“Taking Your Golf Back Series”: A Guide to Building Direct Bookings and Stopping Competitive Displacement

The “Taking Your Golf Back Series” is a six-part article series that was delivered throughout 2020 by John Brown, CEO of Brown Golf.  These articles are aimed at educating the market on the key fundamentals of returning your golfer to direct booking channels and eliminating toxic barter and third-party channel relationships which create competitive displacement.

The series of articles navigates a multitude of topics on how the industry became engulfed in the barter model and provides insights on how your club can reclaim its rightful position as the direct contact to YOUR customer.

If you have ever questioned barter, third party tee time distribution or your technology provider, than you owe it to yourself and your golf club to read through the articles in this series.

The summary below highlights, just a few, of the key takeaways from each article in this series. The articles provide greater detail into each subject and if you are interested in learning more, please visit www.BrownGolfManagement.com/news to read any of the individual articles.

Taking Our Golf Back – Article #1:  Introduction

  • National Golf Course Owners Association – publishes “Beware of Barter”
  • Tee Time Coalition – publishes “Bill of Rights”
  • Business example helps define the principals for taking your golf back which are own your customer data, own the direct relationship with your customer, and always own your lowest price in a channel you collect 100% of the margin.
  • Brown Golf takes the lead by reviewing real data and improves its business by taking our golf back

Taking Our Golf Back – Article #2: Barter and Today’s Current Marketplace

  • Recaps how GolfNow entered the technology arena and acquired more trade
  • Analyzes language around trade times. Is a trade time really a trade time or is it much more?
  • Discusses GolfNow and the acquisition of its largest competitor EZlinks
  • Analyzes how GolfNow’s superior size, scale and reach may allow them to sell the newly acquired EZLinks trade
  • Learn the litmus test for all golf course operators which is “does my point of sale platform and tee sheet provide open integration?”

Taking Our Golf Back – Article #3: Giving Away the Keys to Your Golf Course Inventory

  • Introduces rate channel analysis
  • 4 mistakes a club is making if it trades
  • Outlines what a “Hot Deal” is and how it is positioned
  • 4 opportunities to take your golf back

Taking Our Golf Back – Article #4: How Barter Agreement Language Could Be Sinking Your Profits

Article provides overview of key terms and concepts in a barter relationship:

  • Barter / Trade Time(s) defined
  • Online Rate Parity – what does it mean?
  • Booking Engine – free is not free if you value your data
  • Agreements / Auto Renewal Language – know when you are about to sign up again!
  • 7 steps to taking your golf back

Taking Our Golf Back – Article #5: GolfNow is Cable, and it is Time to Stream

  • Analyzes the fear of leaving GolfNow
  • Recaps a survey of golfer booking behavior:
  • 6700 online golfers surveyed
  • Customers are willing to alter their behavior and book directly

Taking Our Golf Back – Article #6: GolfNow vs. Golf Course and the Battle for Market Share and Attention

  • Analyzes historical GolfNow market share versus overall public golf rounds
  • Introduces concept of competitive displacement which outlines what has happened in the golf industry over time with third party tee time providers
  • 3 questions every course owner / operator must ask themselves

In closing, if you are a golf course owner or operator who believes in the principals of this series and is looking for a viable solution to transition to a better business model please contact us directly.


John Brown – CEO, Brown Golf

jmbrown@browngolf.net – 717.439.2080