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Indigo Insider

October 2021 Update

Dear Friend,

The leaves are turning and golf participation continues to be well above pre COVID levels and comparable to the latter half of 2020. The future for golf seems bright as the "stickiness'' factor remains and a few leading indicators are positive – NGF’s recent highlights of golf equipment sales and the demand for golf instruction. With that in mind, I highlighted a few items to address for continued success in the months and years to come.

Help wanted Desperately Needed

September has continued the monthly trend of reduced negative jobs growth in which the labor force participation mimics September '20 in an economy that has grown rapidly over the same time frame. Ironically, in these same two months 75% of the jobs added were in the hospitality segment.

The demand for workers is high and wages are increasing nationwide, but the labor force dropouts who want to work are at pre COVID levels. The US has reached record highs in available jobs and those leaving the work force. In a recent survey of unemployed Americans who were laid off or left their jobs, only 11% cited the enhanced unemployment benefits as reasons to be more selective in the job market.

What do all these data points mean – the dearth of labor is not going to change in 2022. As a small business your most precious resource, just got more precious. Rethinking the operational model and technology at your golf course as well as how and what might attract and retain team members has to be top of mind.

Retention and Attraction 

In past years, the retention of existing golfers and attraction of new golfers has been a proven strategy. In 2022, the attraction and retention of team members will be the recipe for success. Retention of team members will require a holistic approach - improving managerial skills, increasing wages, recognizing and embracing the increased importance of well-being of team members. A recent article by Gallup identified coaching as a way for managers/leaders to take a more active role in employee engagement, which leads to improved well-being and ultimately retention. Few highlights from the article include (the entire article is linked here):

  • Overworked managers will find it difficult to muster enthusiasm for coaching. In fact, reducing administrative tasks could better engage your best managers.
  • Coaching starts with asking more and telling less - becoming more inquisitive about employees as human beings. What do employees need?
  • The best coaches listen to understand. They listen to truly comprehend employees' circumstances, goals, challenges and needs.
  • Coaching shouldn't feel intimidating. It should be simple, practical, rewarding - and even fun.

Per the old adage, employees leave the manager not the job.

Dollars and Sense

This year, I have been astounded at the carelessness in the management of the Point of Sale system and tee sheet. Imagine this:

  • The local golf course is short-staffed, the counter person is trying to do multiple things at once, and the POS system is set-up to allow for the following:
  • 18-hole green fee paired with a 9 hole cart fee
  • Ability to adjust any rates or fees indiscriminately – i.e discount the rack rate instead of having specific rate for that time period
  • Shirt was “not in system” despite pricing, so staff member rang under miscellaneous

I wonder how much money is unwittingly lost at each golf course due to poor POS management and training? The increase in rounds and revenue over the last 15 months has been a boon for golf courses. With the heightened sense of success, it might be natural to become complacent and comfortable with the current state of your business, but training and monitoring this area should not be overlooked.

Enjoy the cooler temperatures and fall foliage. If anything resonates, want to discuss your situation further or learn more about our best practices – we would welcome the discussion. I look forward to our next conversation.

All the best,