Posted Mar 01 2012, 12:11 PM by Cathy Erickson
We have begun to hear the battle cry for helping improve the sport of golf on a few different fronts lately. When I Googled "Golf Industry in Trouble" one thing I noticed was that the first couple of pages of hits were from articles posted back in 2008, and one interesting one was from 2005. So I guess this idea isn't a new one, but from what I browsed through, the good news is that even back in the mid-00's, those involved in the "golf world" were already identifying potential issues and finding ways to deal with the challenges in front of them.
Every golfer, not just golf equipment manufacturers or golf course owners, are stakeholders in the sport. It's imperative that we all consider what we can bring to the table, especially on a local level, to continue to assure that golf is available not only to us but to all fellow golfers, in particular, the generations to come.
This has really hit home for me because our golf course is struggling. I wrote about it last year, and the end result was that revenues were down significantly. Since the course I play at is municipal, there is always the threat that it won't be a priority anymore. And with our current economic culture it's something that worries me.
The good news is that most of our City leaders see the value in having a golf course in our community. Since I'm in one of the "snowy states" our season is at best about 6 months long, so we need to cram a lot of activity to get the needed revenues to operate and improve our course. What I have learned is that some things are in our control and others are not. The weather played a large factor in less playable days in 2011 compared to 2010 and it also impacted the spring growth and summer maintenance.
But what I also realized is that each one of us that shares a passion, or just appreciates the opportunity to play golf in our town, can be a part of improving our financial condition. It's not easy. A change in mindset might be needed. From my experience, there can sometimes be the attitude that golfers aren't vested in their course...they come and play, maybe have some food or drink, but that's often where the relationship ends . Many golfers have no idea (or maybe no interest) in knowing about the challenges and struggles the course is going through.
A sense of ownership or a sense of pride as a community member can really make a difference in people caring about the success and future of the course. Sometimes a trust may need to be rebuilt, especially if golfers have expressed concerns or suggestions for improvement and their voices landed on deaf ears.
Late last fall, after the season was over and it was apparent that we didn't have a prosperous season, I had some great conversations with a few people who share a common passion for golf. From there, a small group was formed with the purpose of seeing a better golf course and finding ways to increase revenue. I can't tell you how inspiring it is to sit at a table with people that want to see better things and are willing to do something to help.
One of the things I'm focusing on is our own community golfing base. While one of our main industries is tourism, I know our golf course can become better by both engaging our membership to share in thet mission of a better course and to introduce (or welcome back) community members not currently playing golf. When you're a small town golf course with a scrappy operating budget, sometimes you must rely on the time and talents of other folks who care. Without that, there may be no more golf.
I believe that golf on every level, whether it's a local municipal course or a private country club, needs each member to see golf with a new set of eyes...to see the opportunity share the game and appreciate all of the positive things it can bring. I read last fall that a beautiful Tom Lehman designed golf course in Minnesota closed. It had lots of things going for it, but apparently it just couldn't cover its costs. If things are great where you are, take a look around and see if you can share your golf passion at other courses or in other programs that might need help. Golf needs you!
As I look ahead with anticipation to our upcoming golf season, it's my goal to bring a positive energy into our golf course community and encourage not only golfers, but our community and City leaders to be partners in making our golf course a success. That means dispelling the notion that "only golfers benefit from a golf course". It also means that long-range planning and a closer look at operations could help find more money for improvements. I'm focusing on looking at ways to increase play, so if anyone has ideas, I'd love to hear them!
PS...after going this most of this winter thinking we were going to get a jumpstart on the golf season, we had a blizzard yesterday! That Mother Nature...funny gal.
Filed under: Minnesota, passion, Golf, Cathy Erickson, municipal course, increasing play
Posted Feb 01 2012, 08:20 AM by Cathy Erickson
This week is the Phoenix Open (er, I mean the Waste Management Open) and I'm having (mostly) happy memories of my trip to Phoenix last year...I only made it to the tourney 1 day (technically, 2 days, but everything was canceled on Wednesday!), but I spent about 6 hours on #16 that Friday and had a blast (the wagering going on was amazing!) I'm not sure if you remember, but last year Phoenix experienced record low temperatures and frost delays that prompted the cancelation of the Wednesday pro-am and eventually led to a Monday finish. I still golfed 4 times while I was out there, but my shorts stayed in my suitcase and I had to go buy some warmer clothes (dang you Phoenix!!).
Posted Nov 27 2011, 10:53 PM by Cathy Erickson
Wow, it's the Sunday evening after Thanksgiving and I'm having one of those "where did my YEAR go??" We're coming up on December at the end of this week and before you know it we'll be singing Christmas carols and making resolutions for 2012. My year is a combination of a blur and vivid moments of both special and challenging experiences.
I feel like I'm at a point where I need to catch up a bit and also look forward to the holiday season and to the next year...I've just started my golf off-season and I hope to make the most of it.
Posted Mar 17 2009, 11:55 AM by Cathy Erickson
While still in the last few weeks of the golf "off season" my mind wanders to golf people, places, and things that have influenced me. There are many that come to mind, but lately I've been thinking about my friend's Dad, Bob. Bob is what I would describe as the "classic golfer". He had his ‘regular guys' that he played with, was active in the leagues, had respect for the rules and the courses he played, and he wore his passion on his sleeve (literally, too - he had great golf clothes!). Bob was also one of those guys who could pull off the Greg Norman straw hat (now that's a classic golfer!). He didn't need the latest and greatest of everything, but he invested in clubs that would best suit his game. (He was the one who got me hooked on Callaway, his "go to" club was his Heavenwood.)
When I found Tees2Greens website and forum I found a happy place. There were great people there and in 2009 they asked me if I wanted my own blog space. It was a dream come true!! The site is down now, but I was able to get all of my posts to be able to post here. I will always be grateful for all of the Tees2Greens folks!!