The Critical Path

While business is complicated, accountability is not. We create smart, profitable insights that greatly enhance your golf course’s financial performance. While every golf course has a different personality, it is all governed by a common business model.

The JJ Keegan+ WIN™ (What’s Important Now) formula is a seven-step process that can be viewed as the “critical path” on which our engagements are performed. We partner with clients leveraging 21 proprietary and extensively tested toolkits that simplifies and streamlines your operation to achieve awesome financial results for your facility.

This process will fully address the key questions. With supply exceeding demand by 10% within the nation, and most forecasts predicting a flat industry for the next decade, we will proceed with diligence and craft a winning playbook for your golf course.

We will examine the uncontrollable and controllable factors determining your golf course’s potential investment return.

A simple formula determines whether a golf course will be financially successful.

Customer loyalty is created to the extent that the experience created for the customer equals or exceeds the price charged. Customer attrition occurs to the extent that the experience is less than the price charged. Customer loyalty is the foundation for successful golf course.

Step 1

Geographic Local Market Analysis

This analysis includes the six key measurements that accurately forecast the potential of your facility.  They are the MOSAIC profile; the age, income, and ethnicity your customers; the number of golfers per 18 holes within your competitive market; and the slope rating. 

We will define the primary and secondary trade areas for the golf courses within a 10-mile radius.  We will calculate the demand vs. the supply within this trade area, as those statistics determine the financial potential for the your golf course. 

We will explain to you.

  1. Where your course ranks as to its profit potential.
  2. What annual revenue should be.
  3. The appropriate green fee by time of day, day of week, time of year and by golfer type.
  4. If your courses will attract and retain customers based on your local demographics contrasted to the course’s slope rating.  We label this interrelationship the Predictive Index.

These are vital data points you need to know.

The key questions to be answered are:  Do the demographics indicate that there is sufficient demand  to meet the available supply?  Are the age, income, ethnicity, and population density sufficient to sustain the golf course?  Are there more than 1,716 golfers per 18-holes within the competitive local market? Is the slope rating and the MOSAIC profile in balance to attract sufficient golfers from the local market?

Step 2

Weather’s Impact

A weather playable-days study will be conducted to determine if you are over or under-performing the weather. We calculate the number of playable golf days in a year (compared to a 10-year trend) to allow us to clearly differentiate between the impact of weather and the impact of management on a course’s financial performance.  

Access to Weather Trends International’s 11-month weather forecast service is provided, and it will be 88% accurate with respect to temperature and 83% accurate with respect to precipitation. 

The key questions to be answered are:  If season passes (memberships) are to be offered, what is the appropriate price considering the number of playable days, how frequently the golfer plays and the discount desired? What impact has weather played on rounds vs. management policies?  Are there sufficient playable days to generate a return on the investment?  Has weather forecasting been fully leveraged for seasonal staffing?

These first two tasks quantify the uncontrollable factors that impact a golf course’s financial performance and clearly define the course’s investment potential. The results from this analysis define the strategic vision for the facility and the viability of the course. Steps 3 through 7 are undertaken, if appropriate, to ascertain how the course should be operated to reach its current potential.

Step 3

Information Systems

An evaluation of the technology currently installed at your facilities will be conducted.  We will ascertain if the tee sheet is integrated into the POS system, the size of the e-mail database, the efficacy of the web site, whether proactive e-mail marketing is occurring appropriately, and the extent to which social media and mobile applications have been adopted.

The key questions to be answered are:  Is a mobile application utilized to facilitate golfer’s booking/prepaying and checking in online?  How effectively has an integrated golf management solution been deployed to create the collection of data required to properly manage the golf course?   Is the customer database properly segmented?  Is the web site design informational or transaction focused?  Are in-bound marketing tools leveraged?   Has social media been appropriately adopted to attract and retain golfers?

Step 4

Benchmarks and Financial Forecasting

There are 15 key benchmarks that guide the successful operation of a golf course.  The financial performance of your facility will be benchmarked against industry norms and financial models will be crafted.   Industry standards will be contrasted to each facility’s performance to determine opportunities for improvement. We will review the financial performance of golf in your region and the United States, utilizing data from Golf Datatech and PGA Facility Operations Scorecard. 

We will create a proposed comprehensive rate table for 2021 in which the projected rounds by SKU will be integrated into a five-year cash flow forecast.  

The key questions to be answered are:  Have accurate financial models that support proactive decision-making been developed?  What debt service can the golf course cover?  Is there a gap between the potential fees charged and the clientèle’s disposable income base?  Is REVPAR 60% of the prime time rack rate times the number of rounds?  Is the green fee based on 0.008% of the median household income?

Step 5

Architectural and Agronomic Review

Deferred capital expenditures are measured, and equipment and staffing levels will be reviewed to ensure consistency with the facility’s brand promise.  We will determine the ideal maintenance standards and an appropriate budget to provide an experience for the golfer consistent with the fees posted.

A golf course is a living organism. Primary constraints include annual renovation expenses and the equipment required to maintain a course. We will identify the critical, competitive and comprehensive capital investment components. course.

The key questions to be answered are: Is the style of the golf course and its slope rating consistent with demographics? The design, agronomic and turf practices, and equipment levels necessary will be considered. What is the optimal and best use of the property?  

Step 6


A comprehensive operational review will be undertaken, examining policies and procedures in every aspect that impacts the customer experience and revenue.    

A secret-shopper analysis, highlighting the touch points on your assembly line of golf as to whether your customer service is at platinum, gold, silver, bronze or steel level, will be conducted.  The value created as measured by the experience provided will be determined to ascertain if your green fee rates are properly set.    

We will evaluate the entrance to the clubhouse, staffing, organizational structure, merchandising, food and beverage, accounting and budgeting procedures, information systems, advertising, marketing, and public relations and compare them to the industry’s best management practices.

The key questions to be answered are:  Is the value provided equal or exceed the associated fees?  Are the proper operating procedures going to be consistently deployed through each step of the “assembly line of golf”?  What are the additional programs that could be added to bolster revenues, and are the marketing strategies properly aligned with the customer’s preferences and the experience offered? Are the staffing levels appropriate to provide the level of customer service desired? How has the course adjusted its policies to COVID-19 to minimize the negative revenue impact.

Step 7

Customer Preferences and Loyalty

By utilizing a golf course’s database, purchasing an e-mail list of local golfers, and employing electronic survey tools, enlightening insights can be obtained from asking 25 key questions. Highlighted above is an example of a chart that prepared noting the likely distribution of your customers.

Twenty percent of customers generate 60% of course revenues, and many daily fee golf courses have at least 50 customers who spend in excess of $4,000 annually. While on average, only half the golfers who played a course one year will return the next, identifying potential core customers provides the foundation for your marketing program.

The key questions to be answered are:  Who are your core customers and how much do they spend? What is the annual retention rate among your golfers? What are the barriers to increased play, what is the golfer’s perceived value, and what is the primary reason one course is selected over another? How loyal are customers? What are the key loyalty drivers that create satisfaction and what is the financial referral impact of promoters vs. detractors?

The Result

This seven-step formula creates a tapestry of sound principles and common-sense solutions. For your golf course, the potential of the golf course will be known, the strategic vision determined, the tactical resources identified and the policies and procedures appropriate for consistent execution implemented.

The result is that the customer experience will be enhanced resulting in the golf course achieving fiscal sustainability.