Shifting Perceptions of Professional Management


By Mark Mattingly, Contributing Column


With decades of industry perspective, I can firmly attest that golf management companies are receiving an unprecedented level of real interest from owners and boards of public, private, resort and community golf facilities across America.

They want us to provide strategic insights and operate their courses to next-level heights.

Naturally, the circumstances by which these conversations occur vary greatly.  However, fittingly, when the going is good like record-high golfer participation nowadays, there’s elevated drive to optimize topline and profitability.

After all, it’s anyone’s guess if or when we’re staring down the barrel of a pending down cycle.

With the market and money motives in high gear, courses and clubs finally and firmly hold capital to address deferred maintenance and expand infrastructure.  Through such reinvestment, their assets remain relevant among current and future members and guests, giving them a leg-up to achieve exceptional near-term growth and long-term sustainability.  In turn, they can record higher valuations for eventual sales of their properties at premium multiples.

Enter management companies with specialty and scale to produce results better than an owner or board can do on its own.  I call it protect-and-promote high-level guidance as well as in-the-weeds execution roles.  Would you take it upon yourself to self-prescribe medicine for an ailment or make a stock market investment after receiving a cash windfall?  Nope, you’d turn to an expert for key decisions.

Many management companies thrive on professionally creating new revenue centers, hospitality-oriented infrastructures, golfer development programs and financial acumen while reducing capital and administrative cost structures (and so much more) without compromise to quality.

And the list goes on: market-leading strategic planning and budgeting, hospitality service staffing and training, national purchasing power, events programming (bring in that local band), unique food-and-beverage delivery, secure financial controls, real time dashboard insights into the business, advanced digital marketing and communications, and so much more.

All this is typically net positive after annual management fees and performance incentives.
Is that parcel of land abutting the golf course best served for residential development, a short course, game-improvement area, family-fun activities or undeveloped “as is?”  Management companies have seen countless scenarios and can advise accordingly, mitigating risk of adverse outcomes.

Hey, owners and boards, do not take a bunker mentality!  Capitalize on the rush now alongside super-strong latent demand of next-generation golfers that Topgolf and the market at large are feeding us.

Ever contemplate adding a zipline to your club’s offerings?  How about raising greens fees aligned with what the market will bear?  Management companies are wired with a cost-benefit analysis mindset.

Take solace in considering a partnership with a professional management company.  Like everything in life and business, conduct diligence.  Upon settling on “the one” with vision, ideas, experience and moral alignment, odds are you’ll find tremendous value in the partnership every step of the way.


A 30-year, golf-industry executive, Mark Mattingly is Executive Vice President of Landscapes Golf Management, operator of more than 60 golf courses, country clubs, communities and resorts across America


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