In the later parts of the 20th century before the recession of 2008 and its aftermath which all but gutted the golf industry, it was extremely common to find many specialized jobs within golf club operations. Starters, rangers and even bathroom attendants were at nearly every club – especially private clubs – and the reasoning behind these jobs was simple: to enhance the overall club experience. But as less and less golfers walked through the doors at golf clubs throughout the world, clubs look to stay in the black by cutting costs, and that meant cutting staff. And despite the United States economy rebounding after the recession, a lot of these jobs didn’t come back. Instead, many clubs elected to continue operating without starters, rangers and other specialized staff and the golf experience suffered.
There’s a reason starters, rangers and beverage attendants exist and are employed at all of the best clubs in the world. And if your club doesn’t have them or they are an afterthought, you better have a good reason for it because your competitors do and they work! Let’s take a look at some of the different reasons a starter or a ranger might be needed at your club outside of their “normal” operations.
Starters today are employed for a very specific purpose – to make sure that the people that are teeing off at 10 o’clock are the people who reserved the 10 o’clock tee time. Simple. Right? Instead, look at your starter as the last first impression your customers will get of the golf course itself. The stakes are especially high for new players coming to a golf course for the first time. Without the starter there, the players are left to their own devices. They don’t know about that wash on hole 13 that’s going to eat up tee shots because no one told them to hit less than driver. They don’t know about the history of the golf course, who designed it or why they elected to build it way they did. New players don’t know where the restrooms are or where water is – exceptionally important in warmer climates. This is all the starter’s job and it doesn’t take very long to do it and do it well. Three minutes is all it takes for the starter to provide all necessary information to the players and make them feel warm, welcome and to educate them on how to have the best overall experience at your club. It’s a pivotal position. And if your club isn’t using it, then you might want to consider it.
Today, the most common reason players see a ranger is because they either they did something wrong or somebody’s taking too much time in between shots. Generally, rangers police players to make sure they’re not damaging property or the golf course itself and they’re there to keep pace of play. Again, simple. But the Rangers’ job shouldn’t be discounted to a golf course “security guard”. It’s a great opportunity to pacify what would be otherwise angry customers and build personal rapport with players.
Let’s look at the slow play example – the most common ranger interaction. A good ranger with good experience and proper training won’t simply ask a group to pick up the pace, but also let the waiting group know pace of play will pick up soon. It pacifies what otherwise be upset or angry individuals, and gives you an opportunity to not only correct the problem immediately, but also let them know that you care about their experience.
59club USA measures dozens of similar on-course services and benchmarks your club’s overall performance against your competitor set, the industry average and the best clubs in the world. And if you’re in need to hard data to confirm the need for a new starter or ranger, 59club USA can provide that in spades.