A team ef­fort

Inside Golf - - Starters Box - Richard Fell­ner Group Editor richard@in­sid­e­golf.com.au @in­sid­e­golf

The golf clubs in th­ese “col­lec­tive” groups un­der­stand that, while they may be com­peti­tors in one sense, they must work to­gether as a team to draw golfers to their re­gion.

It’s a bril­liant idea that is des­tined to reap ben­e­fits for

th­ese clubs.

AS you can imag­ine, the In­side Golf team spend a lot of time on the road, vis­it­ing pri­vate golf clubs, pub­lic cour­ses, industry bod­ies and any num­ber of golf-re­lated busi­nesses through­out the coun­try.

One of the more en­joy­able as­pects of my po­si­tion is vis­it­ing with clubs and chat­ting with mem­bers, GMs, staff and the like. It’s amaz­ing the in­sights that you can glean while meet­ing with the peo­ple “at the coal­face.”

One theme that comes up reg­u­larly is the is­sue of clubs band­ing to­gether in one way or an­other. Whether it’s as sim­ple as a gen­eral re­cip­ro­cal ar­range­ment, or as com­plex as a full merger be­tween clubs, the idea is gain­ing mo­men­tum.

One area that is be­com­ing more preva­lent is the co-mar­ket­ing of clubs in a dis­tinct re­gion/area. In essence, many clubs and groups have cot­toned on to the idea of work­ing with other lo­cal clubs to help pro­mote their lo­cal re­gion as a “golf des­ti­na­tion.”

Groups and or­gan­i­sa­tions like Golf Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula, Golf on the Mur­ray, and Mel­bourne’s Golf West Ad­vi­sory Board, for ex­am­ple, are but a few ex­am­ples of clubs/cour­ses work­ing TO­GETHER to pro­mote golf rounds/ tourism in the area. The golf clubs in th­ese “col­lec­tive” groups un­der­stand that, while they may be com­peti­tors in one sense, they must work to­gether as a team to draw golfers to their re­gion. It’s a bril­liant idea that is des­tined to reap ben­e­fits for th­ese clubs.

Merg­ers and re­cip­ro­cals are an­other as­pect of this topic. There are, again, many for­ward-think­ing clubs who are ac­tively ex­plor­ing amal­ga­ma­tion/merg­ers with other clubs. The Na­tional/Long Is­land and Kingswood/Penin­sula merg­ers are two of the most re­cent. But (as I pre­dicted in this col­umn a cou­ple of years ago), there will be many more merg­ers to come. It is a way of the times.

Yet, there are still a fair num­ber of “old think­ing” golf clubs and busi­nesses out there who are cling­ing to the no­tion that their club is “unique” and is thus some­how im­mune to the po­ten­tial pit­falls of con­tin­u­ing to go it alone. They refuse to chat with other clubs about any sort of co-mar­ket­ing agree­ments, re­cip­ro­cal ar­range­ments, merg­ers or any other po­ten­tially for­ward-think­ing ini­tia­tives. Whether it’s due to pol­i­tics, ego, mis­in­for­ma­tion or a sim­ple “we’ve never done that in the past, so why should we do it now?” men­tal­ity, there are many clubs that will sim­ply refuse to change with the times.

Let’s be clear, the world is chang­ing ev­ery day. Golf it­self is also chang­ing. And things will likely never go back to the way they were be­fore. So clubs and busi­nesses must adapt if they want to suc­ceed.

ALL clubs and busi­nesses need to un­der­stand the sim­ple fact that Aus­tralian golf (across each and ev­ery seg­ment) is far smaller than you might think (or dream). While many clubs try to fol­low an Amer­ica-type model, we need to un­der­stand that this is NOT Amer­ica; we don’t have mil­lions of golfers in a “pool” from which to draw mem­bers/green fees/cus­tomers. The num­ber of golfers is rel­a­tively small (and get­ting smaller all the time), so it’s im­per­a­tive to max­imise the ex­po­sure of your club in ev­ery way pos­si­ble. And what bet­ter way to do that than with a part­ner? If your club or busi­ness can put the pol­i­tics/ego aside, then the sav­ings on time, money and ef­fort can make a mas­sive dif­fer­ence to your bot­tom line. As al­ways, I wel­come your com­ments. See you on the fair­ways.

Win­ner of mul­ti­ple Aus­tralian Golf Me­dia Awards -- in­clud­ing “Best Col­umn” for his monthly Starters Box col­umn –Group Editor Richard Fell­ner is the quin­tes­sen­tial Golf Tragic—hav­ing played the game for over 40 years (but has never got­ten any bet­ter.) He has played and re­viewed cour­ses all over the world, and has in­ter­viewed many of the great play­ers of the game. Richard is a mem­ber of both the Aus­tralian Golf Writ­ers As­so­ci­a­tion and the Golf So­ci­ety of Aus­tralia, and he is a reg­u­lar guest on many Aus­tralian “sports talk” ra­dio shows and net­works, in­clud­ing ABC Grand­stand, SEN 1116, Mel­bourne Talk Ra­dio 1377, 2GB and oth­ers.

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