Do a Little Homework

CHOOSING A GOLF WORLD CONSULTANT

  HOW TO CHOOSE A GOLF COURSE BUSINESS CONSULTANT

… AND WHAT YOU SHOULD DO FIRST


1. You Want Unimpeachable Characters

First and foremost, effective consultants must be people of the highest character. You want consummate professionals. The consultants must be willing to put the best interest of the client ahead of their own.


Our only mission is to help golf course owners and homeowners in golf course communities reach the best possible results – not just for now, but for a long time. We are confident enough in our knowledge of the entire golf industry that we guarantee our knowledge and advice or our clients can dismiss us in an instant if they feel we are not expert enough to be of useful service. 

 

Are you hiring a Consultant? Shun the 24-Hour Turnaround and Other Hype.


Recommendation: Immediately dismiss a consultant who indicates a quick fix – especially advising homeowners with the dilemma of a failing golf course outside their backyards. There is no magic bullet. The solution starts with the learning process. In our work, we thoroughly analyze the subject and then acquaint our clients with facts upon which they can make informed decisions.

   

For example, the consultant must be willing to tell clients things that they need to hear, but may not want to -- even if doing so means that the consultant loses business. The consultant must care deeply about her or his clients.


As your consultants, we’re like the doctor who tells his patient that his smoking is causing his problems. The patient responds that he knows that, but wants to hear something else. The truth is that solving the failing backyard golf course dilemma always requires a little discomfort. The solution requires information, energy, commitment, money (yes, money), and especially cool heads. Like quitting smoking, it’s not easy, but the result can be highly satisfying. 

 

2. Be Sure You Have a Consultant with Solid Experience

A good consultant should have experience with the challenges of your particular dilemma. In the case of the golf industry, you need people who know the world of golf inside and out. What you want your golf business consultants to bring to the table is experience in addressing the various types of issues you face.


When you retain a world of golf consultant like GolfRescues, you’re paying for the consultant’s advice backed by experience. Not just experience, but endless valuable connections throughout the golf industry. 


The consulting team of Kahn, McIntosh, and White brings over 150 years of experience in the golf course business, including residential golf course developments. We’ve planned, designed, budgeted, managed, marketed, maintained, insured, and financed golf courses. We've bought and sold golf courses and golf course residential lots. 


We've been homeowners on golf courses - Kahn has even been an HOA  President.  


The Kahn, McIntosh, White team came through the grass roots of the golf industry from mowing greens, to managing food and beverage, creating websites, and being HOA members. This team has shoveled snow and treated for mole crickets. Kahn and McIntosh have owned golf course businesses. Our legal component, Mr. Cameron White, a former PGA professional, is now a licensed attorney specializing in golf course law with an office in Orlando, Florida. 

  

3. Creative Problem-Solving Skills

You will want the consultants you engage with to be outstanding problem solvers. After all, you are hiring consultants to help you solve problems (or take advantage of opportunities).


EXAMPLE: In late June 1996, Mike Kahn took over a 27-hole golf course in place of a government-appointed receiver, as it was in Chapter-11 Bankruptcy (Union Golf of Florida, Inc.). A popular Florida golf course, it had a bottleneck problem that caused a backup on one of the three starting holes – a short par-4 with a large bunker on the left and dense woods on the right. Kahn timed the three starting holes. Two of the nines were easily 32 players an hour, but the third nine had a problem starting hole that could barely start 24 golfers an hour. The slowdown was because of tie-ups due to ball searching in the woods on the right side. Kahn's experience says that trouble on the right side of a starting hole means a backed-up tee sheet!

 

So, Kahn had the bunker on the left grassed over so golfers wouldn't avoid it by aiming right. Then, he instructed the maintenance crew to mow the woodland forest floor on the right side as far in as possible so a ball hit there would be easy to find. Once the change was implemented, the once slow starting hole hit 32 players an hour. Therefore, all three nines running at 32 players an hour meant all three nines could rotate smoothly. At that time (1996), daily fees were $65, $260 per foursome. Therefore, every day from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., the pro shop could potentially take in an additional $3,120 in green fees (8 more players per hour at $65 = $520/hour x 6 hours = $3,120). From mid-January to Easter 1997, while in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, under Kahn’s leadership, revenue at this Sarasota Golf Course under Kahn's command increased from $1.5 million to $2.3 million. The golf course escaped bankruptcy in July 1998. The case is fully recorded in the Federal Courthouse in Tampa, Florida.


The above is an example of the thought process this group of golf course business consultants brings to clients. We’re merely demonstrating where there may be ways a neighborhood golf course can adjust or adapt to make it financially healthy and eliminate worry by its adjacent homeowners. 

  

The successful consultant has the outstanding management skill. He or She has the ability to utilize experience resulting in positive outcomes.


EXAMPLE: Consultant, Bill McIntosh, advised a client that it could improve its food and beverage business by offering poolside food service. A GolfRescues Mississippi client quickly adopted the suggestion to the delight of the residents who used the pool. McIntosh also reviewed the client’s entire food service activity and quickly laid out areas where they could improve earnings through proper portioning. He further advised the client to demand greater accountability from all employees and to adopt much tighter inventory controls. 


EXAMPLE 2: As consultant at a Chicago area golf course, Bill McIntosh ordered a meeting of all bar-tending personnel for training on liquor pouring. Bill was able to demonstrate with complete accuracy his pouring skills and then challenged his bartenders to match him. The result of that training session improved bar profits by thousands of dollars by year's end. But what does this example have to do with the neighborhood dilemma?


In many cases, golf courses we review and advise are losing money and don’t know why. If the golf course can learn how to become financially healthy, the concerns of the residents disappear. Our clients, whether golf course owners, or golf community residents quickly understand our value to them as soon as they see us go to work.    


When choosing a consultant, know you are hiring superior problem solvers.


Solving problems is second nature to the GolfRescues team of Kahn, McIntosh, and White. These guys are completely used to solving problems every day as golf course operators. Understand that on any given day a golf course operator may face a broken irrigation line, a delinquent member, an HOA issue, a POS freeze-up, a leaky clubhouse roof, a theft incident, a failing greens mower, a cart fleet negotiation, a mole cricket attack, or a liability issue due to an accident. Solving problems is the trademark of the GolfRescues team. 


The Kahn, McIntosh, White GolfRescues team is the most experienced consulting team in the golf industry. 


4. Outstanding Communication Skills

A good consultant should be articulate. He or she should possess unusually strong communication skills, both orally and in writing. Of course, communication is a two-way street. Perhaps more important than her or his ability to speak articulately and write eloquently is the ability to listen.


No matter how smart a consultant is, she or he won’t be able to help you improve your business until they fully understand the challenges you face. This will never happen until the consultant listens to you.


As golf course business consultants, Kahn, McIntosh, and White hold off making any suggestions until they have thoroughlyanalyzed the situation. For instance, working for homeowners facing property value losses due to their failing backyard golf courses, this consulting team understands the division that inevitably develops between the golfers and non-golfers. Recognizing and even sympathizing with the attitude of the non-golfing residents in a golf course community, this consulting team works to smooth things over. It begins by listening to all golf community residents – golfers and non-golfers. By listening, we can identify common issues upon which both sides can agree. 


Understand, as indicated earlier, our recommendations are not driven by a there-must-be-a-golf-course-at-all-cost mindset. We do recognize situations where the specific golf course in question was doomed in the first place – usually created by overzealous developers. 

  

Sometimes the key is to repurpose the golf course lands, with as little neighborhood disruption as possible. In this case, it takes cool heads to settle the future. 

 

5. Excellent Interpersonal Skills

Simply put, for any consultant to be successful in helping your dilemma, a trust-based relationship is going to have to develop. You will need to be comfortable revealing the intimate details of your situation. The relationship between consultant and client is not unlike the relationship between a doctor and patient. 


As consultants, we understand that our clients depend on our advice and opinions. Although our work is business, we work from the heart when it comes to integrity. For instance, we warn our potential clients up front that we will not patronize anyone. We respond only to what appears to us in our experience as the better way to solve a golf course issue. When we discuss the trust factor, we assure our clients that we do not accept or receive kickbacks or referral fees from anyone, such as vendors we may recommend.


Without complete candor, the consultant will be hindered in his or her effort to help your business. You should choose a golf business consultant with whom you can develop a professional relationship, but more relaxed, open, less formal, and more relaxed.


Clients often find the team of Kahn, McIntosh, and White to be professional but with more of a ‘down-home’ manner. We try to reduce anxiety by being more relaxed and comfortable to work with. It’s a consulting style backed by complete confidence in our skills and knowledge, as well as by our many years of experience in virtually every aspect of the world of golf.

 

The GolfRescues team of Mike Kahn, Bill McIntosh, and Cam White is the only golf business consulting team that agrees to be fired immediately if our client feels we don’t know our business or feels we’re BS-ing them in any way. 

 

The Golf Rescues team of Kahn, McIntosh, and White will help you preserve property values in your golf course neighborhood. For instance, a saved community golf course can save millions in property value. Conversely, the wrong golf business consultant may actually destroy property value with naive recommendations and misguided advice due to inexperience. Following the five guidelines here is the proper way to find the right golf course neighborhood consultants. 


The team of Kahn, McIntosh, and White have the experience, innovative skills, trust, and integrity to help solve your neighborhood golf course dilemma.


WHAT SHOULD YOU DO FIRST?


Your HOA board of directors, or even a separate group of residents apart from the HOA board, should form a feasibility group of five or six people that includes golfers and non-golfers. The group’s mission must be to gather and understand the information needed to form any strategy. The integrity and value of your neighborhood are at stake. Without true facts to go on, you cannot make informed decisions. 


Once the feasibility group is formed, to get started, arrange a complimentary conference call with the GolfRescues team of Kahn, McIntosh, and White. It’s an informal meeting that willhelp us get acquainted. We can answer your many questions. Meanwhile, we can learn more details about your situation.


To get started, write to mike@golfmak.com

View outside a golf course resident's backyard.
View outside a golf course resident's backyard.