Golf has its equivalent parasites, associated entities and amenities that are along for the ride. If golf is going to survive and prosper, which I know it can, it may need to shake itself loose from the things that have infringed upon the game and now have somehow become "essential" to every golf facility.
Here is the reality of what a golf facility needs.........a golf course. Yep, thats it.
Everything else at a golf facility needs to be able to stand alone and support itself starting today.
We have all kinds of "stuff" that needs to be evaluated based on its necessity to influence in a positive way, the experience of the game and the associated cost of it. The leadership of each facility, in my opinion, are in the best position to do this at their facility, not some fancy consultant who will make changes and moonwalk into obscurity. Club leadership is in the position to re-evaluate and make subsequent changes. They are also in the position to "vet" constructive criticism to determine the validity of helpful input (experienced leadership will understand that sentence).
It would be wonderful to be able to go back into time and determine a zero based beginning. To go back and be able to go from ground zero and add only those amenities that the golfer was willing and able to pay for. We would no longer be force feeding amenities to our customers. Holding them down and shoving a big handful of $100 minimums into there mouths. Don't want to eat here? Ok, I'm not going to provide food.....imagine that. 90% of food sales immediately follow golf and are hamburgers? Don't even ask for salmon salad on a Wednesday night!
There is a history of the country club and how it evolved that I will discuss in another blog post, but understanding the history of the club allows us to see how we became what we are, and why that is outdated for the majority of mid-level clubs. I will not define mid-level clubs, but suffice it to say that if you are seriously worried about what removing ball washers will do to your image....Yep, your mid-level....which is fine and wonderful and essential to the pleasure of many peoples lives; but understand that you may be trying to be something that very few of your members or customers want to pay for you to be. Notice I didn't say what the members or customers want.....but what they are willing to pay for.
I recently did a quick twitter poll about ball washers on the golf course. I was surprised, but half of the respondents voted for the dumpster to be the final resting place for these amenities.
Ball washers are a great example of shear silliness that golf experienced through the boom. The rules of golf allow a ball to be marked, lifted, and cleaned when it is on the putting surface. We clean the ball before making a putting stroke because it is the most precise stroke that can really make a difference in score. The ball is cleaned, replaced, and holed. Please explain how this clean ball gets dirty making its way to the next tee. Hmmmmmm
Lets say you are going to pull out another ball and use it for the next hole, but it is dirty because you spent the majority of last evening digging balls out of the ditch behind the fifth hole. Fair enough....use your towel that you used to clean the ball from the last green. I don't think that the facility should be required to provide you with both a place to steal your fellow golfers lost balls and a place to clean said stolen property. Could we do anything more to encourage our members and customers to not use the golf shop that exists to provide such things?
|Winter Park Country Club|
Now, if a club or course determines that towels add to the experience and everyone is willing to pay for it..awesome, give me one. I would also like a cool one in the coolers on a 100 degree day please. But if I just payed $40 for a round of golf, I am probably willing to make my own sandwich and you can charge me cost plus 10% for the ingredients.
What I find amazing is that in the midst of budget crunching and dollar stretching, the country club industry consumes valuable and limited resources by retaining and providing amenities that are perceived to hold value. It would seem to me, that in times where we are re-orienting priorities and focusing on the bottom line, that we would assess all the aspects of our operations to determine what is truly necessary and beneficial.