Introduction to Golf Club Management

By Dr. Patrick Montana USGTF Level IV Member and U.S. Golf Managers Association Course Director Scarborough, New York I have been teaching management to business executives at all levels in profit and nonprofit organizations for almost 50 years.  Futhermore, as a certified golf teaching professional, I believe strongly that the process I describe in this article will better enable you to meet your golf club management expectations. There are many similarities in management and golf as well as in teaching management and golf.  Both require strategic thinking, planning, execution, control, evaluation and feedback. Let me begin be stating that at the heart of a system of managing for results is managing expectations.  More often than not managing expectations seems to be the missing link in business practice.  However, it occurs seldomly in golf, because everyone knows what is expected.  There is an agreed upon standard of performance – namely, par. Standards of performance in management have one major purpose and that is to develop your people.  You may use them for merit, promotion, transfer and compensation purposes but primarily as a manager you want to develop your staff to meet expectations.  I might illustrate this point by the game of golf. Par on the golf course is the standard of performance for a professional golfer.  Now you can go out all by yourself in the morning, or join three other people in a happy foursome, and when you come in from #18, you know – no matter what the comments are – you know immediately whether you are a good golfer or whether you need development. The standard of performance for a job should be as clear as par on a golf course, at least to the extent language will allow. As golf club managers, we should be developing performance contracts with our staff so that they know what is expected on the job.  For every responsibility assigned to a subordinate, a standard of performance or condition that should exist when a responsibility has been carried out well, should be developed jointly by manager and subordinate.  It is an engineering of agreement as to the condition that should exist when a responsibility has been carried out well. In order to develop a system of managing for results which negotiates performance contracts through managing expectations, it is important to step back and review or learn the purpose of management and the management process and to break down the process to see how a results-oriented management system fits into the process.  Next, during the Golf Club Managers Certification Course, we ask the question: “why bother?”  Then, after answering this question, we take a look at the critical links that hold the management process together for the golf club manager and the skills that are necessary to make it work.  Finally, I discuss how one goes about implementing such a system back on the job. In addition to learning this system of managing for results, during the Golf Club Management Certification Course students hear from practicing golf club managers and professionals about customer relations and customer service, golf facility operations, merchandising operations, food and beverage, tournament management, golf club financial management, ownership management, turf management operations, golf instructional operations, and even learn about today’s modern golf equipment. If you’re thinking about a career in golf club or golf resort management, you may want to consider enrolling in a forthcoming U.S. Golf Club Management Certification course and increase your employment opportunities in this growing global field. For further information please check our website: US Golf Managers


By Pat Montana, Ph.D Golf managers should educate their staff on the need to be more sensitive to the needs and expectations of potential members and customers. I was invited recently to play golf at the course where I live but am not a member.  My new neighbor, who was anxious to familiarize himself with the course, asked me to join him and a friend who were invited by a member to complete a foursome.  The member advised us that he would be joining us later in the round, and we were totally put off when the head golf professional charged us double the guest fee because the member was not present at our starting time.  The head golf professional was nonresponsive to our frustration in questioning the charge.  He simply refused to listen and charged us an unaccompanied guest fee. Being more sensitive to customer expectations may well have resulted in my neighbor, his friend, and myself joining the club at a later time.  By being limited by management policy in this case, the head golf professional lost us forever.  The guest fee during high season is pricey, but understandable.  Having to pay double this fee brought to mind the old expression, “Be a pig, don’t be a hog.”  You might get more members.