Recently, the Pete Dye Golf Club has selected Club Caddie as its new golf club management software. This is why I interviewed Tony Kowalski, the general manager of the club to understand their needs, expectations, and most of all future plans.
See below for my interview.
What are the main challenges that lead you to pick Club Caddie?
The main challenge that had us looking for a new solution in the first place was trying to pull all of our information together into one place and have it all talking to each other.
We were using one solution for our Point-of-Sale and Accounting, one solution for tracking lodging, a do-it-yourself solution for inventory management, and another solution for marketing and Membership Communication, and there were always additional steps if you wanted to correlate any of that data into a useful business tool.
Simply trying to get messages out to our Membership was not always the most straightforward endeavor as we effectively had four or five databases of contact information depending on what you were trying to do.
Club Caddie has streamlined all of that information into one solution. This has already provided us with a more efficient level of data tracking and fiscal management to ensure we are staying on target with budgets in real-time.
Which software feature(s) convinced you to work with Club Caddie?
I think it is less the case of being able to pinpoint one specific feature that was convincing, rather the total package of what they are able to offer. Additionally, the people involved at Club Caddie demonstrated how invested they are in their service.
One of the main selling points for me personally was how willing they are to continue to innovate. As someone who spent the better portion of the winter months researching and speaking with anyone and everyone in the golf course software market, I can tell you there really is not a perfect all-in-one, one-size-fits-all solution that exists in the marketplace.
There is too much variability from one client to the next for what we are trying to offer to our members or customers. We definitely had the unrealistic expectation at the onset of our search that the perfect, turn-key solution was out there, and we just needed to find it.
In realistic terms, it is more about finding the right partner who can identify what your specific needs as a client are and be adaptable enough to grow with you. Two months into our relationship, Club Caddie meets and exceeds that requirement for us.
How can such software help golf clubs to improve membership & service personalization?
We are still in the early days with the software and the powerful data generation that it possesses, but you can already start to paint a picture of the possibilities in your mind. One of the features that has us the most intrigued at the moment is the availability of information directly to the Membership.
Because the software directly links to the website and the mobile app, our Members are able to view a clear picture of their interactions with the Club in real-time.
Scheduling of tee-times and on-site lodging reservations, receipts for recent transactions at the Club, or their personal Member Profile and preferred payment information has put them in touch with the Club like never before.
It has already streamlined our Administrative Offices with billing questions or potential issues able to be handled as they occur, rather than having to backtrack a month or two into previous statements.
Direct communication to the Membership is also more robust with the built-in communication tools for email and mobile app notifications.
We are in the business of delivering memorable experiences and that starts with the ability to communicate effectively and accurately. Another important aspect of service that will continue to grow as we build up a larger data set is spending habits and preferences.
Over the course of a full season, those trends will be available to harvest as a training tool for our front-of-the-house service staff, so that when Mr. and Mrs. Smith sit down in the Grill Room the server who greets them will know that Mr. Smith always orders a special that includes pasta and Mrs. Smith prefers her hamburger without the bun.
Over time, I can see it is providing us with the ability to streamline our inventories and tighten up month-to-month cash flow.
How was the reception of the software among golf club employees?
Overall, the reception of the new software was positive. Any change can be difficult and seem overwhelming at times, so naturally, there were some early growing pains, but mostly for the returning team members.
It was more un-training of the old systems than the training of the new one. Club Caddie is organized well, it is attractive to look at and ultimately it is pretty intuitive. The people that had no experience with the previous system definitely had little to no issues jumping in and learning Club Caddie.
For us, we had a ton of information to transfer in and get organized, so trying to get all of that set up, organized, and learn how the system worked at the same time definitely contributed to our fair share of frustrations.
I will say that Club Caddie and specifically Dan Taylor, Director of Implementation really bent over backwards to make things as simple as possible and ensure smooth onboarding.
Now everyone has become accustomed to it and we have a team of people who are a phone call or email away from jumping in to help with any problems that may arise.
How will you turn data into actionable information?
At this time, we do not have a dedicated person for data analytics, and it is too early to tell exactly how this will flesh out.
Right now, it is helping us stay on top of cash flow in real-time and providing a better picture of revenue tracking in relation to our expenses and has already allowed us to make a few adjustments on the fly that will keep us on pace for our year-end budget goals.
With the continued uncertainty in the supply chain, the earlier we can make accurate financial decisions will allow the Club to stay ahead of the curve and deliver on promised timelines.
This interview was brought to you by Club Caddie.