For the past 18 months, I have posted daily insights and perspectives via HootSuite to Facebook, Google+ and Twitter that were intended to guide a golf course owner to create value for their customers on a foundation that optimizes their financial potential.
My focus was to undertake research to discover new facts and to inform, explain and expose, without fear or favor, the critical path to a golf course’s financial success. By having reader’s think different, we hoped to provoke a reaction and change.
My goal was also selfish is some ways, the best way to reinforce your knowledge is to share it. I viewed myself as a FREE collecting service reading, learning and sharing all that would benefit golf course managers saving them time and allowing them to focus on and implement game changers in their operation.
These posting stop on April 6. Why?
In educating golf course owners, change never came as fast I would have hoped. The clear majority of golf course owners are stuck in an operational quagmire, fail to think tactically or strategically, and muddle along underperforming with mediocre results. Attempting to inform the masses is a fruitless task.
The reality is that the majority of positions, excluding senior management, require less than a high school education. The responsibilities of those in the pro shop are the same as Nordstrom clerks or Starbuck’s baristas.
I also wanted to break the walls of hypocrisy surrounding large golf industry associations who mimic their care and concern for golf course owner. I viewed myself fighting the drudgery, conformity and plebian behavior of Associations who excel at creating high walls, restricted access to their front doors feigning interest in the plight of the golf course owner.
Macarthur said that you are remembered for the rules you break. Challenging the inbred status quo was a goal.
Understanding the formula for success at a golf course is simple. Supply and demand are always the root problem of business. Demand is determined by the value offered based on the experience provided versus the price charged.
While traveling, I read three one books. Thomas Friedman, “Thank you for Being Late” struck a resonant chord.
Mobile technologies have transformed the way we live, work, travel, shop and stay connected. For the golf course industry, its meaningful introduction of a mobile platform whether it be in Point of Sales or Tee Time Reservation systems remain years away.
We are living in an interdependent world. The individuals who lived in shantytown in Cape Town my wife visited were amazingly aware of American politics and its players citing a precise knowledge of our government. Internet access was available in the lodges in the bush.
Technology has advanced faster than humans have been able to adapt. We are falling behind other industries at an increasingly exponential rate in our ability to understand and communicate effectively with those playing golf.
As I was on a safari one night after reading several chapters, I looked at my cell phone and several numerous applications that had little value to me that I have collected like merit badges in Boy Scouts where I became an Eagle Scout.
What I realized is that there are such a plethora of alternatives that we dabble with many and focus strongly on a few. We have become a narcissistic society where we attempt to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. GolfNow – gone, Strackaline deleted, GolfNet a distance memory. All told 35 apps were deleted.
In reflecting back viewing the Southern Cross, it was my hope that the 144 character bullets, pictures of best practices, and video clips would stir courses to action. Such has not been the case. I have made individuals aware, but no meaningful results have been achieved. Only when we engage in a meaningful study and help golf course owners implement the solutions created is a positive difference achieved.
Learning is a lifelong journey if you care to remain competitive. Beating the competition is relatively easy – the real challenge is outperforming yourself on a daily for you are your own most formidable competitor.
Thus, I am going to change our focus to help golf course owners and managers that are strongly committed to achieving the investment potential of their facility. How?
Call me at 303 596 4015. I would be glad to spend 15 minutes with outlining a program that will assure your success. The Predictive Index we have developed, and the 21 golf management tools will streamline your operations resulting in creating enhanced value for your golfers with heightened profitability.
For the rest, let the perils of capitalism devour them. Life in the bush and the golf industry have many parallels. This is one.
Jim, great thoughts. I’ve witnessed the golf industry’s lack of an ability to embrace storytelling. So many courses have incredible natural sells and stories to be told, yet they do not tell them.
In my efforts marketing in the industry, effective storytelling inspires guests. Strong communication then with your customers compels them to care. If they care, they are much more likely to support and participate.
I appreciate your insights and it appears as though we will meet in the next few weeks down at The Prairie Club.
Have only been “gone” from the industry for a few months, but always enjoy the read!! It has not been very “refreshing” to jump into another industry and see some of the same issues we’ve seen in golf over the years as it relates to technology, marketing, etc.
Keep up the good fight… there are still operators that gain valuable insight from you!
I agree on many points. Thankfully we have survived building a golf course. I think we have listened and implemented new things. As a family owned golf course starting undercapitized struggling thru 2008 and on. We hired a well known consultant who was president of NGCOA who charged us over $10,000 to tell us what we already knew. We needed more rounds. I consider him a thief. That hurts when your already struggling. We were willing to ask for help but he was NO help. Thankfully we had the perseverance to be progressive on our own. The golf business is suffering because they have to many rules, and yes Mr Keegan golf courses managers don’t see the big picture. We have to understand WHY we are in the golf business. Golfs best asset at this time I believe is that the family can spend time together. I wish the PGA would have a national campaign focused on fun with family. Then the golf course owners managers will have to figure how to manage that. Instead of sand bagging. Who cares!! Let’s make it fun
It sounds as if your frustration with the golf industry and it’s inability to adapt change is wearing thin on you — I too, find it extremely frustrating — it appears that we are in a chamber and cannot find the exit to success.
I have just dropped GolfNow after a year of little response to many problems and will grow the business with constant communication in our 20 minute circle of customers sending emails, creating informative newsletters and offering great value with affordable, accessible golf.
Thanks for your hard and informative platform
James Lezon, CGCS
Mr. Keegan, It will truly be a sad day when you hang up your “keyboard”. The insights and often directions you have laid out have been inspirational and guiding for many. Most of ‘us’ who read postings like yours are too afraid to post a note or addition to what you have already most eloquently stated.
As an (out of work) golf course superintendent, I may have over educated myself out of work, I can understand both sides of the marketing coin for golf courses. On one hand, you want to advertise and promote your golf course and beautiful playing conditions but on the other you want to maintain an ‘air’ of exclusivity. As you know, Augusta National hasn’t become what it is today by letting every ‘Tom, Dick and Harry’ onto the hallowed grounds! Of course, the average golf club doesn’t have any illusions of becoming Augusta National but exclusivity and a waiting list to join is every GM’s dream.
Well sir, if you must leave, I can understand, I just wanted to say that there are those of us who will miss your insights. I wish you the best and thank you for all that you have done…whether or not GM’s, Owners or others could, would or understood your viewpoints they were usually spot on and needed. Thanks again.
Unfortuanatly you are spot on with your critical assessment of the golf industry the apathy is palpable! I too am considering radical reduction in the knowledge I share with the industry!
Thanks for sharing, Jim. Your perspective always gives pause for thought. Win the day!