Archive for the ‘golf’ Category

Standards for Golf Operations Staff

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Quint Studer in his important book, Hardwiring Excellence, speaks of the importance of establishing a code of behavior for employee service teams.  The purpose is to communicate to employees the basic standards of interaction with customers/guests/members and fellow employees.  Further, Studer expects each employee to acknowledge and commit to the standards by signing a written copy.

With this in mind, here are some basic standards for the golf operations team:

  • Arrive on time according to the work schedule.
  • Meet all requirements of the dress or uniform code and personal grooming standards.
  • Get and carry with you at all times a copy of today’s tee sheet; use it to learn names of golfers.
  • Have a complete dedication to member service at all times; fully and consistently embrace the enterprise’s organizational values and culture of service.
  • Maintain a pleasant and positive attitude at all times.
  • In private clubs, learn and use member names; learn and act upon their individual habits and preferences by providing personalized service.
  • Greet and assist all arriving players; introduce yourself by first name and let them know you are there to help them in any way possible.
  • By anticipation and prompt action do not permit players to pick up or carry their golf bag or clubs.
  • Provide relevant information to players, such as location of pro shop, locker rooms, and practice facility, presence and location of host and other guests, scheduled tee time, how long until scheduled tee off; walk players to pro shop or party when possible.
  • Be knowledgeable about golf operation, daily course set up and factors impacting play such as weather, frost delays, carts on the path, beverage cart running, snack bar hours of operation, etc.
  • Provide special service touches and “wow” factors.
  • Interrupt personal conversations at the approach of players; give them your undivided attention.
  • Assist golfers coming off course; clean and return clubs to club storage or cars.
  • Solve any problems encountered that are within your authority and ability to do so.
  • Report any problems encountered by golfers to the golf professional staff.
  • Maintain the cleanliness and order of your work areas; clean and straighten up work areas prior to departing as a courtesy to the next shift.
  • Work together with other staff to provide a seamless golfing experience for players.
  • Thank fellow workers for their help and assistance.  They appreciate it as much as you do.

When employees understand and commit to expected standards of behavior and service, players and other employees have a richer golfing experience.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking  hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for the Hospitality Industry!

What I Expect from My Head Golf Professional

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

The club’s golf course is the most significant amenity and the reason most members join the club.  As a result the head golf professional is a highly visible and respected member of the club’s management team.  But as a number of authors have pointed out, there is a critical distinction between the game of golf and the business of golf.  To be successful the head golf professional must be a master of both.

While the Professional Golfers’ Association does a great job of preparing the golf professional for golf operations management, related business principles and practices, and how to interact with members and golf committees, there are a number of business disciplines that I expect the head golf professional to carry out to meet my expectations:

  1. Establish, interpret, and enforce all club policies, rules, and regulations relating to the golf operations.  These include the pro shop, practice facilities, golf course, cart storage facility, lessons and golf programming, guest policies, club storage and repair, locker rooms, and other areas and issues relating to the game.
  2. Establish and maintain a robust schedule of golf programming and events to meet the needs and desires of golfing members.
  3. Create written standards, policies, and procedures (SPPs) for all aspects of the golf operation.  These foster organization, consistency, and continuity.  They also form the basis for the department’s training material.
  4. Benchmark rounds, revenues, and payroll.  This information provides the power to support decisions, demonstrates knowledge and competency to all (particularly to members and the golf committees), allows analysis and better organized efforts, and supports requests for resources.
  5. Institute the discipline of Tools to Beat Budget.  It makes the head golf professional far more knowledgeable about the operation, ensures budgets are met, and makes future year budgeting far easier and more accurate.
  6. Ensure close coordination with the golf course superintendent regarding marking the golf course, daily set up, seasonal playing conditions, schedule of annual cultural practices, and preparation for major golf events.  The better the cooperation and working relationship between the head golf professional and the superintendent, the better the golfing experience for members.
  7. Participate in the Golf Operations Committee made up of the superintendent, head golf professional, and the general manager.  The purpose of this committee is to give formal structure to monthly meetings and decisions impacting the club’s golfing experience and ensures that the operational stakeholders are fully aware of golf plans and issues in a timely manner.
  8. Serve as the club’s representative on the club’s golf committees, attending meetings, providing information as requested, making professional recommendations regarding the golf operations and golf programming, and keeping the general manager fully informed on all significant matters addressed by the committee.
  9. Establish and execute a structured calling program for infrequent golfers and, conversely, a rewards program for those who play frequently.  The golf professional should always try to discover the reasons for low usage by golf members – as they may be at risk of leaving the club.  At the same time, the club should find ways of saying “thanks” to those who play regularly.  Coordinate results of both programs with the membership director.
  10. Prepare and keep current a golf cart storage facility handbook detailing the standards of storing and maintaining golf carts and properly cleaning and maintaining the cart storage facility.  Standards should include listing all supplies to stock the carts, daily cart operation procedures and checks, and all cleaning equipment and supplies to properly maintain the golf carts.  Ensure the organization, order, cleanliness, repair, and security of the golf cart storage facility.
  11. Play golf with members on a regular basis.  The professional golf staff must play golf with a wide variety of members, from core golfers to newly-joined members to those who are new to the game.  There is no greater way to encourage golf participation among the membership.  The professional staff should avoid playing regularly with a small group of favored members as this may cause resentment among others.
  12. Develop a detailed departmental training plan with major emphasis on the club’s service culture, member service, and golf etiquette; course management and tee time reservations; golf programming and event preparation; pro shop policies and procedures; retail merchandising and sales; point of sale procedures; practice facility set up; golf cart cleaning, set-up, and storage; and personal and equipment safety.
  13. Establish procedures for a daily tee sheet reconciliation as an audit to verify the capture of all green fees, guest fees, and cart fees.  Given the club’s immense investment in its golf course, accurately accounting for all rounds and revenues is a required discipline.
  14. Develop, implement, and enforce a ready-play program to ensure appropriate speed of play on the golf course.  Slow play is one of the most frequent complaints relating to golf.  Being pro-active by identifying and working with slow-playing golfers will go a long way in relieving complaints and maximizing course utilization.
  15. Establish and maintain a robust schedule of free clinics, demonstrations, and practice facility activities to promote the game, encourage lessons, and interact with members.
  16. If responsible for the golf pro shop operation, meet all the requirements spelled out in What I Expect from My Retail Manager.
  17. Coordinate golf activities and events schedule with the activities director who is responsible for the club’s master event and activities schedule.

It is recognized that the Head Golf Professional may need some support and assistance in developing organizational materials and establishing certain disciplines such as benchmarking and Tools to Beat Budget, but experience has shown that these disciplines help better organize and operate the golf department.  As with other club departments, the general manager’s requirements for the golf operations take some time and effort to set up, but once the heavy lifting is done, the overall functioning of the department is smoother and easier.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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21 Ways to Boost Your Golf Business

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Here are twenty-one ways to boost rounds at daily fee and semi-private golf courses.

  1. Increase benefits of memberships to drive # of memberships.  Increasing membership benefits may make them more attractive, causing more players to join.
  2. Target area businesses for an Employee Appreciation Day outing.  Prepare a letter and send to local companies proposing an outing.  Package the golf, prizes, and F&B to make it easy for companies to say “yes.”
  3. Target area business for a Company Golf Team League.  Each team would require 4 players.  Prepare a letter to local businesses explaining the league, format of competition, dates to play, package cost to sponsor a team.  Also, use display ads to market leagues.
  4. Interclub League play in various categories (seniors, men, women, and youths).  Sound out membership for players to play in matches against other clubs and golf courses.  Coordinate league play with other clubs and golf courses.  Establish pricing, prizes, and schedule of play.
  5. Work with competitors and local hotel to put together and co-op out-of-towner golf package – 3 days, 2 nights of golf.  Price package, coordinate with other courses and hotel.  Market during winter months in selected NE or Midwest golf markets to try to improve winter play.
  6. Beginners’ Golf Package – “Learn to Play in Six Easy Weeks” – Lessons, rounds, club fitting and sale, pairings with other beginners.  Set up package, market through web site and display ads.  An excellent promotion for spring; also works for youth golf during summer months.
  7. Free swing evaluation – with written evaluation from the pro.  Establish standardized form to use to identify the problems of a golfer’s swing and how to correct.  Focus on stance, grip, swing mechanics, exercises to address each noted problem.
  8. Go after County and City employees.  Special discount with ID card.  Establish a County and City golf team; include them in Company Golf Team League.  Or, simply set up a weekly time for such employees to play at a discount; could be a 9-hole round after work during summer month.
  9. Through benchmarking determine all times when the course is most empty and available for play.  These times should be discounted and marketed for price sensitive players.
  10. Package reasonably priced mini-outings limited to a dozen or so players. Market these for traditionally slow days.  Make the package all-inclusive with golf and cart fees, box lunches, beverages, and prizes.
  11. Build a mailing list of non-profits (churches and service organizations), businesses, core golfers, veterans, etc.  Start with phone book and query current membership.  Ensure that you are familiar enough with MS-Word Mail Merge and Mailing List functions to quickly produce and send flyers, letters, and other marketing material to selected mailing lists.
  12. Offer and advertise incentives to current members to bring in new members.  This should be part of our internal marketing effort to your membership.  Devise incentives and market them.
  13. Always collect email addresses of players and build a database of members and players to broadcast email announcements – “We still have Tee-times available this weekend.  The weather is forecasted to be great and we have a fun format event for Sunday afternoon.  Give us a call.” This type of last-minute marketing is used to fill empty tee times.  It can also be used during cooler or inclement weather to attract golfers at a discounted rate.
  14. Establish Competitive Flight Ladders.  Highly competitive golfers play to try to climb the ladder for bragging rights and a trophy.  Construct the ladder and prominently display it in the pro shop.  Results of all matches should be publicized in a newsletter, email blasts, and in the pro shop.
  15. Classify current golfers as “competitive” vs. “recreational” and design specific events for each.
  16. Use giveaways (inexpensive logoed items) for all first time visitors to course.
  17. Consider giving away rounds to try to build volume.  Free green fee, pay only cart fee.  This approach can be used at slow times of year, week, and days.  Establish guidelines, goals, and benchmarks to measure benefit.
  18. Build an annual calendar of events – “12-months of golf traditions” – one specially formatted tournament each month.  Most golfers use stroke play most of the time.  There are many other “fun” formats to be used.  Develop and schedule such “tournaments” for each month and market through emails, newsletter, web site, and display ads.  Visit http://golf.about.com/cs/golfterms/a/formatsbets.htm for ideas.
  19. Offer “Weekend Golf” for a weekday price at certain times of the year.  Using past benchmarks, identify the times of year to offer this; market through emails, newsletter, web site, and display ads.
  20. Market to area hotels for “golf specials for their guests.”  Develop a list of local hotels and motels and establish a relationship with their management to allow their guests to play at a discounted rate and free rental clubs.
  21. Find a stay at home parent or someone looking for part time employment with clerical skills to execute marketing efforts such as direct mail.  Given the administrative burden on the Head and Assistant Pro, it may make sense to hire and develop someone who can quickly react to opportunities and execute a predetermined marketing effort – web site, emails, flyers, mailers, and display ads.

The two most important aspects of marketing excess capacity and open times on your course are to build an email database of players and to recognize your course’s use patterns through continual benchmarking.  The email list will become your most prized possession and can be used to notify players of events and periods of discounted play.  But to take advantage of the timeliness of open tee times, you must have a variety of promotional programs and messages ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

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