Prepare for the Tough Conversation Ahead

Sep 9, 2020 | News


On the surface it looks like golf has dodged a virus-driven economic disaster. Unlike many recreation-related industries, ours has been on a tear since early summer. But let’s qualify that statement: It refers to rounds of golf played and lessons taken. Other revenue streams have dried up—all those high-ticket wedding receptions, major club events and f&b sales in general. Many clubs have been hit with higher overall costs even as they’re providing reduced services. So while you’re standing on the practice tee surrounded by golfers, understand that your facility’s financial health is far more fragile than the crowded fairways may indicate.

What this means for some of our members is that there could be a tough conversation ahead as your club makes budget decisions for 2021. Don’t be surprised if the facility freezes or reduces salaries or reduces its overall head count. I don’t expect to see busy full-time coaches being let go, but, if you’re an employee, don’t expect higher compensation next year unless you can prove that your value to the club grew substantially this year.

Begin preparing now by collecting as much data as you can on your economic impact on club operations. If you’re like many of our members, you’ve had a very busy summer and likely taught more than ever. This growth in your business naturally has a positive effect on your facility and you should be documenting every dollar you helped generate.

One stat you should track is how many members took instruction for the first time this year. It’s a known fact once a golfer starts taking instruction, their spending on the game tends to increase significantly. Regular instruction takers have been found to spend about 75 percent more at a facility than non-lesson takers. If you can increase the number of new lesson-takers, you can have a big impact on everything from club event signups to sales of golf equipment.

On the Negotiations and Transitions section on the Proponent website homepage, you can scroll down and find a downloadable Instructor Economic Impact Calculator to help you better determine your direct contribution to your facility’s top line. Hopefully, your facility is in better shape than most as we continue to face the current pandemic, but just because you’ve been busy doesn’t mean you won’t get dragged into the overall financial challenges facing your club. Be prepared to show your full value when the time comes for your end-of-year review. You’ll be glad you did.