By Marc Gelbke, Contributing Writer, US Golf Managers Association As golf course managers, we have to ask ourselves, “What makes a golf course great?” You can ask around, and some will no doubt say it is the location of the course, the layout, the condition, etc. While there is no question that these are important, in my opinion, the main reason a golf facility is great and has golfers come back is YOU AND THE STAFF. Time and time again, you hear from golfers and guests that they would come back because of how the staff makes them feel. You can have the best-kept secret, most beautiful facility, but if you don’t have a staff that sincerely cares about the players, members, guests and facility, they will inevitably find fault. Service and profits will increase and decrease according to the level of service provided. As a manager, the three most important words you can hear from your customer are, ”I’ll be back!” “I’ll be back” means satisfied customers; satisfied customers mean increased profits and a successful facility with staff that cares. Remember, I always used to teach my staff one important aspect of our business, and that is that I can spend a lot of money on merchandise to stock the golf shop, uniforms for all to wear, and a ton in maintenance to make our course look great, but the one thing that is FREE and makes us the most profits is “customer service.” We can overcome many obstacles in our day-to-day duties of running a golf course when we provide excellent service to our customers and treat them with respect, courtesy, and professionalism. One way to achieve excellent customer service is to create regular scheduled supervisor and staff meetings. Short, well-orchestrated meetings allow you to visit your vision and goals as manager, and allow you to bring forth issues that need attention and corrections. These meetings are an excellent time to role-play situations that have occurred on the property, and to remind each other of the commitment to service excellence, despite challenges that we all face from time to time. You can also use this time to provide positive feedback for a job well done. So, the next time you ask yourself, “Is my golf course great?”, you may look at it from a different perspective.