Customer Service
By Snyper on 11/22/10
Matt is an opinionated* golf enthusiast from Pennsylvania. He coaches at the high school level, molding the minds and swings of our next generation. His column will appear each Monday on ClubSG. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions of Matt in the comments. Don't hold back- because Matt won't.

Have you ever walked out of a pro shop shaking your head and wondering why you just handed somebody fifty dollars of your hard earned money after they treated you as though you were in their way? I know I have and it infuriates me every time it happens.

When I walk into a golf shop, I am usually anxious to get out on the course and start my round. The last thing I want to do is stand around and wait for somebody to come take my money from me. I get especially angry when the person who is supposed to be robbing me is out on the range hitting balls, talking to his buddy on his cell phone, sitting in his office playing games on his computer, or just no where to be found! I just want to scream, "Excuse me! I'm trying to hand over my money to someone here! Does anybody want it!?" I'm not trying to start my round off by being frustrated because I had to stand and wait for someone to take my money. My game on the course will frustrate me enough!
"Excuse me! I'm trying to hand over my money to someone here! Does anybody want it!?"

As we all know, now that golf is a mainstream sport, it is no longer reserved for only the well to do in society. Pro shops all across the country are seeing more and more “blue collar” golfers, if you will, walk through their doors. Public golf is riddled with golfers, just like myself, who are cautious about where and how much golf they play because of the cost of the sport. This, combined with the increasing prevalence of golf courses around the country, causes the experience that the customer receives to be more important than ever before. Now, no course can guarantee that you are going to play well, but they can guarantee that you will be treated as a valued customer. That doesn’t require a complimentary shoeshine and a free drink, it simply takes prompt service and a positive attitude. Call me crazy, but that doesn’t seem so difficult to provide.

In the days of old, those who played golf were usually members of a country club. For those of you who haven’t experienced the ambiance of a country club, for the most part, they are the epitome of customer service. Going to the club to play is a pleasurable experience from the time you get out of your car until the time you drive out of the parking lot on your way home. Most all the employees know your name and greet you with a smile whenever they see you. The other golfers that you encounter during your round also greet you with a smile and a wave. It seems as though everyone is happy to be there and the staff is willing to do whatever they can to ensure that you enjoy yourself and your round. If you were to have a complaint, management is there to address it and rectify the situation as soon as possible. Now, does any of that resemble your last trip to a public golf course? While I would like to think that it might, I am guessing that none of that even rings a bell.
How can it be that when I go to Wal-Mart to buy a five-dollar bag of chips, I leave feeling better about my service than when I drop 50 dollars to play golf?

Now, why exactly is this the case? How can it be that when I go to Wal-Mart to buy a five-dollar bag of chips, I leave feeling better about my service than when I drop 50 dollars to play golf? Granted, not all customer service is equal. Some courses do a great job, which makes it obvious that such service is possible to provide. Even though the public golfer holds no fancy title like “member”, they are still the ones that pay the bills. The customers are still the ones who determine whether the course will remain a course or become a housing development in five years. So why are today’s public golfers so often treated as though they are in the way when they visit a course? Next week, I’ll be addressing some of the reasons that I believe this giant lack of customer service exists in the world of public golf. Until then, chime in and let me know what you think!

* Matt's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.

photo source

[ comments ]
Sweaty Boy says:
Hey Matt, If you want to try a course that really puts you first. No matter if your in the clubhouse or on the course. Try Sandcreek Station in Newton, Ks. I wish all pro shops, and courses alike would adopt thier habits when it comes to serving the customer and thier needs.
TYhis company has it together.
Pschepp says:
Would agree with Sweaty Boy, Sand Creek Station is a great course. Have played there a few times this summer. The people are friendly and the course in incredible.
el_pato_real says:
Who pays $5 for a bag of chips?
fibofan1618 says:
I play public. I like to enjoy my sunday morning off of work golfing and can't stand playing with friends or strangers who bitch and moan about everything from their game to all those ahead of us we're waiting on. So long as the course is well maintained I don't care about the pro shop.
DBLACE58 says:
Yeah Matt I know what you are saying. These courses don't seem to realize that there are many nice courses that will treat you better. I don't understand why they haven't been taught that the customer is always right. Last time I played we were sent out at 0900, with a group of best ballers behind us. We let the first two groups play through as they were in carts and were pushing us. The third group had two walkers and we stayed in front of them. All of a sudden a ranger shows up and asks us to step aside and let the last group through. Mind you we were on a under four hour pace. It was a beautiful day that was spoiled by an arrogant ranger who had no idea what he was doing. When we complained in the pro shop we got the attitude that they really didn't care. So they have lost four green fees for a long time.
hdwayne says:
Being a "Member" of a higher end course, I just cant fathom why anyone would put up with a course that treats people that way. I golf at at least 3-4 different courses a week. All treat us as if were were members of that course. Maybe it is a southern thing but I have not been to any courses in Florida that would treat you poorly. And if they did, I would not give them a dime! It is easier to go down the block to another course. (It's like that is some areas of florida too) I can play anywhere I want to and don't mind coughing up the dough. Why would I give it to a person tha hates their job? If it meant not playing that day, so be it! I can always go offshore fishing. I believe it takes the masses to keep a company in line. (Any company that deals with the public) Get word out, tell everyone you know, and let the company know as well!! Telling a desk clerk about the situation does nothing. Managers and owners want to know the truth!! After all, they are in it for the money, not the employee.
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