All the marketing muscle you can muster is needed to make it in a challenging market like Las Vegas.
When it came to club management, David Bogue had long been independent-minded. He preferred to be free of what he thought was the “heavy-handed rule of national management companies.”
That mindset changed 17 years ago, while he was General Manager at a club in Phoenix that changed ownership several times and ultimately didn’t have much of a marketing budget. As a result, the club was dubbed a “best-kept secret.” It was then that Bogue realized his club might benefit from the added marketing muscle a management company could offer.
Through that experience and from his current position at Angel Park Golf Club, a Las Vegas property managed by OB Sports, Bogue has learned that the strength to be drawn from numbers can make a difference, especially when you’re trying to make a name for a club and bolster its membership base in one of the industry’s most challenging markets.
“Early in my career, independence was the thing I’d been so proud of, but I realized that’s all it was: being proud,” Bogue says. “As the industry has changed, I’ve realized more and more that it can be really challenging when you try to compete as an independent entity.”
Location: Las Vegas
Tapping Into Greater Resources
As an employee of OB Sports, Bogue oversees two of the company’s other clubs in the Las Vegas area, in addition to Angel Park: The Legacy Golf Club in Henderson, and Aliante Golf Club in North Las Vegas. Both are about 20 miles from Angel Park, but in different directions.
Bogue sees many benefits in being part of a company that manages other nearby golf clubs. For one, it helps make Angel Park known to golfers who may have only been familiar with one of the other facilities. OB Sports also offers a summer players card, which provides special summer rates for all three of the clubs that the company manages in the Las Vegas area.
C.A. Roberts, OB Sports’ President, says Las Vegas is a market where the management company, which does not own any of the 42 properties in its portfolio, feels that flexing its marketing muscle is appropriate. “The OB Sports brand is very evident in Vegas, because people know our name and they react to it,” Roberts notes.
But that’s not always the approach that the parent firm chooses to take. “At Talking Rock [in Prescott, Ariz.] you’d never know we help them,” Roberts adds. “You won’t find the OB brand on their slogans or in their marketing, or anywhere in their clubhouse. Our name wouldn’t help them. Instead, we’re providing a different role there. We do accounting, HR, and we advise on marketing, but they have their own look, brand and feel. We give them our ideas, and they pick and choose what is best for their club.”
Brains to Trust
Another advantage of being part of a management company, from Bogue’s perspective, comes from the opportunity to talk with managers at other clubs and learn about strategies that have been successful for them, as well as what hasn’t worked so well to attract new members and players.
For example, Angel Park now hosts a two-day tournament based on an idea received from another OB Sports club. Known as the Pro-Scratch, it serves as part of the club’s drive for annual membership. The tournament is made up of two-person teams, one professional and one amateur, that compete for cash and gift certificates.
All good ideas are welcomed in a market like Las Vegas, where competition is fierce to capture “impulse rounds” from residents and visitors alike. When there are open tee times at Angel Park, management sends text messages with limited-time deals, to entice walk-on players.
To market to the throngs of golfers who come to the Vegas Strip, the staff connects with personnel at the city’s many hotels and resorts, to make sure they’re aware of available deals for visitors. And to help them find their way to the course, Angel Park shares shuttles with the other two OB Sports clubs in the area.