couple of beers with fellow golfers, Jean left the house for 6 hours…

Golf development in France pace of play is important

Speaking about sports and leisure competition in France, golf is currently at a crossroads. On a crucial year of Ryder Cup in France, either being able to emphasize its special strengths, or being required to prevent, again and again, the circumvention of brakes to practice (time-consuming, too expensive, too difficult, not young enough and not fun.).

All actors in golf business are both aware and active in finding solutions: “ready golf”, competition on 9 holes, holes “à la carte”, fun and fast formulas. Get ready, yes. Focusing, yes. Reading the line, yes. But doing all 3 without considering any of the flights around, no.

French Federation took this challenge very seriously when imagining a very special key strength of its 2018 Ryder Cup Candidate File, by leaving after September 2018 100 small structures (inside cities, driving range, 3 to 9 holes), that anyone could play in less than an hour. This will be the French Committee legacy, to practice, development and modernization of the game.

In 2014, 4 years before Ryder Cup in France, Golf would be outside of the Top 10 of sports quoted.

Golf Development in France Top 10 sports in France

The study showed that French would allow around 226 € a year, to practice one sport. If you translate it to golf, you would aim to a global paradox: on time spent, it would be the cheapest sport to the practice, but mostly considered as the most expensive on the other hand. Membership or even green-fees would not fit the annual budget below…

Golf Development in France spending on sports

4 years later, the budget would have increased to approx. 40 € a month, but golf would still be out of the Top 10.

Time consumption and pace of play are challenges to take up for Club Managers, in order to attract new golfers (and to keep actual ones!) On an everyday basis, Time management has thus become a key factor for Managers, both on the course and in the Club House. Despite time spent inside golf operation, especially when we work when members or golfers don’t, our business is on the edge of a technical revolution.

Most of the facilities, tools or apps seem to have been created to spare time: online reservations instead of phoning or stopping by, golf lesson with video links instead of debriefing live, push information instead of writing, printing and sending letters…

Nowadays, the capacity of Club Manager to dealing with priorities is relevant (sorting out his emails for instance!), as it is on the course, and on time saved on day to day operations, to allow staff to get outside the reception desk, and to build the club “without walls” of the future.

When staff finds some time to take care of members/customers, imagining a new type of services, meanwhile golfers are playing fast enough to enjoy other services, we could remember those infrequent moments, time is money.