Faced with the adherence of social-distancing protocols during COVID-19, many golf courses are turning to the practice of pre-paid tee times in order to welcome back golfers to a safer playing environment.
GOLFNOW, which operates the largest online tee-time marketplace in the world, with 3.5m registered users, has seen a huge spike in demand for online tee bookings through its platform since golf courses began re-opening across the US and around the world.
Since the lockdown began, the company, which has offices in Florida and Northern Ireland, has been offering its partner courses, as well as any non-partner courses, the ability to have its entire online inventory of tee times to be pre-paid at no extra charge.
The technology allows golfers to arrive at the course and tee off without having to have any contact with staff, maintaining social distancing, and avoiding having to touching objects and surfaces that have been touched by other golfers or club officials.
“Over the past year, GOLFNOW has been continually innovating our payments technology, and we were quickly able to pivot to meet the increased demand of providing pre-paid tee times,” said Jeff Foster, senior vice president, GOLFNOW. “Now, more than 500 courses in the US are either offering a pre-paid option or have signed up to implement the GOLFNOW technology, a number that continues to grow as more states are opening back up and golf courses start to come back online.”
Jon Phillips, general manager of the 27-hole Beekman Golf Course in New York, is one of a number of venues to have benefitted from GOLFNOW’s contactless pre-payment system. He said: “We held a meeting to figure out how we could handle the demand while keeping ourselves safe and the golfers safe. Having every staff member picking up the same phone and having golfers coming into the shop for check-in were clearly unsafe practices. But yy using GOLFNOW’s pre-paid system, we have found a way to avoid both.”
He added: “If we can stick with our payment policy – now that customers are getting in the habit – we can get eliminate the majority of the 1,500-plus phone calls we get each week, which would make running our business 100-times simpler and improve the level of service we provide now, and in the future.”