Tiffany Gordon is executive professional and general manager of Cottonwood Golf and Country Club near Calgary and currently serves as president of the PGA of Alberta. She also frequently lends her thoughts to GNN.
My attitude is that, the better job we do in the winter in getting organized and being ready, the better it is once the season rolls around.
You’ve just got to execute in the summer and you don’t have time to revisit and redo things. You’ve just got to go when you’re putting through 36 to 38,000 rounds in five months. Preparing for that is what makes the winter months so important in Canada.
You’ve got budgeting and planning. You’ve got human resources stuff to look after – you’ve got to get your people in place and get them organized.
It’s not like it’s 16 to 18-hour days anymore. You actually have a regular structure and a lot of us do our volunteer stuff with the PGA of Alberta and you just spend a lot of time getting organized and regrouping. It’s time well-spent when the crunch comes again.
Marketing is an important aspect of the winter, either selling the place to potential members or doing corporate promotion. You’re trying to create revenue off-season. This winter, we’re trying to promote our corporate programs and really promote our golf academy.
The area we got hit the hardest on last year was our small event bookings – the corporate barbeques, team planning, etc. A lot of companies put that on the back burner in 2009 and didn’t want to spend the money.
We’re seeing that starting to come around again, so we’re really trying to promote that side of it by sitting down and showing what we can custom design for them.
As far as memberships go, you don’t get a lot of people banging down the door for $40,000 memberships right now, but the ones we do have are holding solid although we will have some who will turn over this winter. You always get that.
I spend my time with new members, making sure they’re looked after. The last couple of winters, we’ve been doing focus groups with our membership, just getting our finger on the pulse a little bit. We’re going to be 20 years old this year and things change.
Focus groups have been very beneficial.
The exchange of information is important. The more informed your members or customers are, the better. The more information you can get to them and put in front of them, the more successful you are, I believe.
This was stepping outside the box for me, but I’m trying to really work on our website and learn how to market that properly. We’re really working on those types of things to keep getting information to members in a timely fashion that’s efficient, but doesn’t swamp them.
It’s all a part of a productive off-season when the snow is flying outside.