As it turns out, our class has some very specific likes and dislikes when it comes to what we want in a golf cart: a sharp pencil, a scorecard and yardage book, water bottles and ice in the cooler, a ball and club washer, sand bottles, mango-scented towels, and a clean, electric, armor alled ride (but not so much that you go sliding from the driver seat into your passenger’s lap. If you’ve ever played Bear Creek, you know what I mean).
These requests seem ultra-specific to me, but they speak to the overall golfing experience, the topic du jour in Managing Golf Facility Operations with PGA Professional Warren Pitman.
There’s a lot that goes into making your day at the golf course both special and memorable, and ideally, the so-called “assembly line of golf” kicks into high gear the minute you pull up to the golf course.
While we’ll continue to discuss what this means in greater detail next semester, today was a nice preview. One thing that differentiates one course from another is how well it’s prepared to accommodate its customers. The assembly line of golf is the 13 steps of golf operations:
- Step 1: Motivation to play the course
- Step 2: Reservation process
- Step 3: Signage
- Step 4: Bag drop area
- Step 5: Clubhouse entrance
- Step 6: Carts
- Step 7: Pro shop
- Step 8: Range
- Step 9: Starter
- Step 10: Course
- Step 11: Locker/bathrooms
- Step 12: Cart drop-off area
- Step 13: Restaurant
If you stop and think about it, first impressions are lasting, and you’re impressionable the moment you pull in to the bag drop area, Step 4. Is the staff in uniform? Is an attendant available? Does the attendant tell you where to go next?
From there, it’s usually on to Step 7: the pro shop. Does the pro shop have a theme? Did the staffer behind the counter try to sell you anything else (upsell)? Was there a wait at the counter? Is merchandise arranged or displayed in a visually pleasing manner?
And of course there are the golf carts at Step 6. Is the cart washed and clean? Are there clean towels? Were the sand and seed bottles full?
These may seem like minor details, but as you can tell, they make a big impact. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together, but I think our class already has a pretty good grasp of what it means to serve the customer. The awakening will come when we realize all of these amenities cost money, and increasingly, golf is becoming a bottom line business.