Sometimes the simple solutions to Golf’s sluggish economy are the hardest to make, but need to be made. More golfers need to be talking to their goverment representatives about helping Golf help itself. Join the conversation on Google+.
As the drought in the northern hemisphere of earth broadens, water for golf courses will be the biggest issue Country Clubs will face in sustaining their existence. It takes a lot of water to keep golf courses playable.
Here is a post made on Google+ that discusses the challenge potential buyers of country clubs face.
If you take a look around the golf course while you are playing you are more than likely going to see a large number of different combinations of people playing golf. There will be the men and women who play golf together..there will be the adults playing with their kids…there will be the twosome of men or women..the foursomes of mixed ages and genders..and yes..from time to time there will be the begrudging 5-somes or even more, all playing on the golf course.
One of the growing groups of golfers, for which I am very excited to report, is the Business Golfers. Business Golf has been around well before I started coaching on how to effectively using golf as a business tool. It is suspected that the very first round of golf, played over 450 years ago, was a round of Business Golf.
Though the way Business Golf is played has changed since then, the bottom-line still is..Golf is the best Business Relation Builder there is…and believe me, I have search for a better one and there are none.
A round of Business Golf can develop into a test of a person’s character. If someone cheats on the golf course, you can place a pretty solid bet they are going to cheat in the workplace. It is because of this testing as why some people will not play golf…they have too much to hide and a person’s true character usually is reveled on the golf course in High Definition.
8 out of every 10 golfers playing golf are decision makers in business. This does not mean they are all out playing golf today or they play Business Golf, but they do play golf. This makes for the possibility of running into a golfer in the business world a great likelihood.
Business Golfers are like all other golfers..they love the game and they make up a huge portion of the global golfing fraternities and sororities. It is easy to be part of this..learn to play golf.
Being a non-golfer today becomes a huge disadvantage when the business people in the market you are working it all play golf. This is why it is important to learn to play golf..and if you do play golf it is important to learn to play Business Golf.
With the economy improving on a broad scale, it will not be long before more of the people who put the golf clubs up to focus on business survival will be back out on the golf course. They will be looking for someone to play golf with..will you be ready?
Let me know how I can help.
Private Country Clubs are now seeing a beacon of hope of economic improvement in the luxury market. After many clubs lossing members during the down turn of the global economy their first reaction now is to attempt again to fill their dwindling membership roster. But how should they go about this? The answer to that question more than likely would come from within the club.
Many times a private club is better off finding out how their members feel about the club before they go about marketing the club to outsiders. The problem here is how to go about finding out what the members feel about the club. Obviously surveys are not trusted forms of information since there are so many ways to message the results to indicate what the current leadership wants to hear.
One solution many private clubs seem to not be interested in initiating, or have not thought of, is to developing a representative style organization of their management staff to keep the internal issues that kill external marketing campaigns at bay.
This new approach to private club operations management is based on one member of the management staff, or board of governors, representing 100 (depending on the size of the club) members of the club. Yes, this would be a fulltime position and to be taken very seriously since this representative will have their hands full.
A representative type of communication allows for the members to have an ear to the ownership through their designated representative. This fast track form of communication would offer the ownership or management knowledge of the memberships morale instantaneously.
The members are the people who use the club and they can tell the club’s management team where the problems are in the club that need to be taken care of before they become a larger problem. That is, if the club’s management team wants to listen. The members are also the people who pay the club’s bills, so there is significant risk if they are not listened to.
The representative style of communication also allows the representative to convey messages to his assigned members in a more personal and face-to-face manner. This can soften up any bad news a club might have to offer more so than the member receiving an email or newsletter. It also stimulates debate and gives the membership a feeling of ownership of potential solutions they could offer.
Promoting in the club’s marketing collateral this style of communication between the ownership and membership shows innovation. It allows the club’s marketing team to be more effective in attracting new members by showing how the membership is connected to how things are managed at the club. The fact each member is assigned a club representative to help them adjust to the club’s culture should be more appealing to potential members.
I am sure there are a number of other issues private country clubs need to address internally before attempting to market the club to potential members.
Next up… I address what Private Country Club have to do to appeal to the New more fast paced generations.
I am sure I am not the only one who has accepted an invitation to be a guest for a round of golf at someone’s very old school and well respected country club. I personally treat these rare occasions as an honor since I understand the importance a true country club has to a community and it’s membership. However, I am sad to see the aging clubs not modernizing.
Many of the aging country clubs around the country are struggling with accepting change. Interesting enough, I find from visiting with my host or hostess the tight economy of today is not the core reason why these icons of the golf world have trouble with embracing a more modern attitude. Most of the time it’s the club’s ownership or governing board feeling there being no need for a change.
For the past few years I have been frequently asked by members of private country clubs to join them for a round of golf and to give them my feedback of what I see the club needs to improve upon to bring in the more fickle younger generation of country club members.
Sometimes their motive for asking me to consult them is part of their plan of gaining outside reviews to present in their conversation with their club to encourage them to move forward into the new era of golf facilities. Members of the country club see the image of the club as a reflection on who they are and my feedback is to help them to decide to stay a member of the club or leave.
Generally, there are just a few things I observe private country clubs need to do to improve their appeal to a younger age group. However on occasion I have seen some major issues the older clubs are having which projects a negative image of the club to the younger generation as well as the current membership.
Many of the members of the Equity Clubs feel like they are being held hostage or used as the club’s cash cow for accessing funds which does nothing to modernize the club’s appeal. These old forms of managing a private club are starting to work against equity clubs when it comes time to replace or grow the membership.
Overall the most common of the needs private clubs should address first is to upgrade their technology throughout the club. This is usually where the rub starts between the ownership of a club and it’s newer membership. Most private clubs have been around for a few decades and are stuck on keeping a tradition they have established going or keeping a look they feel is the club’s brand.
I usually find I am not the first to suggest the Tech-Up approach to improving the appeal of a private club to the next generation of membership. I hear about how others who have already suggested the club make physical changes to the clubhouse like hanging large screen TV’s throughout the club to stream an array of different kinds of information and programs all day long. Or, place high tech devices out on the golf course for members to indulge in while waiting on slow pace of play.
Unfortunately, creating the image of the club being a space station sports bar is not what many private club’s board of governors are interested in doing which is what they hear I am saying when I tell them they need to Tech-Up their facility.
Most private clubs have not updated their facilities to having the basic needs business people need like Wi-Fi or hardwire access to the internet or more intuitive software for their internal operations. Tech scares the non-tech savvy owners or governing boards. Many times the lack of understanding what is needed or would
There are some obvious reasons why private clubs need to address change. To make the needed changes would call for many private club facilities to be completely rewired. This would result in remodeling of the facility which would take away from the image the club has developed. In many cases the update of the facility to accommodate the latest in technology cannot not be done without a very expensive construction project which nearly always would out-cost a complete rebuild of the facility.
Those private golf clubs who choose to not to change eventually are going to struggle to survive. Those who take the route of making only cosmetic changes, or the cheap way out, usually result in installing ugly wiring conduit hung from the ceiling or along baseboards which always screams to people entering a club as a cheap attempt to Tech-Up.
Updating a private golf club struggling with other dilapidated infrastructure issues, like outdated plumbing and electrical, will be an uphill battle. Dealing with accommodating the needs of the new generation of members while the inside of the facilities are caving in just does not make sense. Yet, that seems to be the common approach by many private clubs.
Things that may seem little to the ownership of private clubs, like pot holes in the parking lot, buckling cart paths on the golf course, back-up sewers, will quickly turn off any appeal anyone of any age group would have for the club. Dilapidation really cannot be disguised.
Many clubs over 50 years old are facing dealing with the problems of aging and more issues as the result of natural causes. To Tech-Up an old club to appeal to the next generation by making just cosmetic changes would be like putting lipstick on a pig.
I am still seeing bulldozers as viable options for older club’s to consider, while also seeing the new clubs of the last ten years has quickly gaining advantage of the younger private club market.
Solutions for private clubs to making the needed changes are many and difficult, but they have to be made if the private country clubs are to survive. If more club’s really listened to their memberships they will hear the need to make change. And if they are listening real close they will also hear they had best find the solution to Tech-Up their facilities without raising the costs to the current or future membership. Yes, it can be done.
Upgrading the private country clubs of the world to appease the interest of the golfers of tomorrow is a do or die for a major portion of the golf economy. Latest reports show over 40% of the golfing public are members of private country clubs or golf clubs. Disengaging this part of the economy of golf would make gaining access to the game of golf only to public courses which are already stressed to the maximum of their capabilities. Private Country Clubs hold a solid place in golf and lack of upgrading the facilities poses a serious problem for Golf’s future.
In order for Golf to grow many private golf clubs need to suck it up and deal with change. Let me know how I can help.