That is a constant chant in any business. Change for the sake of change is not wise. But fixing major issues that arise in every season is a constant with us.
On the macro level, advocating for change at the consumer-facing golf associations is falling on deaf ears. They do not feel change is needed. And when they make a change, it is usually without consulting the “steak” portion of the industry. They focus on the “sizzle” which is elite golf. So many conversations we have with other owners bring forth a resignation that this will never change.
I can attest to this personally. I am the only person to sit on both of the controlling National boards simultaneously. This caused friction at both boards and I was essentially dismissed from both by being too much like the other organization. I argued that there is only one golfer (like the taxpayer discussion) and they need to be represented properly by those that pretend to govern them.
The egos in the brand of golf are large and cause boards to miss opportunities for collaboration and cooperation. The first is the talk, the second is the walk. You take it from here.
From an operations perspective, we have invested in the Golf Social system that we have used to increase our revenues dramatically. There is no one silver bullet in this chamber. We have a suite of programs and approaches that eliminated any need for the discount houses – from GolfNow through to Underpar and others. We are now working with other courses to bring them along this path to success. It will take time. And we are at full risk as our fee is determined by our success in moving discounted times to RAC rate, and keeping the tee sheets in better shape than the past. We know we can do this. We did it here and continue to use our own course as the development course fore new ideas.
People ask why we would work with other courses. I have had the benefit of so much knowledge over beginning years and beyond. Smart golf courses are open to working together on projects and we believe that with better marketing across all courses, we will eliminate the discounting while establishing a stronger tie with the golfer. This is something that could be done all at once on a national level – but there is no interest. When a new CEO comes in and effectively dismantles a growing membership system, you know where the focus is not going.
If you want utopia in our business, let the owners lead the charge, developing a national fee paying member program that supports many grassroots programs. One board controlled by owners. With separate and distinct elite golf divisions that operate independently but report to the board on a timely basis.
It has started slowly – with the NGCOA, the CGSA and the PGA of Canada working collaboratively on a national conference. Everyone is in the room. We need to stay there through the challenges that will naturally arise. All of our employees belong to some golf organization for which the owner pays the dues. As owners, we support this notion. It would be great to have greater collaboration – but it has to be welcomed by any future organization.
We can do better – we will do better….