The Benefits of Using a Management Company for Your Golf Course or Country Club
Owning and operating a golf course or country club is no small task. There are countless small details that need to be dealt with on a daily basis, to say nothing of the major issues that need to be addressed as well. At the same time, you need to ensure your facility is providing the services and amenities your members want to keep them coming back year after year. It’s a challenge, to be sure.
Doing it all yourself is not an option. You need a cadre of skilled staff working under you that have experience in country club management. They all need to be experts in customer service as well as facility maintenance, and they all need to be dedicated to giving 110 percent at all times. And you need them now – you don’t have time to train them up from scratch.
Sounds like an impossible task, doesn’t it? It’s not as far-fetched as you might think, however. The truth is that you don’t have to put together a crack team of expert golf course or country club staff yourself and build them from the ground up. Instead, you can access a fully-formed team of management professionals and have them come to your rescue instead – you can use a golf course and country club facilities management companymanagement company.
What’s a Golf Course or Country Club Management Company?
A management company, in the context of a golf course or a country club, is a group that is assigned a highly specific task: being hired on by the owners of a golf course or a country club to make it thrive economically. Such a group is paid by the month for their services; in return, they can turn around the fortunes of an unsteady country club and bring them better profitability.
The services of these management companies certainly don’t come cheap. They often pay for themselves and then some, however, once the changes they put into place begin having a positive impact on the popularity of your country club or golf course by enhancing the membership experience for your patrons.
Happier patrons drive higher levels of use of your facilities, and this, in turn, makes your golf course or country club more desirable-looking. Before you know it, your membership numbers have swelled, your revenues have increased, and you’ll have plenty of profit left over to pay the management company and your stakeholders. You’ll even be able to reinvest in your facility to expand it as well.
The History of Golf Course and Country Club Management
It’s time for a brief history lesson. When it comes to facilities like golf courses or country clubs, a number of management structures have been employed in order to provide for independent operation. Professional management companies were first hired by cities and municipalities to run large facilities in this way.
The benefits of professional management offer proven business systems to make golf or country club businesses more effective. Just as the golf course industry evolved past the role that a course superintendent used to play from greenskeeper to professional management duties, golf as a business has likewise transitioned away from smaller-scale operations. Country clubs, which often encompass golf courses, fall under this rubric as well, and in fact are an even better example since the amenities offered by a country club can often exceed those of just a golf course.
Whether you’re running a golf course, a country club, or any other large-scale facility in the same category, you need to operate these facilities in a sustainable manner. Current economic realities of the day call for better management styles that can ensure the golf course and country club lifestyle not just survives but endures for future generations. Calling in a professional management company is often the best option to accomplish these goals for a myriad of reasons, which we’ll review below.
Some may say that the age of the country club is over. Golf is declining in its popularity, and fewer people seem to be interested in the country club lifestyle anymore. There are plenty of golf courses and country clubs around the US that can attest to dwindling membership revenue, either due to the lack of interest in golf as a sport or other related issues such as global economic pressures.
The sport is changing, little by little, and these incremental changes will help drive golf’s popularity back up. Until then, though, it’s up to golf courses and country clubs to survive long enough – and one of the biggest selling points of a management company is its ability to increase the revenue of a golf course or country club.
That is where a golf management company can help. With goals that include increasing membership sales, retaining current members, and initiating further member spending through other areas like on-site restaurants and club shops, management companies are quite well-acquainted in driving revenue back up in unique and effective ways.
Management companies can provide tailor-made marketing plans that can help buoy a course or club. These plans are tried and tested in driving membership, often leveraging the use of special promotions or discounted rates. Adding new members in this way, even at lower membership rates, will increase revenue, helping a club or course owner regain some much-needed confidence. Many management companies will even invest their own funds in order to improve the amenities of a facility with an eye towards driving membership!
Cutting Needless Spending
Golf course and country club management companies have it locked down when it comes to increasing the popularity of a waning facility in order to increase profitability. Driving membership will always be a primary revenue-building strategy, after all. There are other ways to build overall revenue, however, and finding ways to cut needless spending helps a club or course free up much-needed funds that can then be applied elsewhere.
Many management companies have established relationships with companies and other clubs and courses on a national level. This can lead to cost savings when it comes to buying equipment and supplies, as these relationships can often result in lower prices. Insurance fees can also be reduced this way as well, and this can make a major difference in the expenditures your club or course faces. Not having to watch your outgoings so carefully provides some major peace of mind.
Additionally, a management company has a huge pool of facility workers and staff members at their disposal. If your golf course or country club doesn’t have the right mix of staff, or if you have vacant roles, a management company can earmark employees for you that will be ideal for these positions. This makes your course or club run more smoothly in the end with an efficiency that saves time and money.
Finding the Right Management Company for Your Club or Course
Golf course and country club owners might be enticed by the idea of bringing on a management company to handle the day-to-day minutiae of running their facility, but be warned – not all of these management companies are created equal. A great many of them offer fantastic opportunities to drive memberships up and keep costs down, but it’s important to select the right management company that fits the needs of your club or course.
Clubs need to take a close look at the costs that go into hiring a management company to ensure they’re going to be spending their resources wisely. Make sure to evaluate the total cost, which can include services such as national marketing programs, office expense allocations, and cost reimbursements for things like travel, marketing, and relocating employees. Make sure you receive a cost estimate from any prospective management company first before signing on the dotted line, and be sure to take a close look at what services the management company offers as part of its base package fee and what services are available only at an additional charge.
It’s also crucial to research any management company carefully before hiring it to take over the operations of your club or course. This ensures that the management company will mesh well with the positioning of your club, including your policies on membership admission, non-member usage, and governance. Ensuring that your management company is on the same page when it comes to thresholds for non-member use or membership candidate admission processes will ensure that there are no disconnects between ownership and management.
The Integration Process
Once you’ve found and fully vetted your management company of choice, your job still isn’t done: it’s time to begin the process of integrating this new player into your golf course or country club as it exists currently. This integration time is crucial to ensure the transition from an existing management style to the new one is done smoothly and without issue.
Discuss every aspect of your transition with your management company. If you want to ensure that certain key employees are retained, make sure your management company knows their identities. You may also want to take steps to ensure your management company and your club or course board has clear guidelines established that make the duties of on-site managers, member committees, and the management company clearly stated to avoid anyone’s toes from getting stepped on.
If you do decide to hire a management company, your potential for improving your operating results is significantly higher than it would be otherwise. At the same time, make sure you do your research thoroughly, ask the proper questions to make sure you’re choosing the best management company for your country club or golf course. Getting it right means enjoying the prosperity your club so richly deserves!