The culture of the golf industry these days is promoting mediocrity.
On one hand, you’ve got young people coming into the industry who might not be married and don’t have kids who arelooking to make their marks, but on the other hand, you have people who are older, have families and have been in the business a little longer.
Traditionally, there has been the feeling, that in a couple of years, people who have established themselves want to advance, get promoted and move up the ladder.
They don’t want to be in the same job for years, but in our industry, the feeling among many now is that my job is to keep my job. It’s not to move up, but not lose what they’ve got already.
That’s not healthy for the industry because that’s what I think promotes mediocrity. It is important to celebrate our very good people, but it’s also important to establish a culture that encourages excellence.
Where are those people going to go on the next step of their careers?
There are so many facilities and a lot of people. I know in B.C., the PGA has about 650 members and, of those, about 300 to 350 Class As, but only about 170 golf courses. Do the math.
That’s where we get into the issue of head pros taking jobs for $35,000 a year. They want the head professional title, and you can’t blame them for that, but they’re doing it for $35,000. People are willing to work for less to get a job.
It’s been happening in the golf industry for awhile, but it’s happening in other industries too these days.
I remember there was a job that opened up about seven or eight years ago on the island. It was a pretty good one, but it was posted for $40,000 and the general reaction was `Are you kidding me?’ Nowadays, a lot of people can’t even get an interview for a job that pays $40,000.
With the cost of living in this area, that puts a lot of strain on a family. I know there are people who drive an hour to an hour-and-a-half to get to work.
What’s the solution?
If it were easy, we’d have figured it out years ago.
These days, you get people complaining about the price of golf while the cost of maintaining a course has gone through the roof. People talk about golf courses closing and they’re surprised when that happens, but I’m surprised even more aren’t shutting down.
I think about the math and I’m surprised more aren’t shutting down, but that would just compound the problem because it would flood the market even more with people who need jobs.
Numbers aren’t ever going to change. One plus one is always going to equal two and when you start getting into minuses, you’re in trouble. However, you’re also in trouble if you’re presenting a mediocre product