Club improvement spotlights 7th Annual Presidents' Council
The Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 7th Annual Presidents’ Council — held March 23 at Waynesborough CC — presented diverse insights on improving club management, operations and customer service.
GAP Executive Director Mark Peterson (left) presents Laurence Hirsh with a gift of thanks following Hirsh's presentation.
More than 110 GAP Member Club Presidents, Club Managers, Superintendents and Club Officials attended the seminar, which was designed to educate key personnel and to examine topics and issues affecting every club in the Association.
This year’s featured speakers included Henry DeLozier, a principal for Global Golf Advisors, Laurence A. Hirsh, president of Golf Property Analysts, and Cary Cavitt, author, speaker and founder of “Service Starts with a Smile Seminars.” Each offered club leaders suggestions on how to effectively provide exemplary services essential for survival.
DeLozier assessed how clubs throughout the golf industry can earn a “top performer” distinction.
“What we’re seeing now is a separation between top performers and those who are simply striving to execute the day’s activities,” he said. “The top performers are clearly separating themselves because their paying attention to detail and driving for greater results. This is a time that’s rewarding mastery and brutally punishing mediocrity.”
Top performers, according to DeLozier, also exceed their objectives, expand their vision beyond day-to-day tasks and demonstrate a recurring pattern of balance. They display a high capacity for resolution within a challenging economic climate. DeLozier believes that clubs should use data no greater than two years old when gauging their status in the golf industry. Becoming a top performer, he feels, starts with a constant desire to improve.
Hirsh outlined the factors clubs must take into account concerning renovation projects. Detailed research, realistic cost estimates and future impact mark areas that, if given the proper attention, make renovations successful. Hirsh also promoted the “stay ahead of the airplane” concept, which club leaders should implement when discussing potential changes.
“We’re going through a strong evolution,” he said. “Thirty years ago, a club used to celebrate standards. Today, instead of tradition, we talk about technology. Instead of exclusiveness, we talk about diversity. Value in membership is critical.”
Customer service is the core of a club’s character, according to Cavitt. Management must make members and guests alike feel welcome and taken care of when using their facilities. Sincere interpersonal communication, loyalty, appreciation and attentiveness represent effective “people skills.”
“Great customer service has everything to do with trust,” Cavitt said. “I will not recommend your club or your business unless I absolutely trust you.”
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 144 Member Clubs and more than 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.