A friend asked me to join him for a round of golf at his favor golf course. I graciously accepted since I knew the golf course had been updated with a new clubhouse. Since my club is in desperate need of a New Clubhouse I though seeing what the impact of a New Clubhouse on a facility would provide me validation on how it draws in new golfers
As usual, I got to the course early and did the usual walk round looking at the new clubhouse. I was rather impressed. The clubhouse had that Country Club feel, but yet had the scares that are created by being a public course. You know, where the shirt-tails out, Hockey Jersey’s and NBA shorts wearing kind of crowd was everywhere.
As we got out on the course I noticed a few changes that were made, like wider cart paths and new trees planted everywhere. Again, I was very impressed with this course’s management to take quick action to update a course and clubhouse to bring in new golfers.
However, as we finished up our round and headed into the clubhouse the big downside of the public facility was presenting itself. Yes..the clashes of cultures.
On one side of the grill, taking up a couple of tables, you had the young and the restless playing cards for money after their round golf. They were making it clear to everyone that they were paying to much for the $2 pitcher of beer, but then contradicting themselves by betting a $100 on the Texas Hold-em they were playing. Plus, showing no respect what so every to anyone else who was in the room with their rough language.
Then on the other side, the same age group of traditionally attired golfers, but more of them. These were the golfers who were enjoying their drinks and spending time enjoying small talk with their friends on the nuances of their golf experience.
Now, you would think this clash of attitudes towards golf would be a throw back to the clash between generations, but this situation was a clearly a clash between the same generations. It was not a traditional clash between the Have’s and the Have Not’s.
As my friend and I sat down a few of the people he knew came over to join us. After my friend made a very cordial introduction of me to his friends my occupation took on its usual curiosity of the group who asked me to tell them more about business golf. As I was starting in on my 15 second commercial an uproar began over in the mosh-pit of a poker game.
Seems the manager of the facility felt it was time to get the motley crew to either start buying more beer or move their posteriors out to the patio so more golfers coming out of the hot weather could sit down and buy drinks.
As you expected this caused a shouting match and name calling and before long here comes the enforcers from the Pro-shop. In quick hast the 10 or so patrons of the south side of golf were escorted out of the grill.
As things settled down the group I was with reconvened with remarks leading me to believe this incident was a reoccurring event. From the conversation that stirred over the now evicted group’s action I found out more early thirty-ish golfers are having a hard time leaving their youth behind. They are intentionally causing a friction between those who respect golf and its positive image and those who want to change golf to be a street sport. I found the ensuing conversations very interesting.
Having experience golf in all environments; public courses, municipal courses, semi-private clubs, private country clubs and golf resorts I found this new attitude building in today’s golf had my full attention.
Eventually the group got back to me being new to their facility and turned back to what I did for a living. As I explained what I do for golf I finished my pitch with using the current event as an example of problems I look into finding solutions. I closed with there maybe options they may have not explored I could offer for them to consider.
I went on to ask if any of them were or had been a member of a country club. As is in most groups who gather at public facilities the majority had not experienced a country club and those few who did rationalize not being a member due to not having the time to justify the expense since they were always working. The others had only heard that country clubs were overly priced.
My rebuttal was to explain the current incident we witnessed and their report on them being a frequent event would not happen at a private facility. I went on to say what keeps this negative attitude in check and from not happening at country club was the orientations members have to go through when they join outlining the club’s acceptable attitude. This process screens out from the beginning those who do not agree with this policy.
As the group broke up my friend’s friends were continual cordial and a few remarked on maybe reconsidering the country clubs since the public course attitude was not meeting their life style. The day concluded on a positive note.
As I sat here thinking about the incident and evaluating the root causes for this attitude people are developing against joining country clubs it highlighted the biggest problems Country Clubs have and that is marketing or the lack of it. The individuals I spoke with at this public facility had never experienced the Country Club environment primarily because their unfounded assumption or false impressions have kept them from it.
Most Country Clubs are struggling to exist. Memberships to clubs are falling off forcing the remaining members of the club to cover the higher costs. This is what is causing country clubs to be expensive endeavors.
The traditional attitude Country Clubs developed over hundreds of years is any marketing of the club’s membership is a sign of desperation or a negative image of the club’s status. Here lies the root cause of why more people are not privy to the positive side of country clubs.
My friend John over at GolfDashBlog.com blogged on this subject of “Are Private Clubs the Next Dinosaurs”. He had a very good insight to what is going on in the private sector causing the problem young people are having with accepting country clubs as affordable golf venues.
My studies show the private country club’s management is where the problems lie. I have solutions on how private clubs can become affordable to all who are interested in accepting the positive attitude towards golf being for everyone.
I look forward to doing what I can to help promote what country clubs do for the game of golf and how they are just as affordable as public golf.
The future of golf hangs in the balance on the private golf clubs improving their image. If solutions are not found to keep the Country Clubs the base for Business Golf, then the days of having a quiet martini on the veranda with your family and friends are numbered.
Let me know how I can help.