Technology Focus: Players 1st

In the last of a series of articles focusing on the GCMA’s technology partners, we speak to Amelia Lewis of Players 1st…

As Regional Manager at Players 1st, Amelia Lewis’ main responsibility is engaging and consulting with company partners across the UK, Europe, and Australasia. Based in the UK, she works closely with a dedicated in-house team of software developers, customer success experts, and marketing specialists. Their combined efforts ensure that their products are the most effective customer experience management (CxM) tools within the golf industry.

Amelia joined Players 1st five years ago with the initial task of growing partnerships across the UK. She brings with her 13 years of experience in sports sponsorship, evaluation and measurement, along with experience in marketing for governing bodies, brands, and rights holders.

Describe what your company does

Players 1st go beyond being the industry-leading CxM platform. We are golf data. With the most comprehensive data collection based on millions of golfers worldwide, our feedback solution provides actionable and bite-sized insights to stakeholders across golf businesses. Through golf-tailored surveys, advanced software, and an interactive dashboard, we assist golf clubs in retaining and recruiting golfers. The system provides call-to-action areas for any department to address if they don’t meet the expectations of their members or guests.

With the solution being implemented at 2,500+ golf courses globally and through collaboration with over 20 golf federations, organisations, and associations, we aim to grow the game of golf with a focus on the player. Through industry-wide articles, white papers, and market trend analysis, we also aspire to drive some of the biggest topics and conversations in golf.

How good is golf as an industry at embracing technology?

There continues to be hesitancy and challenges in adopting technology within the golf industry, a sport that cherishes its history and traditions. However, there is also a growing interest towards leveraging technology to modernise and grow the game. It’s a tricky balance, but one that’s necessary to ensure the sport remains relevant for future generations from an engagement, interest, and commercial perspective.

And this balance is being navigated. Innovations in golf club management have streamlined and automated operations, including system integrations that facilitate efficient tee bookings, maintenance, and member communication. Technology is also diversifying golf through gamification and entertainment, slowly introducing new players to golf through non-traditional pathways.

So, there have been some significant advancements in the sport, but technology will continue to evolve. Who knows what the ‘standard’ will look like in golf club management in 10 or even five years’ time?

What are the barriers preventing greater adoption of technology?

Don’t poke the sleeping bear.

In a traditional golf club, golf managers are often faced with two choices: focusing on managing and catering to the needs of existing members or looking ahead and considering the changing attitudes to golf for the next generation of members. The latter most likely involves technology.

The effects of COVID essentially made online booking a necessity, forcing the hands of golf clubs to adopt technological solutions almost overnight. However, managers who want to leave a legacy while embracing and adopting technology could be perceived as disruptors or risk-takers. And this takes some courage.

What are the biggest opportunities/growth areas?

At Players 1st, we believe the biggest opportunity is the endless valuable data on golfers and player behaviour, which is created from systems and technology. Now, imagine using tech to interpret and act on the data to customise golf experiences.

And the technologies are there. Ball flight technology, competition app, shot trackers, coaching, greenkeeping and maintenance, GPS in buggies, course design, interactive clubhouse scoreboards, order-at-the-table systems, and drones capturing course flyovers: these technologies have already impacted golf clubs, and it’s exciting to consider their developments and other systems that have not yet been established in golf.

How can your company help GCMA members?

Through the partnership between GCMA and Players 1st, GCMA members can access a 3-month free trial to the guest experience survey subscription. The survey collates green-fee golfer feedback across the golf course, food & beverage, facilities, pro shop, and the club in general. It also includes questions regarding recommendation and player demographic questions, allowing the clubs to determine the main pinch points for each type of golfer.

Additionally, there are opportunities to access our Member experience surveys for free through our partnerships with England Golf and Scottish Golf.

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By GCMA Content Team

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