Know the “Format” to Remain Valuable

Changing demands dictate how you track and report your value

The strongest field in golf will gather at Bellerive Country Club this week and we will watch a championship that has spent the past 100 years evolving from a 36 hole match play event to a major championship that delivers exciting finishes every year. Like the PGA Championship, it is critical that you continue to evolve in your career to remain relevant to the constantly changing needs of your stakeholders.

Change is difficult (and often a slow process), but following a few simple steps can help you better respond to changing trends in the industry, demands of employers, and increased competition from other entertainment options.

Determine your Stakeholders

A stakeholder is defined as “Anyone who makes a judgement regarding the value you provide to your facility”. This could include facility owners, managers, club boards, committees, members or customers, among others. Stakeholders will make value judgements about you every day based on what they see themselves and hear from others. This list will evolve over time as leadership, ownership, membership or customer demographics change, so make sure you change with it.

Understand the “Format”

The strategies in a match play event are often different than the strategies employed in a stroke play event, because the “scorecard” is different. At your job, understanding how your stakeholders are keeping score (measuring your value) will dictate the strategies you use to be successful and remain relevant.

As an industry, we have moved beyond the simple metrics such as rounds played and instead track advanced metrics such as customer engagement and retention, which will continue to evolve. As the metrics change at your facility, make sure that your “scorecard” to measure success matches the “scorecard” of your stakeholders!

Record and Report Your Success Stories

The overwhelming majority of stakeholders have no idea what you do each day, or the value you provide to your facility. Because of that, it is up to you to educate them about the work you do and the impact you have. To get started, you need to be strategic regarding the information you gather.

Comments from satisfied stakeholders and data showing success in important key metrics on the “scorecard” are critical for telling your story. For example, if customer service is on your “scorecard”, develop a way to capture positive comments about the experience you provide and capture data which tracks customer service scores. You can accomplish both with online surveys, which can be found for free and make the process of creating, filling out the survey, and reporting quick and painless.

When you have collected the comments and data, you will need to tell your story. This could be as simple as using the Golf Operations Executive Summary located on, or you could create custom reports highlighting specific data. You can also use your facility newsletters, email blasts, and social media accounts to better inform your stakeholders of the valuable work you do. Please remember that you are the most qualified person to tell the story of your value (in many cases, you are the ONLY person), and if you don’t tell them, who will?

Become a Lifelong Learner

Continuing education is the quickest and simplest way to evolve, so seek out ways to learn new ideas no matter the source. The opportunities offered by the PGA Education Department continue to grow and are extremely valuable. PGA Sections and chapters offer wonderful content every year, often presented by your peers in the industry. Books, blogs, podcasts, and videos topics such as leadership, business, and marketing are available 24/7 and provide amazing insight and ideas.

The mistaken belief that we can continue to conduct business as usual appears to be the quickest way to lose credibility and struggle in our jobs. Instead, become a PGA Professional who embraces change and finds new ways to be valuable.

Note: This article originally appeared in the August, 2018 issue of PGA Magazine and was co-written with Doug Turner, PGA Career Consultant.