In my last blog, I talked about the need for the Canadian golf professional to embrace change and in continuing on that theme, I want to talk about the how the golf industry views the role of the golf professional.
While my views won’t be earth-shattering, I don’t think as golf professionals, we can pass up an opportunity to promote our place and value.
Over my years, I have had interaction with many different industry constituents, be it manufacturers, amateur bodies or boards/directors. It has become very clear to me that there are some varying interpretations of golf professionals.
To be clear, there are two categories of people working or making a living in the golf industry – you are either a; professional golfer, who is someone making a living from playing, or a golf professional, who makes a living working in a variety of roles within the golf industry.
Although clearly tied together by the game, their roles and impact are vastly different to insiders, but from the outside, the line is a bit blurry.
The biggest challenge I have seen over the years is to get everyone on the same page in terms of understanding that golf is a business.
We all love this business, but at times, we seem to be at odds in terms of protecting what we have and losing sight of the golf industry as a whole.
It is so easy when times are difficult economically, like we are currently experiencing, to take short term views and to make short sighted decisions that have long term effects.
We work in an industry that is a sport, hobby or past time for our members/clients and, as such, it is easy for those golfers to cut back in participation or, in some cases, cut it out of their lives entirely.
Once that happens, the easiest cuts to make, from a business perspective, is labour, which often means golf professionals.
I have always taken the view that the golf professional is like the marketing/sales section of any budget. We are in most cases, the first point of contact and therefore project the image and experience that your clients will come to associate with the facility.
While I think it is very important to control costs and always be cognizant of where your facility measures up expense-wise to comparable facilities, I also think it is critical that we understand what is important long term.
Without being cliché, getting the “right people on the bus”, understanding why they are the right people and making sure they are happy is the key.
While compensation is important, recognizing value in the golf professional and having him/her part of your success plan will offer a big return on your investment.