Report: Golf clubs more efficient

Growing Golf
A club leader's perspective

More than nine in ten golf club leaders believe their organisation’s operations will be more efficient in the future as a result of changes made during the pandemic, according to a new report.

The research, called A Club Leader’s Perspective: Emerging Trends and Challenges and published by GGA Partners, an international consulting firm, surveyed more than 500 club managers, board members, mid-level managers and department heads to provide a contemporary update on the needs in club management.

The aim of the research findings is to help club leaders and their boards prepare for the next normal and reset for growth beyond Covid-19.

Henry DeLozier, a Partner at GGA Partners, tells “Club leaders are optimistic that they have navigated through an historic period and successfully so, for the most part. Club leaders – as a group – have never stood taller than in coping with the novel coronavirus.

“As a group, they demonstrated remarkable agility, innovativeness and tenacity finding new solutions to serve their members and staff.”

However, the principal challenges faced by leaders are labor shortages, rising labor costs, enforcing public-safety requirements and re-inventing member services, programs and concepts.

DeLozier warns: “The rapid growth in demand for private club memberships is not sustainable as working people redefine their work-life balance. Nevertheless, the gains achieved during the past 18 months can be protected with imaginative programming for members’ activities and entertainments.

“Many clubs have adapted successfully and are prepared for a good run; slow adopting clubs must now play catch-up. Key to protecting – and incrementally sustaining new-member growth – will be (a) innovative solutions to labor constraints as clubs seek to recruit and retain primary and secondary staff positions; (b) infusing club cultures with new events and activities which stimulate lifelong learning and the genuine sense of belonging; and, (c) reinforcing the purpose of the club – shared social interactions and meaningful entertainments.”

The overarching advice from the research is for clubs to experiment, be brave and take an agile approach to operations. Diligent measurement and flexibility in the face of a changing landscape also remain essential.

DeLozier concludes: “If well-conceived and managed, clubs can and should occupy the convergence point for personal and professional needs and obligations.

“Clubs must abandon outdated limitations to enable members to redefine their lives within and through the club, such as enabling members to work, providing childcare accommodations at the club for working people and re-imaging dining solutions to enable busy people to carry food away from the club.

“It’s a massive shift for some clubs and will require brave and innovative thinking. For many clubs, the ability to change and innovate will prove transformative to the club’s benefit.”