The thing about late starts to the golf season is that there’s a two-pronged effect on the morale of your members and your staff.
With your staff, you’ve made commitments to them, but you haven’t given them work and you can’t afford to do it. It’s a balancing act between how long you can go without finding them something to do and your own financial responsibility once they come on board.
From a morale standpoint, you do your orientation and you get everyone excited by telling them what a great spot you have for them and then, it snows.
That being said, the key is communication. You make sure you keep them in the loop and tell them the season is coming and when it hits, it will be big.
With members, I’m finding more and more of them are traveling in the winter and staying down south a little longer, so that saves us a little when the season is slow to start, but they’ve paid their dues by Feb. 15 and they want to get playing golf.
Not that long ago, they were at their homes and saw the snow and you could just hear the disappointment in their voices. When we got some sun and some melting, we opened the pro shop for the weekend and people’s spirits actually picked up.
Even the administration has got to make sure it doesn’t get down on itself because of financial responsibilities. We’ve got to turn some food and beverage. In the shop, we’ve got the inventory, so we need bodies to get things rolling.
The way to look at it is that a good May is better than a good April because that means the season isn’t likely to be interrupted by a temporary return of winter at that point.
A nice spring day has a way of curing the winter blues for golfers and the golf industry.