Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Golf Management and My Turtle

In my younger days I saved up and bought a turtle. After about a month and a half the turtle died! There was no fan fare, no funeral, no burial at sea or toilet!

My mother demanded that I pick the smelly dead carcass out of the turtle bowl, and toss him in the trash. That's just what you did with dead turtles!

In retrospect, I didn't read up or have the slightest idea on how to take care of a turtle. I didn’t didn't think to ask questions when I bought the turtle at the pet store. Aside from the approved turtle food it was all a guessing game. It took forty days! That's it! Then he was gone!

I honestly thought Mr. Turtle would last longer! We now see so many golf courses who like me and my turtle don't take the time to investigate, read up on, learn about, or try to make sense of anything they do in management of their golf courses or clubs.

They operate their courses and clubs by chance, by luck or blind sense. Then they lose interest! Or even worse... they keep doing the same thing over again expecting different results.

Now, imagine if I were to replace his dead turtle with a new one every six weeks or so... it would get old fast... and costly too! You convince yourself, "I know it will work this time!"

But, sadly it doesn't! And, you're back to square one...

Habitual borrowing to shore-up operations, cash flow problems during off-season, expenses out of control, non-passionate employees who are ready to jump ship at a moments notice and basically not understanding your true cost of doing business... I could go on and on, but until you change your habits... your business will end up like Mr. Turtle...dead and gone.

Stop saying, "I know it will work this time!" Change your mindset! Start saying, "How can I make it work this time!"

List all of the things that you could have done differently... then do them!

If your debit load is terrible and rounds are down, hire someone that understands how to truly market your business and boost your sales to help retire your debit. Hire only passionate employees who are dedicated to your players and members. And, if you don't understand your numbers hire someone who can translate those numbers to you and let you know what changes you need to make.

I believe every golf course and club has a Mr. Turtle story in some portion of their business. When golf was booming, memberships, board of directors, committees and managers had this incredible club or course that was busy no matter what. Now that the economic double whammy hit with over-supply and a decrease in discretionary income, golf clubs and public courses are fighting for the same golf dollars. Now, some poorly managed clubs and courses of all types are suffering my childhood turtle’s fate...there dying a slow death,

Golf course maintenance proven best management practices are based on:
  • Golf course standards
  • Proper budget management
  • Labor management
Stop playing the guessing game. Make it work! Take lessons from Mr. Turtle! There is expert help, enlist someone that can take a close look at your golf course business and suggest tactics and proven strategies that can keep your turtle alive and well.

These words are as true today as they were years ago; “Those that fail to plan, plan to fail”.

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