Episode 74


(Bodo Sieber, CEO, Tagmarshal + Joey Walters, GM, Tagmarshal)

Announcer: This is The Golf Business podcast brought to you by the National Golf Course Owners Association, the leading voice for today's owners and operators. Each episode features guests and discussions about some of the most important matters in our business. This podcast is supported by Yamaha Golf-Cars, the official golf car partner of NGCOA. Now, coming to you from the John Deere Studio, is Golf Business Podcast host, Charlie Birney.

Charlie Birney: [00:00:26] Welcome to Episode 74 of the Golf Business Podcast. We have, as always, some outstanding guests. First up in House Chat, we have Bodo Sieber and Joey Walters, the CEO and general manager of Tagmarshal, our newest NGCOA partner, to really peel back the layers that today's courses can receive as a result of utilizing data and today's technology. You'll see what I mean. This is the type of analysis that can benefit everyone. And for INSIGHT golf business, I'm absolutely thrilled to welcome Jeff Price, the chief commercial officer of the PGA, and Charles Dillahunt, I'm going to get this right, Charles. Strategic Adjunct to the CEO and the Chief People Officer of the PGA. And they're going to talk about Make Golf Your Thing. You all are probably already participating in it. There's a lot to this program. I really want to encourage everyone to let us know about your Make Golf Your Thing stories. Ok, let's tee it up and get started with Bodo Sieber and Joey Walters of Tagmarshal. Well, I'm so glad to welcome Bodo Sieber and Joey Walters, the CEO, and General Manager of Tagmarshal, to the show today. Gentlemen, welcome to the golf business podcast.


Bodo Sieber: [00:01:39] Thank you, Charlie, it's fantastic to be here.


Charlie Birney: [00:01:41] Well, I'm so excited you're involved in something that we've been talking around and about some of the technology that I'm looking at in the Tagmarshal Website. So I want to get started right in with either one of you, Bodo or Joey. How would you describe the elevator speech for Tagmarshal? I'm super excited to start diving in.


Bodo Sieber: [00:02:00] Thank you, Charlie, this is my favorite question, this is broader. I'm sure Joey will have his own version. But if you'll allow me because. 


Charlie Birney: [00:02:12] Yes, please


Bodo Sieber: [00:02:12] Yes, so we are a golf course optimization system. So it's business to business. We serve the operators who ultimately obviously serve the golfers. What we do is we use GPS and IOD technology to create what is basically a Waze or Google Maps for golf course management.


Charlie Birney: [00:02:30] Mm-hmm.


Bodo Sieber: [00:02:30] You can already see that there's data involved and there's tracking of players involved. And ultimately what it does is it speeds up the game at which the players absolutely love. And I'm sure we're going to talk about that. And then that's good for business, to begin with. But also, there's lots of efficiencies that come with the use of technology, and there is material opportunity to add additional capacity, which is as golf courses are now in high demand, very relevant, as you know,


Charlie Birney: [00:02:56] Of course


Bodo Sieber: [00:02:57] And provide the best possible experience alongside that. So it's an efficiency tool, optimization for revenue. And the players absolutely love it because it speeds up the game that they love to come play.


Charlie Birney: [00:03:07] Right. Well, I've never seen a system just to go sort of down real far real quick. Certainly I've seen golf cart systems. Certainly I've seen GPS systems. There's one in Queenstown Harbor, which I had a hand in many years ago, and there's a huge television on the wall. And I went in after being gone for about a year and a half. And I saw all the golf carts, you know, all over the map. And it was really exciting. But I've never seen on your How It Works page your first item, the Walkers interaction. And so I wonder if you could talk a little. I've never seen that integrated with this whole package. But then I need sort of a perspective for back of the house to talk about the analytics, too, as well. So, but first, you have a solution for the walkers that gives them, you know, integration in this optimization.


Bodo Sieber: [00:03:52] Yes. Joey, do you want to jump on?


Charlie Birney: [00:03:54] Come on Joey, it's your turn.


Joey Walters: [00:03:57] Yeah,  it's our tax system.


Charlie Birney: [00:04:00] So what is I'm not I've just looked at it and I'm not exactly sure what it is. I think I know what it is.


Joey Walters: [00:04:05] Yeah, it's about the size, I compare it to, about the size of a zippo lighter.


Charlie Birney: [00:04:10] OK


Joey Walters: [00:04:10] Both devices can attach to a golf bag. If you're on a caddy course, it can go in the caddy's pocket. It's very easy for them to carry. And it does the same thing as our cart systems. We can track where the players are at on the course. We can track the pace of play and we can do all the normal analytics that we can do across all of our devices with this. A lot of these are in high end courses where they do have a lot of walkers. Bandon Dunes is one example.


Charlie Birney: [00:04:41] Right


Joey Walters: [00:04:42] It's a total walking course. Yeah. I mean, this is what they use to help manage their player experience out there. You know, for a course like them, it's not so much about the pace of play. It's about the experience.


Charlie Birney: [00:04:53] Right 


Joey Walters: [00:04:54] Coming into the place like that. Yeah.


Charlie Birney: [00:04:56] Maximizing the pure golf experience.


Joey Walters: [00:04:58] Exactly. So.


Charlie Birney: [00:04:59] Let me jump in, which is another thing which you're saying. With this kind of an optimization system and we're really haven't started talking about all the things it does probably yet. I'm looking at your website. It allows you to do what you've just alluded to. Whether it's a full cart course, a full walking course devoted to maximizing profits or maybe maximizing just the pure golf experience. And that's what's never existed before. So can you give me a little more about, I've got the information coming in and then can you take me through to how you get to the data, the analytics? Either one. 


Bodo Sieber: [00:05:31] Ask me the data and systems question.


Charlie Birney: [00:05:38] All right. I'll ask about that. Let's talk about that. So we're gathering all this information. Talk a little bit about that, Bodo.


Bodo Sieber: [00:05:46] What we're doing is we're tracking player movement, right? So basically we're solving a traffic problem on a golf course, which golf has had for the longest time. A couple of years ago, a slow player used to break Twitter every weekend as a hashtag. And now we have been gifted as an industry, obviously, with an amazing boost in new players and returning players. So we need to manage the traffic well, because people are time-sensitive and they want a fantastic experience when they come off that don't want to have to wait and see if it's a huge detractor. So what our system does is we track the movement data and then our system calculates and uses machine learning and algorithms to determine where the traffic issues are on the course even ahead of time. And then either The system that talks to the players and informs them so that they can stay compliant, get back in position.


Charlie Birney: [00:06:38] OK. Yep. I was going to ask. 


Bodo Sieber: [00:06:40] Well, the course management or applied assistant might come out and have a conversation based on the information the system has provided, which is based on data. Based on information, not based on opinion, which is a tough conversation to have. Yeah. This is when it comes to real-time management, it completely changes the game because the system tells the clubs and the players if there's a traffic issue or a bottleneck starting to form, and they can respond and be very proactive, which obviously helps the many, many groups that would otherwise be impacted behind them. So it's sort of Real-Time Traffic Management has completely changed to pen and paper and best effort that we used to have.


Charlie Birney: [00:07:23] Wow. 


Bodo Sieber: [00:07:24] And it's obviously very resource-efficient, too, because we don't need people out there looking for problems. The system does it every second of every day with every single group all the time and presents the data in a way that's super easy to understand.


Charlie Birney: [00:07:36] That is a great point. Bodo, I was thinking, as you were talking, that the only other way to do exactly what you're saying, we talk about reflexive pricing. This is really responsive timing. Right. And I'm thinking about how would we have done that 10 years ago? And I know how we've done it. And I know what you guys will say with people all over and marshals everywhere. Marshals, Marshals everywhere. And they had to be, I can think of some courses where they were like, you speed up or you're off the course. I mean, you've probably heard stories like that, too, or you skip a hole. Right. So, and that's not a very pleasant experience for anybody. For the marshal. Obviously, the marshal hates that experience and the player really doesn't relish it and might not even come back to the golf course. What you're offering is a proactive win-win solution. I've never seen this done, sort of this responsive timing in such a degree. It's absolutely fascinating. I hope everyone listening will take a look. You've got some just incredible features here, and I'm starting to understand what you're talking about, but I've never really thought about managing it with an intelligent system to manage what you're talking about, Bodo. It's absolutely fascinating.


Bodo Sieber: [00:08:36] We're going to have Joey share some of the things that you see in, obviously meeting and working with a lot of the clients on the ground. But from my side, what's been fascinating is that the opportunity that data presents to this industry is phenomenal because we are a little bit behind on it in terms of adoption. Right. So there is a lot of opportunity where we can actually catch up quickly in terms of using data for better decision making. And you can never know enough about your business. So if golf is important to you and is out after the experience to have optimizing your T-shirt, making sure that you get the optimal amount of people out with the right experience and you doing that day in, day out, full control over that. If that's important to you, then this is something that you should certainly take a look at and enter the data that comes out of it from the business intelligence analytics point of view in terms of understanding your hole-by-hole traffic, your peak times at the course that you need to pay extra attention to.


Charlie Birney: [00:09:33] Right.


Bodo Sieber: [00:09:33] What are your bottleneck areas that we can talk to our superintendents about them all the way through? What are the high traffic, high cart traffic impact, wear and tear areas where people going? Where are they not going? Where can we save money? Where can we protect our course? All of those things come out as an optimization opportunity once you have the data. So it's really a far-reaching business tool, if you will. But it starts with making the play experience as great as it possibly can be, and then for the rest, it's very quickly turns into something that the courses cannot do without once and know what's possible.


Charlie Birney: [00:10:07] Honestly, this is super exciting. And I want to let our listeners know I'm very impressed again with your website because you've got webinars and podcasts listed. And if anyone wants to do a deeper dove, then we'll be able to get to in the time we have today. There are some exceptional content here that for any owner and I love seeing that you have some in spanish. By the way, I wanted to tell you a story about a bottleneck that you reminded me of Bodo. My father used to be in property management and development here in Washington DC and in a building they managed, it was a 19 story building and there were only two elevators. So the wait time was very, very long. And they had lots and lots and lots of complaints about waiting for the elevator. But they couldn't really fix the elevator without spending like a million dollars. So. So can either of you guys guess what they did? They put floor to ceiling wall of Mirro around the elevator doors. And the complaints stopped because everybody was checking their hair. He didn't create that. That's a known system for like elevators. You can't put a mirror on the golf course. But I wonder if it's a monetization in the right circumstances, in the right areas. Maybe that's a place to put a pop-up hot dog shack on the golf course that day and slow people down like dad's mirror. I don't know.


Joey Walters: [00:11:17] Yeah, Charlie. We actually had an experience like that with some of our Seattle courses. They want to send out the beverage cart where they know they have these bottlenecks while they work through them. So, you know, they're increasing the player experience and they obviously know they have some really long round times right now. But as they work through it and they gather their data. One of the guys there, he said, look, I want to send the beverage cart out when I see this pile up. Right. We'll serve drinks and and food and things like this, and we'll kind of distract the people from the pace of play while we work through it.


Charlie Birney: [00:11:50] That's what I was thinking. Yeah. Yeah.


Joey Walters: [00:11:52] Certainly same concept.


Charlie Birney: [00:11:53] I mean, why wouldn't you want to do that? It makes sense anyway. You can even let them have a free, you know, a free Coke or whatever, you know, because that's easy. And then it shows as a consumer, isn't that all we really want from our vendors is to show that they're trying a little harder than everybody else to make the experience better. And that's what this is, is I think Bodo said when we started. The biggest problem we've got is pace of play. Right now, we're lucky. And again, I think Bodo mentioned this. We have a resurgence of play. We have a pandemic-friendly sport. We have, you know, finally a chance for golf to get out of the underside of sort of this bad image. Sorry, folks, That it's had in the past. And now we need to maximize it. Bodo in the hotel, you probably know that's called heads on beds. You're trying to figure out how to maximize, you know, filling the roster here at Podville Media, we're trying to fill three studios I which they were, you know, filled three, 24 hours a day, but they can't be. So I think this is incredibly, tremendously exciting. And I'm sure our listeners who are having, you know, this maximum daily fee and finding probably both of you have heard stories, Joey, perhaps about people finding new gridlocks spots because of more play than previously used to.


Joey Walters: [00:13:02] Certainly. Yeah, very certainly. Aaron Hels is a prime example. And if they're fresh in my mind, because I just got back from a trip out there, the and talking with Jim Lombardo out there, the director of golf, he was able to analyze the data that they have and realized that their morning tee times are faster than their afternoon tee times. So they send people off an eleven-minute intervals in the mornings, because those are the people that are coming in and they're wanting to get on the course. You know, they want to play that course. The ones that are in the afternoon are typically people who stay on-site and they play slower.


Charlie Birney: [00:13:40] Oh, I got it.


Joey Walters: [00:13:40] To recognize that they had three extra tee slots in their day if they could sell and get people onto this course and maximize their course and maximize that experience.


Charlie Birney: [00:13:51] Yeah, that's really cool. You made me think of something else, too, Joey. That is really cool. My friend Jerry, who always asks for golf, if you know what I mean. He always, yeah, I love Jerry. I love you. I know you're not listening. Anyway, he always wants the earliest I can give him anywhere, period, because he just wants to play and get the hell out of there and go back and watch television. He's retired, so it's OK. I love you, Jerry. No, it's. That makes so much sense. Joey Now, guys, you're where can some of our listeners go and see and experience this without signing on? I've got a list here, so I'm trying to prompt you were some of the great courses that you guys are involved with now.


Bodo Sieber: [00:14:34] So we are currently work with over 350 clubs.


Charlie Birney: [00:14:38] Oh, my gosh. I didn't know that. Wow. Yeah, that's Awesome.


Bodo Sieber: [00:14:41] We have very fortunate and having over 30 of the top hundred. So it's the household names, your Pebble Beach all the way to Oakmont. So it's a high end private and the well-known sort of major hosting resort called Whistling Straits Pinehurst. What have you. So these guys are obviously in the driving seat as far as the industry is concerned, but. Our clubs are that middle of the road, 40 dollar green fee or the middle of the road, decent on the road. Private club or country club? Right. We all have the same challenge right there. The same challenge. The same problem that so true.


Charlie Birney: [00:15:12] Yeah. I played Pinehurst once and it destroyed me. And I can tell you, was that little pot bunker, you know, I couldn't get out of it. But we run a 36 hole golf course, Bodo, and I can see how incredibly useful this would be, just as Joey said, finding tee times. In an earlier part of my career. Joey and Bodo, I did a nine hole charity league. And if I could have had those tags or even the two way device so that I could communicate with a super, my plan was to always play. We played at 7:30 in the morning, but we played the back nine. So I wasn't trying to take a tee time that we could sell back to what Joey was saying about finding tee time. So I found nine holes. Now our 18 hole golf courses, the superintendent hated me because that's when they were maintaining the back nine. But on the 36, sure, I could do it because he might not be on one of those two. Right, 218. So I would play on the back nine. But it always would have been great if I could know how close the guys are getting to us, you know, because we didn't necessarily play fast. We were playing in Fivesomes as opposed to the time and drinking coffee and telling lots of bad golf jokes, because I have a lot of them. So but this gives you other creative abilities to manage those time slots. Right. I mean, you can do some other things that maybe some of our listeners haven't thought of yet with using parts of the golf course that you might be able to just sort of, I don't know, give lessons on for three hours. But you know exactly where the incoming crowd is at once.


Bodo Sieber: [00:16:31] So there are two things that many clubs are starting to do. You mentioned your friend Jerry, who likes the first round arch, right? So, well, if you can control the pace and you can get some buy in from the players are saying, I'm up for that. I want to play at 3:30. I want to play a quick round. Well, let's do the first five rounds. And now that round that your friend Jerry is willing to pay a bit more for because he wants first thought, well, let's give them five of them. Get there, Brian, and then we're going to manage them almost on a Fastlane basis. Right. So that works extremely well. And so it's not just the first stop, it's the first five times. And you can imagine what happens in terms of your capacity that you cannot find, because if the guys are playing at such a speed, you can shorten the intervals a little bit. You can find integral opportunities. Then other people are saying, well, we want to play a fast 9-hole, competition, twosomes, 90 minutes in and out, you know.


Charlie Birney: [00:17:23] Right.


Bodo Sieber: [00:17:23] And basically your scoring is tied to getting through at the time. Talk a little bit less. You talk after the, want a spirit, have a beer after, but we make sure that we get you out of here 90 minutes. Everybody plays a fantastic round. They're not thinking about the game too much.


Charlie Birney: [00:17:38] Right.


Bodo Sieber: [00:17:39] Actually. And improve their scores. Right.


Charlie Birney: [00:17:41] Right.


Bodo Sieber: [00:17:41] So all those things that you can do once you have the data and also once you know what's possible. And then you can market those to. 


Charlie Birney: [00:17:49] So cool


Bodo Sieber: [00:17:50] Members, you can market this to your guests because it's no longer a one size fits all experience. Right. Golf is showing that to us. We got to do things a bit differently. And now you can segment. 


Charlie Birney: [00:17:59] So true, yeah. 


Bodo Sieber: [00:18:01] You can segment your times of day to suit certain players. Experience needs, right? Somebody likes to play half an hour or longer, have an extra few beers we'll invite you at those times. Somebody likes to fly through the course because that's when they can play more golf. Well, here, here's your tee time. We make sure that we make that happen for you. So it works really well. It's a fantastic opportunity to really now check in on that opportunity that's come our way with the players, right.


Charlie Birney: [00:18:26] Well, you make such a good point. And if I can, I'll go back to Jerry one more time since I again, I know he's not listening, but you're exactly right. Jerry is one of a bunch of a handful of people that every golf course has that actually competes to say how quickly they played and why not make them enjoy that, give them that opportunity on a golden platter. I love this. I had not thought of that. But that makes so much sense because I guarantee you, I can think of five names from Queenstown or the guys who just want to tell me how quickly they could play the golf course and if they could line up in the morning. What Bodo just said, I'm sorry, but that just is a lightning bolt that makes so much sense. And then, of course, there's the other side. Who was it, Jay from California, Jay Youngblood. I'm sorry, folks. I can't remember your name, Jay. And he would theme music for the day of the week at the driving range and around the Golf Shack. So it actually in that case, the wine and soft rock band things were probably a little slower. But maybe that's a case for looking at that and getting more beverage carts out. I don't know. Yes, but it seems to me there's a lot of really cool opportunities. I wish we could go into much greater depth than we really have time for today. Gentlemen, I'm so grateful to you. I can't wait to talk to our guy about it and then come out to one of the courses and see it in action. Sometimes I'm a real gearhead, so I love looking at the technology and I'm really grateful to you. You are a Brand new NGCOA partner, and I'm delighted to have you Bodo and Joey on the show today.


Joey Walters: [00:19:53] Thanks for having us, Charlie.


Charlie Birney: [00:19:54] Yeah. Is there anything that I missed before we sign off? Either one of you. I probably missed about a thousand things.


Joey Walters: [00:19:59] No, one thing I'll kind of leave with is, you know, if you don't mind, you know, it's more than just data for us. I think the data and really present challenges. You didn't know where they're making open your eyes. It can also do some other things for you. And everybody kind of uses the data to kind of tailor themselves to the way their course needs to run.


Charlie Birney: [00:20:20] Right.


Joey Walters: [00:20:20] An example of this is one of our courses in Florida. They're fairly new and they were concerned with having their members know that they're being tracked on a pace of play system. Now, obviously, the court wants to track the pace of play, they don't want to present that to their customers as a we're tracking you type of system.


Charlie Birney: [00:20:36] OK,


Joey Walters: [00:20:37] So I said here's here's some of the benefits. What if are you guys delivering food to the course, you know, because you don't have really a beverage cart girl. You're running food out. He goes, yeah. I said, well, now you know exactly where they're at. They don't have to call you and say, I'm on hold five and then you got to go out and search for maybe they're all dead or something. Right. But now you can have them in your system. Yeah. Right. You can go exactly to where they're at. You get them their food while it's hot. Their beverage is not watered down. And you know, also, you can if something happens on the course, because they do deal with some elderly folks at this particular course, if an emergency situation comes up, you know exactly where they're at.


Charlie Birney: [00:21:14] Right.


Joey Walters: [00:21:15] So you can get to them quickly.


Charlie Birney: [00:21:16] So heart attacks happen every day on the course.


Joey Walters: [00:21:19] Right. It's more you know, it's there's a lot of things you can do with the system and do with the data to tailor it to your own needs. Yeah. Which is exciting about that.


Charlie Birney: [00:21:27] It really is. And we got into Golf Bodo and Joey, our company, the company that I used to work in Golf with in, nineteen oh boy. We opened 1991 and there wasn't a computer around that, a spreadsheet. I had bought the first computer to our company in 1985, and it was an Atari 400 folks. So we were working on spreadsheets, spreadsheets, spreadsheets. And, you know, what was this thing we called an affinity program? I'd never heard that before, you know, so it's truly thrilling to see something like this, which is so as Joey said, I want to underline that this gives you data that allows you to create a maximum experience at your facility. So, I mean, I get it. And I just again, I hope everyone will take a look at this page that says webinars, because there's so much ideas just in the titles. And you'll get excited about which one of these you want to listen to, because there's a lot of hints about how you might use this in your own facility. I'm so grateful to you guys. Hope I get a chance to meet you, and I hope we get a chance to see one of these in action. It just seems like a really, really exciting product. Appreciate you and thanks for being on the show today.


Joey Walters: [00:22:35] Thank you so much, Charlie.

Charlie Birney: [00:22:36] Thanks, Joey. Thanks, Bodo. You bet. Thanks to Bodo and Joey. I am seriously amazed with the level of analysis and capability here. I really want to see one in action. Ok, on To Make Golf Your Thing. I'm so glad today to have Jeff Price and Charles Dillahunt, both with the PGA Of America, to talk about Make Golf Your Thing.

(Jeff Price, Chief Commercial Officer, PGA of America + Charles Dillahunt, Chief People Officer, PGA of America)

Charlie: I'm so glad today to have Jeff Price and Charles Dillahunt, both with the PGA Of America, to talk about Make Golf Your Thing. I think everybody is aware of this program, gentlemen. Welcome to the show. And can you give me sort of a brief Jeff, let's start with you, a brief description. I know it's so hard to do this because I already know a little bit about it. But for the complete novice, Make Golf Your Thing. 


Jeff Price: [00:23:14] Turns out it's a really interesting effort that the golf industry has had coming together. You know, our CEO Seth Waugh, Jay Monahan with the PGA Tour, Mike Wan while he was at the LPGA, other leaders in golf across multiple organizations, including the NGCOA, have all embraced this idea that there's really two opportunities that we have to try and capitalize on. Obviously, there's momentum in this sport right now, and we've got to make sure that we sustain that. And the great news about the engagement in the sport is it has been more diverse. It has been, you know, not just men that look like me, but lots of kids and families and women that are playing. And obviously, you know, from a business perspective, as you think about the future of the game, the concept of making sure that we appeal to every aspect of society and then ultimately the next census, you know, half the population is female. We're going to have, you know, a diverse majority of citizens in the United States. So it's really important from a business perspective. We embrace and welcome everyone to play this wonderful sport that we have an opportunity to connect with. And so, Makov, your thing is a marketing effort and a movement, but it's also a lot of really hard work done by lots of folks in the industry, in areas like procurement and in youth and adult Player Development. It's about H.R. and how do you think about the way that you engage with diverse audiences as employees? The owners of golf courses, the best way to potentially engage in welcome is to make sure that you have a diverse team, of course, is there that that ultimately engages. So there's work at. Five working groups that are really trying to change the nature of the way that golf engages with diverse audiences, and then we've got this great marketing platform and movement. It is really welcoming and inviting everyone to play the game. And my partner, Charles, has done an amazing job of working with operators to create an invitation. This is about creating another out of the box program that everyone has to cookie cutter look the same.


Charlie Birney: [00:25:24] Yeah, OK.


Jeff Price: [00:25:25] It's really ultimately about creating invitations for programs. It should be welcome to everyone. And Charles has done some amazing work building those invitations, working with operators and really making this something that everyone in golf can embrace and not have to think about creating a new program. But how do you take those great programs that you have and make them welcome? They can create invitations for everyone.


Charlie Birney: [00:25:48] I love that expression. And Charles, maybe you could chime in here, that expression, Jeff, of creating an invitation. It allows your brain to sort of reload a little bit and embrace a fuller experience.


Charles Dillahunt: [00:25:59] Yeah, and I think the name super important, right? Make it your thing.


Charlie Birney: [00:26:03] I love it.


Charles Dillahunt: [00:26:04] Come into our club and you're going to we're going to make you make it. 


Charlie Birney: [00:26:08] So true


Charles Dillahunt: [00:26:08] thing. But it's our thing, right? It's accepting. It feels better. It's more of like an invitation to come in as you are and find what you love about the golf industry, whether it's working through a job or procurement, as Jeff mentioned, or playing the game.


Charles Dillahunt: [00:26:20] We think there's something for everybody here. And it's not just a tagline. We really mean it, so.


Charlie Birney: [00:26:24] Mm hmm. Well, it's so exciting. And I want to make sure people. Let's see. I forgot it. Oh, here I am on the right website. It's just MakeGolfYourThing.org if anybody wants to look as they're listening along. So tell me some more about let's see. You've got so many Buckett, as Jeff just mentioned, we've got National adult programs, youth programs. How many can you sort of give me a little bit more detail on how tthese columns match up?


Jeff Price: [00:26:48] Yeah, sure. I'll start there, Charles. And thank you. But I think the framework of the youth and adult player development initiatives, there are lots of great national programs, and those are all listed on the website today. Yeah, but really the work that has been done to kind of focus on those grassroots programs, Dr. Cooper, who's leading that initiative, has done an amazing job of identifying those on the ground grassroots programs. And we've created an opportunity to create kind of an endowment, a way to give to these programs that they are able to then sustain the good work that they're doing. And so it's not just about national program.


Charlie Birney: [00:27:29] It's a great point. 


Jeff Price: [00:27:30] About grants that can go to people that those dollars really matter and they can expand their reach and their impact. So it's a great example both on the youth and adult players side, where we're impacting real programs with donations that are enabling good work to be done.


Charlie Birney: [00:27:45] Yeah. And before you jump in, Charles, that reminds me of a story from 15 years ago. And there was a local gentleman, John Hostetler, and he wanted to create a kid's program that didn't cost anything for the kids. And we all pitched in and we all got used clubs, but there was No granting program. And I don't believe that program exists anymore. But it brought in dozens and Dozens and dozens of 10 year olds to have a day of golf. And that's the kind of thing that that you're talking about supporting, I guess.


Jeff Price: [00:28:10] That's exactly right. We have twenty eight thousand PGA professionals who do amazing work every day in the field and connecting with consumers. And these programs that we're engaging with and helping, they're connecting with consumers on a very grassroots and engaging basis. We want to make sure that it's your point. Those programs don't go away.


Charlie Birney: [00:28:33] Right.


Jeff Price: [00:28:34] Many great ideas that folks have to know how to drive engagement and invitations, but sometimes the resources to make those happen go away. So in that area of youth and adult player development, let's make sure they're sustainable and that they can ultimately grow over time, not have a good idea for one or two years and go away. But we will sustain this.


Charlie Birney: [00:28:55] Mm-hmm. Yeah, Charles.


Charles Dillahunt: [00:28:56] Jeff and I, I think what was important about that exercise, as well as unfortunately, everyone did not receive funding. But what we did learn is there are a plethora of programs out there that will be eligible for the next round if they choose to apply again. But also that our Chief People Officer Sandy Cross and myself have been able to introduce to PJ sections. We would reach out to them and say, hey, we know you didn't receive funding, but we'd like to introduce you to the section to see if there's any synergy there or not. And there's been some we've introduced to the metropolitan section, the Connecticut section, and I know they're doing things like donating the clubs and introducing the PGA professionals who have made golf your thing invitations available for them. So even if you don't get the funding, if you do apply for your program, there are other ways that we can help you, whether it's through introductions or things of that nature.


Charlie Birney: [00:29:37] Right. I was going to say there are a lot of other ways, even with social media, that you can help certain programs without just handing them over a check. So I appreciate that that very much. So as owners and operators, let's just ask the basic question. If one of my listeners has not heard of this, I think they'll probably be a little surprising. But how will we get involved? Just what's the simplest way?


Jeff Price: [00:29:58] I'm gonna go there again. MakeGolfYourThing.org and there is a toolkit. I'll let Charles to describe the work that he did with the team,


Charlie Birney: [00:30:09] Please.


Jeff Price: [00:30:10] To pull this together.


Charlie Birney: [00:30:11] Yes.


Jeff Price: [00:30:12] But there is a target on the site that you can download, and it really explains exactly what to do with growth. Maybe share some of the examples of what operators are doing and the success that they're seeing embracing this national umbrella. You mentioned social media. And I'll just make a point that while we are you're seeing spots on television and we're very much reaching out to diverse audiences with creative and marketing and support. Social media and influencers are a huge piece of what we're trying to do. And the great part about what we're seeing is there are so many folks that have embraced this game that want to tell their story. And Charles said it before where it's your thing. We're allowing everyone to tell how they're making golf their thing. And ultimately, that's the power of what this concept is. The work Charles has done. It's available on MakeGolfYourThing.org is really a simple step that operators and PGA Professionals and LPGA Professionals and everyone who touches consumers at a golf facility can engage and ultimately make this their thing at their facility. Charles, why don't you take it?


Charlie Birney: [00:31:13] Yeah, please.


Charles Dillahunt: [00:31:14] Yeah, for sure. So if you go to MakeGolfYourThing.org and you do download that tool kit, what you will find, and then I'm going to forgive me for looking at my notes here, but it's pretty meaty. Well, you'll find in that toolkit is a short intro for the folks who weren't able to reach the beginning of the campaign. And it just gives you the thirty thousand foot overview of the campaign, what it is, what it means to do. But I think the most important part of that tool kit are the owner and operator examples. We knew that going into this, it couldn't just be Jeff Price and Charles Dillahunt or Matt Corey at the PGA Tour preaching this Make Golf Your Thing. Yeah, right. It needed to be people on the ground that are actually doing this day to day. Yeah. Having examples of how it works and how it could work. So I'll name a couple. Club Core, Topgolf, Keaton Park and Tony Martinez, who's on our national board, Cathy Harmon at Pine Ridge in Texas, who's on our National board. Abby Liebenthal, who works for the USGA and runs a women's clinics across the nation, called For The Ladies, was involved in the toolkit. They all gave us examples. And we're sort of test examples of how you can make a Make Golf Your Thing invitation and how you could actually activate it at your club. Tony's always an interesting one I like to use because he's a sneakerhead. He's unique. He doesn't necessarily create a program that's typical to golf while you'll see a social maybe he's teaching all kinds of different people from all kinds of different backgrounds. It's always different. It's unique. His sons they're helping out with social media. They have the likes of Roger Steele and Rory McIlroy on their campus playing just different types of people. And what he told me at the beginning of the campaign was, I like this because I don't have to tell you what I'm doing. I can just show you and put the hashtag, MakeGolfYourThing there to work. So he's taking a very different spin to it, whereas someone like Topgolf, they're actually making a program where I believe your entry fee is waived if you sign up through the MakeGolfYourThing link on their site. So.


Charlie Birney: [00:32:56] Wow, so it really is your thing, your way,


Charles Dillahunt: [00:32:59] Your thing your way, however you want to do it, whatever works for you. Some people have taken programs they already have and just rename them Make Golf Your Thing because they're already trying to do the inclusion and diversity aspect. Right. So. Well, the other cool part about it is their contact information is in the tool kit. So you don't have to reach out to us at the PGA. You can reach out directly to that owner and operator who has a course or a golf facility similar to yours and get the information you need directly from them.


Charlie Birney: [00:33:23] Oh, that's great. You know, one of my favorite segments on the show is Owner to Owner, where we just get two owners from different area just to shoot the breeze and talk about what's working. So this is maybe we can get them to talk about this in a future owner to owner chat. So, yeah, go ahead, Charles.


Charles Dillahunt: [00:33:37] Happy to connect you to any of the owners. And we have over 12 of them, so please let me know.


Charlie Birney: [00:33:43] Great.


Charles Dillahunt: [00:33:43] The next thing that's in there is SEO tips and tricks so that your Make Golf Your Thing offer will pop up in your area if you type in Make Golf Your Thing in my area. I'm not sure, Jeff, if we've gotten that live yet or not, but that will be coming. I believe so. There's one of the other most important things with the creative marketing assets, the style guide for Make Golf Your Thing, and then different digital assets you could use on your website, social media. So you could take the mic off your logo and put it up against your logo, mock it up, or you can put it in your store window. You can sell merchandise with it on there. And then some frequently asked questions were the last thing in there that people would have a lot of questions about. How does this work? And if you aren't able to listen to our podcast or join the sessions, we have the beginning. Jane Fader and the World Organization worked on some frequently asked questions they were getting as we put the concept together. So it's a pretty meaty tool kit. But everything is there for you to be able to take this campaign or I can't call it a campaign. It's a movement and run with it, right?


Charlie Birney: [00:34:35] Right. Right.


Jeff Price: [00:34:36] You put the dollar in the jar for that one. Yeah. Yeah.


Charlie Birney: [00:34:40] Why did he say campaign?


Jeff Price: [00:34:42] If you think about all the work that's being done


Charlie Birney: [00:34:45] Got to go back, Charles, and listen to Arlo Guthrie, Alice's Restaurant and he says, well, if you get three people doing it, it's a movement. And that's what it is, folks. It's a movement. So it's such an exciting program,I mean, really, Jeff, Charles, I remember in the 90s trying to figure out how to get people and we're fighting the, You know, the growth of golf and then the decline of golf. And there's so many cool things that are happening now with this embracing of this sport. And what this is doing so cleanly is, as you said, inviting everybody, which we've been trying to do all along. You know, I see this question about the genes there. Boy, I remember that from 20 years ago. And look how things have changed in dress code categories. But it's so, so exciting. What am I missing asking you guys about? I could go on because I could go on all day about this, because I know there's a lot of things I would have started on. But what are the big rocks that I'm missing so far,Guys?


Jeff Price: [00:35:39] I think the thing that I would say is at the facility level, step one is to embrace the programming and create that Make Golf Your Thing invitation in the way that you want to do it. We've talked through that. I think that toolkit is a great way to kind of understand it.


Charlie Birney: [00:35:53] Yeah.


Jeff Price: [00:35:53] As we think about this and sustain it over a year or two or three or four. I think the work of the other workgroups. So I'm going to mention, too, specifically, there is an entire education workgroup that has created this concept of how do you as a facility make sure that you create a welcoming environment. So that is available as a part of the toolkit to understand what do you need to do at your facility level to make sure that when the consumer shows up, they're going to have a welcoming experience. Part of this is creating the invitation. The other part of it is executing to make sure that if you're going to invite someone, they feel welcome. So. 


Charlie Birney: [00:36:32] My dad called it the sense of arrival. You know, that you wanted a welcoming. What you're talking about is to meet up with the invitation. You want to really have that arrival that you feel comfortable, everybody, right?


Jeff Price: [00:36:45] Exactly, well said. That's so cool. There are guidelines that you can do an assessment of your facility to see, hey, is this are we up to par delivering what we're market? That's, I think, an important piece. The working group around recruitment is creating a job board. So if you're thinking about hiring and trying to find diverse talent, here's an opportunity to leverage the workgroup output and ultimately gauge and recruit in areas that you might not typically have thought about recruiting. So that job board is another asset that owners and operators can tap into from the movement. And then I think if some think holistically about where we're trying to go, the procurement process. If we can welcome diverse businesses into goals, they're going to take a more active engagement and feel a part of the industry. And so when you think about procurement and buying at the grassroots level, at the facility level, there are there's going to be there is a procurement system where anyone can tap in and find out what are some companies that I may never have thought about talking to that I could talk to. And now all of a sudden, you've created the invitation. You've got a welcoming environment, you've got a diverse staff, and you're engaging with diverse businesses to be a part of the ecosystem of a particular facility. If you're an operator, there's a lot of ways that you can combat this and make a difference. Each step along that way is helping to make our sport more welcoming and inclusive. And I think not just the right thing to do. It's the right thing for the business that we're trying to drive forward.


Charlie Birney: [00:38:19] Wow. So well said, Jeff. These are things that need to be said aloud and often. And it's really exciting to hear that we're going this way. Boy, what an exciting program. I'm going to have to have you both back, though, because this is a multi-year program, as you said, Jeff. So you guys are involved in not just kicking off what is not a campaign, but is a movement. And then we get to follow this and Make Golf Your Thing forever. Our way, Our thing for the rest of our lives and embrace our environment. So, I mean, we built a golf course that was looked at for years as the one most environmentally conscious golf courses in Maryland. They used to bring in groups and talk about how we manage groundwater hydrology and all that stuff. So I'm on board. This is a lifelong pursuit, but I would love to have you back once in a while and talk about the new anecdotes that Charles can bring to the table and that we can talk about how some of these study groups. And then I'm sure you'll end up having, I don't know, words programs. And everybody in their own level will probably do things to recognize and create further pathways back to golf.


Jeff Price: [00:39:18] That's exactly right, Charlie. This is our start-up year. So next year, we're going to have a lot of learnings again in six groups that are working incredibly hard across the entire industry.


Charlie Birney: [00:39:28] Yeah.


Jeff Price: [00:39:28] Bringing this all together. And it will be, as I said before, it's not just the right thing to do. It's the right thing for the future of the business, for everyone in golf. And so we appreciate you welcoming us in here today and. 


Charlie Birney: [00:39:39] Absolutely. 


Jeff Price: [00:39:40] Love to come back.


Charlie Birney: [00:39:41] Yeah. No, I say this often to my guests. Even in the pandemic, it's nice to get people in studio. I can have you in your own separate studio. We love having people in to be able to do this in the same environment. And I look forward to a time when we can travel back to The Golf Business Conference and talk about this. And kibbitz a little bit about because there's so much more here, folks. Charles, Jeff, thank you so much for your time today. I will ask you to come back in the future and do some follow ups. Everybody look at MakeGolfYourThing.org. If you haven't already and there is a lot of stuff here, and especially go to that tool kit that Charles was talking about. There's just a lot of great content there. Thank you, guys, so much for being on the show today. 


Jeff Price: [00:40:19] Thanks so much, Charlie.


Charlie Birney: [00:40:22] Wow. Lots going on in today's episode I want to ask again if any of the listeners to the golf business podcast can share stories of your Make Golf Your Thing efforts. I'd really love to hear about them and share them on the show. Thanks to Jeff and Charles and Bodo and Joey for a great episode today. Thanks, as always, to John Deere and Yamaha. And today, thanks to Robb Spewak for running these sessions. Lastly, to you, our listeners. Thanks so much. And continue to send in your golf business stories. See you next time.