The golf season is coming to end in my part of the world and to say it has been different is an understatement. First, we got off to a late start because of CV-19. Then when golf courses did open the availability to tee times was limited because of the spacing between groups was lengthened and more people were working remotely. We played with no rakes, benches, ball washers and no touching the flag. Practice ranges at some locations were closed because membership could not be trusted to social distance. In my case, my club screwed me over and I was sent on a journey to find another place to play. The result of that was actually quite good, so I have to thank them for that.
Golf as I knew it for the first 50 years of my life has now gone. I for one think some good things will come of it. 2020 was a dress rehearsal for what is to come and should have happened long ago. We are going to find out exactly how good leadership is. How creative they are. Perhaps, and most importantly how they use their resources. We should be taking care of our own business and not worrying about what others are doing. We are on a fault line literally and figuratively. Clubs are looking for fault on why they are in this predicament and CV-19 is the obvious, but there were so many other factors that leadership chose to ignore. We are only one good tremor away in the member foundation from having it all come down. Sounds dramatic, but I believe it to be so.
Clubs survived for years with average financial standards during good times, which they believed would never end. It left them fragile, undisciplined, and exposed when unstable times come. Guess what? They have arrived. You can only get away with average for so long before it catches up. The price paid is a shockingly heavy price. In our case about 8% increase in fees and a bigger price in the culture which can not be measured. They have put up unnecessary barriers when none should exist. Realistically, this move could hit the fault line and it could all tumble down.
Golf clubs should all have there 2021 budgets done. If they use the data at their disposal intelligently, a positive balance budget should result. The asks of membership need to be tempered. Locker rooms need to be functional. Food menus need to be good, with reasonable pricing, as to increase member confidence. No more $18.00 hamburgers and warm beverages on hot summer days. There exists a disconnection between leadership and membership and it needs to be addressed. Certainly, borrowing money to rebuild an aging pump house was a positive action, because water is what sustains your most important asset, your golf course. However, using that money to build something that was unnecessary, that moved the club closer to the fault line was irresponsible. They have delivered something that membership did not really want because they did not fully understand the impact financially. The 8% increase will certainly speed up the learning process.
I have committed to my membership category for 2021. It allows me to sit back and watch leadership navigate the potential disaster that sits on the fault line.
Until next time!
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