Deposit Payments and No Shows

Bill Robinson, the 2004 Georgia PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year for Private Facilities, is the PGA director of golf at Forest Hills Golf Course in Augusta, Ga.

I’ve recently moved from a private golf club to a semi-private course, and this facility has a lot more outings than my previous club. Unfortunately, we also had a problem with two or three of them not showing up for the event. This wasted the time and energy our staff spent organizing these outings for 30-40 attendees. As a result, I started requiring all outings clients put down a small deposit based on how many players they were bringing. The amount is minimal, as it’s mainly a show of good faith that the client will, in fact, be showing up. However, the deposit put down also helps the client in the long run, as it goes towards shop credit for the event. In fact, I’ll even give them 20 percent more than they put down. Along with this change, I also started requiring that clients use our facilities more, along the lines of how I ran outings at my previous club. For instance, many of these outings wanted to bring in outside food and beverage, but I informed them of all the options we have, even allowing them to rent out the entire grille room.

Our facility hosts up to 100 outings per year, ranging from 30 golfers to upwards of 135. Since shifting our outings policy to require these minimal deposits, we haven’t had any no-shows. Several clients have even expressed appreciation of the change, as they’re now coming out ahead, once you factor in the shop credit. Plus, the larger the turnout for the event, the more credit they’ll receive – which encourages charities and organizations to attract more participants.