The Terrible Cost of “Not Knowing”

During my travels this past month, I have been able to see several different types of facilities. I’ve seen “blue collar” publics to high-end privates and everything in between. In general, we have some amazing golf professionals leading staffs who deliver a great golf experience every day here in the PNWPGA Section. However, I believe my value is not just in noticing the great things our colleagues are doing, but to notice the opportunities where they can improve, enhance or better track their results to improve their jobs in terms of security, stability and income.

A central theme I’ve noticed of late is how often I see private clubs promoting their array of memberships and wedding packages. At public facilities, it consists of weddings, catering events and similar. There’s something missing – player development programs!

koch-graphic-07-2015I am not arguing with the need to promote sales of memberships, weddings, events, etc. They are key revenue streams for a vast majority of our facilities. However, there’s one key difference between these types of sales and the sale of player development and golf.

At virtually every facility selling weddings, there is a dedicated wedding salesperson/coordinator. When have they felt the need to “create” brides and grooms? They don’t have to. Likewise, for group events and parties (eg. birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) does the salesperson create the birthday or anniversary?

On the other hand, our industry is different. In golf, we must be actively creating golfers and creating/deepening engagement within our core golfers. Except for a very small percentage, golfers don’t occur naturally like brides, grooms, birthdays and anniversaries. Golfers must be created, nurtured and engaged.

For PGA professionals, it would seem this is our core role and our core business purpose. With that in mind, please ask yourself these two questions:

  1. CAN A GOLFER WALK THROUGH YOUR FACILITY/CLUB AND NOT KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO?

(YOUR CORE BUSINESS.) If you have 5-10k people walking through your course/shop annually, and they don’t know what you WANT TO DO, you’re failing!

Whether you like In n Out or prefer Five Guys, I’d bet we all know what they sell —some of the best burgers and fries in the West. But more importantly, I would suggest their success is based on them staying focused on their core business and what they are purposed to do. Even though many of us know exactly what we want before we arrive, both companies still have a clear menu, a clear “why” for what they’re about and an engaged workforce fully vested in how they do it. Because virtually every square foot of the store shows it, the menu board says it and the staff knows it, so do we.

Note: I’m not suggesting you transform your shop into a menu board, but I am encouraging you to create promotional tools that state your why and your how for “creating and engaging golfers” no matter where they are in their golf experience. In my vision for your facility, every golfer/member would see (and know) that you and your staff are there to:

  • Help them hit better golf shots with programming that fits their busy life, budget, physical capabilities and current golf skill
  • Help them meet new people, deepen current relationships through socially based instruction/playing opportunities that fit their current life stage
  • Help them enjoy playing more, live better and be part of a thriving golf community at your facility

Note 2: ABOVE ARE THE WHY STATEMENTS, which should be supported by actual programming, promotional materials and signage

  1. CAN YOUR EMPLOYER WALK THROUGH YOUR FACILITY/CLUB AND NOT KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO? (AND WHY?)

Thinking more about In n Out or Five Guys, let’s consider the results of why they started and continued on the path they’ve taken. First off, it fit the founders’ why. Secondly, it worked. The path they’ve taken created a loyal fan base of customers, who spend time being ambassadors for the burger place they prefer better. In my lifetime, I cannot recall ever seeing an In n Out discount or promotional offer. I also can’t recall seeing a TV ad for either of these companies. Yet, the major brands have to promote via TV, offer discounts, etc. In your operation at your facility, who would you rather be more like? The brand who enjoys a loyal following of ambassadors who advocate for you and for your programs, or a cynical customer base who choose your brand because of discounts, manipulation marketing or similar?

As golf professionals, we also need to be focused on sharing the why (our why) with our employer. If you completely understand the bullet points above, sharing the why with your employer/Board or owner should be fairly simple. In my vision for your facility, your employer/board member/owner would see (and know) that you and your staff are there to:

  • Create new rounds and revenue through player development programming that meets the needs of your customer (and would be customer) base for the sole purpose of driving profit to the bottom-line
  • Create and provide for an engaging community at the facility/club where customers can thrive and where “brand loyalists” are born, nurtured and actively advocate for the facility
  • Go beyond “PGA-level” service in delivery of programming and daily operations, because “going beyond” facilitates the first two bullets (Simple PGA-service is not a revenue producing why…it’s a reasonable expectation of customers. Meeting expectations doesn’t inspire loyalty or create ambassadors for your facility/club brand either.)

As stated in the beginning, my role is not to tell you what you need to offer. Rather, I am here to help you identify opportunities where you can succeed and meet the needs of your customers, your employer and the like. In the end, it’s my hope to assist you in maximizing these opportunities. Please let me know how I can help you avoid the terrible costs of them (your customers, your employer) NOT KNOWING what you want to do for them for their benefit (and yours) through golf.

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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July 2015 CEO’s Report

Our thoughts go out to the PGA Professionals and people of the Wenatchee area with the Sleepy Hollow fire. Unfortunately, hot dry temperatures could lead to rough summer here in the great Northwest.

July means the Rosauers Open Invitational is just around the corner.  We are all excited to return to Indian Canyon and she looks to be in the best shape in years. PGA Professional Gary Lindeblad and his new Superintendent Fred Marchant are looking forward to being our hosts and presenting the best “Canyon” in years. Entries are scheduled to close today but we’ll accept them for a little while longer. Enter now!

Thank you to Josh Willis, Erik Mattille and the entire team at Crosswater for a great Oregon Open Invitational last month. Crosswater is a fantastic facility, we had perfect weather and we crowned a worthy champion in David Lebeck. As always, our sponsors make our championships a success. Bridgestone Golf, Sun Mountain, Greg Norman, AMA Golf, Abby’s Pizza and National Car Rental all contributed to the success of this championship. We appreciate all our sponsors do to make our event a success, please support them. And stay tuned for the announcement of the venue for the 2016 Oregon Open!

After 40 years, Bruce Cudd retired and we’ll be running the 41st Hawai’i Pro-Am in-house.   We return to Mauna Lani on the Big Island again this year…..it’s just that good.   Formal events call for January 14-21, 2016 but many groups extend their trips to enjoy a little more sunshine in January.   Entries will go out shortly.   There are two simple changes. First, we will not book airfare. With most players booking separately already, we’ll be just handling hotel and golf. Second, ground transportation is also an individual process. We transferred just two couples between hotel and airport the last couple of years so we’ll discontinue this option as well. What we will maintain is a great hotel, two fine golf courses, and sunshine every day in January.

Our other destination pro-am, the Holcomb-In-One Las Vegas Pro-Am heads back to the Monte Carlo and the fun only found on the Las Vegas strip. March 13-17, 2016 will align nicely with a little basketball and the last two years has led to nice weather. Join us.

Drive Chip and Putt is almost complete. Options are still available in Spokane, Missoula, Portland and Eugene. Encourage your juniors to register today at www.drivechipandputt.com.

The Pacific Northwest Section PGA Merchandise Show will visit a new venue this fall.   We are pleased to visit the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center.   Located in downtown Tacoma, we have 30 restaurants and watering holes within walking distance. The Mirano will serve as the host hotel and is right next to the Show.  Fun will be the name of the game around all our events. Thanks to our friends at Nike Golf, Mike Bender has agreed to headline our Education Program. Contracts are out to our vendors and we’ll be sharing details of the education schedule, Pro-Vendor and other fun activities.

I hope you were able to experience the US Open at Chambers Bay. Congratulations to Brent Zepp and the entire team at Chamber Bay for a job well done.  I was able to drop in on Sunday — what a massive undertaking it is to stage this event!  Thank you to the USGA for bringing a major to the Pacific Northwest.   Next year, it’s the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club. Scheduled for June 9-12, 2016 we’ll be assisting with volunteer duties on site and with a variety of Growth of the Game activities. Mark your calendar now to assist. I’m sure we’ll have details around the first of the year.

Enjoy the hot weather. I hope to see you at the Rosauers, Senior Oregon Open or Northwest Open in the very near future.

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In Memoriam: William L. Overdorf

Northwest golf course architect Bill Overdorf passed away at home with his family on June 29, 2015 at the age of 81. Bill is best known for his work on Aspen Lakes, Homestead and The Classic; he worked on many more projects in the Northwest.

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7 Represent at 48th PGA Professional National Championship

The PGA Professional National Championship makes its first visit, June 28-July 1, to The Philadelphia Cricket Club. Defending Champion Michael Block will be among 312 PGA Professionals entered in the Championship presented by Club Car, Mercedes-Benz and OMEGA.

Representing the Pacific Northwest Section PGA were:

  • Darren Black of Rainier G&CC
  • Chris Koch of Salish Cliffs GC
  • Chris Griffin of Tacoma C&GC
  • Casey McCoy of Newaukum Valley GC
  • Greg Manley of Meridian Valley CC
  • Brian Thornton of Meridian Valley CC
  • Tony Robydek of Pro Golf Discount – Tacoma

Making the cut were:

  • T39 – Darren Black of Rainier G&CC (72-70-78-69–289)
  • T68 – Chris Griffin of Tacoma C&GC (73-73-73-76–295)

Full coverage: http://www.pga.com/nationalchampionship/

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July 2015 President’s Report

Record breaking heat. Record breaking low snowpack. Predictions for very challenging fire season throughout the area. And this is just the start of the summer!

With these hot spells at our golf courses, my radar goes up with the safety of the golfers at our club. These ideas are not original, but they do help ensure everyone enjoys their rounds of golf at the club:

  • Promote the drinking of non-alcoholic, clear liquids. Having a good time is great, but alcoholic beverages dehydrate us quickly. Yes, water is best. Make sure your golfers know where water is located throughout the course or where the beverage cart may be.
  • Promote headwear, protective umbrellas, or golf carts to keep some shade over your golfers’ heads. Having your front line staff suggest a golf cart does wonders for your bottom line.
  • Provide a clean, cold ice towel for your golfers. This nice touch allows for some interaction between staff and clients, and provides the personal touch that shows you care about who is out on the golf course.
  • Train your staff to know the early signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Some people don’t take into account the toll that 4 or more hours of direct sun can do to a body without protection and hydration. Be ready and alert for any medical situation that may arise with excessive heat.

We all get in situations during tournaments of our own or at our facilities where our knowledge of the Rules of Golf is tested under pressure. Whether it is a club championship, member guest or a Section Major, strange things are going to occur on a golf course and the need to “dig deep” into the Decisions Book is inevitable.

I had such a situation last month at my club during our member/member tournament. The ruling involved two teams playing stroke play, with a wrong ball played incorrectly as an embedded ball in a water hazard, with one team giving advice (albeit bad advice) on the rules, and finally playing from a wrong place. I think I know the Rules pretty well, but in times like this I always feel better reaching out for a second or third opinion. Luckily, we are a group of professionals that are always willing to help each other out and I was able to call upon a fellow pro for some backup. I always appreciate knowing that I can reach out to a fellow professional and ask for some advice. Needless to say, I’m willing to do the same if called upon.

Have a fun and safe summer,

Bryan Tunstill, PGA
Columbia Edgewater CC
(503) 285-8354 | Bryan.Tunstill@cecc.com

 

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Millionaire Next Door

As a money manager, a tremendous amount of pride comes from watching an account grow over the million dollar mark. Many a millionaire has told me that true diversity has much to do with controlling one’s investments. My dad was famous for saying things like, “I never buy anything that I thought could be taken away later because of unforeseen circumstances (usually too much spending and debt on my part).”

Consider the profile of a millionaire-next door-type couple, Tommy Ol’ Clubs and his wife. You may have heard of the book, “The Millionaire Next Door”, by Thomas J. Stanley. If you know and care about a young person in school or who just graduated, please give them a copy. Anyway, the research that went into the book is quite compelling as the author sat down with over 500 millionaires to develop a sense of how these people really live.

In essence, let’s say Mr. Ol’ Clubs might seem to live a boring lifestyle, even common. His brand of watch is a Seiko, and his wife wears a Timex. He golfs every Thursday with the guys and uses Tommy Armour’s from twenty five years ago.  He says they work fine. The couple buys their clothes at Ross, J.C. Penney, and TJ Maxx. They have only purchased two motor vehicles in the past 10 years: both Fords. The current market value of their home is $285,000. Mrs. Ol’ Clubs recently paid for an $18 haircut. You get the point.

There is a lot of chatter among our media in this country over the claim by academics, like French economist Thomas Piketty, who argues that capitalism is creating vast dynasties of wealth that are hoarded by a select few, with money being handed down from one generation of trust-fund babies to the next. The super-rich get richer every year while denying the rest of us a chance, right? I don’t know and don’t bank my retirement on mulling around over this kind of false-rhetoric.

Here is what I do know. Take a look at the chart below, provided by Stephen Moore of Research Affiliates. Yesterday’s rich get poorer over time, not richer, and get rapidly eclipsed by a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators who build their own new fortunes. Consider the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans. Only one-fourth of the wealthy families in 2014 were on the 1982 list, and their aggregate wealth equals just 39% of the total wealth held by today’s elite. There is surprising dynamism at the top of the income pyramid and major turnover. The IRS sites that between 1992 – 2008 a total of 3,672 different taxpayers made it into one of the top 400 lists. Just half of them cleared the top 400 hurdle only once or twice during this 17-year period.

bp-graphic-072015Why so much turnover? Most of the people on these tax lists are business owners; they often have a one-time spike in income when business is exceptionally good or in a year when they sell their business or stocks. They don’t make their millions year after year. Half the value of the U.S. stock market is in companies that didn’t exist 40 years ago.

It is clear, the wealth is recycled out to society at a blistering pace.   Forget the things you think are holding you back from becoming wealthy. Read the Millionaire Next Door. START SAVING EARLY & OFTEN. Own things (car, house, stocks, money decisions, etc). I’m not on the Forbes 400 list, but neither are any of the Carnegie or Vanderbilt heirs. Take control today. Sock away 10% of your paycheck, 10% of your lesson, bonus, or tournament winnings. If you feel like you’ve saved money since March 2009 but are reluctant in putting your hard earnings to work, give the professionals at B P Financial a call today.

Blake Parrish
Senior VP, Portfolio Manager
Phone: (503) 619-7237
E-mail: blake@bpfinancialassoc.com

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