Henry Delozier, a principal with Global Golf Advisors consultancy, knows about planning and the importance of reviewing and updating those plans. A past president of the National Golf Course Owners Association, Delozier says the time is ripe for plan updates to, “take advantage of improving economic conditions and meet you performance goals.”
Delozier writes in “Golf Course Industry”:
Here are three plans for your operations toolbox.
The most important components of a reliable strategic plan are clearly stated objectives. Objectives should be SMART. That is, they should be Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic (based on market research and current resources), and Time bound.
Examples of SMART objectives: Increase revenue by 10 percent over prior year for the next three years; add 10 net (new members in minus existing members out) new members this year; host new outings with at least $10,000 in net revenues this year and increase outing revenues by 10 percent each of the next four years.
Effective strategic plans are consistent with the direction the club wants to go. They set the destination and identified the speed and direction that will be followed. Without a destination, one road is as good as the next.
The plan should be based on thorough market research that identifies realistic opportunities and suggests marketing tactics aimed at specific audience segments. Well researched and carefully executed strategic plans give a club a foundation for sustainable success.
After design, no one characteristic more immediately influences the value proposition of a golf course more than its agronomic health and condition. Top-performing golf clubs have carefully developed their plan of caring for the course and grounds because their condition makes a statement about the standards of care and the attention to detail that govern the entire club.
The best agronomic plans clearly state the methods, procedures and timing that apply to each discipline. These standards address mission-critical programs for irrigation, fertility, pesticides and mowing practices. Equally important, the plan describes sustainability objectives and methods to steward water use, arboreal practices and chemical applications. Within the agronomic plan, many clubs also describe their plans for maintaining the water and distinctive geologic features.
Without a revenue plan, you’re already whistling your way through the graveyard. Roughly one-quarter of clubs and courses are increasing year-over-year revenue. An active and aggressive revenue plan is in the DNA of top-performing clubs. This is a sure sign of informed and experienced leadership.
Here are the first steps in developing your revenue plan.
Prepare a “revenue menu.” Identify and enumerate the revenue sources and measure potential revenue growth. Take a realistic and assertive view of how revenue can be increased. Be aggressive and set big goals.
Use a dynamic pricing model. Don’t be bound by one-size-fits-all pricing. If you host daily-fee golfers, sell the worst tee times first. Use market demand and elasticity as a guide to growth.
Consider all sources of potential revenue, including innovative F&B strategies, private parties, wedding receptions, mitzvahs and movie nights on the lawn. Gone are the days when golf was the only way courses could make money.