Success in a season of pain

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Jack Dillon shares his tips on how you can thank your team for keeping it together during COVID-19

Rounds continue to be the conversation starter for almost anyone & everyone in golf. The numbers continue to surprise us, shock us really, as people continue to play, despite sports on TV now becoming a daily event. No matter the type of club, rounds are up. No matter where you are in the country, rounds are up. We all hope it continues forever, or at least until they dial back the golf ball. Golf continues to be on fire, as property leaders look forward to the sun coming up again tomorrow to watch cars pull in, shoes being changed, and golfers hustling to grab a spot on the tee. No doubt every property leader has had a difficult year. At the start, courses were closed, and many in the industry thought it was going to be the standard for much of the season. Local and state governments relented, and then, more than your regulars came to play. Young people, older people, those working from home or hardly working, were playing 9 holes, 18 holes or even more. Although most could not buy a meal a drink, or a dozen balls, they could get a tee time, pay for it online, and spend several hours in joy, away from the nonsense of cable TV.

When the rest of the sports world went away, golfers checked their phones for the next available tee time. Because property leaders had no vision for their business during a pandemic, most began to guess at a payroll budget for their club. Many were probably low, as golfers were playing (and hitting balls) morning, noon, and then deep into the night. Staff members, first concerned about getting enough hours, were being scheduled for regular shifts. Stress became a normal part of the workday for many, along with masks, sanitizer, and the absolute need to get to the grocery store on their break. The year 2020 has been traumatic on many levels: traumatic, dangerous, and frightening. The golf industry, however, has had a winning lottery ticket kind of year. This highfives post is about thanking your team for keeping things all together. Although not designated as essential workers, they were certainly essential to you and your golfers. Here are my 5 thoughts about success, in this season of pain:

  1. Be certain to thank every staff member, face to face. Tell them of their value to the success of the season. Tell them how essential they have been
  2. For students and others who are gone for the year, pick up the phone and talk to every person who has been a part of your staff since February. Thank them for their hard work & their sacrifice
  3. Set up rewards for every member of the staff. Provide a check size equal to their value and the effort provided. Give what you can
  4. For full timers and managers, think about some paid time off, in addition to a check. People will need a bit of serious time to unwind, feel good again
  5. Talk to your staff members about next year, their goals for their position, desire for hours, etc. Please be certain to reward your 2020 staff in a way they will feel their value, and your appreciation. Consider also, a small gift for the spouses or partners of your team members. This golf season has been a year of sacrifice for everyone. 

 The golf industry has been lucky. People have been playing as if golf were a new sport, as if they all found fresh air, all at the same time. It has been amazing to see, to hear about, and to blog about. In your quiet time, sit back and think about the year. If your club had an up year, you owe your golfers and your team members a debt of thanks. Be kind to the front line, and let’s hope all of the golfers return to take more swings next season. This post is also to say thanks to you. Thank you for your hard work, great sacrifice, and doing everything possible to lead your team, and your golfers through the toughest period we can ever remember. Thank you for your leadership, your sacrifice, and the hours you will never get back. You have been a great part of the success of 2020. At a time many were afraid to leave their homes, you took charge. The game owes you a great debt of thanks, for doing everything possible to protect your people, as you created an experience craved by golfers, new and old. THANK YOU!

Jack Dillon writes the highfives blog. Jack has been a part of this industry since 1973. He is an expert in communications, merchandise, service, and coaching. When it is time for support, contact Jack at: 407-973-6136. Dillonjack53@gmail.com. Jack lives in Orlando.

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