Let them play, ref: getting back on the links

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Business is a funny thing. An empty tee sheet creates problems at so many levels, including payroll, excess inventory, food spoilage, cash flow issues, and so on. At the same time, the current situation of golf all day, every day is creating a different set of issues to manage. Frustration is one area because many veteran golfers cannot get tee times or certainly their old traditional times. With the state of employment today, there is a greater strain on staff, hours worked, and overtime payouts. Carts get taxed to extraordinary use and staff feels helpless believing these “good times” will just not end. Yes, business being up or being down creates separate but serious concerns about the best way to manage the property day to day.

Golf is on an extraordinary high and has been for about a year. The game has drawn new levels of interest from several directions. With this interest, and the great work of the community overall, more people want to play. Men and women who have never played before, hit a “breakfast” ball, driven a cart, or used a GPS yardage watch now want to come out and play. This interest is coming at a volume I have not seen in my five decades around the game. With lots of government cash around, with many working from home, managing their own work day, they are carving out time for 9, maybe even 18. This sounds like fantastic news as new golfers will pay rack rate for the chance to take a swing. There is also a dark side as you know to so many newbies wanting access. This highfives post will offer 5 ideas to help in the attempt to attract, coach, and retain these new wannabe golfers:

1)      Create, detail, and outline on the club’s website how a new golfer can learn & play at your property. Detail out all they will need to know about playing times, pricing, equipment rentals, and instruction programs. Make it a simple, easy read.

2)      Develop a team at your property devoted to building and managing this new player concept. Have a group that includes operations staff, instructors, and sales all motivated to capture interest, be cheerleaders, and follow through each and every week on the progress.

3)      Tee times are more precious than ever as this game is the number #1 battler against Covid and boredom. Because you do not want new, raw golfers out on your golf course during the greatest revenue-driving times, you need scheduled events that include instruction, seminars on how to become a golfer, supervised practice as well as supervised play (4-6 holes), and off hours. Managethe interest and new passion before impatience and frustration take charge.

4)      Communicate with staff on how to best manage both this great interest as well as how to keep your loyalists in check. I believe one of the critical pieces is managing the incoming phone calls. It is vital to get new people to the property. Telling just anyone on a call there are no tee times may be inadvertently tossing lots of future income to the side.

5)      Manage the frustration from all directions. With lots of new interest comes frustrated and maybe even ticked off staff, loyal golfers, and yes, even newbies. It is important to have a plan with the most appropriate team members who have the patience to serve well.

The game is on fire and I think that is going to continue for quite some time. I believe that the first well-struck shot causes one to become addicted to the game. An old boss once told us if we can get a new golfer to play 4 times in their first month, that person will remain an active golfer. There is a 2-fold concern, however: lack of access, and the frustration of playing poorly for a prolonged period. I believe we can corral the interest and build the funwhile managing the financial piece. Bring your team to the inside of this conversation. Manage this interest with the help of your people and then reward them. Set up systems that reward your staff and instructors for managing new players, building frequency, and then teaching them how to manage past the frustration. There is real opportunity all around us. The secret in my mind is to catch the wave, and then ride it all the way in. 

Jack Dillon writes the highfives series. Jack is a coach, speaker and consultant. An expert on buying, operations, and service Jack is part of Career Dividends. He goal is to help you achieve your goals. Where there is need for improvement, for change, contact Jack. The value will be extraordinary. Contact Jack at jackd@careerdividends.com or at 407-973-6136. Jack lives in Orlando, Fla.

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