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Golf Instructors Are Moving From Pay Per Lesson To Pay-For-Access Subscriptions

The golf instruction business has traditionally been driven by a very straight-forward business model: paying for lessons. It makes sense too, if you're going to spend 45-60 minutes with an expert who's dedicating the entire lesson-time to you, it's worth compensating them for it. A very fair value exchange: money for expertise and guidance.

For a traditional golf instructor in the typical pay-per-lesson business model, a lesson is booked, paid for and delivered usually without much thought to the actual process of how value was passed between buyer and seller. It’s a natural occurrence: the golf instructor has knowledge and a struggling golfer has a need for improvement. The golfer schedules a lesson, spends 45 minutes with 1:1 instruction, then hopes to take this new knowledge back out on course. It is a perfectly fine system that has worked for ages, but it has many limitations.

For one, it forces the instructor and student to be together. Knowledge is only provided while physically in the same place on the lesson tee. Once the lesson is over, there is often little ‘take-away’ or specific homework provided so the student can progress on their own. Follow ups only occur when booking another lesson and the instructor has to remember what happened since the last time they were together. Income is only earned when a lesson is provided, which can be hot or cold depending on seasonality and many other factors. In a service business, you only grow by charging more or working more, and there are limits to both. Scaling your golf instruction business is simply about booking more lessons, taking up more of your time until you reach saturation and finally reach wits end. But there is another way.

Imagine a world where your expertise is relied upon routinely. Not in long, dedicated time commitments, but rather in smaller chunks accessed more frequently. Imagine creating a strong relationship between you and your students by providing your knowledge in a low friction, simple manner, and with ability to do it remotely. You no longer have to be tied down to the lesson tee. You’ll also get paid even when you’re not in a lesson! The ability to manage many more clients is now a reality and scaling revenue is easier because you're not being paid by the hour or minute.

The solution is moving from a transactional approach to a subscription model. Instead of ‘paying for your time’ it’s ‘paying for your expertise'. I would summarize it as moving from pay for time vs. pay for access -access to your expertise. Thinking about a longer-term engagement that provides access to your knowledge also builds trust, confidence and accountability with your students. To do this, you’ll need to make yourself available using technology to provide quick commentary and feedback to your client when they need it most. That might happen while they are on course, traveling or practicing on their own.

Imagine a client visits the range, records a few swings and asks for your feedback. You can accomplish this in a few minutes of time using technology. Of course you’ll still want to meet with them for in-person lessons, but you might be able to provide a quick review by analyzing a video or providing a reminder using a brief text message conversation.

This is the world powered by OnForm, our new video analysis and communication platform intended to power the subscription economy for coaches. We believe it’s a better way forward for the coach and the student. The transition is already happening in other sports like cycling, triathlon and running. Those coaches have built businesses using a software-based coaching platform to provide training programs and workout analysis virtually through technology. The same transformation lies ahead for ‘skill based’ sports like golf. Companies like GolfTec are already making it happen and providing in-person training combined with virtual coaching. It's also starting to happen with regular instructors too!

Asking your clients to pay a reasonable monthly fee to obtain routine expertise in addition to remote or in-person lessons is the way of the future. It helps smooth out revenue spikes, unchains you from the lesson tee, and is far more scalable than existing pay-per-lesson models. The sooner you give it a try, the sooner you’ll see the benefits, and so will your students!

​Let us help you make the move, we have a ton of experience in helping coaches grow their business. Contact us today and setup a private 1:1 demo and discuss how you can grow your business. Book a time today

Thanks for reading!

-Gear Fisher

Co-Founder, OnForm, Inc.

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