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Getting Smarter with AI

One certainty for 2024 is that it will bring reports of new ways to apply artificial intelligence (AI), both in personal lives and for virtually every type of business and organization.

Another certainty is that there will continue to be growing confusion about just what AI is, and mounting skepticism and even fear about its value and impact.

Both of those certainties were reflected in responses to the Outlook 2024 Pulse Survey question that asked, “How do you see artificial intelligence affecting your club in the future?”

There were also many other responses, however, that showed how many club leaders are moving forward in trying to learn how AI can provide meaningful contri- butions to their operations. Here’s a sampling of the wide variety of ways that were cited for how AI is either already being applied in a club setting or there is anticipation, and hope, for how it could be used:

“We are already using for communication and data mining, and will continue to embrace the technology.”

“Not sure” and “unknown” were frequent answers, and there were even these responses that, perhaps only half- kiddingly, reflected some of the prevailing industry attitudes about the technology:

“Not sure—and I wonder who’s listening to this.” “Good question—let me ask ChatGPT.”

“I’d like to hire intelligence of any type.”

Many added that while they couldn’t yet cite any specific uses or possibilities, they know AI is coming and something to watch closely.

“We think there are very many potential uses, especially in financial reporting and data generation.”

“Interested in how it can be used to assist undereducated staff (including management) with basic business-writing skills, data analysis and generating reports.”

“Planning to engage next season with labor-tracking AI software.”

“It will be useful for recipes, workout plans, administra- tive assistance, letters to members and newsletter communications.”

“It already impacts us daily; it’s built into our ERP [Enterprise Resource Planning] systems and the staff is using it.”

“It can streamline the survey process and the presenta- tion of results to the membership.”

“AI should help us better understand the needs of our membership, based on usage.”

“It’s absolutely key for member communications and marketing events and activities. There are so many applications in private clubs for using AI-based text solutions and images.”

“We are investing $300,000 in 2024 in golf course robots.”

“Studying this now. Possible applications include governance (minutes), communication (newsletter), reservations and tee times.”

“It is helping current staff with efficiencies in writing policies and other publications.”

“We have moved forward with AI for our accounts payable.”

Taking The Longer View

Here’s a more wide-ranging and predictive look at how AI could help to shape the future structure and operation of private clubs:

  • Hyper-Personalization

AI algorithms could be used to analyze individual members’ preferences, habits and performance to enable fully custom- ized experiences, including offerings, equipment tuning and coaching.

  • Immersive Digital Layers

Augmented and virtual reality could transform sports, dining and other club spaces with features such as simulated oppo- nents, immersive course visuals and digital concierge guides.

  • Robotic Enablement

Human-like robot bartenders, ball boys, caddies and other assistants could handle tasks to free up staff for higher-value member interactions.

  • Predictive Analytics

Club management could leverage machine learning for predictive maintenance on equipment, forecasting busy times, estimating food demand ahead of major events and spotting at-risk members during the application process.

  • Biometric Systems

Members’ wearables could passively authenticate them across club premises and feed fitness metrics, swing mechanics and other biodata to personal AI trainer profiles that refine guidance.

Smarter Facilities

Applications in this area could include:

  • Dedicated robot tracks within main clubhouse kitchens, as well as optimized site layouts with clearly defined pathways to enable food/beverage delivery robots to access and augment remote member-dining locations.
  • Computer vision that tracks crowd levels and traffic patterns to inform just-in-time cleaning.
  • Machine learning that optimizes lighting and HVAC usage, to drive sustainability gains.
  • Autonomous carts that deliver amenities such as towels/water on the golf course and playing courts.
  • Biometrics that authenticate authorized access to private member areas.
  • Predictive maintenance such as leak detection and appliance alerts to enable preemptive resolution of disruptive issues.