Thursday, August 28, 2014

Have you seen our new marketing video?

Check it out!  It has been running at the SLO Airport since the 4th of July as well as hotels in the Southern communities of San Luis Obispo County.  Brian and the team at Visitor TV did such a fantastic job with the filming.  I mean, come on they even made me look good!  Let me know what you think and share this link with as many people as possible.

Get out and have fun...play more golf!

https://vimeo.com/99384769

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Future of Golf? That is the $69 billion question...

As the manager of three County owned or operated golf courses, the video below contains much of what my day (and nights for matter) consist.  How do we grow the game or at least keep it from shrinking?  My staff and I have thought up many crazy ideas to stimulate new golfers, music on the driving range, introduce foot golf, play it forward, short family tees, 8" holes in the greens, and free golf for women for an entire month!  (The last one we actually did and we almost got sued because of it, but this promotion gained us nearly $130,000 dollars in two months and only included the income from the initial POS without the bar or spend at the turn)  Much of the problem in my opinion is that our traditional golfers hate these ideas and are not willing to get on board or promote theses alternatives.



Now many would say, "Who cares? We don't need all of the other people playing the sport."  "If they don't like it, let them find something else to do."  These were actually two of the responses that I heard while attending the Symposium on Affordable Golf in North Carolina in 2012 when the topic of traditions vs. changing the game was introduced.  Is it good when industry professionals or people of influence don't care if the game grows?  What other businesses would you expect to hear this type of philosophy?...'We're all good here; we don't want to grow."  I can't think of any either.



We need people promoting the game at every turn including the traditionalists to encourage younger golfers, female golfers, minority golfers, and disadvantaged golfers to at least try the sport.  You can play soccer, baseball, and football in nearly every park in the United States and our Park systems partially fund them through tax dollars.  Tennis courts abound in most communities throughout the country too, complete with lights ... also funded with tax dollars.  It is hard to compete with these sports that require very low start up costs to try.  You can buy a really nice football, baseball and glove, or soccer ball for what it costs to rent a set of clubs at most mid level golf courses and your mom or dad can teach you how to play successfully at no cost.  It may cost you a few hundred dollars in lessons to begin to actually slice the ball rather than dribble it across the ground after you invest a hundred dollars in clubs from Craigslist or E-Bay.



To get back to my point, think back to how you first began playing the game.  Did you just think one day, "You know I would like to play golf!"  If you are like most people, you were introduced to the game through a family member or friend and you likely sneaked onto the closest course without paying.  What is the future of golf?  I am not sure, but how many people have you introduced to the game in the past 5 years or what is your message about the game when speaking to someone?  Golf is the greatest game.  It stimulates our nations economies, raises billions of funds for charitable causes, instills morals and ethics within our youth, provides social outlets for participants and spectators alike, encourages wildlife, and fights obesity through exercise.  If you need more ammunition go to We are Golf to find more information.  Thanks for your support and enjoy the video.



Monday, June 30, 2014

Women's Golf Month - to ALL lady golfers

I appreciate your passion and love for the game and rest assured that County Parks needs your passion and support. We had every intention of offering free golf for ladies during the month of June for years to come. Let me be clear that it was not the complaints from a few individuals that ended this promotion. There have been plenty of complaints during the past two years and we frankly did not care as we believed we were doing he best thing for the game of golf and still believe that to be true to this day! County Parks' golf program was threatened to be sued for gender discrimination earlier this winter if we offered the promotion again and this did not discourage me either. That is until I asked our County counsel (also a woman) if the threat had any substance. She asked if we had provided such an offer in the past. Upon my response of yes, she stated, "I'm surprised you have not been sued already" because this is in fact an example of gender discrimination. Our golf program cannot afford to call someone's bluff when there is already a set precedence within civil law.

Put yourself in the other seat and imagine if we were offering men a free golf month and how would that situation would make you feel? I'd probably be upset if I were a woman and my wife and daughters would be too.  Although this type of treatment at a golf facility may be just "par for the course" and you would likely shrug it off.

I cannot wager the future of our golf program to all of the seniors, juniors, ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, or other demographic to fight the gender inequality that golf has in the US. I still believe in providing golf to women and hope that you will help me to introduce the game to more ladies. Europe has a 30-40% participation rate for women and I would love to tout that SLO County is a leader for women's golf just as we are for Zero Waste.

Again I appreciate your passion, but I cannot afford to reconsider this issue as it would reduce the affordable golfing options for many in our county. Our intention was to provide ways to introduce women to the game of golf to invite more participants to the great recreational and social activities that golf provides.  Women's golf is still very important to us and the emails I have received only prove that we are in the right track. Please feel free to call me with your concerns or ideas for future efforts.  We will be conducting focus groups to best understand the wants and needs of women golfers and non-golfers in an effort to be more welcoming and inviting to our current and potential female customers.  Thanks for your support!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

SLO County Golf Course Zero Waste efforts are recognized by GCSAA!!

Check out the link below that is posted at GCSAA.org.  For those that do not know for what this acronym stands...Golf Course Superintendent's Association of America.  This association means quite a lot to me as I am currently the president of our Central California Chapter and the educational, community outreach, and networking opportunities have afforded me and many others the chance to make a living managing golf course facilities across our country and the world.

The video was filmed by GCSAATV back in March while Dairy Creek golf course, one of the properties owned by San Luis Obispo County Parks, hosted the Symposium on Affordable Golf.  My staff and I are quite proud to be recognized with this video regarding our Zero Waste efforts.  Take a look and if you are in the area stop by our Zero Waste Park at Dairy Creek Golf Course for a self guided tour or contact me to set up a personal tour of the facility or discuss our efforts to learn more about how processes at your local golf course(s) can make a difference within your own community.

Keep swinging!

GCSAA TV video of Zero Waste efforts at Dairy Creek Golf Course

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Symposium on Affordable Golf ... West Coast Style!

Two years ago I attended one of the best golf conferences that I have had the pleasure of experiencing!  No it was not the Golf Industry and Show in Las Vegas although, that was a great conference as well, but it was the Symposium on Affordable Golf in North Carolina.  The venue there is great as it is held in Southern Pines in Pinehursts backyard.

The brain child behind the SOAG is Richard Mandell, golf architect.  Richard has held the event at Southern Pines for the past four years with much success of attracting many leading professionals from all facets of the golf industry.   My first experience is best described as pure honesty regarding the discussions and topics.  Many events seem to have a group think mindset with little open dialogue between participants that lead to fruitful ideas or brain storming.  Richard's ability to moderate the group to encourage varying viewpoints is a true breath of fresh air.

During my visit last year I suggested that we move the event to the west coast and see if the discussion takes a different turn as my experience managing courses throughout the country has afforded me many experiences with golfers.  In my opinion golfers have differing expectations and desires based upon geography and it would be interesting to see how the discussions may get different results on the west coast.  Richard agreed and Dairy Creek will host the first SOAG away from the southeast and bring it to California.

The event is March 31 and April 1.  Take a look at our line up and register to attend this terrific event at www.symposiumonaffordablegolf.com.  If you have any questions respond to this blog and I will do my best to cure your curiosity.  We nearly have 100 registrants signed up at this point and it promises to be a great event.  I hope we see you there!