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March 2017

Stimulating Brains And Business

stimulatingbrainsandbusiness.jpg‭With a plethora of educational sessions at your disposal during the 2017 Golf Business Conference, it’s understandable if you weren’t able to dive into each and every presentation available. Thankfully, Golf Business has you covered.

Were you able to steal the Results Ring from OnCourse Operations president Cathy Harbin? In her session, “Leadership Tactics for Operational Success,” the former managing director of Golf 20/20 broke down how operators can create a system to keep them on track.

Harbin knows as well as anyone how curveballs can arise even in the best-laid plans, but “the ring” does its best to keep things in balance and ensure profitability. Operators must create a plan, then have the drive and action to train, build culture and sell. And, of course, these leaders must then monitor and measure what’s going on.

Leaders who build that plan and implement the Results Ring likely also took in the session “Team of Teams: Three Vital Steps To Drive High Performance at Your Facility.” The presentation—hosted by Lyne Tumlinson of Lift Team Coaching—was highlighted by its own diagram that tracks the best teamwork practices at a facility. The lower half, which encompasses dependence, independence and codependence, helps make up the “Toxic Triangle,” where each aspect is all about serving one’s self rather than the organization. Instead, interdependence focuses on serving others, in part through healthy conflict, trust and respect.

Of course, while internal compromise is vital to any golf course operation, customer retention may be the key to longevity. Billy Casper Golf’s Emily Clark and Danielle Hopper tackled the issue later in the conference, sharing insights on how owners can climb the pyramid of a consumer’s fundamental value attributes in order to gain their loyalty.

Through connection, communication and experience, the two believe, operators can build a dedicated following and, in turn, increase their retention. Perceived value weighs more than a simple asking price, they maintain, and following the “big three” of those retention beliefs can lead to this long-term success.

“If it’s all about getting guests to come back, it’s crucial to change the conversation,” the pair note. “Our guests don’t care about retention. That’s not their goal. What it means for a consumer is to be loyal to something.”

Del Ratcliffe understands the importance of that guest and his or her experience. The president of Ratcliffe Golf Services gathers piles of data from his guests in a “Perfect Guest” worksheet. From that came guest personas, a detailed description of a fictional person that represents a particular segment of his business. From those bios, which he broke down in his session “It’s a Data-Driven World,” Ratcliffe’s facilities were able to better serve current golfers and target those who may also enjoy his courses.

“Once he gets there, we need to have a strategy—all the data and information you’re collecting on him doesn’t really do a lot of good if we don’t,” Ratcliffe posits. “We want to stimulate additional business from him.”

Both the guest experience and an efficient operation behind those guests are the keys to any thriving golf facility. Are you doing what’s necessary to thrive at your course, and are you applying the lessons learned from those who paved the way for you?

—Chris Cox

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