Club Car’s Michel Addresses Attendees
of the NGCOA's Multi-Course Owners Leadership Retreat
Club Car President and CEO Gary Michel says innovation is golf’s best competitive strategy
MONTEREY, CALIF. (June 29, 2010) – Innovation is the best strategy to lead golf out of its prolonged period of flat growth, according to Club Car President and CEO Gary Michel.
“Innovation is a better way to compete, especially in a mature market like ours,” Michel told a gathering of golf’s largest course owners and operators at the NGCOA’s annual Multi-Course Owners Leadership Retreat. “Build a better mousetrap, offer a better experience, provide a better service and I’m convinced golfers will find their way to the first tee at your course.”
Innovation was put on the back burner in the last two years as many companies struggled through the recession. While efficiency remains an operating necessity, Michel said golf must also find a way to prioritize innovation.
“At Ingersoll Rand and Club Car, we made a strategic decision two years ago that we had to find a way to do both – enhance productivity and keep the pedal to the metal on innovation,” Michel said.
Michel said productivity gains and parent company Ingersoll Rand’s ongoing commitment in 2009 helped Club Car continue to fund key innovation initiatives, including Visage, golf’s first mobile information system; and the Villager LSV, the company’s first low-speed vehicle for the consumer market. Visage and the Villager LSV were among 80 new products introduced last year by Ingersoll Rand’s Industrial Technologies sector, which includes ARO Fluid Products, GHH Rand, Ingersoll Rand Air Solutions and Club Car.
Michel said golf needs an innovation revolution and suggested that the executives of the industry’s major course ownership groups are the ones to lead it.
“The golf industry looks to the people in this room as its game-changers. The changes you make at the course level reverberate through millions of golfers whose enthusiasm for the game is contagious,” he said. “I don’t care what your title is at your company – CEO, COO or GM. The unwritten title on your business card needs to be C-I-E – Chief Innovation Encourager.”