Golf is the ultimate service industry. Do it right and you have a happy customer that’s locked in for the long haul. Do it wrong and the damage can be irreparable.
Solid conditions and service were appreciated at Menifee Lakes. (PHOTOS: Eddie Meeks)
In the last month I’ve seen the highs and lows of the golf industry. On the downside was a club that was hosting a very high-profile event. The staff couldn’t be bothered to hustle or make a positive impression. Issues on the course were “not their problem” and the course was in mediocre condition. I was left with the feeling that they could have cared less whether I ever came back.
On the other end of the spectrum, I was treated to a real surprise at a course that I’ve frequented for more than 20 years. Menifee Lakes Country Club is what I’ve categorized as an “inexpensive” and “only worth the effort if it was convenient and I was really craving some golf” type of golf course.
With that in mind, I headed out for a late afternoon round with zero expectations aside from wanting a place to chase the ball around for a few hours. I was pleasantly surprised.
The professional in the shop greeted me as I walked through the doors. When I said I wanted to play golf, he immediately told me the conditions of the course and that the greens were running at 11 on the Stimpmeter. He surveyed the tee sheet and determined that one course was less crowded than the other and said that would be the more enjoyable round. The bottom line is that he cared.
Once we hit the course, it was more good news. The tee boxes where in good shape. You could tell the difference between the fairways and rough. The bunkers were groomed. The greens were smooth and rolled true. The beverage cart visited us multiple times throughout the day, and at the conclusion of the round a young man greeted us and cleaned our clubs.
None of these things was spectacular in their own right. It was just a series of common sense moves and what every golf course should be doing regardless of the green fee. Unfortunately, too many golf courses run with so much apathy that the basics like guest courtesy and course grooming are neglected.
Every golf course should have a basic checklist to insure a pleasurable experience for the guest. The staff should be courteous and welcoming. The players are guests, not unwelcome pests. Players should never have to pray for an appearance from the beverage cart. Last and arguably most important is that the golf course should be well-groomed and pleasing to the eye.
Nobody expects Augusta National on Masters Sunday, but a nicely groomed track with smooth greens and maintained bunkers goes a long way toward bringing in repeat customers.
The average golfer just wants the basics fulfilled. Apathetic employees and neglected courses aren’t acceptable. There are reasons why some courses are more successful than others. Their basic practices insure that the guest will have a great time and want to come back again.
The real test at Menifee Lakes will come when I go back and they can duplicate the experience.
Greg Flores has been a sports and entertainment publicist for 20 years and has written for Southland Golf since 1995.