What Proponent Coaches Are Doing with Their Covid-Era Profits 

Jan 10, 2023 | News

By David Gould, Staff Editor                               

Proponent Group members have enjoyed prosperous years since the outbreak of Covid, routinely finding themselves with surplus cash on hand. 

Reinvestment of retained earnings by coaches is a topic we’re always interested in. In the corporate world this is called Capital Expenditures or CAPEX. This is all the more true when times are particularly good. A review of our exclusive new survey on the topic points out several prominent takeaways as to how our coaches are investing their capital during these good times. 

To begin with, profits have indeed been flowing: Over recent seasons, 84 percent of respondents have either “consistently earned enough to put away significant savings” or “had some revenue ebbs and flows, but still been able to put money into savings.”

And the money set aside has indeed gone toward upgrades and additions—of the sort that could provide a competitive advantage down the road. Our questionnaire asked: “Which best describes your reinvestment spending over the past several years” on job-specific items like technology, website, certifications and travel to observe other coaches? Participants could select one of five responses:

  • less than $1,000—5 percent selected this option
  • $1,000 to $3,000—31 percent
  • $3,001 to $5,000—26 percent
  • $5,001 to $10,000—24 percent
  • $10,001 or more—14 percent

Those are substantial dollar amounts and they opened the door to a more specific question about what exactly the money went towards. We offered up this hypothetical, with response options that included non-occupational investments: 

“You’re handed a large sum of money tomorrow and told you’ll lose it if you don’t invest immediately in one or more of the choices below. Create a 1-6 ranking of the following options, based on your sense of which would be most valuable to you.”  Here is the list of six options, ranked top to bottom according to how many first-place votes each received (out of 57 total).  

  • Stocks, bonds, mutual funds  ($$ tied up at least 18 months) …. 21
  • Golf instruction tech (hardware and software)  ……………………..  16
  • Other investable assets (real estate, collectables, etc.) …………. 15
  • Travel to observe and learn from golf coaches you admire  …….. 4
  • Continuing education that comes with certification …………………. 1
  • Attendance at various teaching summits  ……………………………… 1

It should be said that the bottom three options in this list fare considerably better when second-place votes are brought in: “Attendance at summits” got 6 second-place votes, “Continuing ed with certifications” received 7 and “Travel to observe other coaches” received 8.

We ended the survey by asking coaches to take a long look back and generalize about the business reinvestment decisions they’ve made through the years. 

“The majority of my investments have paid off” was the most popular response, selected by 46 percent of survey-takers. “Some winners, some losers” was next with 28 percent. “My business investments have almost always have created a solid return” got 24 percent of the vote and the regret-driven answer, “I’d like to get my money back on many of them” received less than 2 percent. 

Finally, our thanks to longtime member Laura Patrick for stepping beyond the parameters of our questionnaire and approaching the topic at hand with a response that was outside-the-box and inspiringly personal. 

“I’d like to add to this survey that I dedicated more money to self-care, Laura told us via email. “In addition to raising rates and cutting back my hours (which had spiraled out of control), I also purchased a hot tub as a daily relaxation ritual and to help my body recover. I also purchased a few household items that would make home life more efficient, and I increased my cash savings for a greater sense of well-being.” 

Reinvesting in a conventional manner—spending on items like the ones in our survey—is generally done to give the business effort a boost when things get more competitive. Laura’s further comment, about “supporting myself in healthy ways so I can (and want) to stay in the industry long term” is a brilliant twist on that strategy. It’s something for one and all to consider.