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Mike_Young

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Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #25 on: December 05, 2017, 09:33:32 AM »


Apologies as this wont add to the specifics of this thread.


Tom,


I have a handful of colleagues that are Superintendents that never sat in a college classroom. It certainly isnt the norm, but it does happen.


I only speak for me. I was never taught to pump up a budget as a means to inflate my pocket. On the contrary, I was taught to do more with less, which has served me quite well throughout my career.


Cheers

John H,
That's good you were taught that way.  But haven't you seen what TD is speaking of?  I have heard it spoken almost word for word that it is critical to work for more "budget" ...


Mike,


Yes, I have. Ill leave it at that. I was merely pointing out (which Im sure Tom is aware) it was not always taught that way. Not in my specific instance, anyway, which was nearer 25 years ago.

I agree...
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #26 on: December 05, 2017, 11:32:01 AM »

Tom,


I have a handful of colleagues that are Superintendents that never sat in a college classroom. It certainly isnt the norm, but it does happen.


I only speak for me. I was never taught to pump up a budget as a means to inflate my pocket. On the contrary, I was taught to do more with less, which has served me quite well throughout my career.


Cheers


John:


Good for you.


My anecdote was from about 25 years ago.  I don't know if all turf schools teach that way or not, but that was one of the big ones, and they sure did.  So I made a point of mentioning that if I owned a course I would see it more as you do.


Many architects pump up the budget, too, but we don't have a standard curriculum.

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #27 on: December 05, 2017, 11:45:51 AM »

I'm not sure this is fair to supers.  While every major city has one to a few dozen top end clubs that spend money in what seems to be crazy fashion, most courses are severely under funded and their superintendents are fighting for bigger budgets just to get up to somewhere near average.


My club, until sold for warehouses, had a $400K budget when I joined in 1991, and had a $423K budget when closed last year.  It was a mid level club, and dare I say, it was probably typical.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

John Kavanaugh

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Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2017, 11:49:18 AM »
In all fairness, a rising tide will raise all salaries.

Garland Bayley

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Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2017, 12:42:32 PM »
...- The stigma against buying used golf clubs, especially for beginners; you could build a full and very decent set of clubs for a beginner on eBay for $200 or less, easily
...

You can do a lot better than that at Goodwill!

I played with a guy once that proudly showed me his set of top line clubs. Every club was a different manufacturer or model. He pick them up one at a time at thrift stores.
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

Garland Bayley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2017, 12:43:17 PM »
Multi-piece ball.
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2017, 12:54:01 PM »

I'm not sure this is fair to supers.  While every major city has one to a few dozen top end clubs that spend money in what seems to be crazy fashion, most courses are severely under funded and their superintendents are fighting for bigger budgets just to get up to somewhere near average.


Jeff:


My comment was about a lecture in a turf school -- not about superintendents as a group, or the individuals who attended that school, so I don't see how I was being unfair to them.

Peter Pallotta

Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2017, 01:59:14 PM »
From the perspective of a public/semi-private course golfer -
1. Recognize that times change. Every course I play seems to offer the same 10-15 item lunch and dinner menu, but I've hardly ever seen anyone eating anything but burgers and fries. It sure seems that fewer and fewer public/semi-private type golfers are coming in early/sticking around afterwards anyway, so why go to all that extra effort (and waste) in the (now too large) kitchen and lounge? How about specializing in one simple menu-item - say, a pea-meal bacon sandwich, either with cheese or without? Let it be your 'signature'.
2. Don't sink too low. It saddens me to think of course owners using/offering those golf.now green fee specials. Set a fair price and stick to it - the kind of golfers who will come to your course only if/when your $40 fee is available for $30 are not the golfers you want, and won't be the kind to come back anyway (unless you go even lower). I get annoyed at those golfers too - come on: if we can afford $30 to play golf we can afford $40, and nickle and dime-ing all the courses in town will eventually mean there are no courses left.
3. Talent helps. My modest 1970s semi-private has wonderfully playable greens, and there's never been a hitch. The expensive golden age private up the street 'lost' 6-8 greens over two consecutive winters. I wouldn't know how many different factors are involved here (and I'm not naming names because of it), but the super at the first course seems to be managing better than the super at the second.
4. Find little things that are nice. I think an important thing in getting repeat plays is that golfers find the over-all experience of being at a course a pleasant one.  Little things: clear signage and flow and friendliness from the parking lot to the first tee; maybe a minute or two more between tee times (and announce them over loudspeaker as they're coming up, with our names...On the tee now at 9:30, the Jones group; on deck off at 9:41 the Smith group; the 9:52 Baker group, you're up in 20 minutes); maybe the truck/machines/crew cleaning up bunkers or getting to changing the pin locations can wait until well into the late afternoon if not done by early morning -- I think few of us mind a messy bunker or yesterday's pins if it means not watching maintenance crews scrambling to stay out of the way/stay in front of us all round long.   
5. Recognize that things change (Part 2). I hate to say this, but I think the days of the pro-shop at these public/semi private are gone for good. Save the space and the outlay of capital - very very few of your customers will be buying golf bags, let alone new clubs, from the local course/pro shop ever again..and not shoes or wind-breakers either. Widen the selection of the golf balls you offer, and sell tees and gloves.     
Modest changes, realistic ones - cut costs a bit on one side of the ledger, and have happier (potentially repeat) golfers on the other side.
I wish all the course owners good fortune and good ideas. 
Peter
     
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 02:12:41 PM by Peter Pallotta »

Jason Topp

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Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2017, 02:14:48 PM »
Is affordability really that much of an issue?  It seems to me it is possible to play a decent round of golf for around $50 in nearly every location in the US. 


Ken Macdonald in Tempe, AZ is less than $40.  West Palm Beach Muni is a terrific course with nonresident rates of less than $50.  Rustic Canyon is $50 if you start at noon. 








David_Tepper

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Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2017, 02:24:01 PM »
Alternatively, this thread could be titled "How can golf course owners & operators lower their overhead to increase their profit margin?" ;)

Ryan Coles

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #35 on: December 05, 2017, 03:05:50 PM »

Things that reduce the cost of Golf:

Smaller, circular greens.


Narrower Fairways that don't interact with fairway bunkers.


No tree removal.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 03:11:51 PM by Ryan Coles »

Mike_Young

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2017, 03:43:59 PM »
Why does a golfer have no issue with paying 2.5 times the cost of a driver in 1990 or double to cost of balls and 3 times the cost of a putter and yet thinks he should pay the same green fee now he did in 1995?  Makes no sense but yet GolfNow did 59 million in barter last year.

If a car today cost the same as 1995 and yet the tires, the engine and other parts had increased at the same rate the car would be done...

Therefore we have to learn to "back into the pricing"... if all we can get is $40 round of golf then the $400,000 budget Jeff mentions is the top...and it can be done....I'm just wanting to hear as many ways as people can think of and see what I missed...
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

Pete_Pittock

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Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #37 on: December 05, 2017, 05:46:37 PM »

Raised tees. Just build 'em flush with the ground, or just stick the tee markers somewhere.
Scorecards.


Mark_Fine

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Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #38 on: December 05, 2017, 06:03:28 PM »
For those here who play mostly public golf courses, many of the "cost reduction" ideas are already very much in play.  Things like reduced water and less overall maintenance such as less bunker raking, less frequent cutting of the greens, fairways, rough, less chemicals,...Most public courses are on very tight budgets.  The courses that are  not can afford it or at least think they can.   

Mike Sweeney

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Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2017, 06:49:09 PM »
Name me 5 things that can be UPDATED to reduce the cost of golf at most courses without affecting it or perhaps even saving dollars.. 



1) Eliminate 6 holes, creating a 12 hole course with the 12 best holes. Use that 50-75 acres for alternative revenue sources.


2) No rough, one cut aka the old-Augusta National.


3) Variable pricing - Saturday morning is expensive, Monday morning is in-expensive.


4) No sit down carts, walking/buggy push/pull carts are fine.


5) Rounds (12 hole), must be played in 1 hour and 52 minutes, so that we can get more people around the golf course.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 07:00:14 PM by Mike Sweeney »
"One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If weve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. Were no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us."

Dr. Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Daryl David

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2017, 07:15:21 PM »
Lots of interesting ideas. One question:  Why is lowering the cost of golf an objective?  Is it to benefit players?  Benefit course operators?  Increase play?  Attract budget conscious leisure spenders?


If golf as a sport needs fixing, is cost what we should be focused on?

Brian Finn

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Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #41 on: December 05, 2017, 07:19:06 PM »
5) Rounds (12 hole), must be played in 1 hour and 52 minutes, so that we can get more people around the golf course.
Why 9.33 minutes per hole?  Seems pretty arbitrary. Wouldn't a round 2 hours (120 minutes, 10 minutes per hole) make more sense (in every possible way)?
New for 2023:  Cheraw SP, Grandfather, Clyne, Tenby, Pennard, Langland Bay, Southerndown, Pyle & Kenfig, Royal Porthcawl, Ashburnham, Rolls of Monmouth, Old Barnwell...

Mike Sweeney

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #42 on: December 05, 2017, 07:29:43 PM »

Why 9.33 minutes per hole?  Seems pretty arbitrary. Wouldn't a round 2 hours (120 minutes, 10 minutes per hole) make more sense (in every possible way)?


For this exact reason. The specificity of the time makes it a real time, rather than the old "our goal is...." Thanks :)
"One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If weve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. Were no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us."

Dr. Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Pete_Pittock

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #43 on: December 05, 2017, 07:31:55 PM »
Reduce the number of clubs in a set by half.

Brian Finn

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Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #44 on: December 05, 2017, 08:06:13 PM »

Why 9.33 minutes per hole?  Seems pretty arbitrary. Wouldn't a round 2 hours (120 minutes, 10 minutes per hole) make more sense (in every possible way)?


For this exact reason. The specificity of the time makes it a real time, rather than the old "our goal is...." Thanks :)
New for 2023:  Cheraw SP, Grandfather, Clyne, Tenby, Pennard, Langland Bay, Southerndown, Pyle & Kenfig, Royal Porthcawl, Ashburnham, Rolls of Monmouth, Old Barnwell...

Mike_Young

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #45 on: December 05, 2017, 08:18:31 PM »
Lots of interesting ideas. One question:  Why is lowering the cost of golf an objective?  Is it to benefit players?  Benefit course operators?  Increase play?  Attract budget conscious leisure spenders?


If golf as a sport needs fixing, is cost what we should be focused on?
For operators to remain in business......
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #46 on: December 05, 2017, 08:19:45 PM »
Pietro

I don't get your last sentence of the 2nd point.  Are you saying don't accept the discount on offer?

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Askernish, Traigh, Iona, Tobermory, Portpatrick & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Peter Pallotta

Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #47 on: December 05, 2017, 08:49:47 PM »
Yes - I guess that's basically it, Sean. 
A friend (who rarely plays my favourite local course) called once to say he'd gotten us a "deal" at the course for later that day -- I think it was $28 for what is usually a $40 round.
I played that round, and since then have purposely made sure never to even ask about let alone try to get that kind of deal again.
No, I don't have money to burn, and I'm not particularly altruistic and/or foolish. But:
- since I've rarely done anything else to "support local golf" (e.g. like becoming a member of a club)
- don't play all that very often
- like the people who own and run my favourite course
- can play that same course later in the afternoon for its then regular fee of $35 (thus saving only $7 with the "deal"), and
- want to support the courses I like best and not have them enter a 'race to the bottom' with courses I like less

It just feels, literally, like the least I can do to try to help keep my local golf scene healthy. I can spare that $7 or so as a very small gesture in support of the game.

Now, if it was a very well-heeled and high-end club that usually charges $300 but that is offering a special (or I have a British-American friend who knows someone who knows someone), I am going to take that discount in a heart-beat!

Peter

 
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 11:20:02 PM by Peter Pallotta »

John Kavanaugh

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Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #48 on: December 05, 2017, 09:27:16 PM »
Which is more valuable to a club: 25 new members willing to spend $20,000 per year, or...Management finding $500,000 in budget cuts?

Mike_Young

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Things that can be eliminated to reduce the cost of golf
« Reply #49 on: December 05, 2017, 09:57:26 PM »
Which is more valuable to a club: 25 new members willing to spend $20,000 per year, or...Management finding $500,000 in budget cuts?

For such a club it would definitely be the new members....for the average course in US it would be the budget cuts in an economically efficient way that did not decrease play.
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

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