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Golf Management Metrics

By Tom Blakeman, December 15, 2019

Our POA monthly financial reporting always includes metrics on golf performance. And so it should. Golf is clearly our largest amenity, revenue generator, cost center, etc. But the reporting metrics are questionable. Reported are: Total Rounds, Revenue Per Round, Playable Days and Revenue Per Day. Sounds reasonable until you think a bit. 

All golf Rounds are not created equally. Yet, the reporting boils everything down to only one Revenue Per Round number. A similar issue exists with Playable Days. Not all days are equally Playable. Yet again, the metric is only Revenue Per Playable Day. 

  • Rounds – We have: Nine Hole rounds; Eighteen Hole rounds; Member rounds; Non-Member rounds; Member Accompanied rounds; Tournament rounds; and the list goes on. They all have a different revenue contribution. Any Nine Hole round generates far less revenue than any Eighteen Hole round. A walking round is not the same as a round with a rental cart. The revenue realized by any Member round is markedly different from that generated by any Non-Member. A further disconnect exists between an Annual Member round and a Daily Pay Member. Any Annual Member, whose yearly rounds are in the 200+ range per year, should not count the same as that of a Daily Pay Member. All of these things are very different. Yet the only reported statistics are the gross (some might say dumbed down) summary numbers. 
  • Playable Days – Just because we are willing to keep any of the golf courses open (or for that matter cart driveable) on any given day, regardless of rain, soggy conditions, low temperatures, extreme heat, etc., it doesn’t mean much if no players or only a few players come out. Holidays, weekend days, weekdays, Fridays, Mondays – they are also all different in “Playability” and to whom they may appeal. A day that might be considered playable to one golfer is likely not viewed the same by another. Recently the golf management plan has included the closure of one or more courses on certain days due to low volume of play. This is a smart move and long overdue. Nonetheless, it renders the concept of Playable Days over eight golf courses even more questionable, particularly on a month over month or year over year comparison. And, then there is the question of how, who, and what determines a Playable Day to begin with? 

The easy response to these concerns would likely be “that’s how we’ve always done it” or “that’s how everyone does it”. However, given the precarious financial position we find ourselves in, not to mention the new golf ‘surcharge’ going into effect next year, it seems to me that more transparency in the area of golf reporting is warranted and long overdue. 

Some suggestions: How about breaking out the revenue contributions by round type (9 or 18, for example) played? How about breaking out the revenue by Member and Non-Member? How about displaying the actual revenue and profit/loss per course and per month? There are many other possibilities. And, a big question: How are we going to know the impact of the new golf ‘surcharge’ on revenue and rounds played? 

One has to believe that our Golf Department has all the numbers. If they do not then they surely should. Just a few years ago quite a lot more statistics were provided every month as an addendum to the financial report. On the other hand, minimalist reporting makes it easy to blame poor performance solely on bad weather. 

It has been stated that, as Members, we “don’t know what we don’t know”. Well, we do know that HSV Golf is losing a large amount of money each and every year. It seems to me that if more golf statistics were presented and presented differently, the Board might make better decisions. More importantly, the Members might view those decisions more favorably. 

By Tom Blakeman December 15, 2019 

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