We understand that it’s a huge leap to consider hiring a golf management company and that you have great concern about the future of your club. You need to be absolutely sure that your selection is the best possible fit for your club.
Well, here’s a set of hard questions that we feel will help you out. As you’ll see, the questions push right to the core of company beliefs and methodologies – not just tactics or services. Finding a company with a shared set of beliefs means better alignment and chance of real long-term success.
We’ve offered our own answers to provide a deeper look into KPI’s core values and belief systems. We challenge you to ask the same questions to every one of your prospective partners and vendors. We hope to help you make the best business decisions possible…good luck.
The right questions reveal everything you need to know
We asked ourselves some hard questions, and you should too. Notice the “tactical stuff” related to WHAT we do comes last. If you focus only on what a company does, you’ll lose focus on much more important aspects of HOW, with WHOM, and WHY they’re in business.
This is your purpose – the why of your entire business model.
Why does your company exist?
The golf industry is experiencing gentrification right now. The rich facilities are getting richer (and more expensive) while the affordable clubs are the ones going out of business. As a result, golf is becoming more expensive overall.
It’s a call to arms. Poorly run facilities cannot compete without engaging expert help, economies of scale, and modern data-driven management efficiency. Operating less than optimally means missing critical growth opportunities, diminishing market share, reduced valuation, or even the club’s demise.
KPI Golf exists to help mid-sized, underperforming clubs compete favorably.
Our aim is to improve finances & daily operations with quick wins, deploy metrics-based management strategies for continuous refinement, and leverage resources at scale necessary to stay in business long term.
Why do clients want to work with you?
We believe that a healthy club means a health community, and better lives for those it touches. People enjoy being around others who are passionate and who share common beliefs. Our clients enjoy working with us because we share their belief in the critical importance of success.
In the golf business, we are hardwired to enjoy helping people. We enjoy what we do because ultimately we are serving a greater good:
- Creating and saving jobs
- Building careers and lasting relationships
- Reinvigorating the centerpiece of local communities (the club)
- Preserving and restoring historic facilities
- Providing healthy social environments for children and families
- Benefitting local economies and property values
When country clubs prosper, the benefits are far reaching into local communities. When clubs struggle or go under, many more people feel the impact.
What value are you delivering specifically?
We help golf clubs operate sustainably and profitably, where otherwise they may fail. That’s it. All the ideas, tactics, solutions add up to that simple mission.
What specific problems do you solve?
There are many potential problem areas that must be refined and managed optimally for a club to reach its performance goals.
In a broad sense, most are related to the following:
- Financial responsibility (budgeting, buying, attention to detail)
- Customer experience (efficiencies at all touch points)
- Market positioning & value proposition (customer base and membership sales)
- Strategic planning & vision (long game)
- Company culture & leadership (core beliefs: empathy, objectivity, autonomy)
- Facilities (maintenance, renovations, function & form)
- Capital improvements (responsibility, analysis, ROI)
- Risk management (insurance, HR, policies, legal)
- Pricing and fee structures
- Use of technology & data
- General execution (quality standards on goods/services, everyday tasks & interactions)
Who are you hoping to attract?
We want to work with clubs that:
- …are faced with some sort of (usually financial) pain or challenge.
- …have a sense of urgency or recognize a significant cost of inaction (if they do nothing, they lose out).
This could mean that the club has been unable to unlock opportunities that they’ve observed in their marketplace. They see great opportunities for growth and added benefit that they haven’t been able to realize for whatever reason.
Alternatively, they may be fighting for their existence. The club may be losing members or market share, struggling with deferred maintenance, or had some sort of trigger event or negative economic impact.
Either way, we enjoy working with clubs in need of creative expert solutions, and risk losing outif they don’t get them.
What types of clients have been most successful in the past?
We’ve made our biggest impact on clubs that have distinct pain points, challenges or untapped opportunities. We’re able to move the needle extraordinarily in these situations.
We are most excited to work with clubs who recognize that true expertise, creative thinking, and professional execution can bring about huge changes in the health of the club.
Without a growth mindset, a significant cost of inaction, or at least a sense that the club has been operating less than optimally, club leadership is far less likely to buy into new processes, ideas and strategies.
Clubs that are indifferent about hiring a golf management company, just riding on cruise control, or otherwise “content” are not as desirable for us.
Which industries, business categories, or market segments do you know best?
We represent clubs of all different types (public, private, resort, municipal) and organizational structures (privately owned, member owned, corporate, municipal, multi-property portfolios).
We’re also well versed in all types of amenities (F&B, swimming, tennis, fitness, boating, etc.).
We prefer to work most with underperforming clubs – either fighting for their life, or seeking specific growth opportunities that they haven’t been able to realize.
Our ideal market is in smaller to mid-sized operations in a top line revenue range of $1M – $10M.
We find that larger clubs and higher end facilities tend to be less agile in decision making.
Mid-sized clubs that serve as a vital component in their local community are much more eager take measures to improve, and we all have direct incentive to make high-impact changes.
What types of clients do you most enjoy working with?
We look for 3 things in an ideal client: Buy In, Transparency, and Cost of Inaction.
Grease on the skids of execution. Our best clients are those who recognize an opportunity or upside that they haven’t been able to tap into. They are excited about growth potential and have a distinct vision of how great things will be when they are finally able to realize these goals. In turn, these clients also understand that for whatever reason, they haven’t been able to reach their goals with existing methods and resources. They have come to the self realization that they need help…and they are excited about the possibilities before them. Once the club has “bought into” the idea that they could use some help, the execution of any game plan becomes much easier.
We very much enjoy helping golf clubs succeed and witnessing the impact on local communities. We enjoy helping good quality people succeed as well. Recognizing that our performance will (and should) be held to an extremely high standard, our clients must be open to complete transparency in communications for best results. This requirement is indeed reciprocal. Our best clients become very close relationships – the lines of communication are wide open. Many issues are nuanced and highly complex requiring a great amount of insight and detail for total understanding. The more we come to learn about a club, and all the people involved, the better our recommendations become. Without good information, we’re resigned to making educated guesses.
There is “Cost of inaction”
Ideal clients typically have some sense of urgency – whether they’re fighting for their life as a business, or they see opportunity that they haven’t been able to realize. Whatever it is, “business as usual” or maintaining the status quo means missing out in some way. When there is an understood cost of inaction, we’re all motivated to bring strategies to market quickly and drive returns soonest.
What types of clients do you NOT want to work with?
We’re not in the business of selling the unsellable or hard selling anyone into hiring a golf management company. If clients don’t want our help, then we don’t want to give it to them.
Undesirable clients have not bought into our involvement, are guarded in their communications, and do not have any sense of urgency or remain indifferent about changing course.
It’s a matter of self awareness. If nobody in the room realizes that the current course is failing, then there’s no place for us. It’s that simple.
What are the methods and philosophies you follow to service your clients?
We believe that optimal performance comes through data-driven optimizations.
Traditional “set and forget” strategies can never ascend to the level of performance of a properly managed club. Continuous attention to detail and refinement is where peak performance is achieved.
Data enables us to definitively prioritize highest impact activities, find opportunities, achieve buy in for execution, track performance, review results, and repeat.
Alternatively, subjective decision-making processes based on opinion or conjecture leaves businesses vulnerable to biases, personal agendas, misconceptions and critical mistakes that will negatively impact the facility.
The only way to operate optimally and compete in a dynamic marketplace is to quantify what’s working, what isn’t working, and prioritize the allocation of resources continually.
In terms of execution, we believe in freedom coupled with accountability. We hire good people, arm them with what they need to succeed, and then give them the necessary freedom they require to perform at their best.
As a company, we will (and must) ultimately be held accountable for the performance of the clubs that we work with. We need to have skin in the game for our objectives to be truly aligned – but pursuit of fairness is critical.
Whether with your own staff, or with a golf management company itself, accountability cannot be fairly deployed without also granting the freedom to act. We expect our clients to provide us with appropriate freedom to act, properly grounded with well defined accountability for our performance.
Do you have a unique way of thinking or any special work processes?
On a macro scale, the process that we use in choosing our clients, evaluating opportunities, communicating with transparency, executing, and accountability are exactly the same processes we bring to a department or even personal scale (micro).
We believe the following steps help us achieve optimal results for our clients:
- Buy In – It starts with everyone coming to agreement that current practices are not optimal and that improvements are necessary for us to achieve stated goals. Without buy-in, poor execution is sure to sabotage the effectiveness of any long term solutions.
- Transparent Communication – Brainstorming and detailed discussions are critical if we are to evaluate every possible alternative. Best results are achieved with open discourse and everyone remains open to all possible ideas and alternatives. Strong communication leads to trust and sharing of all relevant facts required for sound decision making.
- Prioritize Needs – Highest impact activities are always addressed first. We use real life data to determine highest impact areas and allocation of resources – needs before wants. High priority needs normally carry a significant cost of inaction and reduced returns for sluggish action, whether it’s potential downside risk or lost opportunity.
- Set SMART Goals – What is the definition of success? Objectives need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time sensitive. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for each initiative.
- Execute – Deploy necessary measures to reach our intended goals..
- Measure – Track progress through stated KPI, surveys, and customer feedback. Listen to the community and learn whether solutions are proving effective or not. Evaluate any side effects or newly exposed opportunities.
- Review, Plan & Repeat – On a regular cadence, report on results, evaluate performance vs. established goals and benchmarks, and refine solutions as needed.
What is the one thing you wouldn’t change about your company?
Our company culture of freedom and accountability is the cornerstone of everything we do. We hire the best people, arm them and trust them to do great work.
Working with clients who reciprocate this belief system leads to best possible results and long lasting mutual benefits.
Micro management paralyzes corporations, silences good ideas, slows execution, and just pisses people off.
The calculated freedom to execute on our proven methodology is critical to success. Our model of data-driven decision making ensures we’re leaning on objective & factual data rather than conjecture or opinion to inform recommended courses of action. We seamlessly achieve buy-in with the team, measure progress, and continually refine for improvement.
Antiquated or self-serving decision making endangers many organizations, and it’s a breeding ground for catastrophic mistakes, complacency, misinformation, and less than optimal results. Our culture and belief system is non-negotiable.
Will you say NO to a prospective client because of your values and culture?
Our reputation as a company far supersedes the need for any short term gains.
Much of this reputation depends on the results that we deliver for our clients. We have identified several red flags as we assess fit, and will not to engage with certain clients we feel will stand to put our reputation at risk.
The fact is we are better served not engaging prospects who:
- Has not bought into the idea that they need our assistance
- Are not professional, courteous or is just a lousy group of people we don’t want to work with
- Has no sense of urgency, some sort of cost of inaction, or is completely content with their current course
We will say NO to a prospect under circumstances we believe is a threat to our company’s good name. In the end, the client will hold us responsible for the results that we achieve. Success requires active participation from all sides.
Regardless of role, what does it take for someone to succeed at your company?
Given the autonomy that we afford our team members, success within our company depends on 4 key factors:
- Competence – Having the necessary core skill sets to perform the job.
- Attitude – We hire positive and likeable people. Positivity is reflected in a willingness to learn and in interactions with others. Of course, nobody is perfect and nobody knows everything. A positive attitude is the foundation for continuous learning and long term success.
- Initiative – Autonomy means there’s nobody telling you what to do. Successful team members act sensibly and solve problems quickly before they become significant issues (or before they happen at all). Those with initiative come up with creative ideas for the benefit of everyone around them. Progressive, proactive thinking is a valuable asset well rewarded in our organization.
- Integrity – Successful team members do what they say they’re going to do. They are reliable, honest, and generally good people. Teamwork hinges on others to knowing that you’ll deliver on your word.
What goods and services do you offer and what are you expert in?
At the core, our expertise is in prioritizing high-impact solutions to deploy.
We offer expert individual solutions for golf clubs, but the true art is in the aggregate (think orchestra vs. single instrument). No two clubs are the same. Tactics vary greatly from club to club depending on an intensive analysis of the club’s overall ecosystem, goals, plans, challenges, and timelines.
Here is an incomplete list:
- Club Operations
- Food & Beverage
- Membership Sales & Marketing
- Daily Fee Sales & Marketing
- Human Resources
- Finance & Accounting
- Design & Development
- Risk Management
- Information Technology
- Acquisitions & Real Estate
- Lender Transitional Management Services
What do you do better than your competitors?
In one word, Empathize.
We communicate and investigate intensively before any commitments are made by either party. There’s a critical importance for all parties to assess fit, and we only take on projects that stand to benefit all sides.
You see, we’re not in golf course management to pad our portfolio with high end properties or chase quick wins for shareholders.
We act in the sole best interest of our clients – ALWAYS.
Because of this policy, we only work with clubs who first want to work with us, and which recognize there is measurable and achievable benefit to be gained.
The personal relationships we have with our clients run deep. This is the only way to truly understand all the nuances in the entire ecosystem, and ultimately to empathize. This business is not about quick wins and making money. It’s about improving communities and the lives of the people living in them.
Which of your goods/services provide the most value to your clients?
Financial Auditing & Procurement Processes
For most clubs, we are able to provide the most value in the short term (2-12 months) on the expense side. An intensive analysis of financial statements on a line item by line item basis always yields startling results. Often, complacency or mismanagement leaves many financial details unchecked for long periods of time.
Execution in Daily Operations
In the longer term (12+ months), our value proposition typically shifts toward accountability and consistency of execution.
After the low hanging fruit have been resolved, it’s a matter of continuous and diligent oversight with properly trained and appropriate staff. Many new initiatives require time to achieve returns on investment, and left unattended, focus often tends to waver over time. Attention to detail and holding everyone accountable continually is the best way to avoid reverting back to where things began.
If you could only provide one good/service, what would it be?
Quick Wins Remote Consulting
This service is by far the most effective starting point for nearly every club we work with. Through a financial audit, operations review, key staff interviews, reputation analysis, local market competitive analysis, and agronomic review, we’re always able to uncover low hanging fruit to improve club experiences immediately.
More importantly, out of pocket costs for the club is minimized. Our clients are able to select from an à la carte menu of options to ensure they’re only paying for services they need. This is a far cry from wholesale management contracts.
What would your top clients miss the most if your company went away?
Well, recent years have been about as good as it gets in the golf industry. If clubs haven’t made headway in that time, then they’re not likely to do so in the future without changing course.
If KPI went away, our clients would miss out on opportunity.
- Opportunity to strategically maneuver and take advantage of targeted chances for growth.
- The opportunity to deliver a consistent product that sustainably benefits local communities.
- For some, the opportunity to stay in business.