Much has been said and written about the difficult economic times facing every business.
Golf, as a luxury item, must be placed behind providing food, shelter, clothing, transportation etc. So, what is a course owner to do to continue operating his/her course successfully? How does one even retain its current status?
First, you require a complete expense side analysis.
Are there any reductions in expenses or new ways to deliver service at a level that will continue to attract customers? Have you done everything possible to maximize every resource and still maintain quality?
Last, on the product side, are you generating an atmosphere of fun, friendliness and warmth that creates a memorable golfing experience to your patrons?
As you ponder these questions, think in terms of how you would regard your facility if you drove on to the property for the first time as a prospective buyer should it be for sale.
Look at the appearance, feel the atmosphere created by staff and consider what you might do if you could become the owner.
Mortgages for golf courses are difficult to obtain, but are still available. The lending companies have a long list of financial questions that require sufficient percentages of: money down, money for operations, money for improvements etc.
They will also want a personality profile on the management team. What do they bring to the business and can they deliver?
Finally, they will want to know your long- term growth plan. What is your team going to do to generate new growth? Do you intend to offer new activities for the players, clinics, new equipment, improved F&B or other innovative ways to improve the overall business?
If you have these ideas as a prospective buyer, why don’t you have them as a current owner/operator? Tomorrow, drive into your course and ask yourself, “Would I buy this business and, if so, how would I improve it”?
Of course, none of this is easy and most will say “I live, breathe and die this place everyday. There isn’t anything I haven’t tried or know about it.”
You might think that, but do you believe it?
When was the last time you attended a state-of-the-business seminar or studied the Canadian Golf Course Owners Association Government Position Statements, industry position papers, the wage and benefits survey by the PGA of Canada, the Canadian Golf Economic Impact Study or (if you can afford it) the Pellucid Report?
Have you studied the Official Land Use Plan in your area for changes or spoken to realtors about proposed development? Another great resource is the local school board. They, too, study future construction projects.
In short, when was the last time you did a complete feasibility study on your current business?
Who is your competition and what are their products? Is your business style a real cause for concern from them?
What if you could sell nine holes of land for development or what if you could expand to become an 18 or 27-hole facility?
Have you truly looked at it from every vantage point or are you content to do it the way you’ve always done it? Perhaps, you don’t have the skills or talent to develop the revenue side? Maybe, you need help.
Why buy a six pack if, for the same price, you could enjoy the whole keg? Be creative. Maybe, your course will be the first one in your area built under a dome.