Finding their sweet spot

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Golf, we know, is a game of miss hits. Every golfer is trying to locate the center of the clubface at least a few times per round. Nevertheless most fail the majority of the time. It is however, that one amazing shot we seem to hit during the round, that shot that feels like no other, that confirms our romantic love for this amazing game, this sport spelled out in four letters.

For those of us that  long for our personal best score could only put that ball in the center of the clubface a few more times per round we could do be unstoppable, right? The game is in an amazing time. A time where the sweet shots, the amazing results, have persisted month after month for more than half a year. Although some may say that years of inching the rock forward has positioned the game near the mountaintop, others believe great fortune combined with amazing timing and near-perfect weather has put us in this place.

No matter, the results are there for all to see. The game is on fire and we all anxiously wait for this new season to help keep the party going. There is however, angst and worry that 2020 was the worst kind of mirage and that operators will soon wake up to half-empty tee sheets, low-priced golf, and parking lots with plenty of  wide-open spaces.

It feels as if 2020 was a gift: a kind of sarcastic gift provided during the worst of times to take our minds off the real world happening all around us. No doubt everyone at the golf course worked harder than they ever dreamed of, as golfers began to arrive in late April and never stopped coming. Last year was about hanging onto the giant cat’s tail and keeping up. Indications are that 2021 will be a repeat of last year’s golf. The game planted seeds of many types and operators now look to bear the fruit in this second season of Covid. There needs to be more done, however, to elevate the experience for men, women, and juniors: new and even not-so-new to the game. This highfives post is about five thoughts to enhance the game for all in the coming season. To finding the sweet spot for your golfers:

1)    Education: make education about the rules, equipment and simpler things like making a tee time, finding a game all a part of playing at your place. Differentiate by creating a personalized masterclass of golf for your new players. Operators should not assume.

2)    Comfort: as consumers, when we feel good about a business or situation, we return in order to regain that same feeling. Build an experience for your golfers beyond the yes ma’am, and yes sir. Work with the staff on learning the likes & dislikes of your new golfers, their personal sweet spot.

3)    Play: set up a 9-hole round with several new golfers and staff members. Developing relationships beyond service will build a bond tough for other clubs to break.

4)    Instruction: taking lessons is a personal decision, one some people may not be comfortable with. You may assume people know what golf instruction looks like, but….have you and your instruction staff showed them? If you do not hit their sweet spot, they may turn into an infrequent guest. Help people know what the road for improvement looks like, then help them play better so the club can win.

5)    Food: sharing a meal with people is one sure way to build bonds/create friends. When the world improves, why not set up a few nights each month where you sign people up for finger food & drinks. You can theme these events in any number of ways. The point is to create traffic, develop the F & B side with new golfers, and make friends that want to be a part of your community.

The year 2021 should be played for the long game. With so many new golfers playing, several more million hitting shots away from the golf course, not ready to take a swing at 18 holes, the game is in a fortunate position, despite the state of the world. Heck, the game now even has a farm system. By making it personal and by taking the long view you can continue to succeed in this new year, while building the best possible foundation for the future. The game is on fire. Do the things to keep the flames hot and bright for those times where we get to live beyond the mask.

 

Jack Dillon writes the highfives series. Jack lives in Orlando, Florida. He is a speaker, merchant, coach. He is an expert in the golf shop, in service, in communications and operations. Contact Jack at dillonjack53@gmail.com or at 407-973-6136. Jack is currently taking on new clients. Thank you.

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