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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Benchmarking?
2. What is Links Insight (LI)?
3. How does Links Insight work?
4. Can other clubs see my club data?
5. Why would I want to benchmark my club against other clubs?
6. What benefits can I expect from becoming a member?
7. How is the comparison data displayed?
8. Can I select the comparison clubs?
9. What if I need information not covered by a LI metric?
10. How often does the data change?
11. What data do I need to supply?
12. How do I enter and manage my club information?
13. What happens when a new year arrives?
14. Can more than one person from our club use the system?
15. Is my club information safe?
16. How do I join?

1. What is Benchmarking?


Benchmarking is a long-proven process which measures the performance of one enterprise against a set of similar enterprises. The intent is to improve your performance by modeling the best in class approaches of the comparison group. Traditionally, benchmarking exercises were conducted as singular events using small numbers of comparison companies—essentially snapshots in time—which resulted in inadequate data that was quickly out of date. Links Insight applies the benchmarking model to the public golf facility segment in a more effective manner by aggregating data from a large number of facilities and making it available via a dynamic online platform. Because the database is constantly refreshed and updated, the information is always current. 

2. What is Links Insight


Links Insight is an online benchmarking platform that connects you to a network of facilities who share financial and operational information anonymously through a secure central database. Subscribers can benchmark their own performance against the performance of all or some of the member clubs. Links Insight helps you assess, manage, and improve the financial and operational performance of your own facility. While benchmarking is commonly though of as a way to ensure you are within the norms, our goal is to help you understand the norms so you can take your facility to a new level. 
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3. How Does Links Insight Work?


Links Insight allows your facility to benchmark financial and operational performance against other facilities. We have developed a large set of metrics which indicate the overall financial and operational performance of your club and the performance of the individual departments within the club (eg. greens fee revenue, facility utilization, course maintenance, food & beverage, pro shop, outside functions etc.). When your club joins Links Insight, data is entered for some or all of the metrics. You can then compare your performance metrics against all, or against a subset of the database of facilities. Benchmarking results are presented in rich graphical meeting-ready reports so you instantly see where your facility sits on the performance curve.
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4. Can other facilities see my facility data? 


No. Only you and your designated users (owners, operators, management staff, accounting firm etc.) can see your specific facility data via a secure login. You can even control the level of access your individual users have to sensitive information like compensation. Data in comparisons and reports is only presented in the aggregate. The filter tool will never show data for a comparison set of fewer than eight facilities, making it impossible to zero in on the information of any single facility. 

5. Why would I want to Benchmark my facility against other facilities?


Most golf facilities are making the best decisions they can with the information they have. However, access to the right information can have a significant impact on a facility's financial and operational performance. Benchmarking leads you down the desirable path of understanding, managing, and finally improving your operational and financial performance. Owners, operators, and managers face a variety of challenging circumstances in which effective benchmarking can be very helpful:

  • Owners/Operators tend to look inward in their decision-making. Planning and managing in a vacuum (without an understanding of industry norms) leaves the opportunity for better decisions un-tapped.

  • Decision making can be difficult due to a lack of objective data. Too often, decisions are based on emotion or opinion rather than fact.

  • Facilities face increased pressure to make informed financial decisions. Demographics are causing a reduced pool of potential customers and the economy puts pressure on both the facility and its prospective market. Facilities must know how they rate in critical key performance indicators.

  • It is often difficult to communicate effectively with management and staff about tough decisions owners/operators might be facing. Precise industry data presented in a clear graphical form is helpful in overcoming this challenge.  

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6. What benefits can I expect from becoming a member?


Links Insight delivers the following benefits:

  • Make more objective, fact-based decisions.

  • A common language for discussions between owners/operators, management and staff.

  • An objective foundation for communications.

  • Improved understanding of your own facility's management and performance.

  • Improved organizational behavior and politics by elevating fact over opinion.

  • Strike the right financial balances between the various vertical departments in your facility. 

  • Spend more wisely and identify areas for increased revenue and reduced expenses.

  • Compete more effectively for increased revenues. 

7. How is the comparison data displayed?


Links Insight includes a rich set of automated graphical reports on overall facility performance and on each department. LI has a powerful built-in report generator so complete presentations are just a click away. Being able to deliver reports to the right people in the right format is critical. Reports can be viewed online or saved as PowerPoint slides or PDFs for printing and email.

View a Sample Report

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8. Can I Select my own set of comparison clubs?


Yes. You can filter the database in two ways. You can select specific facility attributes(club type, geography, club size, common facilities, etc.) for comparison. For instance, You may want to look at facilities in your state with similar fees and dues. Filtering lets you decide the most important comparison factors. We can also help you select a set of specific clubs (minimum of eight) for benchmarking. We call these groupings "Peer Clusters" and examples might include a metropolitan market such Chicago, a region like the Southeast, or a more defined peer cluster like Management Groups.  

 

9. What if I need information not covered by a LI metric?


We view the LI membership as having "ownership" of the metric set. After all, who can better define the golf industry's specific benchmarking needs than our members? As a LI member you will have the ability to influence the product direction including features, reports and new metrics.  
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10. How often does the data change?


The LI database is dynamic—updated in real time—so it is always current and growing. As new clubs join, more data is entered and the power of your benchmarking increases. Yearly data is retained allowing you to look at multi-year trends and monthly data is input at the close of each month. 

 

11. What data do I need to supply?


The LI metrics are comprised of both financial and operational data. Generally the information is readily available from income statements, balance sheets, and department results. On average a controller requires 2-4 hours to gather the annual metric data and about 25 minutes each month to enter the data in LI.  

 

12. How do I enter and manage my club information?


Ease of use is one of our main drivers and we are confident that anyone who can use email and the internet will be able to fully utilize all the aspects of LI. You can enter and manage your data online, or you can print and fax metric worksheets and we will enter your data for you.   
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13. What happens when my fiscal year ends?


When you complete a fiscal year your old data remains in place. For instance when 2015 is complete you simply select "2015" on your club metrics page and enter the data. The earlier data stays in place allowing for multi-year benchmarking.   
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14. Can more than one person from our club use the system?


Yes, you can have multiple login permissions to LI. Users can be granted access to all areas of LI or to selective areas based on their role in the club.  

 

15. Is my club information safe?


Yes, protecting data is paramount to us. The LI database is protected by the latest firewalls and encryption algorithms.  

 

16. How do I join?


We're glad you asked! LI is a subscription-based online service. Members pay a monthly or annual fee and the price is discounted for Management Companies, Multi-Course Owners and Operators, Resort Chains, and other large multi-licensed users.   Pricing
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