In the 1980s, 90s and even into the early 2000’s, the market had enough golfers and fewer courses (demand was more than the supply). In those “good old days,” the primary roles of a golf professional were to be focused on great operations – or at least better than the competition in the area.

The old PGA Service model focused on:

  • A good customer experience, starting with the good service in the golf shop (including the layout of the golf shop, and the presentation in the golf shop)
  • A good experience on the golf course (including the pace of play, condition of the course, the golf cart, etc.)
  • A good “wrap-up” experience (including the 19th hole, the outgoing golf shop/bag drop experience or similar)

My question for you, as I have asked before, is: Is the model above still the “main thing” for us? Or is it no longer important?

A more important qualifying question is: Do our customers, our members expect a good experience? Short answer: Yes…but! The “but” in this case is, a good  experience is generally no longer the way to generate loyalty from customers, or to grow our business for real bottom line benefit.

 

REKINDLING THE “GOOD OLD DAYS” 

Now that we are in a market that is far more competitive (and supply is greater than current demand), the customers who play public golf (and members at private clubs) have clearly become much more price-sensitive. And yet, they still have the expectation of a good experience. In that light, it would seem we’re at a fork in the road (and have been for a while.)

A fork in the road is a decision point. Most decisions don’t seem that big at the time. But, when these “forks” are strung together on a road, we (our facility, our careers) end up somewhere. As a young man, my father said to me, “You are now, who you have been becoming.” To me, his wise words meant: the decisions  you’ve been making have brought you to where you are today. For us as individuals or for our facility, the application is the same. Our facility is now who we have been becoming.

Based on that idea, are there some decisions you can make today (and repeat them with discipline based on the values you/your facility have set) can take you down the right road. Or help you start to turn things around.

 

BEING “MR. (OR MS.) WIZARD”  FOR YOUR FACILITY

The importance of what a true PGA professional TODAY is now more important than ever. As noted earlier, the experience factors that were so important in the 80s, 90s and early 2000’s are still important. But frankly, those operational factors that create a good or better experience can be, and should be, trained into non-PGA professionals with good people skills, professionalism and business skills. (Don’t think so? Consider the barista at your local Starbucks.)

Mr. Wizard is a brand of lighter fluid for charcoal grills. Similarly, the behaviors that inspire, increase and include golfers and build engagement at a golf facility are the lighter fluid that can make the facility “revenue machine” turn.

Player development is a cool term, but in the end, it’s about engagement. Engagement is a means to an end. There are three key areas that a PGA professional should be focusing on in engagement include:

  1. Customer activation
  2. Customer retention
  3. Customer acquisition

It is these areas, these skills, these abilities that can make a PGA professional stand out and be worth the cost to our employers (vs. the cheaper, less experienced non-PGA staff who is available nearly anywhere in the labor pool.)

If you’re interested in developing your skills and your income potential this fall, I invite you to join in on some of the good education options coming up. One is Becoming the Chief Engagement Officer at Your Facility on October 24, 2016 in conjunction with the PNW PGA Merchandise Show. In early 2017, your Education Committee led by Andy MacKimmie, PGA, is working to two versions of the a PGA Revenue Workshop (including a two day version at the 2017 Sweet 16.)

If you want to pilot your professional career to a higher altitude, or at least stop the slow gliding, please make time this fall to build your skills and your value in terms of engagement. As always, I’m here to help you do the same in a 1:1 meeting that works for you.

 

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