WHY HIRE A GOLF COURSE CONSULTANT

MEASURING TGM MENTORING, GUIDANCE, AND COST-EFFECTIVENESS: EVALUATING AGRONOMIC CONSULTANCY’S IMPACT ON PROFITS

When seeking consultancy or agronomic advice for your golf course from TGM mentors or other professionals, it is essential to gauge the outcomes in terms of quantifiable facts, particularly how it contributes to increased profits for your golf club.

The golf course industry now witnesses the involvement of numerous independent consultants and larger professional bodies offering agronomic advice to clubs and courses. While the intention to “improve standards,” “enhance green speed,” and “maintain course quality” is commendable, these goals might lack clarity and measurability.

With four decades of involvement in golf course management and two decades as an in-house consultant responsible for the supervision of numerous golf courses, a novel approach to harnessing agronomic or golf course consultants comes to the forefront. Taking inspiration from diverse sectors, a recollection emerges of a seasoned professional enlisted in our organization in the past, as part of a governmental endeavor. Serving as a financial expert, this individual emphatically emphasized the need for his contributions to be financially self-sustaining. The yardstick of his triumph lay in heightened sales, augmented profits, and diminished expenses, all achieved through enhanced operational methodologies—tangible and quantifiable achievements rooted in definite figures.

However, the golf course industry seems to muddy the waters when it comes to viewing consultancy services as an added cost rather than a strategic investment. Many clubs overlook the additional expenses incurred from implementing recommended products, machinery, or practices, and subsequently fail to objectively measure the actual improvement or results attained, as desired by both the golfers and the club management. I firmly believe that if something cannot be measured, it cannot be effectively managed—a valuable lesson from my time managing over 20 courses concurrently in a commercial setting.

For a consultant to prove their worth to a golf course, they must have a clear understanding of the club’s business model, pricing structure, and customer expectations. Using golf course condition and turf quality as tools, the consultant should drive increased rounds, higher membership rates, and repeat business—tangible financial gains within the market.

On the other hand, the consultant’s role should also encompass cost reduction measures, strict control over product purchasing to maintain desired course quality, adherence to best practices for labor and machinery usage, and most importantly, a clear, meaningful, and objective course condition monitoring system. This system should be easy to record, scored with numerical values, contain crucial data, and be easily understood by staff, management, and members. It should provide a mechanism to identify short-term goals, work schedule adjustments, accountability, and completion deadlines.

Conducting an audit to evaluate the quality and success of the advice received by a club can be highly valuable. This includes assessing the cost of the service, whether the advice led to increased expenses in fertilizers, chemicals, machinery, and labor, and whether roundage, membership, and income grew since implementing the service. Additionally, surveying golfers’ satisfaction and implementing an internal auditing system to monitor course condition and playability can provide valuable insights.

It is essential to be cautious of relying solely on consultant reports that may lack clarity or independence. Some reports are too brief to be meaningful, while others are overloaded with data and charts that do not lead to actionable outcomes. It is prudent to ensure that agronomic advice comes from qualified and unbiased sources, especially when dealing with changes in pesticide use, where legal compliance, independent testing, and BASIS or FACTS qualifications are vital considerations.

Managing golf clubs and courses in the 21st century is undoubtedly challenging and competitive. Adopting a pragmatic approach that ties course condition and profitability to golfer and member satisfaction, as well as financial success, can be beneficial. To ensure accountability, every head of department should review and monitor the performance of advisors and consultants engaged by the club or course. Taking a broad and specific view when making decisions about external services is essential for achieving success in this dynamic industry.

https://www.thegolfbusiness.co.uk/2018/03/measuring-agronomic-advice-against-profits/

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