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  As the entire industry works to avoid one negative golf story after another, passionate golf professionals are working hard to grow golfers and rounds at their facilities.  They realize that building a deeper base of golfers will help the industry and their careers today and tomorrow.  After watching golf improvement programs for more than a decade, I have a question: "are we including all of the right people as we look to grow?"  How about those right there on your property?  Are we including the club staff?

  In doing some simple (and far from correct) math, let's say there are around 40 staff members at approximately 8,000 private, and semi-private clubs throughout the country.  That adds up to more than 300,000 employees.  Why not include them and create a golf learning program for everyone on the staff, outside of the golf ops team.  Although they work at the club every day, they probably do not know the game very well.  This post is about bringing these staff members closer to the game, and therefore closer to your golfers.  There is more than one reason to immerse your team in the game.  Although, we would love to add them as new players, another great benefit is that by teaching them the game, they become far better in their roles, they become better communicators, and they probably become more loyal employees.

  As you provide strong leadership and guidance during and after the program, I believe up to 20% of the staff may become new golfers, while 100% become knowledgeable about why their customers are involved in the game.  Now the level of service, the communications, and the smiles become more proactive, while the empathy for a tough game becomes real and your team becomes the most authentic staff in the area.  These alone, I believe are worth the time and commitment.  The attitude and atmosphere just might become magical.

  Here are 5 thoughts about involving your entire staff in learning the game:

  1. Set up a complete but abbreviated learning program for all on staff
  2. Offer recognition and rewards to those completing the program
  3. Provide free equipment rental, access, and use of certain parts of the facilities
  4. Include classroom sessions which involve teaching etiquette, rules, and of course "golf speak"
  5. Involve some mentors who will help those interested develop their games for the longer term.

  Although most will not take up the game for the long term, I am convinced you will be on your way to developing a stronger team.  To keep people motivated, add putting tournaments, short game sessions, and reduced private instruction rates for those who "catch the fever."  Bringing the entire team into the game will create a new standard for talking golf with a very empathetic set of new fans.  The long term value just might be.......priceless!

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