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Indigo Insider: February 2021 Update

Dear Friend,

As the golf season approaches, key tactics and strategies are identified and prioritized for 2021. To this end, sharing some thoughts, tidbits, and highlights that may stimulate further review and readjustment to your business plan.

Wall Street to Main Street

Since 2009, Glassdoor has annually ranked the “Best Places to Work” based on data collected from employees. Over the past 12 years, these rankings have had a seemingly direct correlation on the financial performance of the companies and their stock price. Specifically, companies that make the list have more than doubled the returns of the S&P 500 with remarkable consistency.

To quote, “History shows that the way employees praise their company might be a much more compelling investment factor than P/E ratios, free cash flow margins, etc.” This further reinforces the importance of leadership and reinvesting in the Employee Experience, a lesson that we can all implement at each of our facilities. A good start might be reviewing your process for employee recognition and reinforcing the importance with onsite leadership.

The Book Corner

I recently re-read an insightful book on change management called “Our Iceberg is Melting” by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber – two experts in this discipline. In this story (parable), a colony of penguins must embrace change in order to survive – breaking from comforts, routine, and tradition. The story identifies the eight steps to successfully affect and navigate change.

COVID-19 demanded change worldwide. For the golf industry, change was twofold; (1) participation improved dramatically and (2) businesses were forced to re-engineer their operating model. Much like the colony of penguins, most golf course owners needed to break from traditional ways of doing business and implement new strategies to thrive.

Spoiler alert – Getting buy-in and identifying a champion are two of the eight steps to affect change. Which informal leaders on your team will assist in getting buy-in for change and champion your cause moving forward? Added Bonus – the Employee Experience will increase as team members are able to create tangible impacts and take ownership over aspects of the operation.

Leading Economic Indicators for 2021

Sorry Chiefs fans, but when the NFC wins the Super Bowl the stock market out-performs years in which there was an AFC victor. Furthermore, Tom Brady really is the GOAT, because in recent years the S&P 500 does much better when Tom Brady wins (+6%) compared to a loss (-10%). Further positive momentum for 2021 is reinforced by anticipated GDP growth of over 4%, declining unemployment, continued minuscule inflation, vaccination roll-out and COVID’s positive impact on golf. All signs point toward another promising year for golf and an opportune time to implement programs and strategies to accentuate future growth and success in 2022.

In a word…

Society is increasingly immersed in a digital world driven by technological advancements and compounded by the physical isolation of a global pandemic. Mass e-mail is oft disregarded; therefore, effective messaging requires a targeted approach. Some best practices have come to the forefront as you evolve from e-mail to “me”-mail and use a golf course app:

  • 33% of email recipients open emails based on subject line alone
  • Subject lines with more than 3 words experience a drop-in open rate by over 60%
  • Personalized emails with first name in subject line can boost open rates by 29.3%
  • ~60% of golf course app users are 55 or older
  • In 2020 revenue generated from our courses’ app increased by over 250% versus 2019

As you plan for the months ahead and wish to compare best practices, discuss initiatives, or simply talk shop, feel free to contact us as each situation is unique. We look forward to our next conversation.

All the best,


About the Author
With 30 years’ experience in golf, Mike oversees Indigo Golf Partners growth plans and specific lease, acquisition, consulting and third-party management opportunities. He enjoys an invaluable talent of dissecting ways golf courses, country clubs and resorts can create significant new revenue and save expenses without compromise to quality. Previously, Mike managed the company’s vast southeast portfolio. A PGA member, he is a graduate of Mississippi State University, an avid cyclist and diehard college football fan.