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Buyers Guide Accelerate

NGCOA Takes Education to the Golf Course

Club Car NGCOA Golf Outing and On-Course Educational Activities a hit with attendees

ORLANDO, F.L. (Feb. 7, 2011) - What if many of the things you wanted to know about running a more successful golf course operation were taught not in a classroom setting, but at a golf course? That was the question that led officials of the NGCOA to stage a full day of educational opportunities during its 2011 Annual Conference at the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club.

“We thought that being able to see concepts and new ideas explained and demonstrated in the same environment where they are going to be implemented made a lot of sense,” Joe Rice, the NGCOA’s director of membership, said between sessions.

 Judging by the turnout and reaction from participants, a number of NGCOA members share the same opinion. 

“It’s a user friendly way of learning – it made it 3-D for me,” said Anais Lindgren, clubhouse manager for the Stony Plain Golf Course in Alberta, Canada, who was among more than 175 attendees who took part in the Club Car NGCOA Golf Outing and On-Course Educational Activities on Monday.

“I think being in a real-life golf setting helped me look at the information through the eyes of our customers,” said Lenita Martinson, owner of the EagleRock Golf Course in Billings, Montana. “Being able to move around, from one session to another, both inside and out on the range, made the education more interactive.”

Subjects discussed at the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club included trends in food-and-beverage and technology and best practices in retailing and fitness. On the range, rehab specialists, fitness instructors and equipment manufacturers demonstrated ways to engage customers and generate revenues.

One of the most popular sessions focused on the SNAG (Starting New at Golf) program. SNAG founder Terry Anton encouraged operators to use the program’s multi-colored equipment and simplified instruction approach to “create a feeder system at your course.”

Anton said the SNAG program, which has helped five million school kids learn the game in the last 10 years, is a way to “make every second and every part of your course profitable.”

In a session titled “Bringing Your Retail Shop into the 21st Century,” Lisa Langas, director of sales at Sport Haley, called visual presentation the “single most important way to entice customers to shop with you.”

Presentation has become even more important in today’s economic climate, Langas said, because many facilities have trimmed personnel. As a result, remaining staff have less time to interact with customers. She suggested mannequins could take over some of the sales responsibility. “Mannequins are your silent sales people. They sell merchandise fast and effectively,” she said.

David Donatucci, director of fitness and performance for the PGA of America, previewed PGM 2.0, a program being added to the curriculum of PGA professionals that emphasizes the relationship between physical conditioning and the golf swing. A better understanding of that relationship, he said, can lead to improved performance. “It’s a way to change your thinking and approach to instruction and how people learn,” the former NBA strength and conditioning coach said.

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