Last Update :7/10/2023
Reminder: The Latest from Golf Business Advisors!
Golf Business Advisors has a Clear Mission:
To assist our clients with determining and meeting their objectives in the golf and club industry.
Friends of Golf Business Advisors:
As we swing into the busy summer season at all of the golf courses and clubs across the country, it is wonderful to see so many people enjoying the great game of golf with their friends and families at municipal and daily fee courses, resorts and private clubs. Plus, there is tremendous interest in watching the PGA and LPGA Pros on TV, which has added to the fuel for the growth of the game. Also, the recently announced merger between the PGA Tour and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (LIV Golf Tour) is keeping golf in the news every day. The golf and club business continues to grow stronger and stronger and we are pleased to be teaming with Chambers to assist our clients in addressing their current and future needs.
The 2023 Golf Business Advisors Newsletter provides an update on our client services and activities. We continue to enjoy working with course owners, managers and club boards to assist them in a variety of areas including Operational Reviews and Analysis; Membership Sales and Marketing; Executive Search and Golf Course Renovation and Project Management and Strategic Planning.
The cover photo of this Newsletter is of the The Golden Horseshoe Golf Club Gold Course here in Williamsburg, Virginia and we salute them on their 60th Anniversary. We worked closely with them for a few years coordinating their membership program and sales and marketing ---both of which have had excellent success! Plus, we were also pleased to be retained by Colonial Williamsburg to oversee the complete renovation of the Gold Course back in 2017 and the course has never been in better condition.
Thanks for the past support and please call me if you would like to discuss having Golf Business Advisors or Chambers assist you and your course or club. Best wishes for a successful summer at your Club!
P.S. Click here to download the newsletter below as a PDF.
Golf Business Advisors 2023 and Beyond
Golf Business Advisors has been assisting our clients in the golf and club industry since 1993 with meeting and exceeding their operational, marketing, and financial objectives. We started a new chapter in 2021 when we were acquired by Chambers, which is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland (with additional offices in Dallas, Minneapolis, Naples and Washington, DC). Chambers is a 125-year old planning, architecture and design firm that specializes in lifestyle design for private clubs, communities, and hospitality spaces across the country and abroad.
We now operate Golf Business Advisors as a division of Chambers and continue to offer the same services as we have for over 30 years. However, we also are able to assist Chambers with some of their projects and they are assisting us with some of ours-- our ability to assist our clients is stronger together and the Chambers team are true hospitality professionals and are a pleasure to work with.
As the founder of Golf Business Advisors, I am very excited about the future of GBA and the synergistic relationship that we have created over the last two and a half years. Chambers is the industry leader in master planning and design for private clubs and communities. Their team of professionals is the best at developing club concepts, master plans, renovations, and design. We are certain that our partnership will continue to provide clubs with a turnkey approach to our clients planning, operational and marketing needs to ensure improved services and financial success. The combination of our strengths makes Chambers and GBA a perfect choice for premier golf and country clubs.
GBA’s unique suite of services as shown below complement those of Chambers:
· GOLF COURSE RENOVATION & PROJECT MANAGEMENT — Planning for course improvements and serving as Owner’s Rep for golf course renovations in coordination with the Greens Committee, Superintendent, Architect and Contractor.
· OPERATIONAL REVIEWS — Situational and historical analyses and golf course reviews to provide improvement options and recommendations.
· MEMBERSHIP SALES AND MARKETING — Developing and helping to implement a sales and marketing plan to attract prospective new Members.
· EXECUTIVE SEARCH — Specializing in General Managers, Golf Course Superintendents, PGA Directors of Golf and Membership Directors.
· STRATEGIC PLANNING — Working with clubs and resorts to help analyze where they are today and develop plans for a successful future.
Our recent clients include:
· Centre Hills Country Club - State College, PA
· Glens Falls Country Club - Queensbury, NY
· Eagles Mere Country Club - Eagles Mere, PA
· McCall Golf Club - Philadelphia, PA
· Old Palm Golf Club - Palm Beach Gardens, FL
· Willow Oaks Country Club - Richmond, VA
· Shenvalee Golf Resort - New Market, VA
· Boyd Homes - Virginia Beach, VA
· Liberty University - Lynchburg, VA
· The City of Harrisonburg - Harrisonburg, VA
· The City of Providence - Providence, RI
· The City of Amherst - Amherst, NY
GET IN TOUCH!
Enjoy this Newsletter which highlights some of our client work -- but don't forget to check out our website which has additional information including a few interesting case studies. This is a people-oriented business and the vast majority of our new clients come from referrals and golf industry friends.
If we can assist you or if you have a referral to pass along, please give me a call to discuss. Thank you and best wishes for success in 2023.
The golf industry continued its post-COVID recovery in 2023 with participation and rounds up significantly. The recent announcement of the merger between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund was a stunner and we will all wait to see how it plays out. However, this is the business of the world’s elite professional golfers and in general will not affect the enjoyment of the game by the 41 million people that participated in golf in the United States in 2022.
Key tidbits on golf in 2022 include:
· 26 million people in the US played golf on golf courses in 2022
· Another 15 million+ people participated in golf at “entertainment facilities” like Top Golf
· Over 500,000 million rounds of golf were played in the US
· In Virginia, 1.5 million rounds were recorded for handicaps
· Approximately 8.3% of the population (over age 6) plays golf
· In 2022, rounds of golf were up 13% over the prior five year average
· There are 33,400 golf courses worldwide and 16,000 courses in the United States
· Participation has climbed over the past few years and continued to become more diverse among age, gender and ethnicities
· Course closing outnumbered new course openings and it appears that will continue for a few more years until the supply and demand is set
· Putting Courses (natural grass) are becoming increasingly popular at resorts and private clubs
Jeff Speaks at Golf Course Superintendent's Meeting
This past March, I was invited to speak to the Shenandoah Valley Golf Course Superintendents Association event held at Shenvalee Golf Resort in New Market, Virginia. In addition to discussing some of the golf updates outlined above, I had the opportunity to discuss how golf courses are valued and the importance of new membership to a club's financial health. I was also able to share my opinions on Superintendent Best Practices based on my 60+ years as a low handicap competitive golfer and extensive professional experiences working with many client courses over the years:
· Bunkers raked with Australian method with consistent sand depth throughout
· Blogs and emails about on-going maintenance on the golf course
· Painted cups
· Regular tree pruning up to approximately 6 feet (and carts can fit under)
· Use of green sand to fill divots-- especially on practice tees
· Fairway mowing with movement rather than straight lines
· Bunkers edged regularly
· Superintendent playing golf with the regulars
· Regular emails (with videos) explaining maintenance practices
· Greens as fast as possible and use of rollers
· Painted fairways on bermuda grass in the winter months
· Use of pine straw mulch (rather than hardwood) in areas that are in play
Attracting and Retaining Members
Through Membership Sales & Marketing and Innovative Programming
We have continued to share our knowledge of Membership Sales and Marketing with many clients, as adding new Members is a key objective for financial success for most clubs.
The Pandemic was scary for all, but golf ended up being a big winner with a huge interest in playing golf by many new and returning golfers— all with a desire to enjoy some outdoor exercise and socialization. Daily fee courses have been busier than ever. Private clubs have added new members and some even began waitlists to join.
We work to better understand the needs of both club members and potential club members, help clubs understand their current demographics and identify target markets. Then, by developing and implementing comprehensive Membership Sales and Marketing Plans (in cooperation with the General Managers, Membership Committees, and Membership Directors), we have helped our clients add over 1,500 Members valued at over $6 million in first year Initiation Fees and Dues in the past few years.
Most clubs have learned that a calendar of fun programming is now essential to help attract and retain new members. It now takes more than a great golf course and other club facilities, but it is the on-going club experience that has become more and more important. This should be planned for both adults and children and should cover all of the sports and food and beverage.
In addition to the standard Holiday type programming, a few of the “best in show” programming ideas that we have seen include:
· Beginner ladies golf instruction with champagne
· Three Tee type program to introduce the game to beginners
· Outdoor yoga and exercise classes
· “Date Night” dinners for the parents with childcare at the Club
· Special nights of Hamburger, Pasta, Pizza, Sushi, Fish and Chips, etc.
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