Provocative ideas, concepts highlight fifth annual Presidents' Council
The Golf Association of Philadelphia held its fifth annual Presidents' Council March 24 at Waynesborough Country Club.
About 150 representatives from various Golf Association of Philadelphia Member Clubs had the opportunity to learn about topics such as club marketing, technology use and food/beverage operations. This year’s presentations also addressed the nation’s current economic crisis and its effect on the golf industry.
|Steve Graves speaks|
at the Presidents' Council.
Featured speakers included Steve Graves, President of Creative Golf Marketing; Bill Boothe, Director of Club Technology Consulting Services for RSM McGladrey, Inc.; and Bill Schwartz, CEO and founder of System Concepts, Inc.
“We’re happy to have you all here, especially in these challenging economic times. We have three speakers here that will help us deal with these challenges,” Richard P. Meehan Jr., the Golf Association of Philadelphia president, said at the event’s outset.
Graves spoke about how clubs can retain and attract members during the nation’s economic crisis. He addressed club membership and marketing in 2005 as a featured speaker at GAP’s first Presidents’ Council.
“Four years later, we still have the same issue,” Meehan said.
Currently, about 70 percent of private club members quit within the first year of membership, Graves said.
“They do so for one of two reasons,” he said. “One, it’s more expensive than they thought or two, it takes up more time than they thought.”
One way clubs can increase membership retention and recruitment, Graves said, is by offering monthly dues following the first year of association.
“Annual dues are death. They are horrible,” he said.
Boothe spoke about how technology can be an asset to clubs during troubled economic times. It can be used, he said, to add value to membership, to improve member retention, to increase revenue and to reduce costs.
A club’s Web site is a critical tool, according to Boothe. He urged club officials to keep them as fresh and “robust” as possible.
“Think about the Web sites that you go to on a daily basis. You go there because they have new information,” Boothe said.
Bill Schwartz, the final speaker at the 2009 Presidents’ Council, presented a concept that he developed, titled “Bulletproofing Club F&B Operations.” He offered ways to improve cash flow and to reduce waste within food and beverage management.
One way that clubs can maximize food and beverage operations, Schwartz said, is by reducing costs.
“You’re not trying to make a killing on your members, but you’re also not trying to kill your members,” he said. “Spending more money than you need to spend is not what your business is about. We’re all feeling the same pain, and very few of us are about to open our wallets and spend more money if we don’t have to.”
The 2009 Presidents’ Council was a success.
“The speakers offered new approaches to club operations and challenged club leaders to consider new ways to address the economic challenges facing our clubs,” Meehan said. “Many of the best ideas came from fellow club leaders.”
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 135 Member Clubs and 56,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The purpose of the Association is simple: To promote, protect and preserve the game of golf in the region.
*Bulletproofing Club F&B Operations - Bill Schwartz, founder of SCI, System Concepts, Inc.
*Club Technology for Troubled Economic Times - Bill Boothe, Director of Club Technology Consulting Services for RSM McGladrey, Inc.