Even the most minute detail is now being tracked at the municipal golf course.
City officials want to know who is using the course and what they want so that future improvements satisfy the largest number of customers.
They also want to know when usage lags so they can adjust rates, if necessary, to maximize the number of golfers at the course.
It turned out that collecting the data was easy — the city already had a specialized software program that could track this information. But it wasn’t being used for much beyond the basics, Finance Commissioner Deborah DeGenova said.
“We’re using it in a more robust manner,” she said. “We’re just breaking things down a little more.”
Rather than simply tracking the total revenue each day, the software now breaks revenue down by category. Officials can see exactly how much revenue came from each type of user — from senior citizens to league members — and how many holes they played.
It’s already producing dividends.
Course revenue is up about $15,000 from season pass purchases because new golf pro Matthew Daley changed the system to encourage more people to buy passes.
“It’s been a lot better, more well-received this year,” he said.
In past years, some golfers said they didn’t want to buy a pass because they couldn’t use it when they went to the course with their league. They had to pay for league rounds as if they didn’t have a pass.
Now, they can count the league fees toward their season pass, Daley said.
Pleasing league players is also turning out to be a key factor in the financial success of the course.
“They’re the biggest revenue-maker for us,” Daley said.
And now that many of them have purchased passes, they’re coming more often.
“They can play a few holes after work,” Daley said.
They’re allowed to play just three or four holes, rather than an entire round. It’s given the course the same feel as a private club, Daley said.
“A lot of private clubs offer that. It’s nice to see that here,” he said.
Other changes are possible once the software system has collected an entire season of data.
“You can see where the strength of your revenue is,” DeGenova said. “The more information you have, the better decisions you can make. Who’s using the course? What do they like about the course? What should we be improving?”
The software is also tracking lessons, which were never tracked before because the golf pro kept all of the revenue. Under the new contract with Daley, the city takes a share of each lesson fee.
Daley said it’s hard to tell whether lessons are up from last year, especially considering the rainy weather. But the number of junior players has increased, and they tend to take lessons.
“If it weren’t for the rainouts in June, we would be way ahead [of last year],” he said.
He’s not sure why more juniors are coming to the course.
“If I had to say, I’d say it was just that we have a great golf course,” he said. “It’s not very expensive, it’s in great shape and it’s fun to play.”