Golf has been as much a part of high tech as any activity. There are GPS apps that help you with virtually any course layout and analyzers to help you improve your swing. Simulators have been around in one form or another for decades. These are all well-known to golf enthusiasts.
What’s not as well-known is the software used to manage the business side of golf. Even the most casual observer would acknowledge that golf is big business, especially with an economic impact of $177 billion in 2011. Managing those operations effectively requires software specific to the operations of golf facilities.
One of the features common to many golf software solutions is a tee time reservation system. They offer flexible scheduling to deal with a variety of situations. The main goal of these reservation systems is to maximize reservations, which in turn maximizes revenue. Since golfing is affected by the weather and available daylight, several reservation systems provide support for weather tracking and adjust scheduling with different seasons. Support for scheduling during holidays and tournaments is another common feature.
Many facilities are not limited to just one nine or 18-hole course. Support for multiple courses is another must-have feature provided in tee time reservation systems.
Managing special events and tournaments in and of itself is a complex task made simpler with software. These solutions allow configuring shotgun starts and other tournament formats. Assigning players to teams and flights is included in many software packages. Some also offer up to date scoring and standings reports.
Since many golf courses are part of private clubs, membership support is another component of most golf management solutions. Creating customized membership levels gives clubs the most flexibility in what they offer their members.
Many packages offer some kind of customer tracking for marketing purposes. This may include tracking of past purchases and demographic information. With this information, clubs can offer even more benefits to members.
Millions of retail store use some kind of point-of-sale system. This fact would seem to make a strong argument for purchasing a generic POS solution rather than one tailor-made for a golf facility. The ability of a golf-specific POS to integrate with other club operations however, makes the argument less compelling. Posting transactions to member accounts makes it possible to offer rewards programs to members.
One thing common to many POS systems is their inventory management. All transactions involving purchases of physical items affect inventory. Keeping inventory levels up to date in real time allows management to get accurate reports in real time. POS also extends to food and beverage service, allowing employees to easily operate terminals and for management to generate reports from those departments too.
Accounting is common to any business and these software packages are designed with that in mind. They offer support for typical functions like accounts receivable and accounts payable. Interfacing with common accounting software like QuickBooks or Peachtree is available with some golf management solutions.
Managing a golf facility requires expertise in specific areas that are not common to all businesses. A one-size-fits-all software solution that works for many other types of businesses will not work in a golf facility.
Tee reservations, competitions and tournaments, special events and membership support are unique to athletic facilities like golf resorts and clubs and require specialized software in order to run efficiently.
Although POS and accounting are common to most businesses, their integration into other golf facility operations is best done with golf specific software. Spending the extra money up front to get a solution that best fits a golf business is the best approach and saves more headaches later on.