The 23-story billboard looming above Times Square proclaims Nike’s brand message of engagement and commitment in four simple words: “Yesterday…you said tomorrow.”
Tomorrows come like clockwork, and soon we’ve forgotten about yesterday’s promise. It happens to all of us, despite our best intentions. We’re procrastinators by nature. So what are you putting off? Maybe it’s some research on changing demographics in your market. Maybe it’s that strategic plan that your board has been asking for. Or a way to measure the results of a fertilization program scheduled for next spring. If the hot summer months are your off-season, now’s the perfect time to pull those back-burner projects to the front. Here are three opportunities.
1. Research and plan. There’s no off-season for collecting and analyzing information that will become the backbone of future decision-making.
While busy season lessons remain fresh in their minds, Sun Belt managers should review and refresh strategic and business plans. Sun Belt agronomic professionals should begin converting consumption statistics into next year’s procurement plan. Empower your suppliers to work with you to locate better volume-purchase discounts and programs that will save money. Your suppliers are your partners, if you treat them that way. Cool-weather superintendents should focus on the pressing demands of summer. Leverage new photographic apps that enable you to show your assistants problems and locations in real time, instead of waiting until a break. Club managers can study the ebb and flow of labor costs and alternatives that allow increased self-service for members and regular golfers. As labor costs escalate, self-service will expand and become more commonplace. Club managers can get ahead of budget and financial planning during summer months. The budgeting cycle starts again in most clubs after Labor Day; allowing an hour to two per week during the summer will make the process more manageable.
2. Test and measure. Everyone has heard the quote about things that get measured are the things that get managed. Most superintendents are in their prime growing season. Summer is the right time for them to test new turf types, pesticides, fertility options and application rates. With the right information, management becomes much easier.
Explore methods to do more with less. Study your labor plan for efficiencies. Summertime is also the best time to evaluate labor patterns, effectiveness and organization of management. Superintendents can review consumption rates on fuel, pesticides, chemicals and water. These volatile expense categories require regular attention and measurement. Effective strategy is formulated during the off-season and alert managers watch usage trends and patterns at their facilities during busy times. Ask the following questions and pay attention; your customers, members and competitors will show you what actions you should take.
What use patterns are changing and in what segments?
Is our club more active and productive this year? Why and why not?
What are the best practices being used by the leaders in my segment?
How do the top-performing clubs and courses address the same problems and opportunities?
Are there examples of new ideas from outside of my specialty that I should adapt?
3. Recognize and personalize. Every member or golfer wants to be treated as special. Take time now to develop your own recognition and personalization programs. As an example, professionals can see that every child in their junior program has a personalized bag tag, even if they don’t have a bag yet. Every parent will appreciate that you recognized their child and encouraged them to enjoy golf.
Review the contents of members’ golf bags with them. Set an appointment and invite each golfer to walk you through his or her bag. Do they need hybrids? Will new grips help? If they are planning a summer golf trip, will they need rain gear and water-proof shoes? Can you make a call to a fellow professional to get them on a special course? Let your golfers experience how knowledgeable and enthusiastic you are about your role and how much you want to help.