Southeastern Wisconsin played host to more than 150 golfers from around the world at the 117th U.S. Open in June 2017. Much was made about course conditions (I learned more about fescue on local radio than I thought possible), but by all accounts the event was a success.
While I didn’t personally attend, several friends and family who did shared photos of the manicured greens and fairways. Despite being an amateur golfer in the truest sense, I can appreciate a well-designed and maintained course.
So too can precision dealers, and talking with several in recent years, they’ve spoken to the untapped market local golf courses and country clubs can offer. It’s a unique niche of a precision farming market, but retrofitting small-scale sprayers or selling RTK subscriptions can be supplemental sources of income for dealerships.
Hoober Inc., based in Pennsylvania has had success adding several golf courses in the New England area to its RTK network. Selling a handful of subscriptions can add up and create additional opportunities for equipment or service, especially during the summer months.
Talking with the Integrated Solutions manager at a John Deere dealership in Wisconsin, he sees the potential in partnering with local courses — to a certain extent. Dabbling in the market with GPS retrofits or sprayer setups is the most logical entry point, but the IS manager noted that the dealership would likely have to collaborate with other companies that have equipment contracts with golf courses.
“I worked with another Deere dealer that had a golf contract to set up a 450 MHz network for a course in Idaho because it’s not something he’d dealt with before,” says the IS manager. “It’s a market we’re interested in, but most of the more prestigious courses deal directly with a supplier.”
Still, savvy dealers don’t want to dismiss a chance to develop a new revenue stream. In our latest podcast, Heather Hardy, precision farming coordinator at H&R Agri-Power, says she is constantly looking to challenge the status quo within her department and selling into the golf market is one option.
“What country club has a precision specialist on speed dial?” she says. “For us, it’s about discovering those markets we’re not hitting and spreading our knowledge from one location to all locations.”