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Boosting Golf Course Reviews with Real-Time Feedback: A Manager’s Guide

May 5, 2024 | Blog

Key Takeaways:

  • Understand the Role of Ratings: Learn why golf course ratings and reviews are critical in the industry.
  • Implement Real-Time Feedback: Discover how systems like Opiniator can enhance golfer satisfaction and ratings.
  • Leverage Technology: Explore technological tools that aid in gathering and analyzing golfer feedback.
  • Engage with Golfers: Tips on using feedback to build loyalty and improve communication.
  • Drive Continuous Improvement: Implement strategies to use feedback for ongoing course enhancements.



In the competitive world of golf course management, positive reviews can significantly impact a business’s success. So what is a disaster:

A terrible golf course review in Yelp

A golf club manager knows that every review reflects the quality of the golfing experience you provide. Real-time feedback is a powerful tool that can help you boost these reviews authentically, prevent bad ones and help improve course performance. This guide explores how you can implement real-time feedback systems to enhance golfer satisfaction and manage your golf course’s reputation effectively.

Understanding the Impact of Golf Course Reviews

Golf has been a beloved sport for centuries, with its origins dating back to 15th century Scotland. By the way, the word “golf” derives from the Dutch word “kolf” or “kolve,” meaning “club.” In those early days players would attempt to hit a pebble over sand dunes and around tracks using a bent stick or club. However, in recent years, the rise of technology and social media has transformed the way golf is played and perceived. With the increasing number of golf courses and players worldwide, the importance of reviews has become more prevalent.. Just consider the impact on potential golfer audiences and the competition – especially if the golfing experience is bad:

  1. Popularity and Players:
    • As of 2021, there are approximately 66.6 million golfers worldwide.
    • The sport has a significant following in the United States, Japan, and Canada, which together host about half of the world’s golfers.
  2. Golf Courses:
    • There are over 38,000 golf courses around the world.
    • The United States leads with the most golf courses, having over 15,000.

This means that reviews, whether positive or negative, have the power to greatly impact a golf course’s reputation and success.

The Financial Impact of a BAD Golf Course Review

The financial impact of a bad review on a golf club (private or public golf) can be significant, particularly in an industry where customer perceptions and reputation play a crucial role. Here are some key points based on available data and studies:

  1. Revenue Impact:
    • According to a study by the Harvard Business School, a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue. Conversely, a decrease in rating can significantly reduce revenue by a similar percentage.
    • A bad review can deter potential customers. For instance, a survey from BrightLocal found that 94% of consumers say a negative review makes them avoid a business.
  2. Customer Acquisition Costs:
    • Negative reviews can increase customer acquisition costs because the golf club might need to spend more on marketing and promotions to counteract the bad publicity and attract new customers.
  3. Long-term Brand and Trust Impact:
    • Negative reviews can damage a brand’s reputation over time, leading to a longer-term decline in customer loyalty and possibly affecting membership renewals and referrals, which are critical for golf courses.
  4. Case Study Insights:
    • Specific data on golf courses might be more anecdotal, but industry insights show that courses heavily rely on customer satisfaction to fuel repeat business and referrals. Any negative experience that’s publicly shared can lead to a tangible drop in customer interest.
  5. Cost of Rectification:
    • Addressing a negative review often requires more than just managerial attention; it might involve staff training, facility upgrades, or service improvements, all of which come with costs.
  6. Impact on Pricing Strategy:
    • A golf course with predominantly negative reviews might have to lower prices to attract players, which can directly affect the bottom line.


This all means that it is imperative for golf course to increase its great reviews and eliminate the bad ones. Even more so if the golf activity is part of a country club, with multiple profit centers. In this article, we will delve into the world of golf course reviews and explore their significance in today’s digital age. We will discuss the influence of reviews on golf course business, the role of online platforms in shaping public perception, and the importance of understanding and responding to reviews. As we navigate through the complexities of golf course reviews, we will gain a deeper understanding of their impact and the steps that can be taken to effectively manage them. So, grab your clubs and join us as we explore the fascinating world of golf course reviews.

The Role of Reviews in Golf Course Selection

Golf course reviews are often the first place potential visitors turn to when choosing where to play. Positive reviews can attract more golfers, increase bookings, and build a reputable brand. Negative reviews can be devastating for a club. In fact, reviews like the one below are far too common. No golf course can survive reviews like these.

Bad golf course review

Lets look at why reviews can be so important:

Firstly reviews provide a snapshot of the course quality. Golfers frequently comment on the maintenance of greens and fairways, the challenge level of the course, and the natural beauty of the surroundings. This information is vital for players looking to match their skills and preferences with appropriate courses.

Secondly, reviews can highlight the amenities that accompany the golfing experience. Facilities like practice ranges, pro shops, and clubhouses contribute to the enjoyment and convenience of a golf day. Comments on food and beverage quality, the availability of golf carts, and even the friendliness of staff can influence a golfer’s choice.

Thirdly, operational aspects such as booking ease, pace of play, and pricing are often covered in reviews and can be a deciding factor, especially for those organizing group outings or events. Knowing ahead of time if a course regularly experiences slow play or if their booking system is efficient can save time and frustration.

Finally, the social proof in reviews often sways potential visitors. Positive reviews can enhance a course’s reputation, attracting more visitors and often allowing them to command higher fees. Conversely, negative reviews can prompt course managers to make improvements, thereby helping to elevate the golfing experience over time. Consider the impact the review below would have on the reputation of the course:

Five star golf course rating

So now the question is how to minimise the negative reviews and gather more positive.

Analyzing Current Trends in Golf Course Feedback with Technology Integration

The integration of technology in feedback collection mechanisms is revolutionizing the way golf courses manage customer experiences. From tee reservations, to food ordering, restroom cleanliness and everything in between. Traditionally reliant on paper comment cards and occasional surveys, the sector is increasingly adopting more digital and cell phone platforms that enable real-time, on-location feedback. This transition not only streamlines the process but also offers immediate insights into golfer satisfaction and areas needing improvement. Newer versions of this like Opiniator deliver feedback via cell phone anywhere on the course or the resort and track all staff responses until completion. This dramatically decreases negative reviews as staff can take immediate action if the golfer is unhappy.

Real-Time Feedback: What Is It and Why It Matters

Real-time feedback involves collecting and analyzing guest opinions at any point in the experience at the club. This means during, NOT after their visit. This could be through digital kiosks, or mobile apps – but better still without an app, and working immediately on all types of cell phone. This is themechanism provided by Opiniator. So what are the benefits?

  1. Immediate Issue Resolution: Real-time feedback allows golf course management to address and resolve issues promptly, enhancing the golfer’s experience. Problems like course conditions, pace of play, and facilities can be swiftly attended to, preventing dissatisfaction among other golfers.
  2. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: When golfers see that their feedback is taken seriously and acted upon quickly, it increases their overall satisfaction and loyalty. This can lead to repeat visits and positive word-of-mouth, essential for business growth.
  3. Data-Driven Improvements: Collecting feedback in real time provides a continuous stream of data, helping course managers identify trends, make informed decisions, and implement strategic improvements based on actual user experiences.
  4. Competitive Advantage: By actively seeking and responding to feedback, a golf course can differentiate itself from competitors. This responsiveness to customer needs can be a strong selling point in marketing efforts.
  5. Increase in Revenue: Satisfied golfers are more likely to utilize additional services such as pro shops, dining facilities, and instruction. By improving the overall experience based on feedback, golf courses can see an increase in ancillary revenues.

The shift towards digital feedback tools is part of a broader trend in the leisure and hospitality industry, driven by the need for more efficient and effective service delivery. Golf courses, in particular, benefit from such technology as it aligns with the expectations of their mobile savvy clientele.

Selecting a Real-Time Feedback Systems

Selecting the appropriate technology is crucial. Consider options like Opiniator that any golfer, using any device can use to rate different aspects of their experience as they move through the course. Ths means the feedback technology must be easy and accessible to the golfer, and deliver immediate insight to Golf Course management. Specifically:

  • Must work on all mobile phones – not just smart phones
  • Allow feedback in English and Spanish
  • Using a full survey engine so any question and logic combination can be used
  • Be integrated with an alert engine to immeditaly notify staff of an issue
  • And track those alerts until completion
  • Enable social media testimonials for ONLY the satisfied golfer
  • Ensure anonymity: Have an anonymous option – this has big benefits, increases the response rates and creating a safe space for honest opinions and constructive criticism.

Implementing a Real-Time Feedback Systems

Lets look at how such a real-time program work: It starts with signage that alerts the golfer for feedback:

The process of obtaining golfer reviews at a golf course

So where are these signs? Perhaps on a golf buggy.

Request for feedback on a golf buggy

Or simply anywhere on the course:

Signage requesting feedback on a golf course

Analyzing Feedback: Turning Data into Action

There is no point obtaining data without a corresponding action. This means the technology must have real-time alerts and the ability to connect with the golfer. So what happens if a golfer is unhappy?

Top 3 Ways for Golf Course Managers to Respond to Negative Feedback from Golfers

Receiving negative feedback from golfers about their experience at a golf course can be challenging for managers. However, how they respond to this feedback can make a significant impact on the reputation and success of the course. Here are the top three ways golf course managers can effectively respond to negative feedback:

1. Acknowledge and Apologize: The first step in addressing negative feedback is to immediately acknowledge the golfer’s concerns and offer a sincere apology. By showing empathy and understanding towards the golfer’s experience, the manager can demonstrate that their feedback is valued. A simple apology can go a long way in showing that the management team cares about providing a positive experience for all golfers.

2. Investigate and Take Action: After acknowledging the feedback, it is crucial for the manager to investigate the issues raised by the golfer. This may involve talking to staff members, reviewing policies, or examining the course conditions. Once the root cause of the problem is identified, swift action should be taken to rectify it. Whether it involves improving customer service, course maintenance, or facilities, addressing the issues promptly shows a commitment to continuous improvement.

3. Follow-Up and Seek Feedback: After addressing the concerns raised by the golfer, it is essential for the manager to follow up with them to ensure that the issues have been resolved satisfactorily. This follow-up not only shows that the manager values feedback but also gives the golfer an opportunity to provide further input. Seeking feedback on the actions taken and implementing any necessary changes based on this feedback can help in preventing similar issues in the future and likely shared with the golf course community.

Responding effectively to negative feedback from golfers requires acknowledgment, action, and follow-up. By following these top three ways, golf course managers can turn a negative experience into an opportunity for improvement and demonstrate a commitment to providing exceptional service to all golfers.

Leveraging Positive Reviews to Attract More Golfers

We started this blog highlighting the importance of social media to improve the financial performance of a golf course – through great golf course reviews. So how does this work using real-time feedback and a tool like Opiniator? Simple – as the technology reviews feedback and ratings in seconds so can display different requests and messages depending on the answers received. For a satisfied golfer – this means requesting they post a nice review on social media straight away. For an unhappy golfer, this means contacting them through the platform in seconds, but WITHOUT a social media request.

Happy golfer posting testimonial to social media

This social media connection has many uses.


Golf course reviews are critical for the importance of business survival. This is particularly so if the golf is part of a bigger business, for example a country club. There are hundreds of “Moments of Truth” every single day at your golf course. How you manage these critical moments will determine future revenue and brand value. There are many areas where critical moments can occur: Pro shop, fairways, 19th hole, locker rooms, reception, golf cart, lodging and snack shop

The integration of technology into feedback collection is essential for golf courses aiming to enhance customer satisfaction and maintain competitive edge. By adopting feedback systems like Opiniator, for detailed reviews they can ensure timely resolutions, better engage with customers, and leverage data for strategic decisions. Furthermore this ultimately leading to improved service quality, great testimonials and customer retention


  1. What is the impact of golf course reviews? Reviews significantly influence a golf course’s reputation and financial success, affecting player traffic and revenue.
  2. How can real-time feedback improve golfer satisfaction? Immediate feedback systems allow for swift problem resolution on-site, enhancing the overall customer experience and satisfaction.
  3. What technological tools are recommended for gathering feedback? Tools like Opiniator facilitate on-location, real-time feedback via mobile devices, enabling prompt responses and service adjustments.
  4. How do positive reviews affect a golf course? They attract more visitors, boost bookings, and enhance the brand’s reputation, allowing for potentially higher fees.
  5. What should managers do when they receive negative feedback? Managers should promptly acknowledge, investigate, and rectify issues, and then follow up to ensure satisfaction.
  6. Can real-time feedback systems impact revenue? Yes, enhancing the golfer experience can increase spending on ancillary services like pro shops and dining, thereby boosting overall revenue.



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