Everyone in the golf business knows the influence that weather has on the success or failure of their business.
In fact, everyone talks about it, but nobody does anything about it.
Are they afraid they might be infringing on responsibilities held by a greater power and by interfering they might jeopardize their chances of long term recompense?
The truth is twofold. We don’t know what to do and second, observe the historical, worldwide human accomplishments leave a bit to be desired – imagine what havoc we could create if humans were in charge of the weather?
In Feb 2015, I made some rather bold predictions concerning this year.
I said course owners and other interested parties were perfectly poised for a banner year due to several key indicators, one of which was the weather.
Recently, the National Allied Golf Association leaders met and continued to report that Canada has a healthy supply of courses, is an industry leader compared to other nations and the number of rounds played is going up.
From a personal point of view, I have experienced a significant amount of activity at most courses. Given we are in the midst the some of the best weather in the past few years and it is the time of year to be busy, rounds do seem to be up.
Some of the reasons are consumer confidence which isn’t exploding, but people are adjusting after 2008 and green fee rates are down. Pricing has been lowered simply to attract more players, but we are finding these levels appeal to more people.
As predicted, 2015 is quickly becoming a vintage year.
Back to the weather.
Changing the weather might not be within our grasp, but why must we be so negative about it? Why does Environment Canada (the main source for weather reports) give their stats in the negative?
For example they will predict a 30 per cent chance of rain. Why don’t they call for a 70 per cent chance of sun with the possibility of rain?
Those of us who live near Toronto know that the influence of the Great Lakes makes weather forecasting next to impossible. In fact, you have a better chance of being accurate by looking out the window.
However, I have found the weather satellite/radar to be incredibly accurate. Rain patterns can be followed to within 30 minutes. The problems arise when trying to predict further into the future – 24 hours and even seven days, for example.
Part of the problem with weather reports is the meaning.
When it is predicted that we have a 30 per chance of showers it means there is chance of showers in 30 per cent of the subject area. It does not mean there is 30 per cent chance of showers in the whole area.
Therefore, if there is a 30 per cent chance of showers, 70 per cent of the area has little, if any, chance of rain. Not only that, but within the 30 per cent area there is a 70 per cent chance they won’t have any rain. In reality, there is a less than 10 per cent chance of rain in the whole subject area.
My experience working in and around pro shops for 50 years tells me that over 50 per cent of the phone calls are from people wanting weather information.
Providing this service amounts to two things, not only a wonderful medium of personal contact/communication with your customers, but at a cost equal to about 20 man hours per week.
Now, factor in 24 hour forecasts, 48 hour forecasts etc. and try to determine how many people cancel starting times and/or alter their plans due to a weather forecast that never materializes.
If you extend your research further you will find the boating industry, camping industry, vacation resorts, wear and tear on cars, gasoline purchases, restaurants, hotels etc. are all impacted by weather reports.
Weather reports and forecasts play an extremely vital role in the whole Canadian economy.
Generally, Canadians tend to be quite happy people, ranking fifth in the world of happy nations according to a report I saw and we do have much for which to be very thankful.
I doubt the immediate future holds guaranteed clear sunny days with light breezes and temperatures around 22C with a light rainfall every night from 3 a.m. until 4:00 a.m. for 12 months of the year, worldwide, but it we did, most definitely someone would complain because that’s what we do.
Yet, nobody does anything about it.
So here is my proposal.
Every golfer, golf-based organization/association, golf-oriented business, manufacturer, supplier and person with even the most remote interest in the weather should come together with one agenda – make weather reports more positive instead of so negative.
It isn’t a cloudy day with a chance of rain, it’s a sunny day with a chance of cloud. Notify the media, Environment Canada, social media and anyone who is in position to make change and tell them we want to feel better about ourselves.
There would be no new costs, just a change in attitude and reporting style. Let’s be the generation who actually complained about the weather and did something about it.
Maybe, just maybe, instead of standing in a bus shelter and someone asking if you think it will rain or be blazing hit, that person might instead say “What a great day to play golf. I hope you’ve got some time to get out”!