Golf market: Driving the momentum towards a successful future

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Since World War 2 there has not been a time when almost every person was touched by the same event as with Covid-19. It is a distressing global experience. It is also a personal experience. In our lifetimes we have not had a situation that affected every day in almost every way. In February and early March of 2020, every individual had questions about the future of work, their family life: heck, even life itself. This was an unknown virus that struck out of nowhere and hit every person, every business, every corner of the planet. For more than 90 days our industry stood frozen in the dark, worried as to what the future might have in store. Would we play again? When might that be? By June and July of 2020, we began to have the answer as golfers came back, strangers came to play, and instead of a gloomy, dank future, golf became the way to social distance during the summer of 2020.

The times since July of 2020 have been amazing for this industry. Golf courses are busy….all of the time. After dreaming up player development programs for decades, we had a virus that turned direction and blew an amazing tailwind our way, that has not yet stopped. The point of this highfives post is not about asking you to remember the past 16 months. It is to suggest that we push the gas (or electric) pedal to the floor. That golf operators do all they can to develop practices that will take them far into the future. To use this one-time momentum to fuel a bull market for the game. Golf is on fire. Property leaders can bring the kerosene or stand by to watch the flame eventually fade out. Here are five thoughts about that driving the momentum towards a very successful future:

1)    Make it personal: every golfer is important. You and your team should develop programs and practices to show that every day. Learn and use their names. Help people to feel good about golf

2)    Create partners: with your staff. Employee loyalty is hard but not impossible to acquire these days. Develop a culture that: creates a growth path of learning & promotion for your interested team members and be proactive as well, with pay & benefits. Members (and all customers) like to see familiar, nice people, when and where they spend their time and money

3)    Price fairly: some days it feels like there is an end coming soon and operators are grabbing all the gusto at once. Sure, charge a premium, and be stingier with your discounts throughout the day. At the same time be realistic, be fair and know the competition is not only at the next golf course

4)    Be a community player: become totally proactive throughout the community. People want to work with nice people. They will care about nice people. Be a person who will shine all around town, who will carry the game beyond the 18th green, out to every part of town. Become the mayor of golf in your community!

5)    Let’s build long memories: we had never experienced a crisis similar to Covid-19 during our lifetimes. Our game not only dodged a bullet, we ate it, chewed it up & spit it out. The game is coming out on top. More rounds, new golfers, as well as many returning to the game. So many people fell (or fell back) in love with golf. Let us all work to make our game grow for decades to come. Let’s use this blank check to solidify the business end, the relationship end, and the instructional end for the benefit of every player in your world. All boats are rising. Why not do those things you know how to do, be fair to the present, work hard for future success. This pandemic will soon be moving on…..let us own the good and discard the negatives. Golf is on fire: let’s all carry the torch.

 

Jack Dillon writes the highfives series. Jack is a speaker, coach, consultant, merchant, and expert in service and purchasing. Now part of Career Dividends, Jack can help you, your shop and team grow better. Contact Jack at: jackd@careerdividends.com, or at 407-973-6136. Jack lives in Orlando and on Zoom.

Comments

Jack Dillon's article is right on target. This was a windfall experience that will not last unless clubs and operators increase the momentum and carry themselves well ahead of any potential downsides in the future. Well done!

Many people today are talking about building back or going back but the reality is that we never go back, we only look back or remember. Golf as a sport will have to adapt to a new set of rules, new expectations and a redefinition of some traditions if it is to capture and hold the advantage that it has today. Most of these changes will be in the clubhouse and on the edges of the golf course and the way the game is played, but other changes like licensed lounges at driving ranges, allows for one hour of 'golf' with friends. High quality par 3 golf keeps seniors and new players interested. I look forward to the next chapter.

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