The city-owned Lake Forest, Ill., property is posting a 43 percent increase in merchandise sales and seven percent increase in revenue year over year, adding almost 4,000 daily fee rounds over the past two years. The property has begun selling unused permanent tee times as a new revenue stream, developed new marketing efforts, and cultivated its junior golf program.
City-owned Deerpath Golf Course in Lake Forest, Ill., is posting a three percent increase in rounds this year, and is crediting new marketing efforts by management firm KemperSports with the boost, the Lake Forester, a Chicago Sun-Times publication, reported.
Selling unused permanent tee times has opened a new revenue stream for Deerpath, which also saw a 43 percent increase in merchandise sales at its renovated pro shop, the Lake Forester reported.
“Technology drives a lot of it,” KemperSports CEO Steve Skinner said. “We branded Deerpath and we’re pricing rounds more efficiently, depending on time of day and day of week. We’re looking for open spots on the tee sheet and driving more play. We’re constantly communicating with golfers to understand what their needs are.”
The most valuable times to sell are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the Lake Forester reported.
“In the past if a permanent tee time holder did not show up, the tee time just went unused. No revenue was generated,” Skinner said.
Drawing more people to Deerpath to fill those holes is key to its future, the Lake Forester reported.
“Generally in the golf business, 80 percent of your play will come within a 30-minute drive time of your course. There are 81 golf courses, public and private, within 30 minutes of Deerpath,” Skinner said. “It’s a challenging environment.”
While the year’s not over yet, Deerpath is looking at a 7 percent increase in revenue year over year in the face of a declining golf market nationwide, the Lake Forester reported.
“Over the two years we’ve been here, we’ve added almost 4,000 daily fee rounds, both resident and non-resident,” Skinner said.
“Our view of the golf business is we’re not growing enough golfers,” Skinner continued. “The Baby Boomers are playing at lower rate than their predecessors played, so we need to be more competitive, more aggressive in attracting more play. We’re going to continue our marketing initiatives.”
Deerpath has a foothold in junior golf, with a growing golf academy that is drawing young golfers from other area clubs, both public and private, the Lake Forester reported.
While he thinks it’s in wonderful shape now, golfer Gary Knipe said he believes the city should continue to invest in Deerpath to make it even more competitive, the Lake Forester reported.
“It could do a little bit more to improve on some of the tee boxes and make it a little bit more challenging,” Knipe said. “It’s a short course and it doesn’t have a lot of depth to it. That would be a couple of things I think would draw more people.”
Skinner agrees that investment in the property will strengthen Deerpath’s future, the Lake Forester reported.
“Of the 81 properties in this market, not all of them are going to survive, and not all of them are going to succeed,” Skinner said. “The ones that will survive and prosper will continue to reinvest in the property. It comes down to great golf course conditions, great service and providing good value to the customers.”