How can caddie service improve customer experience?

By: October 13, 2016

Troon North Golf Club, the preeminent daily-fee club in Scottsdale, will soon launch a new caddie service for guests. As guests, we will have the option of a Forecaddie or a Single-Bag Caddie or choose to play without a caddie. The new caddie service is part of a long-term property improvement plan of Troon who recently purchased Troon North Golf Club.

The caddie service will begin in mid-November. As I said above, we can choose from these caddie service types:

  1. Forecaddie – Forecaddies will be positioned ahead of the group and will track shots for each player in the group. Forecaddies will also offer advice on how to play the course and help players select the proper target lines. When appropriate, forecaddies will also care for the course, be raking bunkers, replacing divots when necessary, tending flagsticks, cleaning balls and clubs, and help golfers manage the course.
  2. Single-Bag Caddie – A Single-Bag Caddie will work with a single golfer and will describe the best play for each hole, assist with yardages, rake bunkers, replace divots, help around the greens, tend the pin and perform any other duties required.

Dana Garmany, chairman and chief executive officer, Troon said: “The new caddie program will further improve the Troon North experience, while also speeding up the pace of play.  Moving forward, we will continue to enhance the amenities, guest services and course conditions at this flagship Troon facility.”

Why should caddies be part of the overall golf club customer experience?

When we are talking about the influence of the quality and the design of the golf course on customer experience, we should not exclude caddies. Your golf course can be gorgeous, but if the golfer is struggling on it for various reasons (e.g. high handicapper, hardship in reading the golf course) then everything is in vain.

It is crystal clear that not every golf club or resort will be able to afford to provide caddie service. However, above a certain level, you have to come up with such a service that proves you are a premium golf club/resort.

Syngenta in 2013, conducted a survey in the UK (“Growing Golf in the UK”) to gauge what factors are important to golfers. The #3 factor was “Comfortable with the golf course and its surroundings“. Caddies can be helpful to achieve this feeling among golfers.

This is why I think Troon made a wise step toward outstanding customer experience. This kind of experience is a co-created experience. Therefore, the success and quality of a caddie service depend on both sides.  Golf club should also analyze where will be the place of the caddie service in the customer journey of the golfer.

Two years ago I wrote that the right caddie can improve the golfer’s performance by 30%. This was based on the research that was conducted by Leicestershire University experts (“Understanding the Quality and Functions of the Golfer-Caddie Relationship“).

I must say that I agree with these experts who said that golfer-caddie relationship depends on 4 relational properties:

  1. Closeness: building trust, respect, liking and appreciation;
  2. Commitment: desire to maintain relationship that is long-term;
  3. Complementary: comfortable at each other’s presence, being responsive to each other’s efforts
  4. Co-orientation: mutual knowledge and understanding, having common goals, pulling towards the same direction, having similar opinions, being supportive of each other’s views.

How will Troon be able to help golfers find the right caddie for them?