Senior Rates – A Novel Idea to Raise Revenue

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What I enjoy about travel and being a keen observer of life is the unique approaches various businesses adopt to solving a problem that is shared by many.

Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ and the Frank Lloyd Wright home at Taliesin West have a fascinating approach with respect to senior rates.   There is a lesson here for all in the golf industry.

Can you find a senior rate at the Desert Botanical Garden below:

What about the senior rates at the Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin West tour:

Could not find the senior rate, could you?   Is there a lesson here for golf course owners?  With 50% of the rounds played by those over 55 years of age, should the golf industry eliminate senior rates?

While the answer is yes, unfortunately, it is not likely to occur.

Why?   Just like most golf course owners utilize GolfNow because their competitors are using it, if one course would discontinue there senior rate, they would fear an exodus of golfers to others courses that continue to offer a discount. In that the discount the senior receives is usually about 27% of the rack rate, it would be interesting if a golf course owner took the gamble in hopes of raising revenue.

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  1.    Reply


    I’ve often thought that golf has it all backwards with the concept of senior rates. At your typical golf course it is the seniors who have the run of the place many playing 4-6 rounds per week. In the meantime the younger golfer still making his or her way in the world working, paying taxes, raising a family and generally likely able to find time, if at all, to maybe play 2 rounds per week typically on the weekend.
    Perhaps the senior golfer is the category that should be paying the freight while the younger golfer in recognition of their limited opportunity to play should be offered the lower rate.

    Happy New Year


  2.    Reply

    Whoever was the first to peg senior rates at 55 years old should be permanently hung in effigy in the main lobby of the PGA Merchandise Show. The 50s and early 60s are peak earning years, right? So why discount to people who have more money in their pockets than any other potential customer? It’s idiotic behavior that has cost course operators untold revenue. We can’t get full Social Security until 66. If there is to be a senior rate, it should be no younger than this.

    By the way, the Internet Golf Course Database estimates that about half of all public courses don’t have senior rates. If true, at least some operators recognize the danger and have avoided it.