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November 2018

Check the Egos at the Door

By Jared Williams, Managing Director, Golf USA Tee Time Coalition

There is admittedly cautious optimism. Then there is the prayerful hope that competitors can work together and show the type of cohesion that exists within a partnership or team.

It might seem like I’m talking about this year’s Ryder Cup snafu and the United States’ series of unfortunate pairings this year.

But I’m actually talking about the relationship between software vendors and third party tee time marketers. It’s time for us to learn a lesson from the U.S. Ryder Cup Team. Drop the egos at the door and work together for the good of the industry.
In response to the U.S. Ryder Cup team’s struggles, the PGA of America created a Ryder Cup taskforce. Similarly, in response to the growing concerns course operators were having in negotiating with and managing their relationships with vendors, a taskforce was formed and ultimately the PGA of America and the NGCOA created the Tee Time Coalition.

In January 2018, the Tee Time Coalition adopted the Operators’ Bill of Rights for Marketing and Distribution of Tee Times. This document outlined the natural rights that we believe exists for all operators. Most third parties agreed with the general concept and spirit of the document.

However, we did receive some pushback from a few vendors’ regarding the right of operators to choose which companies it allows to access its tee time inventory. The right reads: “Operator shall have total ownership of his or her tee time inventory, including the ability to share access with or restrict access to any tee time agency.”

A few vendors are not allowed to or willing to develop, maintain and support an interface with any tee time agency, while others refuse to support interfaces with those that offer competing products.

I met with a few operators and vendors at the 2018 Golf Business TechCon to discuss the Bill of Rights and other tee time issues. Here’s hoping for more willingness to work together.

We’re always interested in hearing your thoughts and opinions on issues involving the marketing and distribution of tee times. What do you see as the solution here? Would you like to be able to dictate which companies can access your inventory? I want to hear from you, contact me at jwilliams@teetimecoalition.org.

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