Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another Tiger Tale

By Michael Vogt
Tiger Woods philandering is between him and his wife and quite frankly I don’t believe it should be as much as an issue as it is.

But Woods’ potentially cheating on the game of golf is definitively between him, golf fans, fellow competitors, and Mr. Finchem.

Perhaps Tiger Woods is the Barry Bonds of golf — and Jack Nicklaus is Hank Aaron, anyone up for some “JUICE”?

The latest turmoil in Tiger’s buried lie from the bush came Tuesday when a story surfaced about one of Tiger’s doctors being arrested for providing performance enhancing drugs to elite athletes. It is said that the FBI is investigating Dr. Anthony Galea, who was found with human growth hormone in his bag at the U.S.-Canada border earlier this year.

The PGA Tour needs be proactive on an issue involving performance-enhancing drugs. Commissioner Tim Finchem should immediately announce a full-scale investigation into Tiger’s relationship with doctor Galea. I am not a particular Nicklaus fan but like Hank Aaron, Jack should not have his monumental milestone (18 major victories) surpassed by a juiced-up hormone using cheater.

When top athletes in nearly every other sport (baseball, football, track, swimming, cycling, etc., etc.) have been found guilty of using performance-enhancers we owe to the sport to discover if Tiger is a dope using golfer.

Golf is an honorable sport that competitors should never cheat the game, yea, right. Remember last year when under tremendous pressure Finchem finally succumbed to begin a drug testing policy for PGA competitors.

Obviously, golf has had its head buried in a sand bunker for far too long. If you can gain a competitive edge by taking a drug, you better believe somebody is taking that drug.

The incredible torque of golf swings and high speed pitching baseball windups, when done over and over again; place an enormous amount of strain on all of those moving body parts. Human growth hormones and designer drugs increase the body’s recovery process.

Remember Rodger Clemens, when large money is involved and elite sports figures are near to sports immortality the integrity of the game they once revered is forgotten. While on performance enhancing drugs Rodger Clemens:

  • Won the Cy Young Award, honoring the best pitcher in the league, a record seven times
  • Spent his first 13 seasons with the Red Sox, and won 24 games when the Red Sox won the American League pennant in 1986.
  • Became the first player to strike out 20 batters in a game (April 29, 1986, vs. Seattle) he's the only pitcher to strike out 20 batters twice (Sept. 18, 1996 vs. Detroit.)
  • Is second on the all-time strikeouts list, with 4,672 strikeouts, he only trails Nolan Ryan (5,714)
  • On June 13, 2003, pitching for the Yankees, Clemens won his 300th game and recorded his 4,000th strikeout.
Let’s hope we don’t have to reflect on Tiger’s career as we do with Rodger’s.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Eldrick, I Just Couldn’t Resist!

By Michael Vogt, CGCS
Eldrick Tont Woods (born December 30, 1975), better known as Tiger Woods, is an American professional golfer whose achievements to date rank him among the most successful golfers and sports figures of all time.

It’s not news - just my commentary, this story and the news swirling around is just too good not to pontificate about.

What a train wreck this kids life turned into! How come superstars with all of the talent, money and opportunity find themselves making the poorest decisions in their private lives?

Do they see themselves as untouchable?
Hello, is anybody home?

Millions of dollars and his squeaky clean reputation have all but evaporated from Tiger’s life. One day the darling of the golfing world, the next day a cavorting cad.

This story is so big nobody knows where it will end. Many women, coast to coast secret meetings, cocktail waitresses and the stories go on and on.

The bottom line, I would suspect history will remember Tiger for all of his great accomlishments on the golf course. I sure hope Mr. Woods' name will not be used in comparison with Arnold, Jack, or Tom not for lack of golf ability, but for lack of common sense.

Hey Lefty, the doors open, here’s your chance!

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Full Asset Reserve Study Report, for Private Clubs

By Michael Vogt, CGCS, CGIA

When assembling a long-range plan for properly funding capital projects on the golf course, a club manager, superintendent, and green committee should know when the funds will be required. A sound plan must provide the appropriate amount of funds to meet the needs of each golf course component, feature, or piece of equipment. A stable contribution to a fund that supports capital replacement will guard against the diminishing of the long-term and short-term assets for the golf course. A funding plan should not very wildly from year to year; it is recommended that funding a capital replacement plan be done on a monthly allocated basis to avoid large sudden expenditures that upset a club’s normal cash flow. A reserve study for golf asset replacement is good business and makes good sense.

A Reserve Study for a golf or country club consists of two parts, one: Physical Analysis (visual inspection by a golf course expert, architect, engineer, kitchen expert) that result in a comprehensive inventory of design / equipment elements and a prioritized schedule of future replacement costs; and two: The Financial Analysis that recommends a minimum and stable level of funding into a reserve account over the next 15 to 20 years, so your club has the money for capital projects when it is needed. The well executed Reserve Study becomes the basis of your long-range financial plan to provide continuity and dependability for maintaining a high quality course for years to come.

The report below is a comprehensive study for your examination; I believe you will find the true value of such a study to the club’s long term strategic plans.

Existing Conditions Asset Reserve Study Private Country Club

At clubs today, the need for long-range planning is paramount to each club’s success. Many of the distressed clubs in this economy have poorly planned for future funding of capital and are now paying the price though diminished memberships and facilities that are becoming less than adequate. While day-to-day club and course maintenance is vital, the truly wise clubs have forward thinkers and have a plan for continuous improvement to the club facilities and golf course and its associated buildings and equipment.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Private Golf Vitality

By Michael Vogt, CGCS
What Can Be Done
How interested are you in saving the vitality of your club? Do you think the present day economy will right itself and all things will return to 2004?

Even semi expert management of golf clubs during golf’s golden years kept members happy and sustained sufficient membership numbers to pay the bills. We all remember the day when members waited in line, cash in hand to become a chosen brother of the private club. 5,200 private clubs in the USA in 1990 compared to 4,700 clubs today, and it’s said that a full 20% might be heading for some type of financial difficulties in the days to come.

Top tier clubs have very little to be concerned with, these clubs still enjoy a very stable membership and have the resources to make decisions as the leadership sees fit. The clubs that fall below the top 10% are the clubs that apparently are struggling with capital funding, payroll and even supply purchases during the difficult spring season lag between winter and full play (income) season.

If your team is busy with recession strategies and where and how to economize I would suggest you call in experts that can guide your business though the next few years. Clubs that emerge from this perfect economic storm will become leaner, understand their memberships needs and continue to offer the great service that great clubs have been offering their members for years.

We Can’t Save the Club into Prosperity
We know in business you can’t save yourself into success, simple cuts in payroll and goods will not produce the needed results in the private club world. How many clubs must we witness falling into the death spiral before our collective group of managers and club leaders comes to realize our club is next? The National Golf Foundation has reported that since 2000 golfer participation has fallen off by 16% across the board. I feel we need to stop blaming the lack of time on golf’s loss of participation. Granted, in this day and age we have many choices to make when it comes to leisure time, is four or five hours over the top when it comes to a round of golf; I think not. Golf has just gotten to expensive, period.

I of all people know what it costs to prepare a golf course for play each day. The math is this:

300 members, $950,000 annual operation / maintenance budget = $3,166.00 per member

Loose 50 Members

250 members, $950,000 annual operation / maintenance budget = $3,800.00 per member

That’s just operation of the golf course, not funding depreciation (building and equipment), not accounting for overhead in the clubhouse, losses in F&B, golf car lease expense, and taxes and insurance. In addition the golf shop payroll is never paid for by sales in the golf shop. $263.98 per member per month just to maintain the golf course! Or, if the club does 10,000 rounds, that's $95.00 per round before any other expenses.

Family Friendly
The reason for golf and golf club’s utilization fall – off has many folds. One that gets the most attention is other family functions. While this may be true a family focused club environment has been proven as a hedge against dwindling utilization. When a club can realign it’s demographics to attract a younger average membership and cater to the up and comers the clubs chance for survival increases dramatically.

Fitness facilities are becoming the most requested addition to club renovations. Children’s programs are fast becoming the glue that cements the golf operation together, and family golf programs are sure bets for attacking increase club use. Savvy golf professionals have discovered that untapped market of family instruction, play and competition at clubs can increase use in all aspects of the clubs business.

The safest and most accurate way to find out what makes your club tick is a comprehensive survey of the membership. Only a well executed survey will reveal what the clubs membership really is looking for in your social offerings and facilities.

In summary:
• Poor performing clubs will not survive,

• Clubs today are not and should not be your fathers clubs,

• Family focused offerings will increase revenues, participation and satisfaction,

• Cutting expenses will not fend off disaster; only postpone it,

• Only the finest clubs with a clear mission and vision will thrive in down economies,

• Experts in the club business have the knowledge, ability and proven techniques to help design a clear path through this poor economy.

From golf course maintenance to a reinvention of the club; now is not the time to save your club into bankruptcy. Making bold, well informed changes will increase membership loyalty and utilization, leading to a vibrant club with members for life.