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April 17, 2019
I find it so disingenuous. One of my golf periodicals contained an article about the formation of new golf management company. Management companies run multiple facilities. Their plan: TO CHANGE THE CULTURE OF THE GOLF SERVICE INDUSTRY. Lofty goals, and quite frankly it sounds like hot air. The article goes onto say (and I’ll protect the names) “Mr. Smith, most recently was chairman of XYZ Clubs and Resorts. Before that, he led golf operations for a number of companies including Very Huge Resort on Well Known Island, Massive Management Company in Major City. After 30 years of managing, developing, and owning upwards of 70 golf courses, making a fortune for himself, his partners and many of his employees, Smith realized the service culture must be turned on its head.” So… here’s my problem with all of that… According to the authors quote, Smith was obviously very successful giving some substandard version of mediocre service. Smith has now come to the reality that he could be more successful, if he gives the complete opposite version of service. Or has Smith realized his new management company simply needs hype to begin, and his hype is: “we are going to turn service culture on its head”. So why does this bother me? Over the last 6 years I have divulged very little about the process of buying a golf course in the later stages of the Great Recession, much less buying 70 of them. Seventeen banks laughed me right out the door. It was very discouraging. If I got the time of day from any of them before they laughed; the common question was always “what are you going to do different?”. My answer was always: “NOTHING”. Apparently, that’s not the way to play the game, but any other answer was simply disingenuous. Eight years I worked for owners who loved me and supported me. I did everything I could to make RSPGL the place it is today, and then bankers expected me to list the 100 things I would do different. If I had 100 ideas, why didn’t I do them already? Back to the story of Smith. He obviously plays the game different, and says exactly what people want to hear. He is obviously way more successful than I am, as a byproduct of playing the game that way. Is legendary success a goal that has no costs? I would rather be genuine and invisible. Regretfully, I won’t be able to turn the culture of the service industry on its head. Hopefully you will still make a tee time here despite this lack of hype.
A very important friend in my life teaches me some great things about business every day. He was a great salesman, and even owned an office furniture business himself in his younger years. He gave me a great piece of advice about quality, service and price. He said, “Nick, when you decide to sell a product, whatever it is, you present the wood-be customer with QUALITY, SERVICE & PRICE. If you are going to be successful in business, then the customer can only have 2 of those things, and you MUST keep one for yourself. The customer can make any combination of two, and no two customers will choose the same. If they want a good price, and they want quality, then they won’t be able to get great service. If they want quality and they want service, then you will have to give them a higher price. No matter what, you can’t give them all three, or you won’t be in business very long.” It’s really amazing how true that is in golf. Even the golfers in your weekly foursome might all demand a different combination of two, but you must realize that for a business to remain a business, they simply cannot give you all three. Think about everything you have ever bought, everything you are considering to buy in the future. You generally only get two, if you get all three….either you are very special, or they are going out of business.
Tales From The Tall Grass
April 15, 2019
Reading Golf Digest this winter, there was a feature story on the 100 Best Places to be Fit for Clubs in the United States. I skimmed the article and then jumped to the state by state rankings. I was really curious what establishments, if any, from Wisconsin made the list. I’m in the golf business, and if I wasn’t, and I wanted to be fitted for clubs and I wanted it done by someone awesome, where would I go? Turns out, I won’t be going anywhere in Wisconsin. Matter a fact, south side Chicago is the closest option. Yikes. Wisconsin has a little under 500 golf courses, bet you didn’t know that. We rank 10th in golfers (about 9,000) per golf course. #1 is North Dakota, about 5500 people for every course. As of 2010, Wisconsin also ranked 10th in the number of total courses. Georgia had 100 less and Arizona had 150 less. Golf Magazine used a 4 prong system (avidness of players, quality / quantity of courses, legacy and one random guys opinion to determine the “golfiness” state. Wisconsin came in 12th in that list. Folks, we got it all going here in Wisconsin, but sadly you cannot be fit for clubs. Or can you? What Golf Digest failed to take into consideration is one of coolest fitting experiences that exists in the country. While RSPGL is not an expert fitter, Titleist is! Every Thursday afternoon, you can make the case we become a top 100 fitting site. Who better to fit you than the person who actually made the clubs, and the fitters who are here on Thursday, are Titleist employees. I’m merely the conduit. I’m the bridge between you never being fit, and you being fit by one of the best, if not the best. If you are serious about golf, and the Wisconsin stats say you are, get fit here!
Fitting sessions resume Aug 8th. The New Irons, Hybrids, TS1 and TS4 Drivers.
Taking My Thoughts to Inquiry...
Nick Stephens, PGA
March 26, 2019
April 9, 2019
How The Game is Played...
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