The Principal Reasons (Excuses) Golf Courses Financially Under-Perform

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We have become weary listening to the plethora of excuses offered as to why their golf course is underperforming.  Here are the most frequent explanations given:

1) Our course is unique, and standard business rules aren’t applicable.

2) The weather has been consistently adverse.

3) Supply vastly exceeds demand.

4) We can’t raise prices without losing a substantial number of golfers.

5) Barter is killing us.

6) Expenses from wages to agronomic inputs are growing exponentially.

7) Qualified staff is difficult to find.

8) Software systems don’t provide the tools and information needed.

9) Marketing efforts produce little results.

10) We are unable to control the pace of play effectively.

11) The Allied Associations in the industry promote their self-interests at the expense of the golf course owners.

For municipalities, the reasons expand to include:

1) It is an election year, and we can’t make changes.

2) We operate in a political arena, and it requires several years to make incremental changes. Exponential changes are out of the question.

3) Our Golf Advisory Board is inflexible in recommending rate changes.

4) The City Council doesn’t understand the recurring capital requirements of the golf business.

5) We cannot issue another bond until we pay off the current heavy debt load.

6) Our financial record formats are dictated to us by the City’s controller, and we know that they are not consistent with generally accepted accounting principles for golf, but they won’t provide us the information we need in a
meaningful format.

7) Regulations on procurement, labor, the environment, and citizen advocacy groups extremely limit our ability to manage the facility professionally.

8) Our fringe benefits are an uncontrollable burden.

9) Municipal employees are not expected to issue a notice of award resulting from the issuance of a Request for Proposal to responding third parties, and therefore, many choose not to submit again due to our lack of professional courtesy. We shortchange ourselves on the talent that is available to guide us.

We summarily reject the notion that merely because a municipality owns the golf course  that it is given a King’s X from proper professional management solely because elected officials govern it, and citizen gadflies often dominate the decisions.

Note that similar lists for private clubs and resorts could be created.  Excelling in the golf industry is very achievable with proper focus, discipline and passion.

Author:  JJ Keegan, Envisioning Strategist and Reality Mentor.  Click here

© 2020, JJKeegan+


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