The Value of a Lead Lies in Strengths of the Closer

In three plus years here in the PNWPGA Section, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many wonderful professionals in the golf industry, especially PGA members and apprentices. Recently, I was talking with a friend, whose recently started working within our industry but who has incredible experience in marketing. David White, the President of Fanstactic (a social media marketing company based in south King County, WA – www.fanstactic.com) and I were talking about the how golf courses can use digital marketing and social media to grow their business, increase the size of their membership, etc.

Fanstactic is a niche company whose list of clients is made up of small businesses, including golf courses. In our most recent visit, David told me a story about one of his clients who owns a roofing business in Seattle, WA. Per David, the owner pays $150 for a “qualified lead” on a roofing job. At first glance, that may not hit home for most people. Let’s slow down and break it down:

  • $150 for a qualified lead: a qualified lead is not a guaranteed sale, just a good opportunity to make a sale.
  • According to Costhelper.com, the average roof replacement cost runs from $11,209–$17,060. Based on this data, one can see why the roofing contractor feels it’s worth paying for a good lead.
  • Note: Before the roofing contractor decided to pay $150 per lead, they had to do the “Roofing Business Math” in order to see the value of a good lead; they could’ve also relied on costhelper.com’s numbers, or someone else’s but they likely had to validate on their own.
  • If the roofing contractor can gross $15k on a roofing job (or possibly a whole lot more if the job is for a commercial or municipal property) we must assume the roofing contractor doesn’t rely on just anyone to close the deal…they rely on a trusted, knowledgeable “closer.” Why? Think of the cost of not closing the sale. In this frame of reference, I’ll bet the company’s owners would say they can’t afford to not close the sale!

That makes good sense to me. But then I must ask, how does this match up to our priorities in the golf industry?  Let’s answer this question and see what we can learn. Let’s consider it based on various parts of the golf business.

PRIVATE GOLF CLUBS

koch-graphic-06-2015Memberships: In a quick review of “player development math” for private clubs, we can easily calculate the value of a qualified lead for a golf membership. See figure for actual calculation model.

In a quick review of a few clubs in the south King County area, a fifteen year membership has a lifetime value range of $145k to $180k per member. That’s a lot more than $15,000…a whole lot more! In comparison with the roofing contractor, who has a dedicated closer (salesperson) to make the sale, most private clubs don’t have a “closer” ready to make the sale with every potential membership. Instead, well-intended staff who don’t really know the game all that well, don’t know the Club and/or don’t know how to get the member engaged or who to engage with.

What’s a closer? Mike Heisterkamp, PGA head professional at Chagrin Falls CC in the Cleveland, OH is a closer. In 2013, he played golf with 15 prospective member clients at CFCC – 14 of them joined! That is 93.3%! There were 12 other prospective member rounds/visits that same year (who didn’t play with Mike Heisterkamp.) Of the 12, just one joined, or 8.3%. Another question: If you were the President (or GM) of Chagrin Falls, would you want to ensure Mike plays with EVERY PROSPECTIVE MEMBER in 2015?

And we’re not even talking about the math yet. Assuming the lifetime value of a member at Chagrin Falls is $150k, it would seem Mike created $2.1 million in revenue for the next 15 years, and $140k for 2015 alone. Heisterkamp is not a dedicated membership sales professional, he runs a golf department, including the daily operations, member events and much more at his Club. But, if these numbers are correct, it would seem Mike should be allowed to do more of this activity AND maybe he should be incentivized for it. In comparison, many professionals are incentivized for success in merchandising and/or management of payroll costs. Let’s say Heisterkamp and his staff do an amazing job in merchandising, and increase gross sales in the golf shop by $200k (for net revenues of around $60k) it’s still not even close to the impact of his efforts as a closer with 14 new members.

Again, I ask: If you were the President (or GM) of Chagrin Falls, would you want to ensure Mike plays with EVERY PROSPECTIVE MEMBER in 2015? If you are a golf professional employed at a private club, are you a closer like Mike Heisterkamp, PGA? (Are you working on becoming one? Are you tracking your success as a closer?)

PUBLIC-ACCESS GOLF FACILITIES

Group Outings: The same value for some group outings rises to the level of a new member above. In my experience the amount of work for a 12 player group is often similar to 144…or even 360 players (a 45-hole shotgun). The quality of the work in the close, knowing that promises made will be kept can result in great bottom line value.

Golf Business Leagues: These staples of public facilities have taken a back seat to the larger group outings, but it would seem it is time to re-elevate this business model. Let’s do some math again – A group of 24 players, paying $29/week ($696 total/week) for 16 straight weeks is worth more than $11,000. Creating an off-peak golf league (focused on fun, social formats) could create significant value for the facility. Typically, these leagues happen through one or two relationships and a vision “sold” by a golf professional. Maybe your facility has some soft, off-peak times after 6:30 pm on weeknights that would be a perfect fit for a social, fun golf league.

In closing, let me ask you once more. Are you a closer? Better yet, a closer with a vision who understands their ability to drive bottom line revenue AND track. If not, are you becoming one?

Monte Koch, Certified PGA Professional/Player Development
Player Development Regional Mgr/Mentor**
PGA of America (Greater Seattle/PacNW PGA Section)
Email: Mkoch@pgahq.com  Cell: 206/335-5260

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How to Ask for More Money After a Job Offer

Many people I meet don’t have a strategy for negotiating their salary and compensation package. They come to me after receiving a new job offer and desire direction on how to maximize compensation. While there are numerous ways in which to find what is fair, it should not be based off of what you have been earning. Here are a few tips to improve the quality of your negotiation conversation.

First, uncover your competition. Before there is an offer on the table, ask the interviewer questions such as, “Can you tell me where you are in the hiring process?” or, “How many people are you interviewing for this position?” If you discover that you are their only current candidate, you will have more leverage during the negotiation process and you may be able to command a higher salary.

Next, do your homework and base your compensation expectations on like roles at like facilities.  Rather than projecting based on what you earned in a previous position, review the PGA Compensation Reporting Tool or call me to assist in determining your market value, calculate the value of your benefits package and assess the overall quality of the offer. As you can imagine, compensation structure varies by facility and it is worth noting that a number of factors can influence. These could include

  • the location of your facility, whether section, state or chapter
  • the facility type- private for-profit or member-owned, municipal, daily fee, etc.
  • number of holes
  • peak green/guest fee
  • club’s initiation fee and annual dues
  • years in the job title
  • cost of living
  • where the facility perceives it ranks in relation to other area facilities or facilities of a similar nature.

Discuss your salary expectations in terms of what is fair and reasonable. Don’t ask for a certain salary because that is what you think you need to earn in order to pay your rent. Instead, give an explanation for why the salary you are requesting correlates to the value you will bring to the facility.

Think outside the box, and be flexible. If an employer can’t offer you the base compensation you had hoped for, maybe they can offer you compelling incentives, a performance bonus or cover professional education and tournament expenses.

All a salary suggests is what someone was willing to pay you at a particular time. It is best to be ready for negotiation by knowing your competition, doing your homework and knowing the other variables that may assist in adding up to the number you feel is fair.

Please feel free to contact me anytime for assistance with compensation and new offers. I am happy to strategize with you.

Contact Carol Pence by calling (510) 706-1583 or via e-mail at CPence@pgahq.com.

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PNW PGA Professional Championship Entries Available!

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National is now accepting entries for the PNW PGA Professional Championship at Canyon River Golf Course on September 22-24, 2015. The entry deadline is Tuesday, July 7th at 2:00 PM. You may register for this event through PGA of America Membership services at 800-474-2776, www.pga.org or www.pgatournaments.com. Please pay attention to the 2:00 PM entry deadline for this event!

Your Section Championship & Qualifier for the National PGA Championship

This championship confers the title of “The Pacific Northwest Section Champion”. It is the most important and elite PNW PGA tournament of the season.

Eligibility: You must be employed in one of the following classifications as of July 7th to be eligible to play in the PNW PGA Professional Championship: MP, A-1, A-2, A-4, A-5, A-6, A-7, A-8, A-9, A-10, A-11, A-12, A-13, A-14, A-15, A-16, A-17, A-18, A-19, A-20, A-21, A-22, A-23, A-24, LMA and LMMA.

Advancement: Top finishers in our PNW PGA Professional Championship will advance directly to the 49th PGA Professional National Championship at Turning Stone Resorts Atunyote and Shenandoah Courses, Verona, New York on June 26-29, 2016.

The Return to Canyon River GC

The PNW PGA Professional Championship was held at Canyon River in 2010 and we are glad to be welcomed back! Host PGA Professional Edward Bezanson and his staff are excited to host this year’s championship.

Canyon River Golf Course was designed by Lee E. Schmidt, ASGCA/Brian Curley, ASGCA and opened in 2006. Canyon River meanders through towering pines and native grasslands. It offers numerous lakes and riparian marshes located throughout the property that come into play on seven holes. The mountains around the course provide for some amazing views of scenic Montana. The course was named by Golf Digest as one of the top ten new public courses to play in 2008.

A Tradition of Competition

The Section Championship dates back to 1934, with Verne Torfin winning the title at Fircrest GC. In 2000, the Pacific Northwest PGA Championship merged with the Section CPC to create one great tournament experience, with the top finishers going on to compete at the National PGA Championship.

Only open to Section Professionals, this event draws the strongest field of PGA members in the Northwest. Last year, Brian Thornton PGA Teaching Professional of Meridian Valley CC won the Pacific Northwest PGA Professional Championship by one stroke over Jeff Coston PGA Teaching Professional of Semiahmoo G&CC. Thornton previously won this event in 2007 at Suncadia Resort.

 Last year, seven professionals advanced to the 48th PGA Professional National Championship June 28 – July 1, 2015, at the Philadelphia Cricket Club – Wissahickon Course – in  Philadelphia, PA.  Watch these seven players this June: Brian Thornton, Darren Black of Rainier G&CC, Greg Manley of Meridian Valley CC, Casey McCoy of Newaukum Valley GC, Chris Griffin of Tacoma C&GC, Tony Robydek of Pro Golf Discount – Tacoma and Chris Koch of Salish Cliffs GC.

For the complete list of PNW PGA Professional Champions, click here to visit the PNW PGA historical site.

Get Ready to Play

The more players sign up, the more spots we receive to advance to the PGA Professional Championship next June. Additionally, the purse increases as our player numbers increase.

CLICK HERE for the PNW PGA Professional Championship flyer. Show it to your bosses to remind them that you need time off, or give a copy to your fellow professionals to encourage them to compete.

Also note, the PGA of America has adopted the condition of competition for Grooves and/or Punch Marks at the Section level of the Pacific Northwest PGA Professional Championship. ALL PLAYERS MUST comply with this condition of competition.

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Oregon Open Invitational at Sunriver Resort – Entries Closing Soon!

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A few team spots are available for the Oregon Open Invitational at Sunriver Resort -Crosswater Course on June 9-11th.  Entries close Wednesday, May 27th, so hurry and get your team entry in now! Host Professionals Josh Willis, PGA and Erik Mettille, PGA are excited to have us all.

Download the Oregon Open Invitational Team Entry

A Resort Golf Experience for Everyone

With a robust list of activities and magnificent resort amenities, Sunriver Resort offers an experience that will satisfy any palate. Located just 15 miles south of Bend, Ore., Sunriver Resort is a 3,300 acre all-seasons getaway destination known for its championship golf, award-winning spa, Northwest restaurants and outdoor pool facility. It is near extra activities such as fly-fishing, hiking, biking, rock climbing at Smith Rock, skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing at Mt. Bachelor. Bend, Ore. is just a short jaunt away with an impressive selection of restaurants, breweries, cafes, events and art galleries. Sunriver is one of those unique locations that truly provides something for everyone; whether it’s your family or your team of favorite golf buddies!

Play Crosswater Course

Did we mention the championship golf you’ll be playing? Crosswater, Sunriver Resort’s golfing gem, is a gorgeous 18-hole heathland-style semiprivate course situated on 600-acres of woodlands and carefully preserved wetlands. Crosswater is threaded by the Deschutes and Little Deschutes rivers adding a challenge (or boost!) as often as seven times in a round. This Robert E. Cupp designed course was named by Golf Digest as one of America’s 100 Greatest Courses and in 1999, and Golf Week named it one of the Top 10 best courses you can play in Oregon in 2014.

Tournament Format

Entry into the championship will be four-man teams comprised of two professionals and two amateurs.  You will need to make your own team.

Teams will play together for the first 36 holes. There are two team competitions over the first 36 holes – best 2 net of the 4, and each professional will play a net four-ball with one amateur. Handicaps at 80% will be used in the team games.

The championship is a 54-hole stroke play with professional and amateur purses. After 36 holes, the field will be cut to the low 70 players and ties, repaired by score and the Oregon Open Invitational completed.

There is no maximum handicap for entry (18 max. in the competition), however, all players will play from the championship tees and there will be no individual net amateur.

All players will be governed by the Rules of Golf, Pace of Play, the Section Hard Card, the Section Dress Code and the Section Cell phone regulation.

Play for Bonus Money in the Team Competitions

Back again in 2015 is our National Car Rental Pro-Am Championship.  Thanks to a nice sponsorship through the PGA of America, National Car Rental will be the sponsor of the team competitions – with a $7,500 contribution! This means there will be extra money to play for, in the team competition! They ask one thing – enroll all players in the Emerald Club, National Car Rental’s FREE tool to help you use the PGA discounted rate and also ease the rental process by allowing you to bypass the rental counter. To be eligible for the team competitions, all players on the team must be Emerald Club members (current membership qualifies) and there is a place on the entry form to provide each player’s Emerald Club number.

Professionals can register by clicking here.  It takes just a couple of minutes.   Be sure to use PGA discount code XZ41557 when you rent from National.

Amateurs can register by clicking here.  It takes just a couple of minutes.   Be sure to use PGA discount code XZ41570 when you rent from National.

A History of Fun and Exciting Competition

The Oregon Open Invitational dates back to 1905 when George Smith was the first to win the title. Over the years a number of fantastic players have won the championship such as Tommy Armour, Chuck Congdon, Al Zimmerman, Bob Duden, Rick Acton, and PGA Tour Player Peter Jacobsen. It was considered a PGA Tour event in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Last year, PGA Professional Derek Barron of Tacoma Golf Center played his way through 30 MPH gusts chipping away on every hole to take the Oregon Open Invitational by one stroke over PGA Professional Darren Black of Rainer G&CC.  Michael Haack of Meridian Valley CC won low amateur honors.

Winning the Best 2 of 4 Net competition was the team with PGA Professional Darren Black, PGA Professional Issac Henry-Cano, amateur Michael Haack of Meridian Valley CC and amateur Dave Miller also of Rainier G&CC.

Winning the Four-Ball competition was also Darren Black and Michael Haack, shooting a 63-60-123, 21-under par.  They won by four strokes over PGA Professionals Chris Van der Velde and his amateur Justin Kadin of Tetherow GC.

CLICK HERE to view past champions of the Oregon Open Invitational.

We hope to see you all at Sunriver Resort – Crosswater in June!

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Black Wins Muckleshoot Casino Washington Open

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Champion Darren Black

PGA Professional Darren Black of Rainier G&CC (Seattle, WA) won the 89th Muckleshoot Casino Washington Open Invitational by two strokes over PGA Professional Brian Thornton of Meridian Valley CC (Kent, WA). Black fired a final round score of 68, 4-under par. He birdied his last hole for the win. In third place was PGA Professional Chris Griffin of Tacoma C&GC (Tacoma, WA). View complete results.

Low amateur honors went to Kent Hagen of Meridian Valley CC.

Low amateur Kent Hagen

Low amateur Kent Hagen

Meridian Valley Country Club officially opened on July 1, 1967 with 9 of the 18 holes ready for play. The second nine holes and clubhouse opened to equally grand fanfare in May 1968. This exceptional 18-hole layout was designed by Ted Robinson, one of the nation’s leading golf course architects, who chose the site based on the stunning views the surrounding area provided.

Meridian Valley CC has hosted the 1972, 1976, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2013 and 2014 Washington Open Invitational, as well as the SAFECO Classic from 1982 until 1999. MVCC has grown into one of the Northwest’s most respected golf courses to the credit of the founding members who successfully achieved their goal to develop a first-class golf club.

The Muckleshoot Casino Washington Open Pro-Am benefits Folds of Honor. The 2015 event raised $50,000. For more information, please visit www.foldsofhonor.org

Muckleshoot Casino Washington Open Pro-Am raised $40,000 for Folds of Honor

Muckleshoot Casino Washington Open Pro-Am raised $40,000 for Folds of Honor

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Muckleshoot Casino Washington Open Invitational – Tournament Results

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The Muckleshoot Casino Washington Open Invitational is under way at Meridian Valley CC in Kent, WA.  We have a strong field of PGA Professionals and amateurs all vying for the title of the Muckleshoot Casino Washington Open Champion.  The Washington Open Invitational is a 54-hole stroke play individual competition.

The Washington Open Invitational dates back to 1922.  In that year, young Al Espinosa captured the crown at Yakima CC.  Some big names have won this event over the years including the Zimmerman brothers, Al and Emery, along with Chuck Congdon, Al Mengert, Senior Tour Player Rick Acton and PGA Tour Player Fred Couples.

There have been some amazing champions since the event started.  Chuck Congdon holds the record for the most wins (39, 47, 50, 52, and 62) while Al Mengert holds the record for the most consecutive wins (63, 64, and 65).  The current tournament record is held by PGA Professional Tim Feenstra of Broadmoor GC (2011) and PGA Member Jeff Gove (2012).

The 2015 Muckleshoot Casino Washington Open Pro-Am benefits the Folds of Honor.  Folds of Honor provides scholarships for the children and spouses of those killed or disabled in service to the United States Military.  For more information, go to https://www.foldsofhonor.org  This year’s event will be a Pro-Am as part of the 2015 Muckleshoot Casino Washington Open Invitational held at Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent, WA.

Meridian Valley Country Club officially opened on July 1, 1967 with 9 of the 18 holes ready for play. The second nine holes and clubhouse opened to equally grand fanfare in May 1968. This exceptional 18-hole layout was designed by Ted Robinson, one of the nation’s leading golf course architects, who chose the site based on the stunning views the surrounding area provided.

This will be Meridian Valley CC’s ninth time hosting the Washington Open Invitational – hosting in 1972, 1976, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2013 and 2014.  They also hosted the SAFECO Classic from 1982 through 1999. MVCC has grown into one of the Northwest’s most respected golf courses to the credit of the founding members who successfully achieved their goal to develop a first-class golf club.

To view past champions of the Washington Open Invitational, CLICK HERE.

Results will be posted at regular intervals throughout the day at http://www.pnwpga.com/results/results_waopen15.html   “Almost live scoring” will begin at 10:00 am each morning after the groups begin turning.  Be looking to see if one of your friends posts a low score!

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