Are You A Member of An Elite Team?

by Brian Dobak
August 15, 2011

It's amazing what you sometimes come across on the journey through the golf business. Such was the case a few weeks ago during a visit to Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. As you walk into one of the conference rooms in the Merion maintenance facility, you'll see this sign. But I got to thinking, it would be easy for us to see that and think, "They can have a sign like that because it's Merion". Lets face it, Merion is a Top-5 club in the country, it's championship pedigree is rivaled by very few clubs, it's history is more woven into the fabric of golf than most any other club in the country. Merion can have a sign like that's Merion. But do you really have to bestow those characteristics to be able to have a sign like that?

I don't think so. You don't have to be at a place like Merion to hold yourselves accountable. You don't have to be at a place like Merion to hold yourselves to a very high standard. At the end of the day, Merion is a golf club like any other. They have a junior program, a men's league, a ladies league, tournament operations, merchandising, instruction, etc. Peel away the history and the pedigree and you have something no different than any other club. Is it really a stretch to have a sign like that in one of your golf operations back offices?

Everyone can be "elite". It's a mindset. The facade of a club (It's history, status, and pedigree) doesn't have to dictate it's operational culture. You can create any culture you want, regardless of where your club doesn't stand on the Top-100 list or how few championships it's hosted. Hire the right people, have a system, and allow everyone to be leaders, and you can live up to that sign.

Whoever is reading this, would it be brash for your golf shop to have a sign like that in your back-office? It could certainly be perceived that way, however if you're trying to create an operational culture, more power to you. Isn't that what we strive for anyway? To create a culture that sets the staff up for excellence and provides members and guests with exemplary service?

What kind of culture exists at your club? How much are employees valued? What kind of a premium is put on finding quality professionals? What sort of training program is there to ensure that your staff members do a job that is consistent with the golf operations mission and culture?

That sign is bold and it would seem that only places like Merion could boast one. But it doesn't have to be that way. "Mindset" is critical when running a golf operation. Do you have a sign like that in your golf operation? Maybe we all should.