I’m a public course guy, matter a fact we are really a family owned, niche specific, golf first, small town course. It’s not about how great we can become, it’s about what we are, and being happy with that. Do we have some big city country clubs ideas buried in there, I guess maybe we do to a point.
It’s Ok to borrow the best ideas, and try to marry them with your own. Unlike country clubs, we are inclusive, while they push a brand that is exclusive. Neither one is right or wrong, it’s all about the niche. One of the ideas where we are similar is many of the finest clubs are “golf first”. I admire that.
As far as I know, no one has really joined a country club for the pool, or the food. I have to think most look at whether they want to join, by their interest in the golf course. The best clubs realize that golf is why they come, and they pour their energy there. Yes, all the other amenities are nice if they can be afforded, but they are not why people join, and they will never be why members stay.
Stealing Golf First Concept
For us, this an incredible idea to steal. I mean… imagine the idea that we are going to put golf first. There has to be people out there (who don’t have country club money) who love the idea that we are in love with making our course the best it can be. There has to be people who love that I’m clearly making an effort to be a golf centric niche product. While other courses say nothing and pretty much do nothing, we are making improvements, and I’m doing my best to communicate that.
This past winter I was asked to provide advice to a person who was looking at leasing a 9 hole course in Ohio. His first words to me were, “I think we could do lots of parties and outside functions”. Who gives a shit. And there in lies the problem. This person can’t even see the greatest asset they have. He puts no value in what the course can be for the community. If you want to book parties, go buy a banquet hall, have no margins and shortly flame out. If you want to be in golf, then put GOLF FIRST. Your not going to be rich, powerful, or influential running your little golf course, but you can be happy, and people playing a nice course are generally happy too.