Is There Life After Trade Times?

When I was a teacher, I often heard how teachers are overpaid. Some would even call me a glorified babysitter. In a famous blog, this “unfair payment” was addressed. It was suggested to pay teachers $3 per hour per student. At 6 ½ hours (because teachers shouldn’t be paid to plan, right?) and an average of 30 students, that adds up to $585 per day. Take that times the 190 contract days teachers have, and they should be making $111,150. Given that the average teacher makes $50,000 a year, this is a steal!

See? Sometimes things aren’t what they appear to be. This is the case if you’ve fallen into the trap of using trade times.

Trading tee times is a classic shell game. If they move the shells around enough, you don’t know where they hid the money. In fact, you often don’t even realize they hid money at all. Why? Because you regard trading tee times for services as basically getting their service for free.

But let me tell you this: there is hidden money – more like TREASURE – and it’s in another corporation’s pocket, not yours!

Trade Time Breakdown

Let me explain how this works. A trade times company says they will give you free tee sheet software, the tablets to control these sheets, a website, etc., and the only thing you need to give them is one tee time a day (sometimes more). Now, on the surface, this looks like a great deal. It looks like you’re basically getting something for nothing. However, to quote Milton Friedman: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

I will break it down based on a rate of $20 per golfer. Take that $80 and multiply that times seven days a week. Now, take $560 and multiply that times the average number of days you are open a year. Even up north, your course is going to be open at least six months. So, the total amount paid to a trade times company for its “free” service is over $100,000, and quite likely more.

Genius, right? Well, yes, on the part of the trade times company. Then you are held as a virtual hostage because it feels like EVERYONE is trying to find tee times through that service. What you need to remember is that only people who are interested in bargain golf are using that service, and if those cheap times aren’t available (because, yes, they usually steeply discount their traded times), then the golfer using that app is going to play at a different course.

Do you understand what I mean? They don’t want to golf at YOUR course. They want to play cheap golf…ANYWHERE.

Getting Rid of Your Security Blanket

When my son was six, he approached me before school one day and said, “Mom, I need to be done going to bed with my blankie.” When I asked if he was sure, he said, “I don’t want you to, because my blankie is my best friend, but it’s time for me to grow up.”

Is it a leap of faith? Yes. But I promise there is life after getting rid of your security blanket. Especially since trade times companies offer security, but then sell you leeches. It feels like your best friend, but it’s actually a parasite.

Why would you want to give away such a large portion of your potential earnings? We both know the answer is that you don’t.

My Owner Likes the No Line Item on the P/L Statement

Before working at Teesnap, I never would have believed the scenario that I now see over and over again.  For many courses that are run by a board of directors or an absentee owner, we have to justify the cost of our software making an appearance on the profit/loss statement.

Our team puts together presentations that demonstrate how Teesnap’s marketing practices helped a golf course see a return of an additional $20,000 or sometimes even $100,000 over previous year when the golf course was trading tee times.

Inevitably, the PGA Pro will approach us for help in convincing the board or absentee owner of our value.

A logical person would assume that it would be a slam dunk to continue using our software.  Who wouldn’t want to use a system that can help you earn additional money for the bottom line?  I’m talking about real money.  Money that can used to re-seed tees, buy more fertilizer, hire more staff, or update the clubhouse.  Real money that the board could decide how it was spent rather than leaving that decision up to a trade tee time company because they just handed the money over in the form of a traded time.

Yet, the board is busy combing the profit and loss statement and gets hung up on the fact that Teesnap required real payment.  As in, our cost shows up on the profit and loss.  As in, the board would rather the profit be less, so that the could see a zero line item for software on their profit and loss.

This logic leaves me scratching my head. In the end, the board is looking at that line item and longing for that blankie that gave them comfort.  

It’s up to us to convince the board or absentee owner to get rid of their security blanket!

Is it scary?  Yes!

Does it work?  YES!

Life After Trade Times

If you find yourself in this situation, here are some tips on how to have a quality of life after trade times.

Once Teesnap harvests your emails from the trade program, we can help you to create a list of all of the golfers who used the trade program program, and you can build a “cheap golfer” list. Then you can directly market to these particular players by sending them special discounts and deals under your guidelines.

Try one of the following:

  • Use promo URLs (links to your tee sheet with special promotional pricing).  Promo URLs can be found in the Channel function of Teesnap. Golfers are only extended the deal if they book directly through that URL.  You can even make the special deal be mandatory as a pre-paid item.
  • Change pricing during specific times of the day that cater to the cheap golfer – if your course is never busy between noon – 3 p.m., create a promotion during that time and send it to that list of golfers.  Using Teesnap, you can even set it up so that the discount rate is only available when they book on your website.
  • Set up automation to give a discount to golfers in your database who haven’t booked online.  Create a segment using the Booked Online segment and set it to zero. Send them an email that says you’ll include a free bucket of balls with their first online tee time booking.
  • Have a contest among your staff to see who can get the most emails. The more emails that your club has, the better you’re able to market yourself
  • Write an email once a week with information about club happening.  No. Matter. What. Consistency is the key to success!

Not only is there life after trade times, but there is a higher quality of life. This puts your golf course in the driver’s seat of marketing, so you can keep all of your earned revenue at YOUR course.


Just like my son decided to draw a hard line in the sand to give up his blankie, you can do it, too.  Make a decision and don’t look back. Now that my son is nearly twenty, it would look pretty silly if he still sucked his thumb while holding his blankie when he went to bed at night.  Give your golf course some time to recover and you’ll feel more like a grown up business who no longer needs a blankie to succeed.

Your golf course should be in charge of the income that it generates.  Draw a hard line in the sand and stick to your plan.

Check out this case study that proves the benefits of Teesnap over trade times companies.

Let Us Show You How We Can Help

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Are you curious how we might help your club?  Let our professional walk you through how Teesnap can help you take control of your tee sheet and your profit and loss.

It’s time to grow up!

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