What do golf clubs benefit from Ingersoll Rand’s acquisition?

By: November 23, 2017

I have been talking for a while about the importance of creating added value services not just for golfers, but also for golf clubs. This is why I think, Ingersoll Rand‘s latest acquisition is a smart way to create differentiation. Ingersoll Rand agreed with Falconhead Capital, LLC to acquire GPSi Holdings, LLC.

For those of you who might don’t know, GPSi Holdings is the developer of the Visage navigation solution (see picture below that I took at Le Golf National, the host of the 2018 Ryder Cup). This acquisition is coming after a decade-long successful integration of  GPSi connectivity offerings with Club Car vehicles.

 Club Car and GPSi have connected 70,000+ vehicles in 50 countries through the Visage platform. 

Ingersoll Rand Club Car Visage Le Golf National

Although at first sight, this acquisition might sound like just another one.  However, if look this action from a little closer then it is should be noteworthy for golf clubs and resorts who would like to avoid sameness and stay competitive.

How could you make your golf club/resort distinctive?

Usually, we talk about 4 ways to create added value for our customers:

  1. Considering our customers’ perspective (e.g. accepting the mobile-first reality) + as part of it, we define customer personas.
  2. Constantly working on customer satisfaction improvement (e.g. using NPS and other customer surveys).
  3. Developing memorable customer experience.
  4. Implement marketing models (e.g. 4Cs model, SWOT analysis etc.)

We are already experiencing the changes in personal consumption that are relevant to golf clubs and resorts:

  • Increase in convenience,
  • Demand for personalization,
  • Demand for customization,
  • Focus on health & wellness,
  • Aging population,
  • Social media driven consumption etc.

Some of the leading golf clubs and resorts (e.g The Belfry Hotel & Resort, Le Golf National, Las Colinas Golf Club, Powerscourt Golf Club) have already made the first steps toward providing added-value services.

Yes, providing golf carts with navigation solution can contribute a lot to

  1. memorable customer experience,
  2. help elder golfers,
  3. convenience.

I believe in memorable customer experience since it also has a very positive effect on word of mouth (WOM) and advocacy. If we want people to talk about our golf club’s services and general about our golf club then we have to find:

  • “Social currency”
  • Triggers
  • Emotions
  • Public – make the private experience public!
  • Practical value
  • Story – embed your service/product in a broader narrative that people want to share.

At this moment when golf carts with navigation in golf clubs are still unusual, they have a “social currency” as well. People will have to share such experience because it makes them look more modern. The practical value of this service is obvious (the accuracy of the navigation system is another story).

Although Visage is not perfect, I can still talk about it positively (=emotions!!) a share my experience here and elsewhere too.

What is challenging is how making this private experience public. It would be nice if the golfer could share his results via the Visage navigation system on Facebook, in email etc.

We were discussing here golf carts with navigation solution as an added value service and their contribution to memorable customer experience and differentiation.

However, the idea of added value services is not limited to golf carts, golf clubs, but it is very relevant to golf equipment manufacturers as well. They should move beyond improving the distance and forgiveness of their clubs and start to think also about what could they provide in addition to this to their customers (e.g. swing analyzer, loyalty club, co-branded credit card etc.)

Your Turn!

What kind of added value services do you have in your golf club? List them in the comment box! Thank you. 🙂