New Ways to Network

Rob Clark, the 2003 Dixie PGA Section Merchandiser of the Year for Private Facilities, is the PGA director of golf at The Ledges of Huntsville (Ala.) Mountain.

In today’s world, we really have to use our heads to drum up business. At the Ledges of Huntsville Mountain we budget for 18 outings a year, and we try to spread them out so as to not affect the superintendent’s work schedule. To take a proactive approach to bringing in outing clients, I tried to think of new approaches to networking. Most cities have a Chamber of Commerce, and Huntsville is no different. More importantly, our Chamber offers a leadership class that runs nine months, made up of the movers and shakers in the community – people who are raising money and working as volunteers. We all know how many of these organizations have golf events to raise money, so this class was a great way to mix in with everyone and get to know them. Furthermore, when my leadership class found out that I am a golf professional, it was as if I stole the show. They were tired of talking to the bankers, engineers and doctors in the class with us. They wanted to know about golf, and it was a great opportunity to educate people on what PGA Professionals do on a daily basis and what our facility can offer them. It has been a huge boost to our bottom line in these competitive and difficult times.

This year alone I booked five of our 18 events through this network – through contacts I never would have had if I hadn’t taken the initiative and enrolled in the class. The bottom line is I added five events at an average of 80 players with an outing fee of $120 per player, which doesn’t include food and beverage or shop sales. I also got our club some very good exposure in the community, so this was a no-brainer. Plus, I gained further leadership skills, so it’s a win all the way around!