The heart of the matter

The year 2020 will be remembered for a long time, and for many, many reasons. In the midst of the worst global health crisis of our lifetime, our industry and game was on fire. New golfers played, old golfers returned, and hundreds of thousands of juniors came to the tee for the first time. No one could have predicted this larger than amazing success story, certainly not on 12/31/2019. Once local governments figured things out, golf course gates flung open and never looked back. Rounds were strong all day, every day. It came down to managing the tee sheets and maximizing rate. The crowds were coming, so marketing was not the essential task of 2020: keeping staff and golfers safe, while adhering to all of the changing, local rules became the priorities.

From my many conversations with course leaders I learned that the golf course became the “second place.” With people at home, working from home, golf courses became the outlet. It became the safe place to be socially distant, the place to take a walk or ride, while sharing time with family or friends. Golf became the acceptable, fun activity & pastime during Covid-19. At the same time, it was a year of worry, of always trying just to keep up with the changing government rules, the latest news of the virus, while managing a very busy golf course. Where was the owner’s manual for golf during a pandemic? It was an unprecedented year. Every morning property leaders were worried about who might not show up. With lean teams from the start, courses could not afford to have staff miss much time. The bullpen was empty for many golf courses in 2020. As you turn the calendar, and anxiously wait for wide distribution of the vaccines, I ask you to think about the plan for 2021. As you work to keep the tee sheet full for another season, how can you best take care of staff? What takeaways do you have from 2020?

This highfives post is part one of a two part blog concerning the people at your property: staff and golfers. As you and your management team worry about what this new year will bring, I suggest that you look at ways to make your community feel good about the club. This first part will focus on the staff, your team, and how you can promote a better feeling with the team through five ideas meant to help the staff feel good about their role in this new year. Here are my high five ideas to test:

  1. Meet individually with every staff member at the start of your season. Talk through the year that was 2020, get their feelings on the year, and set the expectations for the new season. Strive to meet individually once every quarter
  2. Have a “party” for the entire staff at the start of the season. Gather the team to offer any honors or awards yet to present, thank the team for their part in the previous year, and discuss what this year of 2021 will look like, while asking for their suggestions. Offer paid days off, as awards for the upcoming season to up the service side in this new year
  3. Create and execute a daily morning huddle. In this 10-15 minute meeting, go over the coming day, get all in a positive, focused frame of mind, and offer your suggestions for excellence in execution for the shift. As with a huddle in football, it should get all team members prepared to work together for success
  4. Try to make certain you and your managers are out in force when the club is busy. Office time and reports can wait: people will not. Create a mission of cheerleading for the managers. Make sure all know that grand hospitality is what we sell here
  5. Acknowledge small and large acts done by your team. Three powerful ways to execute: a face to face “thank you”, a hand-written thank you note, and acknowledgement of kind acts, and superior service during staff meetings are all ways to say thanks.

The heart of the matter here, is to remember that your people drive the story of service, hospitality, and quality for your club. Create a proactive plan with your management staff to set a strong tone for a year where people come first: both the staff and golfers. When people feel good about their manager, and their place of work, they perform with confidence. Part two will focus on the golfers. Thank you.


Jack Dillon writes the highfives series. Now beginning year 11 of this post, Jack is a speaker, a merchant and an expert in communications, operations, and purchasing. Jack has been in the game for 48 years. Contact Jack today to improve your team, service, and strategy for the new year. Contact Jack at: [email protected], or call Jack at 407-973-6136.

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button