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About Course Owners


The men and women who own golf courses are responsible for all areas of the business. While some course owners limit their involvement as investors or partners, the great majority of owners are intimately involved in the day-to-day operations of the golf facility.

To the layperson, the business of golf course operations may seem relatively simple - grow grass, cook some hot dogs and sell golf balls - but the business is multi-faceted and ever-changing due to elements such as market changes, weather unpredictability and government regulations, to name just a few. Owners realize they are competing not only against other leisure activities, but also against the facets of the game which seem to prohibit many people from playing on a regular basis - such as perceived difficulty and an investment of time and money.

Owners are investing in more sophisticated assets to adapt today's golf business to today's consumer, such as better operations and customer relationship software, more sophisticated machinery and on-course technology (such as GPS) and more qualified people to execute the operation from top-to-bottom. Moreover, many golf course owners are forging alliances with organizations and companies, such as hotels and visitors bureaus, to help market golf to tourists and meeting planners.

Golfers are the lifeblood of the golf business. Owners realize a comprehensive plan must be developed and executed at the facility to offer consumers a quality product commensurate with the price offered. The product typically includes friendly interaction with staff from bag drop to restaurant, an attractive selection of merchandise, good food and beverage and a "meet-or-exceeds expectations" golf course experience - including conditioning and reasonable pace of play. In order to make all of this happen seven days a week, from sun-up to sun-down, a golf course owner must let it be known to new and prospective customers that the product is available (marketing), get golfers committed to playing (sales), deliver the promise (service, merchandise, food and play) in a safe environment (risk management) and get them committed to come back again (retention).

Owners must contend with many forces impacting the way they run the business - including but not limited to - federal and local safety standards, nearby or contiguous property owners, heavy taxation burdens, human resource policies, rising operational costs and increases in competition. They must contend with the financial pressures of financing, several types of insurance and all kinds of employment situations, including full-salaried, part-time and seasonal.

Nevertheless, the men and women who own and operate golf courses are up for the challenge each day they open the doors, because they love the business. Whether the owner is a multi-national, publicly-traded company or a family which converted the old farm to a golf course thirty years ago, there is passion among all course owners. Most people who step foot onto the first tee would rather be nowhere else but at that place at that time, and golf course owners receive great satisfaction from providing pleasurable experiences to millions of people each year - and an enjoyable working experience for hundreds of thousands of employees.

© 2000, National Golf Course Owners Association