How to survive -- and prosper -- in tough times

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The golf industry today is paying the price for decisions that were made a decade ago. In the late 1990s, golf course construction was at a fever pitch, peaking in 2000 when more than 500 new courses were added. That unprecedented building boom threw the supply-and-demand equation out of whack and the industry has been attempting to figure out how to deal with it ever since.
Economic reality has brought that unsustainable growth rate to a halt, but at a fearsome price. There still are too many courses chasing too few golfers. Industry grow-the-game programs are making a frantic effort introducing more people to golf, and they’re helping. But now courses are reduced to fighting one another for market share.
At a recent gathering of golf insurers organized by Venture Insurance Programs, Regent Golf executive Stephen Paris pointed out that struggling private clubs are moving to a semi-private model to drive revenue and compete better. That has created even more competition for struggling daily fee courses already battling one another. And more municipal courses, he said, are installing golf management companies to run their facilities in order to reduce financial risk.
With this “survival of the fittest” model now taking hold in the golf industry, what can operators do to make sure they’re one of the survivors? The Fall Golf Inc. Conference Sept. 14-16 at the La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, Calif., will offer ideas an solutions for management, marketing and ownership. Sessions like “You don’t have to be Pebble Beach to make money,” “Battle for market share: Don’t just get in the game, win it!” and the keynote “How to fix the golf industry,” provide unique insights on getting through the tough times.
If you have questions or comments you’d like to see addressed at Golf Inc. Conference attendees, let us know what they are and we’ll make sure they are included in the debate.



The current management model to operate a golf facility is inefficient and wasteful. Greed in this industry will ultimately be the downfall of many more private and upscale courses. Don't expect the big three (PGA, GCSAA, or CMA) organizations to recommend an austerity compromize to save their company. They will all go down with their ship. The Golf Industry is based on a philosophy of perfection. Perfect linen in the clubhouse, perfect greens on the course, and perfect clothing displays in the pro shop. Perfectly useless concepts if you are operating a business to survive. The industry is getting what it deserves for all the waste. The "Mom and Pop" courses are doing just fine serving all the patrons who have abandoned these "perfect" golf operations.

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