How to address the “what ifs” of course management

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The world of business today feels like a NASCAR race coming into the last two laps. Everyone is moving at 200 miles an hour, on your bumper, and looking for that one open inch, ready to catch you napping. Although I cannot put my finger on exactly how, I do know the pandemic has built extra speed into most everything we do. Every once in a while, it even feels like being in that NASCAR race with a mask over our eyes. A bit beyond scary!

As golf looks beyond Spring into the summer playing season, operators are hoping for yet another year where the parking lot is full, the cart barn is empty, and golfers are pulling out their credit cards at warp speed. Stepping back, reviewing the past two years, it is easy to feel awestruck for what has transpired in this game, in this industry. Old golfers returned, meeting new golfers on the range and first tee. Golf has been an oasis from loneliness, from fear, and from boredom. It has been that place to breathe, to view an open sky.

There are, however, winds of change blowing about. The world now has war, inflation, and pricing for basic goods where most of us do a double take, refusing to believe our monthly statements. The world is different, very different than in June of 2020 when the game became more than a game; it became that place to get away, to feel better for just a few hours.What if, however, these massive changes break up the party? What if you are forced to look for another plan in order to help move business along? Here are three thoughts about golf operations in 2022:

What if this recession gains steam? Because most golfers play close to home, gas prices should not curtail rounds by any significant numbers. Your marketing should center on the people in or near your zip code. You may want to provide a “gas rebate” or some other cost savings to help keep the tee sheet full. Think free or added value options. With the pandemic on the run, I believe most of us will want to recreate like it’s 1999, to quote a famous lyric. People will continue to play. Building value, showing real empathy for the situation, however, is an important step in retaining and strengthening your community.

What if supply chain woes continue? Your golf course is your product. Every other area of your business is an add-on sale. With experience, we now know 2022 will continue to produce shortages in key items. It is critical to get with your operations team and superintendent to work through issues for cart parts, chemicals and other items necessary to keep the golf course green and the operation running. After that, work with each department manager to review concerns for the restaurant, the golf shop, and the other areas of business reviewing potential problems.

What if The Great Resignation continues? Although I believe the recession will begin to change the way people think about their jobs, that is not the case today. The time of the specialist is behind us; the time for the great utility player is upon us, at least for now. Continue to do an active search for the people you need. At the same time, begin to see who on the team is willing (and able) to work in more than one department, more than one discipline. No matter the number of people who quit jobs, there are others who really want to work. Discover who they are and help them help you and the property. Offer them bonus pay and other perks for their sacrifice and their service. Remember them, too, once things get better. Allow those who want to help to maximize their skills and income long past the crisis. Things will change; they always do. Until there are many more applicants than openings, work closely with those who want to work, who want to be a part of the solution.  

Although there are problems, potential cracks in the armor, I am convinced people will play golf in 2022. If prices continue to soar, there may even be a chance to promote “stay and playcations” for those who will not spend the money to travel this summer. This post is suggesting you look hard at your resources, your people, and your prices. Enter the season with eyes wide open. In addition to working closely with your team, talk to sales managers and reps from suppliers, as well as your competitors. If you are struggling, they too are struggling, finding the right answers, sourcing key items. This is that year to push harder, in order to keep 2020 alive and well. 


Jack Dillon writes the In My Opinion post. Jack is a consultant, a coach and purchasing expert. He is an author, speaker and experienced coach in golf operations, golf shop success, service and communications excellence. Jack is available to help your club and your people. Contact him at or call Jack at 407-973-6136. Jack is offering a few FREE 20-minute Zoom calls to see how he can build solutions for your property. Call him at 407-973-6136. Jack lives in Orlando and on Zoom.

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