By Geoff Bryant, Contributing Writer, US Golf Managers Association Have you ever entered a pro shop facility where the staff barely gives you the time of day, does not make you truly feel welcome or could care less about any idle, friendly chit chat? I’ve always known that the way employees treat customers, reflects the manner in which they’re being treated by management. The pro shop staff for instance can truly set the mood for the facility itself. They can in fact, give any customer “a good feeling“ about the facility. Customers want to be recognized, they want to be greeted with a warm friendly smile along with eye contact and they want to feel as though they’re special. Which of course they are. A golf club manager therefore has to be wise enough to understand this and hire an individual with the personality that will fit this bill. How you educate your staff therefore can be a huge factor in the popularity of your facility………. a direct reflection on you, the golf club manager. Education of staff takes continual observation to ensure that staff attitudes remain upbeat and positive. Tommy Lasorda, the legendary baseball manager of the LA dodgers, once said that managing people is like holding a dove in your hand. If you hold it too tightly , you kill it, but if you hold it too loosely, you lose it. In other words employees are not necessarily bad or inferior people because they make mistakes. They may be doing the wrong things the wrong way because no one has taken the trouble to educate them in the business of golf. Even though we may be living in a sea of information, many individuals are still looking for direction. Most importantly, when handling your staff though, be sympathetic and encouraging. If people make even a little progress, show them you have noticed and appreciate it. In brief, put yourself in the shoes of your employees on occasion and ask how you would like to be taught by someone who understands the business of golf protocol more than you do.