The Niggle: Who should run your golf club?June, 2014
Who should run your golf club? The pro? The secretary? Or a general manager?
Should the pro be left to get on with managing the shop, lessons and fittings and leave the day-to-day running of the club to the secretary?
Or should the pro take a more hands-on approach to how the golf club as a whole is being run as a business?
Members of our team give their views.
James Savage (JS) – I think the pros should concentrate on doing what they are qualified to do. If they get involved too much with the running of the club their other services may suffer. It’s a bit like asking a journalist to write the stories then go and sell the newspaper.
Dan Murphy (DM) – Whether golf clubs like it or not, the member of staff who is most visitor-facing is the pro – your first point of contact and a voice of authority on all matters from the location of the locker rooms to the tees of the day and the code to get out of the car park. They have much more influence – positive or negative – on the visitor experience than your average secretary or manager.
JS – Correct and, in my opinion, that is the stuff they should be focussing on while leaving the strategic planning of the golf club, attracting more visitors and looking after the members to others.
I don’t see how a golf club can possibly run successfully unless the pro is involved in helping to shape planning and policy Tom Lenton (TL) – Visitor experience is vital but members should take priority. That said, I bet the best managers and secretaries do pay extra attention to their visitors, adding them to a mailing list, giving them a courtesy call to check they enjoyed their time at the club. This will no doubt will have a positive effect on future bookings, word of mouth reputation and repeat business.
James Tompkinson (JT) – Hard to disagree that the pro is the person who people see and deal with the most, so clubs are being naive in my opinion if they choose to exclude the pro from decisions that affect the club as a whole. I don’t see how a golf club can possibly run successfully unless the pro is involved in helping to shape planning and policy. I’m not suggesting that they should be the sole decision maker or have all the responsibility, but they need to be included and not marginalised as they know what members are looking for.
TL – Lots of the successful clubs seem to have a manager in place to run the overall business, a secretary to handle club matters and a pro running the shop. An effective club will have these three people working closely together. However, the pro has a day-to-day relationship with members and perhaps this could get in the way of important decisions that need to be made from someone who is less involved?
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