Budgeting for 2023? Consider this:

 As seen in Golf Business September/October 2022 

jk.jpgBy Jay Karen, NGCOA CEO

It’s budget time! Here are some things to think about.

For many course owners and operators reading this, you likely start your fiscal year on January 1. By the time you read this – and you are reading this, RIGHT? – you could be starting, or you could be midway through, the budget process for 2023. Based on what’s happening in our society, industry and greater economy, I am offering a little food for thought as you make some commitments to income goals and some decisions and estimates on what your expenses could be.

  • Imagine 2023 will see a 5% reduction in rounds played at your course, but you raise your prices by 10%. So, instead of 25,000 rounds played in 2022, you budget for 23,750 in 2023 (you know, oncoming recession and all). But your average rate jumps from $35 to $38.50. Why? Because you’re worth it and people won’t jump ship for an extra $3.50. That would yield $914,375 in revenue in 2023 versus $875,000. Could you use an extra $39,375? Go through various exercises like this to determine some stretch revenue goals.

  • Have you started a subscription program yet? Call it a membership. Call it a passholder.  Whatever it’s called, more and more courses are launching subscription programs for their customers. Pack in some interesting value (unlimited use of driving range, one free drink a month, exclusive access to your own Hot Deals, etc.) and auto-charge a monthly fee to their credit cards. This passive income is the hot new thing. Well, it’s not so new. But it’s relatively new to golf. One warning: Do not neglect this group and treat them like gym members, hoping they really don’t show up very much, but you’re happy to collect their monthly fee. Treat them well. Love them. Tell them you love them in all kinds of ways. One day your subscription price increases could be more meaningful than your green fee increases!

  • How’s that food and beverage operation going? Still losing money? In short order, get on NGCOA’s Accelerate community and learn what other operators are doing to actually make money on that side of the business. Believe it or not, it can be done. If you have trouble finding the discussion, reach out to NGCOA’s membership staff for help (email Sherea Malcolm at smalcolm@ngcoa.org).

  • Budget to attend a conference in 2023. Pick any conference where you think you could pick up some good ideas and make more friends in this industry. Selfishly, I’d say pick the Golf Business Conference in late January at the PGA Show. But selflessly, pick anything. Get out from your four walls and connect with the industry. Trust me – it pays you back ten-fold.

I’m looking forward to a productive autumn, and I hope you are, too. Reach out anytime at