Quote of the Month
They say golf is like life, but don’t believe them. Golf is more complicated than that.—Gardner Dickinson
Never doubt how effective and valuable consistent, open communications can be for your property.
I have been carrying out my own “stimulus” plan for the golf and club industry this summer and have enjoyed a great season of play at a variety of fabulous courses—mostly work-related, mind you. A primary benefit of my wanderings is that I get a pretty good sense of the pulse of the industry, both locally and across the country.
My conversations and notes tell me the following…
Most private clubs are doing “OK” in light of the economy; however, more than a few have had to go to members for additional fees this summer by way of “double dues” for a given month, or some other form of assessment. And most members I speak with are fine with this, as long as they understand the reasons for the capital call. Never doubt how effective and valuable a consistent and open communications program can be for your club. No one likes surprises, especially when it comes to their money.
Private and semi-private clubs are selling out the field for their annual summer invitational golf events. Great news and further proof that golf remains highly attractive as an outlet for social and athletic activities.
I still think the weather has more to do with rounds played than any problem with the number of golfers (core and casual) playing the game.
It certainly helps that the economy and stock market are showing signs of life. As indicated by the results of our latest online poll, more people than not now believe the worst is behind us—with a caveat on the impact of policy decisions coming out of Washington, D.C.
If you don’t have a reciprocity program at your club today, you may likely have one tomorrow. Whether by design or by evolution, it seems more clubs than ever are striking formal and informal agreements to provide access for guests both nearby and from far away. And separate from the top 5 to 10% of clubs in the market, you have to ask yourself, why not? Carried out in a thoughtful manner, rounds and revenues will increase without putting overbearing strain on your facilities. In the worst-case scenario, you simply don’t renew the deal if it becomes a problem for you or your members and guests.
I read recently that almost 37% of private clubs responding to a survey reported they were taxable, private club entities. Given the current state of the private club market, this may be another growing trend. This ties in to the reciprocal trend noted above, and provides the path for generating even more (taxable) revenue from golf outings, weddings, and other events. For some private clubs, this may be more a matter of when, not if.
Finally, I sure wish Tom Watson’s 8-iron had hit a few yards shorter on the 18th at Turnberry. Does anyone think he would have three-putted had that ball ended up on the green? Norman teased us last year. Watson captivated us this year. All in all, great for the game.
Enjoy the rest of the summer and I hope you have a prosperous fall season, too.