PGAs of EuropeManagement – PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com Home of the PGAE Thu, 23 Nov 2017 23:35:13 +0000 en-gb hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 Benchmarking Performance: A Facility’s Secret Weapon http://www.pgae.com/ask/benchmarking-performance-a-facilitys-secret-weapon/ Wed, 10 May 2017 12:18:13 +0000 Golf Management Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=18191 Getting the full picture of how your golf club is performing means you also need to know how you are measuring up against your competitors and the market...]]>

Getting the full picture of how your golf club is performing means you also need to know how you are measuring up against your competitors and the overall golf market.

 Here the PGAs of Europe and PGA Professional, Mark Taylor, explore this underutilised area of management looking at where to start and what to think about when it comes to benchmarking your facility…

Certainly many factors influence a club’s reputation and performance including; perception of the club’s brand, the quality of the course, course activity levels, recognition of the bottom line value of guest play; to name just a few!!

 

Benchmarking is a tool that provides facilities and management teams a way to compare their clubs with peers.

Here’s what to consider when benchmarking…

Benchmarking is a process for golf operations seeking to compare financial performance and operating metrics to others in the same industry and re-align business strategies that have become unsuitable.

Through considering the results and practices of others in the same space, an enterprise can potentially improve its own understanding and management of processes and practices.

Information is crucial, and this is accessible from various sources:

  • Competitor golf club websites and social media space
  • ‘Mystery shop’ your local golf clubs
  • Understanding trends in the market and adapting to meet those needs
  • Golf Benchmark National/International comparisons and metrics (e.g KPMG)
  • Benchmarking in local areas or regions

The factors that you may wish to consider in benchmarking competitors are:

  • Membership numbers and fees
  • Membership Retention
  • Visitor fee prices
  • Visitor packages
  • Food & Beverage
  • Golf Course reviews
  • PGA Professional Golf services, retail, membership sales and coaching provision
  • Is the PGA Professional active within recruitment & retention strategies?
  • Where and how competitors are marketing?
  • Are you comparing like for like products?
  • Is your benchmarking SMART in each area of comparison?

Only by knowing the answers to these basic questions and understanding where you fit in the local marketplace, can you be realistic about what is feasible.

The questions you wish to ask competitors may also vary – for example, in European tourist weighted/seasonal destinations, the benchmarking process may need to be adjusted to identify different gaps in a business from a conventional ‘member’ golf facility.

For venues that either currently benchmark or are evaluating the use of benchmarking processes, there are several factors to consider:

Resource:

Benchmarking is an important resource that a club has at its disposal and should be considered both during budgeting and strategic planning.

Planning:

Benchmarking helps club committees/course owners and management teams deliberate about plans and operations in new and more intelligent ways. It may also help reduce input drawn from other industries that may not apply to golf clubs and facilities. The operating, financing, investment, marketing and governance practices of golf clubs all have their own unique characteristics.

Understand the Limitations:

The first thing to understand is both the goals and the limitations of benchmarking.  It is, after all, a tool and not an answer. Comparing your club to others of similar standing should identify disparities that are worth understanding.  It is not a case of right or wrong, it is just a process to help develop more thoughtful questions and a better understanding of the surprising intricacy of the golf business.

Be sure to benchmark against a comparable set of venues…

In selecting facilities to benchmark against, it is important to choose a peer set with similar amenities. Comparing a golf-only club against clubs that provide, for example, leisure club integrated golf/leisure membership or dual course options etc. would make the comparison less meaningful.

For the same purpose, simply selecting clubs in your geographic area may not produce the most meaningful result. Comparing yourself with clubs of your general revenue size and, to the extent available, other factors including number of golf holes, amenity offerings, F&B revenues, etc. will help produce more telling results.  Studies have proven that geography means far less than one might intuitively suspect…

In addition to financial data, benchmarking operating data such as golf rounds played; the financing of capital expenditures, member numbers, membership costs, joining fees, governance practices etc. can be very valuable.

Key personnel within the club, including PGA Professionals have the ability and knowledge to treat this level of information with the respect it deserves and use it to drive positive change, improve service levels and profits, both in their business or for their employing club.

While the business model of golf is often consistent from venue to venue, each individual business is unique and is therefore required to make decisions based on their individual needs.

Benchmarking should not be considered a one-off exercise… To be effective, it must become an integral part of an ongoing improvement process, the goal being to be informed of ever-improving best practices and implement the necessary interventions to close the performance gap.

————————————–

Mark Taylor is a Development Officer for England Golf, a Fellow PGA of Great Britain & Ireland Professional, as well as a PGA Tutor and an R&A Golf Development Professional.

]]>
Benchmarking Performance: A Facility’s Secret Weapon
The Value to Organisations of Offering Career Support to Staff http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-value-to-organisations-of-offering-career-support-to-staff/ Mon, 01 May 2017 15:35:07 +0000 Coaching4Careers http://www.pgae.com/?p=18631 Coaching4Careers explain how career management conversations can help keep and develop staff...]]>

There is little recent data about career management conversations in the workplace:

Kelly Global Workforce Index – August 2014 (230,000 people across 31 countries participated)

  • 57% people agree that career development discussions are beneficial in terms of the opportunity to acquire new skills
  • Only 38% had these discussions with their employer in the past year
  • Only 29% are satisfied with the career development resources provided by their employer

With global employment trends changing all the time, the need to keep and develop staff should be at the top of an organisations agenda.

Whether the organisation is a school, SME, Not for Profit or Corporate, many seem frightened to invest in the career management of their staff, they think staff will be unsettled, leave, or want more than they can offer. Some work very well with their staff, helping them manage their careers and reap the reward. The reality is that staff who feel valued and invested in are more likely to stay with an organisation and be motivated to work harder.


“Managing human capital is a misnomer. Humans are ‘beings’. We want to be known and valued for who we are, and our aspirations and ambitions recognised and seen as important. It’s a missed opportunity for an employer not to attend to these needs and thereby reap the productivity gains that accrue from more motivated, loyal employees”

(Talent, Careers and Organisations, What Next? Corporate Research Forum)

The value an organisation can reap when investing in their staff:

Staff are more settled and less distracted as they have plans for their future

  • Organisations can plan their future if they know what their staff want and plan to do
  • Demographics
  • Succession planning
  • Recruitment
  • In house development of staff
  • An organisation planning what will happen with regards to its staff must be more cost effective
  • Fewer surprises
  • Less need for interim, agency or contract staff
  • Better ongoing communication between staff and employer
  • Staff more likely to say if they are looking for a new role
  • Organisation able to deliver a more structured handover if they know a member of staff 
is/wants to leave
  • Employers who cannot afford financial rewards/bonuses, can support the development and 
career management of staff, which can be a cost-effective reward process.

The ability to manage your career and future is a life skill, if organisations don’t invest in their staff to give them these skills, how can they then pass on these skills to the people who work for them and to the next generation who they might educate and/or influence.

There are many processes for managing careers and these can be integrated into a workplace environment, below is a cycle often used to develop process that works within different organisations, depending on what is needed and required by the organisation and their staff.

Often employees find it easier to have these conversations with someone external first.

“My volunteers felt better placed to plan an effective conversation with their manager once they’d been coached, which is a win-win for the organisation”

(T Delamare, An action research study on the barriers facing women developing their careers and how they can be supported using a coaching framework. MA Dissertation, Oxford Brookes University, 2016)

“Internally focused workplace development opportunities are likely to ensure that a particular employer realises investment in development for the organisation. Yet, the worker might not have the skills transferable to other organisations. This is in contrast with the premise of the type of ‘deal’ where enhancement of employability is the key value derived from the employment relationship by the worker. Instead, they may be receiving only the development that is relevant to their current employer, without the promise of job security.”

(CIPD – Attitudes to Employability and Talent, Sept 2016)

]]>
The Value to Organisations of Offering Career Support to Staff
Are You Ready For Your Golf Club’s Biggest Challenge? http://www.pgae.com/ask/are-you-ready-for-your-golf-clubs-biggest-challenge/ Fri, 21 Apr 2017 10:57:07 +0000 Golf Retailing http://www.pgae.com/?p=18625 Jane Carter looks at the growing trend to put PGA Professionals at the heart of what is often a golf club’s biggest challenge: growing the business...]]>

An innovative professional who is visible to members, visitors and guests and who understands the needs and challenges facing a modern golf club,’ was the final attribute in a job advert for a Director of Golf at a private members club.  

Jane Carter looks at the growing trend to put PGA Professionals at the heart of what is often a golf club’s biggest challenge: growing the business.


Too often conversations with golf club committees start with the words, “We have stopped the PGA Professional’s retainer. We just didn’t think we were getting value for money.” When you quiz them further it’s clear that, in their eyes, value for money is all about driving more revenue. Quiz them again on how they are expected to do this and ‘marketing’ is the buzz word.

A quick scan of the Situations Vacant pages reveals much the same: ‘Be responsible for a marketing strategy which covers all areas of golf operations,’ ‘boost membership,’ ‘increase green fee income’ and ‘improve the visitor experience’ are just some of the things clubs now want their PGA Pros to be responsible for.

Like it or not, the trend of putting a PGA Professional at the heart of revenue generation is a growing one, and what a fantastic position for you to be in. As I have written in this column before no one should know the business better than you. Are the members happy (retention?). Is the golf course busy? (Visitor/society business) If not why not? Is there a steady pipeline of potential new members? All of it revolves around the PGA Professional.

Many Professionals worry they don’t have the right skills but I guarantee that if you understand your golf club business, selling it is not that tough. You are already doing more than you think. The trick is to leverage that even further – and make sure the business knows you are at the heart of it.

However, the biggest issue facing the Professional when asked to market a golf club is simply whether the club really means it: I have seen enthusiastic marketing committees, newly recruited marketing managers and PGA Professionals buzzing with ideas to drive more revenue, suddenly hit a brick wall when it starts to actually happen. What started out as a happy collaboration can quickly turn to recriminations.

So if a golf club is turning to you to take the lead in revenue generation, here is my top ten checklist of the steps that you need to have in place:

  • Check that the golf club is really signed up to increasing the business. They may say they want more visitors but when they start appearing do the moans start coming? Setting revenue targets is the best way to test that commitment.
  • Know the business. Understand the green fee yield; course utilisation; membership attrition (especially in the newer member category); membership recruitment and how successful it has been in the past. Deal in facts not fiction.
  • Sit down with the golf club committee and set revenue targets around visitors and societies. Be realistic and careful to manage the expectations and fear of committees about too many visitors. Interestingly, they never feel they can have too many members!
  • Write a marketing plan. Perform one activity every week in the summer and less frequently but still regularly in the winter. It sounds a lot but consistency and repetition are the key.
  • Pricing is crucial. Sit down with your committee and agree a green fee pricing matrix for all times of the day, week and year. You would be surprised how innovative you can be. Discounting is part of any price matrix but also look for revenue generation through better green fee yield, upselling and repeat business.
  • Collect data. It will be at the heart of everything you do. Remember the old adage that 80 per cent of business is driven by 20 per cent of customers. It’s vital that you know and communicate with that 20 per cent on a regular basis…and your golf club will love you for it!
  • Surround yourself with the right tools: a marketing plan, a pricing matrix; a easy to manage and segmented customer database, an email campaign system, a mix of offers and promotions and a spreadsheet to monitor results.
  • Get ahead. Successful marketing happens because of successful implementation. Write your green fee marketing schedule for 2017 now. You know what is happening next year and the key events you can target. Don’t wait until they are upon you and probably at a time when you are at your busiest.
  • Agree a commission structure. If the business grows (and it will) you want to be rewarded for your efforts. Make it performance related and set realistic and achievable targets. If the green fee revenue is currently £30k and you believe you can grow it to £40k ask for a higher rate of commission on that £10K worth of ‘new’ business.
  • Tell them what you are doing and show that it is working. This is even more crucial in a volunteer structure where members don’t really see the day to day operation of their golf club. Set up a simple report covering the key revenue streams and send it round every month. Ask for a regular slot at the main general committee to give your report.

Building their trust in you to do a good job will take time and it’s important not to drive things too quickly. Green fee business is the simplest way to start but ultimately membership recruitment and retention are all significant revenue generators and as the trust builds so can your input in those key areas.

This article appears courtesy of Golf Retailing. For more information and to subscribe to the Golf Retailing Newsletter visit www.golfretailing.com.


Jane Carter is the Director of Golf Unlimited offering marketing strategy and implementation advice to golf clubs. She regularly delivers ‘Visitor and society marketing’ and Membership retention and recruitment’ workshops on behalf of England Golf.

For a full list of workshops now and in 2017 go to www.golfeducation.co.uk or contact her directly at jane.carter@golfconsulting.co.uk.

]]>
Are You Ready For Your Golf Club’s Biggest Challenge?
PGA Professional Spotlight: Home From Home for Silcock at Gleneagles http://www.pgae.com/ask/pga-professional-spotlight-home-from-home-for-silcock-at-gleneagles/ Tue, 04 Apr 2017 15:41:07 +0000 Golf Management Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=18535 Gary Silcock’s CV reads like a travelling golfer’s itinerary – and, like a golf tourist, he would argue he’s saved the best for last: Gleneagles.]]>

Gary Silcock’s CV reads like a travelling golfer’s itinerary – and, like a golf tourist, he would argue he’s saved the best for last: Gleneagles.

Coming up for two years in his job as director of golf for the world-renowned Perthshire resort, Silcock, 47, is able to reflect on a career which has already surpassed anything many of his contemporaries might achieve.

He is also in the enviable position of having two Ryder Cup venues on that aforementioned CV, though he wasn’t at either venue when they hosted the event.

Having qualified as a PGA pro in 1996 he secured his first position at the Home of Golf, St Andrews, working at the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, as a pro at the Duke’s Course. But he was always ambitious and, within a year, his head was turned by the offer of a head professional role in Portugal, at Parque da Floresta, where he was also golf operations manager.

He gained enormous experience during his five years on the Algarve, from designing and building a new golf academy to project managing the redevelopment of the golf course. That success made him a wanted man, particularly coveted by developers, and his next stop was India, at the Aamby Valley City gated resort, where he oversaw the pre-opening and then managed the floodlit course and PGA-branded academy.

His next port of call was a little closer to home, in Ireland, where, once again, he pre-opened a course: this time the PGA National Ireland at Palmerstown House. While undertaking a complete branding and development of the golf course and clubhouse, he also took on the responsibility of managing the sister property, the 36-hole Citywest Hotel, in Dublin.

In February 2006, he returned to the UK, as director of golf at four-time Ryder Cup venue The Belfry, where he stayed for almost seven years, before being lured to the sunshine at La Manga Club. There, as at The Belfry and in Ireland previously, he was responsible for three golf courses – plus two clubhouses and a Leadbetter Golf Academy.

Finally, he returned ‘home’ in March 2015 to the Gleneagles Hotel – again as director of golf, but this time in a position he readily admits is his ‘dream job’.

He explained: “When I went to The Belfry a lot of the reps, the people that I would chat with, they would ask me about my future; what did I want to do ultimately.

“And I would always say that my dream job was Gleneagles, so I’ve realised my dream. And Gleneagles is so big that I can still grow within it.”

For some, missing out on the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles might be a regret, but Silcock is phlegmatic about the timing of his appointment – and of that at The Belfry, where he was in a not dissimilar situation.

He smiled: “I’ve missed both of them – at Gleneagles and The Belfry. The Ryder Cup was held four times at The Belfry, and what we did there was we managed to keep that legacy going for a long time.

“The Belfry is very much a tour venue as well, as is Gleneagles. It’s very much up there and it needs to stay there.”

As if to reinforce that point, Silcock points towards the hosting of the inaugural European Golf Championships in 2018, an event which is backed by both the European Tour and the Ladies European Tour which will be played over the PGA Centenary Course.

“You’ve got the two man team, you’ve got the two lady team and then you’ve got the male and female four-person team. And then, obviously, we have the 2019 Solheim Cup.”

After 20 years in golf, Silcock remains as enthusiastic and hands-on as ever, busying himself in the day-to-day minutiae that less-committed managers might simply overlook.

He continued: “I am the director of golf, so I’m involved in every facet of golf, including having an input in the food and beverage operation.

“As with sales and marketing, I’m not managing it, I’m not controlling it, but I am an influence in that decision process. Although I have the title director of golf it’s more general management.”

And management, and in-particular the business of golf is on the increase since hosting the Ryder Cup, with both turnover and revenue on the up.

“Since I’ve been here, our membership has grown ten per cent last year, and about seven per cent this year.

“We’ve done that in a different way to everyone else, in as much as we haven’t increased our prices – we’ve invested in the project and made it better. We’ve made it better value and we’ve also created a lifestyle, so here you’ve got really nice members, not customers.”

Gleneagles’ PGA Academy and its three golf courses have seen enormous investment over the last few years – most recently the King’s course which underwent a maintenance programme last winter, including a project to line the bunkers and return the course to Braid’s original design vision.

“We’ve invested not only in the courses and the clubhouse, but in the golf team itself, and we have an ever-expanding team, including a new golf operations manager,” said Silcock.

The investment in golf facilities is just one element of an ongoing multi-million pound investment programme at the five-star hotel. In 2015, Ennismore – a London-based developer of unique properties and experiences – purchased Gleneagles from Diageo plc, and since then, it has been making substantial investment across the estate to enhance the guest experience.

“We’ve already established a world-class reputation for our golf facilities, but what actually sets us apart as a golfing venue is everything else,” said Silcock.

“It’s the culinary offering, the five-star hospitality, the luxury spa and accommodation, and the ‘glorious playground’ of leisure activities and country pursuits we have on the estate – like shooting, off-roading, archery, falconry, fishing – that our golfing visitors are awestruck by when they come.”

After leaving La Manga in 2014, an opportunity to return to his homeland presented itself, and having travelled to Portugal, Spain and India, one might imagine, for all that Gleneagles is his dream job, he might pine for the sunshine. But Silcock’s having none of it.

He smiled: “I actually love the weather here – it showcases golf in the way it was designed to be played – so it’s good to be home.”

With such an impressive CV, Silcock’s name has appeared on many a recruitment consultants short-list when fresh opportunities present themselves.

Yet, despite his considerable experience and knowledge, Silcock has always remained fairly grounded and respectful to each role he has held.

“When I worked at The Belfry, I was very fortunate. Every single top job that came up in the country I was interviewed for, and I went through the whole interview process with a lot of them.

“It was Gleneagles, though, that I always had on my radar; the career move I had always been waiting for.

“I still enjoy playing golf, so it’s my leisure activity and it’s my work; that means on Saturday and Sunday I will come up here with my son, but I’m at work – ultimately, I am a golf pro.

“I still tutor in business management with the PGA which I have done for the past 11 years, and I really enjoy passing on my knowledge and experience.”

Gleneagles may well be his dream job, but with the possibility of another 20 years employment ahead of him, it’s quite feasible to imagine a few more golfer’s bucket-list venues being added to Silcock’s golfing CV.

]]>
PGA Professional Spotlight: Home From Home for Silcock at Gleneagles
6 Powerful Hacks to Increase Mental Toughness (No. 3 Is My Favourite) http://www.pgae.com/ask/6-powerful-hacks-to-increase-mental-toughness-no-3-is-my-favourite/ Thu, 02 Mar 2017 16:57:26 +0000 Inc.com http://www.pgae.com/?p=18307 Mental fortitude comes with the territory of being an entrepreneur. Here's how you enhance it.]]>

Mental fortitude comes with the territory of being an entrepreneur. Here’s how you enhance it.

Being mentally strong is one of those personal attributes that everyone could benefit from. Since we all encounter personal challenges and difficulties in our life, the ability to stay psychologically strong is invaluable. But is mental strength something we are just born with? Or can it be developed? Luckily, there are ways to enhance and amplify mental toughness. Here are six of the best.

1. Stay on target.

A major component of mental strength is the capacity to focus in on the pursuit of long-term goals. People who are mentally weak allow the minor hindrances of life to distract them from their objectives, which inevitably leads to underachievement. Surviving the inevitable setbacks and disappointments of life requires focusing on larger goals and plans.

2. Look at adversity as an opportunity.

Tough times aren’t necessarily a bad thing–in fact, they can often be a positive. That’s because you only really learn and grow through overcoming difficulties. The simple act of embracing a challenge can be a massive psychological step forward. Such a change in attitude can alter your whole outlook on life, helping to increase your mental fortitude.

3. Focus only on what you can control (my favorite).

Worry and fear are the enemies of mental stability and strength. While fear and worry may be impossible to totally avoid, many people bring trouble upon themselves by obsessing over things they cannot really control. For example, worrying about how a project will be received once it is submitted is pointless and accomplishes nothing. Focusing on whatever task is at hand–and letting the rest take care of itself–is simply smarter.

4. Develop resiliency.

No matter how much the perfectionists among us might wish otherwise, no individual can completely avoid setbacks and failure. In fact, what’s far more important than avoiding error is developing the mental strength required to bounce back quickly from a mistake. Learning how to get back on your feet, without spending any time malingering or feeling sorry for yourself, is essential. This is the entrepreneur’s armor.

5. Don’t spend too much time thinking about what other people think.

While everyone should be able to accept constructive criticism and other kinds of helpful input, there’s a definite limit to how much attention should be paid to the opinions of others. Ultimately, other people are responsible for their opinions, not you–and there is no point in dwelling on something that isn’t your responsibility.

6.Strive to be emotionally even-keeled.

Getting either too high or too low emotionally is almost always a barrier to true mental strength, something I’m especially guilty of. However, being out of control emotionally makes it impossible to proceed forward in a rational, constructive way. Those who experience excessive emotional turbulence have a hard time dealing with life’s problems. That’s why the ability to keep control of powerful, disruptive feelings is such a crucial aspect of mental discipline.

Whether it’s in sports, career, or another of life’s competitive arenas, mental strength is often more important to success than natural ability. Fortunately, psychological strength is not an innate talent but rather a trait that can be acquired. With the recommendations above, almost everyone should be able to enhance their mental strength.


Tom Popomaronis is a serial entrepreneur, an e-commerce expert, and a proud Baltimore native. He has been recognized for technology and startup leadership by Fast Company, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, and Forbes. Tom was also named “40 under 40” by the Baltimore Business Journal in 2014.

@tpopomaronis

]]>
6 Powerful Hacks to Increase Mental Toughness (No. 3 Is My Favourite)