Don’t Let Them Ignore You

GGA Partner Henry DeLozier highlights 5 key attributes to help golf course leaders achieve recognition for their talents and efforts.

We all want to be recognized for our talents and efforts. In fact, in a world where we take more than 93 million selfies a day, being ignored is certainly one of life’s biggest disappointments. One long-held suggestion to avoid being overlooked or taken for granted is this one: “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

It’s advice offered by comedian Steve Martin, author Cal Newport (in a book with the same title) and printed on T-shirts and wall posters that adorn corporate breakrooms across our country. No matter our objective – recognition that leads to a promotion or simply the satisfaction that comes from a boss’s or colleague’s “good job” – excellence that demands attention seems a logical and valuable strategy.

Here are five attributes that can make you so good that you cannot be ignored:

1. Great attitude is a key factor in your success and ability to be noticed, whether you’re a golf course superintendent, golf professional or club manager.

Savvy employers hire for attitude above other attributes. Stated in the negative, no one needs a grumpy or uncooperative manager leading today’s work force. There is enough friction in getting operational teams to perform at the high end of their capabilities without someone with a negative attitude pulling us down.

According to author Emily Smykal, whose findings were part of a CareerBuilder study by Harris Poll, nearly three in four employees (72 percent) spoke to the power of a positive attitude. “Positivity leads to a more productive workday and creates a better environment for fellow employees,” she writes. “Great employees consistently stand out for their upbeat attitudes and earn positive reputations for themselves.”

Building and keeping an attitude that leads others toward common goals requires a comprehensive understanding of the job’s requirements and a willingness to teach others to work harder, better and smarter. What’s more, great attitudes are contagious.

2. Eager learning keeps everyone involved sharp.

Constant learners tend to be open, creative and receptive to new or different ideas – even if they’re someone else’s. Heather Huhman wrote on Glassdoor that an eagerness to learn shows openness to new ideas, willingness to think beyond today’s facts and invaluable curiosity.

Robert Half, a specialist in recruitment and employment services, recommends that every resume show an eagerness to learn. This trait adds value for the employer and expands the performance potential of the employee. When you’re learning and growing, you are becoming a more valuable employee and one whose contributions are easily recognized.

3. Trustworthy teammates, especially in troubled times, are valued for their consistency, stability and integrity.

Difficult and exigent circumstances reveal those who can stand tall and steady in crisis. One’s day-to-day commitment to being a trusted and respected teammate is manifested in a thousand acts. Ensuring that your actions match your words is an important trust-builder, as are genuine eye contact, thoughtful interactions, an openness to criticism, and the willingness to express oneself openly and with trust.

The world champion sprinter Carmelita Jeter breathlessly testified to the power of trusting teammates at the 2012 London Olympics when – after running the anchor leg on the women’s 4×100-meter relay team, she said: “I knew they trusted me like I trusted them. And I would not let them down.” Jeter and her trusting teammates bested a world record in the event that had stood for 27 years.

4. Mental toughness is critical when we encounter adversity, in life and on the job.

Are you resilient and persistent enough to overcome challenging circumstances? According to Inc. magazine, qualities that make you mentally tougher are patience, perspective, focus (on priorities) and the willingness to confront adversity. The mentally tough understand that criticism or adversity is often not of a personal nature and see it as an opportunity to keep pushing toward their goal.

5. Careful planning – Planning is critical to sustained success. Managers who take a focused approach to plans and planning outperform their club’s budget. Advance planning reduces risk as managers identify potential threats and opportunities. Established, well-stated goals and objectives simplify and clarify your intentions.

This article was authored by GGA Partner Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry Magazine

GGA Careers: Associate


Global Golf Advisors (“GGA”) is expanding and we are looking for a highly motivated associate to join our firm and grow with our team.


Working alongside fellow Associates, and reporting to GGA’s Managers and Senior Leadership team, you will perform specialized research and advisory tasks as described below:

  • Collecting and analyzing financial and operational data from a variety of sources for specific client engagements;
  • Conducting in-depth market research for leisure related businesses around the world;
  • Assistance with report and presentation preparation while working with other team members;
  • Input and tabulation of data, monitoring industry statistics and following trends in the industry;
  • Calculation and analysis of financial information and operational metrics;
  • Managing multiple client deliverable deadlines.

The successful candidate will be hard-working with a high attention to detail and a passion for research and analytics.


  • Professional services experience with a major accounting or consulting firm;
  • Experience with golf, private club, residential real estate or resort businesses;
  • Minimum education is a Bachelor’s Degree in Business or Related;
  • Strong communication skills (i.e., interpersonal skills, telephone etiquette, etc.);
  • Strong analytical skills;
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office applications, including but not limited to Excel, Word, and PowerPoint;
  • Understanding of financial statements;
  • Must possess fluency in the English language;
  • Detail oriented; and,
  • Strong market research skills.

Start Date: As soon as possible.
Salary: Commensurate with experience.
Location: Toronto, Canada

All qualified applicants should apply to with relevant applicant materials.

Plotting for Budgetary Triumphs

GGA Partner Henry DeLozier offers 5 tips to help golf course superintendents obtain the resources they need to meet expectations.

The budget cycle is complete at most golf facilities for the 2020 calendar year. If your budget was approved and you received the allocation you hoped for, congratulations. But if you feel a lack of funding puts your plan for staffing, course conditioning and maintenance in jeopardy, you might need a different approach to the next budget cycle. Here are five steps to consider when planning your budget.

1. Identify the Gatekeeper.

There is often one person who sets the tone for the next year’s budget. It’s normally the controller or accounting manager; in private clubs, it may be the chair of the finance committee. This person sets the minimum standards for the budget, and he or she must be educated and kept informed regarding your priorities and needs. Research the background experience of the gatekeeper so you understand the perspective from which he or she considers budget requests. Take the time well ahead of the budgeting period to ensure that this key player understands what is needed and the extent to which you have gone to manage costs.

2. Understand the Budgeting Process.

Many golf courses and clubs use different budgeting processes, sequences and schedules for development, planning and decision-making. Make sure you understand the expectations for your role, and then work diligently to exceed them by providing background and support information ahead of schedule. Understand how your club handles budgeting and who the decision-makers are. Meet with them to explain your needs and priorities. Explore and learn their viewpoints concerning your budget needs and how they evaluate your problem-solving. Help them to know how much thought and planning you have given their viewpoints.

3. Plan Ahead of the Process.

Schedule quarterly budget-planning meetings with the gatekeeper and key influencers of your budget submittal. Inform them fully of your needs for the next budget year, answer their questions and demonstrate your commitment to their preferences and needs. Invite them into your operation so they may judge for themselves your organization and methods of management. They need to understand that you are efficient and diligent with the funds for which you are responsible.

4. Organize Your Roster of Priorities.

Knowing the viewpoints of the gatekeeper and influencers involved in your budget helps you prepare your list of your priorities. Be concise in stating your game plan and the rationale behind your requests. Support each proposed budget line item with incremental details for costs per unit of measure and the number of units required. Show all the facts and figures that support your needs. Your objective is to ensure that the gatekeeper understands the due diligence and conscientious approach that went into your request, which will increase their confidence in the validity of your request.

5. Educate the Influencers.

Prepare individualized budget discussions with influencers. Schedule one-on-one meetings with each person who will have a voice in approving your budget. Persuade one influencer at a time until you have met with each of them and gotten their buy-in. See that you understand their viewpoints and biases. Once you fully understand the individuals, evaluate the group thinking to which you must respond.

By understanding the budget influencers’ priorities and then presenting your credentials in an organized and well-researched fashion, you’re well on your way to getting the decision you want and the budget that will help you do your job more effectively.

This article was authored by GGA Partner Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry Magazine

A Better Way to Communicate

Churning out communications to your members with little thought for who you are speaking to and what medium you are using is not a recipe for success.

As GGA’s Henry DeLozier explains, putting a little more thought and attention to detail into your communications is an impactful, and cost effective, way to make your members feel valued and included.

“Communication in our club is poor”

A phrase that is commonplace in surveys and focus groups we run on behalf of clients across North America – often despite the best efforts of club leaders to improve communications at their clubs.

As much as we would like to prescribe a formula that is guaranteed to improve member relations, the reality is that the communications world evolves continuously, including the ways members consume and exchange information, and the platforms on which they do so.

While this can present a challenge, the evolution in communications technology has also brought opportunities to the fore: opportunities to increase the relevance of your communications, learn more about your members habits and preferences, and branch out to networks of potential new members.

With that in mind, there are some tactics you may wish to consider to enhance your communications relationship with members and club stakeholders:

1. Keep your club website relevant.

As Linda Dillenbeck, a director at Global Golf Advisors and a communications expert, observes, “Most clubs’ websites are outdated, disconnected, and dysfunctional.” Dillenbeck estimates that a private club website has a relatively short shelf-life of around three years. When did you last update your website?

Incremental improvements which factor in the latest in web technology enhancements can increase the aesthetic appeal, user-friendliness and accessibility of your site ten-fold.

Think too about regular updates to your image portfolio and news sections. Investing the time and not letting them become dormant shows members that you care and invokes a sense of pride and belonging.

2. Empower club members to communicate.

The advent of mobile camera technology has handed the power for members to become regular content creators, some of whom may produce high quality photographs and videos of your club.

While you cannot control what they say or post, compelling content drawing on the attributes of your club and amplified to member and stakeholder networks can enhance the club’s reputation among members and the outside world.

Vindicate their efforts by engaging through club social media channels, via email or otherwise. It shows you are interested and supportive, and gives a sprinkling of kudos to what they have produced.

3. Organize information into communication “bites”.

The relative attention span of most recipients is shrinking, so the club should look to communicate in small “bites” – morsels of interesting activities, friends enjoying mutual interests or snippets from club events. Keep it short and to the point.

4. Use tailored media.

Rather than indiscriminately provide all things to all members, ask them to personalize their information expectations and preferences into a member profile so that the club may communicate with each member on the member’s terms.

Regular prompts to update their preferences can provide useful insights into any trends developing over time and how this should be translated to what and how you provision information to them.

5. Measure effectiveness.

Monitor engagement levels from all outgoing communications. Track which members are – and are not – receiving and engaging with information from the club.

By doing so you can start to build out segments of members (starting with engaged / not engaged) and begin to increase the relevance of your communications methods and messages.


Crafting the right messages takes time and attention, as does knowing how to communicate them. By better understanding what methods and messages are most influential to members and stakeholders, you can start making meaningful progress and increasing engagement.

In any case, make it personal.

Stop Thinking ‘Retention’, Start Thinking ‘Relationship’

Retention is something of a time-selective phrase in club management.

Its definition has, arguably, become too closely rooted in taking action (usually) at the time of membership renewals to ensure as many existing members continue their membership as possible.

While that is a plausible (and at times necessary) position to take, the side effect is that it can begin to build a perception among members that you only care about them when it is in the club’s financial interest to do so.

So how can you go about changing that?

By facilitating meaningful relationships. From the moment they join, for the life of their membership.

The relationships your club cultivates for and with members are essential in developing and maintaining relevance – a key factor in positioning your club to achieve high levels of member satisfaction, retention, and recruitment.

Create the Social Links

Your priority in the early stages should be to integrate the new member into the social fabric of the club.

It’s easy to slip into thinking a member’s perception of the club’s value to them will revolve around the golf course or particular amenities and services you provide. But these tend not to be key factors in deciding whether to stay or leave, especially if they can experience them elsewhere.

What really sets your club apart is the existing membership base: the internal club networks and friendship groups that have established over time. This is the one thing that no other club can imitate. The more you can nurture and facilitate these inclusive and accessible networks, the stronger the emotional connection you can begin to create between new members and the club.

With that in mind, here are some useful ways to help facilitate the kinds of relationships that will instill loyalty and exceed the expectations of new members:

  • Invite them along to new member events (where they can get to know other new members).
  • Identify other like-minded members or members of a similar age to engage or play a round of golf with the new member.
  • Encourage or create opportunities for their family members to engage with the club at an early stage, through new member events, social events or simply by inviting them along to experience the club.

Develop the Connection to Expectations

Fast-forward the clock. These new members are no longer new members and have settled into life at the club. Hopefully, by this stage, they will have established meaningful relationships with fellow members and will be enjoying all aspects of membership.

Now is not the time to become complacent.

As Michael Gregory, GGA Director of Private Club Services, points out, “If you’re not exceeding the expectations of a member, then they are an ‘at risk’ member.”

But how do you keep exceeding expectations? Here’s some thoughts to consider:

  • Assess their satisfaction through a general member survey, or even through a dedicated survey for those of a similar member profile.
  • Identify areas of improvement through the survey and act on them. There is nothing worse than providing a forum by way of a survey but not following through on what your members are telling you.
  • Monitor individual engagement with the club, and look out for any profound changes of usage and utilization. Where there are changes, take the time to understand these and go the extra mile where it’s appropriate to do so.

Deepen the Sense of Belonging

Once members notch up 10 years or more, it’s safe to assume the club has become an integral part of their social life and, hopefully, their family’s too. They have likely forged a number of friendships, become attached to internal networks, and continue to enjoy the services offered by the club.

In this case it would likely take a significant event or set of circumstances to cause their departure.

However, as with any member, this should not reduce how attentive you are towards to this group. This is a group that will likely engage most with the club and have a greater sense of belonging, but also carry a greater influence – and this can be positive and negative.

So how do you manage this group effectively?

  • Have them play an active role in welcoming new members to the club. This will continue to enrich their relationship with the club, bestow a sense of trust in them, and retain a feeling of freshness.
  • Make them feel special. Organize specific events or social opportunities such as father / son or mother / daughter competitions, themed nights or games nights geared towards enhancing the emotional connection they have with the club.
  • Give them a voice – at this point in their member lifecycle they have a wealth of experience to draw from. Ignoring their suggestions can result in the emergence of vocal minorities, so give them every opportunity to serve on committees/boards and take an active role in the programming at the Club.

Retention is something managers focus on when renewals come around; relationships are something they develop year-round. If you can switch your focus to building and developing the relationships your members have with and at your club, you can continually exceed their expectations and create a sense of belonging that they will find difficult to live without.


This article was authored by GGA Manager Ben Hopkinson