September 1, 2016 Edition
I am sure many of you have seen the TV Show, Under Cover Boss, where the boss is disguised and then enters his or her own company to view how things are being handled in the daily operations. In my role, I frequently find myself in golf shops all around the state. When I enter I often have the opportunity to view the staff in their interactions with customers and yes, sometimes judge their interactions with the customers. You would be surprised at what I see! I could create my own reality TV show from some of my experiences.
Recently, I entered a golf shop to see one young person behind the counter and several disgruntled customers in line. There were issues with not enough golf carts being available, refunds being demanded and then frustrations as the young staff member did not know how to handle the situation (and quite honestly was only making matters worse with some gruff, short responses and body language that clearly showed anger toward the customers). I don’t think any of the customers exited the facility with a positive feeling.
Do you know how your frontline staff is handling situations when you are not around? Do they smile and acknowledge each customer or do they make them wait and then barely look up at them while they finish sending a text? Are they good at handling all of the “easy” customers but struggle with how to handle the “difficult” situations?
Use this off-season to create a staff training program based on customer service. Be specific. Exactly what do you want them to say when they answer the phone, what is the proper phone etiquette while working the front counter, how should they greet a customer, etc.? Provide the staff training program to your staff members and then discuss some of the most common problems or complaints at the facility. Discuss how to handle a disgruntled customer.
Equip your staff so they are prepared and confident in those difficult situations. At my first position in the golf industry, the Head Golf Professional would do role play scenarios with us. He would portray the unhappy customer and would be absolutely relentless in his role. He would push us to the extreme just to make sure we were confident in our ability to diffuse a potentially explosive situation. As a result, we had a much better picture of how he wanted us to handle situations and we had a definite plan of action that we could rely upon when needed. It was a great exercise for all of us and it proved to be an incredible learning experience. Don’t assume that your young employees will automatically know how to handle themselves in a pressure situation. Teach them, mentor them and in the long run not only will they be better for it, but you will have happy customers lining up to your counter!
If you are interested in this topic, I have several resources that I would be happy to share with you. Please feel free to contact me for any further information.
August 1, 2016 Edition
August is here and the kids are heading back to school again. Now is the perfect time to reach out to a local school, work with a P.E. Teacher and schedule a Golf in Schools Program. Professionals have shared some great success stories with me based on their prior programs, including: increased revenue by being able to offer After School Golf Clubs, being able to provide a PGA Jr. League team for the school, establishing strong relationships with the school and community that lead to other opportunities. Remember that Golf House Kentucky has all the equipment available for you to use for your program. SNAG sets, targets, and inflatables are available to create a fun learning atmosphere for the kids. If you need assistance with lesson plans or any other details of your program please do not hesitate to reach out to me. This is a great way to expose new kids to the game and develop your name within your community!
The KPGA Middle School State Championship is scheduled to be held on October 1st at Quail Chase Golf Club. In only the second year of this event it has grown tremendously and will include 6 different regional qualifiers around the state to be played on September 24th & 25th. If you have any middle school golfers who you believe would like to participate, please have them contact Golf House Kentucky for further details. If you visit the website at www.kygolf.org, click on the Junior Golf tab and then click on The KPGA Middle School State Championship you can find out all of the details for the event, including eligibility, cost, format, etc. It is our hope that this event will lead to more middle schools around the state creating golf teams thereby increasing the number of young people playing the game. This also creates a great opportunity for our PGA Professionals to provide clinics or coach these teams! Please share this info with your young golfers and help us grow the event. Thank you!
July 1, 2016 Edition
I have recently had the opportunity to be involved with several LPGA Girls Golf Clubs around the state. This is an awesome program for getting girls interested in the game! Any PGA or LPGA member can start their own program at their facility. You can do just one clinic or create a series of clinics, whatever your time frame will allow. You can research the program further at www.lpga.com. Click on the “Girls Golf” tab, then click on “Get Involved”, then click on “Start a Program” to get started. The LPGA provides you with creative lesson plans designed specifically for girls, promotional materials, member kits for the kids with tee gifts and lots of other helpful tools. The programs I have seen allowed the girls to learn in a fun, friendly and comfortable environment with the opportunity for social interaction and making new friends. If you are interested or have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
July is a great time to start advertising a fall junior golf program at your facility. Plan an after-school program a few days a week and keep your summer golfers on the course for a longer period of time. If you were involved with PGA Jr. League, then start a fall program with a few other facilities and have some fun, exhibition matches during the months of September and October. Be sure to hand out promotional information to all of your summer junior camps so they can plan ahead for your fall program. This is a great time to ask your current junior golfers to “Bring a Friend Day” in the fall and try to double the size of your program. Good luck!
June 1, 2016 Edition
This month’s article is all about juniors! The popularity of Drive Chip & Putt is escalating at an unbelievable pace! It turns out that everyone wants to go to Augusta! Now is the perfect time to capitalize on this positive momentum at your facility. Use the Drive Chip & Putt Instruction Playbook that is available on www.pga.org and www.kygolf.org to create fun, competitive events for your juniors. Host clinics that focus on the three skills and host competitive events that prepare your juniors for their Local Qualifiers. You will find that your adults will want to give it a try as well!
Monday, June 27th, Standard Country Club in Louisville will host the traditional Pro-Junior Championship as well as the Pro-PGA Jr. League Team Championship. This is a great opportunity to enjoy the game with your junior golfers! Grab your three best players at your facility and try to win the 18 hole Pro-Junior Championship. Recruit a team of your PGA Jr. League Golfers to compete in a 9-hole friendly scramble team format. This all equates to 27-Holes of fun and connecting with your juniors! You can play in both events or just one of the events. Registration is on-line at www.kygolf.org . I remember playing in this event as a young junior golfer and it was such an incredible experience to be able to play with my professional. The kids will never forget the day they spent with their pro!
The Kentucky PGA has created a PGA Jr. League Golf Tournament Series that takes place after the conclusion of the regular season. If you are a PGA Jr. League Captain you will receive an email with a flyer for these events. Please share this information with your families and encourage your juniors to continue to play through the fall season. The format is still a two-person scramble. It will be 9-holes of stroke play, instead of match play. These are great events for your juniors to play with a friend, compete at different facilities and enjoy the fall weather. Keep your PGA Jr. League golfers on the course after the regular season has ended! If you have any questions about these events, please contact me and I will assist you.
May 1, 2016 Edition
Encourage all of your junior golfers who play 9 holes or more to get a golf handicap! This is a great way to motivate your junior golfers. Teach them goal setting and provide incentives for improvement. The incentive doesn’t have to be merchandise or anything expensive. If they reach their goal they get to pour an ice bucket over your head or hit you with water balloons – something fun that will engage them. Challenge them to improve from a 20.0 to a 15.0 handicap. How are they going to reach that goal? They will need to do two things, seek out more instruction and play more golf! This is a sure fire way to connect with your juniors and to help them improve their games.
After your local PGA Jr. League has been officially formed on Sport Ngin, then your team will appear on the mobile app. Use that mobile app to enhance the experience for your families. You can use the app to send messages to the team, score games, schedule practices, etc. One of the best features is the RSVP function. You can ask all of your golfers to RSVP for the next match so you know who will be attending. This is a great way to communicate with your team and provide that extra special touch to your customers. Keep an eye out for future emails that will provide tutorials on how to use the mobile app!
Google your city and search for local ladies organizations. Reach out to those ladies and offer a beginner Get Golf Ready style of instruction program to their group. Ladies like to learn the game with their friends. Find groups that already exist and offer them the opportunity to learn the game together. Provide fun social events in addition to the instruction. A “Night at the Beach” with beach drinks to learn sand shots. A “Chip N Sip” night with appetizers, drinks and a chipping clinic. Make it a unique experience that they will not forget and you will have their attention for future clinics!
April 1, 2016 Edition
Handicap posting has begun for the 2016 season. How can you use your handicap data base for Player Development purposes? Several professionals have shared the following idea for how to increase instructional opportunities. Check the handicap records for your golfers from last year. Did some of the golfers handicaps go up significantly during the year? If yes, then contact those individuals, mention that you noticed their handicap had risen and offer for them to drop by for a quick 15-20 minute tune-up. Let them know you care about their games and that “the game is more fun when you play better”. You can then use that free lesson time to re-connect with the golfer, encourage them to play more, join a league, take lessons, etc. Use your handicap database to discover the students that need you the most!
PGA Junior League Golf Captain Registration has taken place and now it is time to recruit your players! Some Best Practices for player recruitment include making personal phone calls. The enthusiasm you have for your juniors, the intricacies of the program and the personal connection you make with your families cannot be adequately revealed in an email. Pull out your member roster, check your database, identify your key juniors and then make a phone call to those families to share the benefits of the PGA Jr. League Golf program. For every junior golfer that signs up for the team, challenge them to find a friend to join them. This is a great way to increase your junior numbers. Also, never underestimate the power of grandparents. One professional told me that he recruited ½ of his team by reaching out to his senior golfers and encouraging them to sign up their grandkids. Of course, emails, signs, flyers, posters, word of mouth are also good tactics to recruit your team. Make it a top priority for the month of April.
Player Development Equipment reservations are rapidly being made for the summer months. If you have an important date and you want to reserve some equipment, I encourage you to do so immediately. The inflatables now include a Golfzilla, Hippo, Shark, Gator, two Spoked Air Targets that are great for games such as BlackJack and coming soon in late summer will be a new Gorilla. SNAG equipment, SNAG targets, 3 Hitting Bays and birdie balls are also available. Create a Family Fun Day, make junior golf camps extra special, provide fun games for your Member-Guest, make an event at your facility extra special. Email me if you are interested in making a reservation!
March 1, 2016 Edition
March is the month to prepare for your PGA Jr. League Golf Season! Captain Registration has now opened. Be sure to visit either pgajlg.com or pga.org to register as a Captain for this season. I highly suggest that you read the Pre-Registration Checklist that is posted on the site prior to beginning your registration. There are several key items listed on the checklist that you will need to prepare answers for prior to starting your registration. Each Captain will receive a free background check with their registration. All other volunteers, coaches, etc. will need to register as a volunteer and pay $16.50 for the background check. The background check is mandatory for volunteers and coaches. After the Captain’s background check has been approved (usually 48-72 hours), then your team page will be formed. When the team page is formed, then your parents can start signing up their junior golfers for the season.
March is the time to promote your program and recruit your players. I suggest using the Marketing Resource Center on pga.org to print out flyers, brochures, signs, etc. to place around your facility. Use your database to email your potential junior golfers. Call your juniors and invite them to be a part of your team. Reach out into the community, schools, churches, etc. to advertise and recruit new players for the upcoming season. Ask last year’s players to invite a friend to participate this year. Promote the program to grandparents at your facility. Remember that the program is designed for juniors ages 13 & under. Juniors are eligible if they will not reach their 14th birthday prior to August 1st of the current year.
Once your league has been formed, you may create your schedule. I can help your league with the scheduling process by facilitating a league conference call and providing scheduling templates. It is important for leagues to discuss their structures. What are their fees for the program? What is their range ball policy and fees? What is their spectator cart policy and fees? How will the All Star Teams be formed for the league? These are important questions that you will want to answer prior to the start of your season. The 2016 Post Season will begin in late July or early August, so it is best to finish your regular season by July 25th. The Kentucky PGA Jr. League State Championship is scheduled for Sunday, August 21st at Quail Chase in Louisville. Mark your calendars!
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or if you need any assistance. My office number is 502-243-8295, ext. 307 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Best of luck for a successful season!