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  • Writer's picturePhil Grice

The Rise of Evidence-Based Decision Making in Golf Club Management


The role of General Managers in golf club management has significantly transformed in the modern era. With the advent of advanced technology and data-driven tools, decision-making processes have shifted from subjective opinions to evidence-based strategies. This article will explore how General Managers now rely on factual data to make informed decisions, highlighting two key examples: irrigation management and membership optimisation. By embracing evidence-based decision making, General Managers can drive operational efficiency, enhance member experiences, and ensure the long-term success of their clubs.

From Assumptions to Data-Driven Irrigation Management:

In the past, determining irrigation schedules on the golf course often relied on estimations and general guidelines, such as allocating a fixed amount of time per station. However, with the availability of moisture meters and advanced systems like Pogo, connected to live weather stations, General Managers can now make data-driven decisions. These technologies provide real-time information about soil moisture levels and local weather conditions, allowing for precise irrigation management. By leveraging this data, General Managers can optimise water usage, prevent over or under-irrigation, and promote healthier playing conditions on tees and greens.

Membership Optimisation Through Data Analysis:

Traditionally, clubs made membership decisions based on subjective opinions and limited information. However, modern General Managers now have access to golf booking systems, membership software, and sophisticated point-of-sale (POS) systems that capture comprehensive data. By analysing key metrics such as rounds played and occupancy rates, General Managers can gain insights into the utilisation of their courses throughout different periods. This data-driven approach enables them to identify quiet periods and take proactive measures to fill them, attract new members, and optimise overall membership capacity. Contrary to anecdotal assumptions, data often reveals untapped potential for increased membership.

Real-Time, Evidence-Based Decision Making:

The integration of technology and data empowers progressive General Managers to make real-time, evidence-based decisions. By leveraging live data and analytics tools, they gain accurate insights into the performance of their clubs. This information enables them to identify trends, anticipate changes in demand, and make strategic adjustments promptly. Rather than relying on subjective opinions and limited information, General Managers can now base their decisions on concrete data, increasing the likelihood of success and aligning their actions with the needs and preferences of their members and customers.

Overcoming Subjectivity with Data-Driven Strategies:

The shift towards evidence-based decision-making challenges the notion that subjective opinions hold the ultimate authority in club management. By embracing technology and data, General Managers can drive a culture of informed decision making within their organisations. They can encourage stakeholders to rely on factual evidence and objective analysis rather than relying solely on personal beliefs or limited experiences. This data-driven approach fosters transparency, accountability, and ultimately, more effective decision making throughout the club.


In addition to driving operational excellence and member satisfaction, evidence-based decision making in golf club management provides valuable data for future planning. By relying on factual evidence and data-driven insights, General Managers can make more strategic decisions across various areas of club operations. This data enables clubs to be more proactive when it comes to financial predictions, accurately helping with forecasting income and expenditure. It also allows for informed staffing decisions, ensuring that the right resources are allocated based on historical trends and future projections. Furthermore, by analysing customer trends across golf and hospitality, General Managers can identify emerging preferences and adapt club offerings to meet evolving demands. Ultimately, evidence-based decision making empowers clubs to become more strategic, agile, and responsive in an increasingly competitive industry.

By embracing modern technology, leveraging data analytics, and shifting towards evidence-based decision making, General Managers can lead their clubs with confidence, armed with comprehensive insights that inform every aspect of club management. This approach not only ensures the long-term success of golf clubs but also enhances the overall member experience, driving growth and creating a thriving golfing community.

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