The competition to be the best course in the area is always a battle. Dealing with every detail from irrigation and green maintenance to staff can be a lot to manage. Here are the top nine characteristics that separate top-performing clubs from the rest.
1. Fun Golfing Experience
Exciting course layout, lovely environment, consistently excellent playing conditions and playability all make a great course. Playability can be measured by Speed Trueness Bounce and players look for consistency from green to green. Using mower blades that have just been sharpened produce the fastest speed, the most accurate roll and the smoothest surface. Great golf courses have the reputation of delivering consistently excellent conditions translates into consistently good revenue.
2. Good, Stable Leadership
You don’t know too many businesses that change leadership on a consistent basis. The best and most stable clubs have presidents for three or more years. When you find someone that works well with the club, keep them. Too many changes can mean the downfall of a course.
3. Prudent, Realistic Planning
As the saying goes, failure to plan is a plan for failure. Not having followed philosophies and rules of operation in place will fail a course. Even with the change of leadership overtime, some ways need to be kept from person to person. Once you develop long time members, they won’t like dealing with changes on a continuing basis. Every club should have a plan and club statute should mandate the regular review of that plan.
Location is a key element for most clubs. Even those in more remote locations, if they are designed as destinations or retreats, require locations suitable to their mission. We all know in real estate the three most important things are location, location and location. With clubs, the nature of the club must fit its location and be market sensitive. What club leaders don’t often recognize is that mission can be adjusted. If a mission doesn’t match the location, adjust the mission accordingly. You want to make your club match the desires and interests of the area to be successful.
5. Facilities Management
Nobody wants to join a club with outdated, unappealing facilities. Even the best quality facilities require maintenance and periodic refreshment. As part of any long-term plan, clubs need to ensure that all leadership now and in the future are willing to update and upgrade facilities as necessary. This means budgeting now for repairs later.
6. Mutual Respect
There are some clubs where members don’t merely disrespect staff, they simply don’t respect each other. Clubs like that become a place where members come and go and facilities decline. It’s essential for clubs to foster a pleasant and friendly environment so that new members and guests feel comfortable. This is the job of both club leadership and staff, and it’s the backbone of effective club programming. Club leadership need to put their foot down and get rid of bad staff and members before it becomes a greater problem.
7. Quality, Professional Staff
A great club has a great staff. Without those who work for you, you don’t have an operational business. Each staff person plays an important role in maintaining a functional course. From the food and beverage staff ensuring people stick around to eat and drink, to the superintendent and crew who keep the course reputation up to par. Clubs need good facilities but they are really about finding, training and retaining good people. The prospective member sees the staff long before they get to know the members.
8. Quality Food & Beverage
As soon as the food and beverage quality at a club declines, so does the members’ use of the golf course. Golf is just as much about the socialization and experience as it is the actual game.
9. Financial Management
There is a balance when it comes to finances. Some clubs believe avoiding spending money is sound financial management. It’s important to know when not to spend, but also when to spend or invest. By spending nothing, you are neglecting facilities, equipment and quality staffing. Start saving for the big unexpected repairs like a drainage pipe blow or failing irrigation system. If you don’t think about the details now, you’ll set yourself for failure later.