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January 2021 Update

Dear Friend,

As shared earlier this month, Troon Golf acquired Indigo Golf Partners – ushering in an exciting new era and an opportunity to embrace change and everything it entails to include improved resources for our partners. This transition affords insight into policies, procedures, focal points and refines best practices. To this end, we have highlighted a few pertinent best practices that might prove useful in planning for the 2021 season.

Talent Acquisition

COVID has changed how we recruit, hire and onboard team members. Key takeaways:

  • Onboarding and Orientation - the first introduction to the work culture which sets expectations and shapes perceptions about what your organization values.
  • Growth and development – How will you help team members acquire and hone new and existing skills? Team members want to know what the future holds and how you will help continue their progression.
  • Employee wellbeing – an increasing area of focus moving forward. More than a safety-first mindset, this is an encompassing view of employee engagement to include mental and physical wellbeing.
  • Recognition is vital - find opportunities to acknowledge, celebrate and reward successes which creates a positive environment where team members are challenged to excel and actively promote your organization and brand.

What has not changed over the past year is consumer reliance on reviews and referrals, and your current and future team members are your most important consumer segment.

Priorities & Focus

Indulge me as I reiterate a theme from one of my 2019 articles – it is still pertinent today.

For the golf course owner/operator, now is the time to (1) Determine priorities and make sure that your team is spending the appropriate time and energy on those items which move the needle; (2) Follow through by following up – delegation does not mean assign and forget, review priorities and activities regularly to ensure that nothing is overlooked; and (3) Mind the 5 P’s - Poor preparation is planning for pitiful performance.

Task vs Purpose

Golf is an unusual business – few industries have their lowest paid employees spend the most time interacting with their “clients” (guests/golfers/patrons). As a golf course owner/operator, ensuring that the entire frontline staff understands and embraces their purpose, not just their task, is nirvana. We believe every team members’ purpose is to create a fun and enjoyable experience for our guests each and every day. To this end, how are you training your team members to create the desired experience at each touch point? Have you identified key interactions and how they have they changed due to COVID? As media platforms become more and more accessible, now might be a great time to reset expectations, develop “scripts,” and record desired exchanges. I used to rely on my best staff member to train new team members. After a few seasons, all this ensured was that my message had been inadvertently diluted and service levels had declined through no fault but my own.

Leveraging Economies of Sale

Every golf course owner has the opportunity to leverage economies of “Sale” throughout their organization. This starts with instilling a revenue culture with a top-down and bottom-up approach. The bottom-up approach begins with incorporating sales-training in the aforementioned task vs. purpose orientation. Each team member needs to understand that sales is part of their purpose - anticipating each guest’s needs during his/her time at your facility. The top-down approach begins with your managers focusing, communicating and actively participating in revenue generation. This might include creating partnerships with a golf gamification center, golf teaching center, etc. as you have “green-grass” and they have golfers. We presented this challenge to our employees as “4More” – a mantra dedicated to having 4More golfers play your facility each day. Implementing a revenue culture at your facility is not easy, but it is worth the effort and your operation will be more successful and profitable.

GIS & PGA Show

In years past, we had connected with many of you during these events. Despite the absence of these events, the entire Indigo Team looks forward to discussing pertinent topics, comparing focal points for 2021 and sharing our best practices. We look forward to our next conversation.

All the best,

Mike Cutler

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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.