5th Golf Innovation Symposium: Golfer Experience

What Golfers (and Non-Golfers) Tell Us

Shigeki Mitsuishi, Yano Research (Presentation Slides: English l Japanese)

  • Kicking off this session that is focused on golfers, their experience, their preferences, their behavior and their satisfaction, the presentation seeks to provide insights into the minds of Japanese golfers.

  • The USGA, JGA and Yano Research worked together on a survey of golfers in Japan so facility managers can better serve their customers.

  • In addition, the survey polled non-golfers to better understand the barriers to playing the game that exist among the Japanese population.

  • This information will be a useful introduction into the subjects of golfer experience and engagement that are the themes of the second day of the Symposium.

Opening the Door 

Yoshihiro Nishi, Hong Kong Golf Association (Presentation slides: English  l  Japanese)

Kiichi Sorimachi, Rakuten Golf (Presentation slides: English  l  Japanese)

  • As the golf population ages around the world, introducing golf to the next generations of participants is important for sustaining the long-term sustainability of the game. This session highlights two programs that provide opportunities for engaging a younger audience who will be the core golfers of the future.

  • Hong Kong Golf Association’s Golf for Schools program is the first step in a pathway into the game for kids ages 6 to 12. HKGA President Yoshihiro Nishi will present the details of the program and how it helps Hong Kong’s golf community.

  • For young adults, cost is a major factor in their decision to play golf. Kiichi Sorimachi of Rakuten’s golf division will outline how the company is seeking to take away some of those barriers.

Defining Golfer Experience (Presentation slides: English l Japanese)

Eric Brey, University of Wisconsin-Stout School of Hospitality Leadership

Kris Schoonover, University of Wisconsin-Stout School of Hospitality Leadership 

  • There are more than 1,000 touchpoints between a golfer and a golf facility before, during and after a round of golf. It can be overwhelming for a golf facility manager to determine which of those touchpoints to focus on as they attempt to provide the best possible experiences for their customers.

  • The USGA is working with professors Eric Brey and Kris Schoonover University of Wisconsin-Stout’s School of Hospitality Leadership on a research project to provide some answers, guidance, best practices and tools for the industry.

  • Professor Brey has performed similar research for other hospitality industries such as hotels, resorts and restaurants. Professor Schoonover brings practical knowledge and experience to the project from her longtime position as director of operations at Erin Hills, which hosted the 2017 U.S. Open.

  • In their presentation, professors Brey and Schoonover will present the results of their year-long research, which was conducted at dozens of golf facilities around the U.S. and included thousands of participants.

Measuring Golfer Experience 

Jacob Buksted, Players 1st (Presentation slides: English l  Japanese)

  • In order to improve the experience of your golfers, you need to measure their satisfaction. Players 1st is a Denmark-based company that provides software to help facilities survey their golfers and then analyzes the results to identify strengths and weaknesses.

  • Jacob Buksted will demonstrate how the technology has benefitted thousands of golf facilities around the world through the continuous golfer experience management process of listening to your golfers, analyzing their feedback and responding, then measuring the impact of those changes.

The Power of One Minute 

Lauren Johnson, USGA (Presentation slides: English  l  Japanese)

Andy Yamanaka, JGA

  • For elite tournament golfers (top amateurs and professionals), pace of play is one of the biggest factors in their experience. The USGA has been focusing on pace in their championships for several years in order to reduce the impact of pace and round time as a major variable in the player experience.

  • The USGA recognizes that the tournament administrator plays a significant role in managing pace. Lauren Johnson will outline some of the principles that the USGA has followed over the past several years, as well as the technology that we have used to measure and analyze pace.

  • One of the key factors under a tournament administrator’s control is starting times, and Lauren will demonstrate how the management of tee times has made a significant impact on round times in the U.S. Junior Amateur.

  • The USGA and JGA used GPS technology to collect pace data in the Japan Junior Golf Championship at Kasumigaseki Country Club, and Lauren and the JGA will present an analysis of that information.