lion for the course in 2007, according to
the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
He challenged the assessment, and
the county reduced it to $2.3 million.
Thinking that was still too high, he challenged it again, only to see the assessment
jump to $5 million. According to the
story, he was mulling a challenge to that
— at a cost of at least $6,000 in filing and
See why this hole can be such a blast.
(Payroll and other)
Length 572 yards
It’s the most difficult hole on the course,
according to both Cronin and Jon
Scroggins, managing member of Monarch
Club HR Solutions. Scoggins goes as far as
to say it “extends well beyond a par 5 in
terms of complexity.”
In short: Bring out the Big Bertha.
The costs tied to a club’s HR function
“have the potential to deplete financial
assets quicker than almost any other area
of operation,” Scroggins said. “The liabil-
ity cost — the cost of either non-manage-
ment or mismanagement of any aspect of
the HR function — can be catastrophic
to the bottomline. Unfortunately, many
clubs ‘don’t know what they don’t know’
until a response is needed to a claim, fine
or litigation; and by that time it’s too late.”
Cronin notes that payroll is a golf
course’s largest operating expense and
needs to be managed properly — or else.
“Club Benchmarking’s data shows that
there is a direct correlation between the
payroll-to-operating-revenue ratio and
the bottom line,” he said. “Clubs with
relatively high payroll ratios are those that
lose money, while clubs with relatively
low ratios are those that make money.
Without question, managing, motivating
and controlling human resources is the
key to success in the club industry — as it
is in just about every industry.”
When it comes to hiring, you should act
like a scratch hiring manager.
That’s the opinion of Jim Plotkin, who is
a scratch amateur golfer and CEO of The
Plotkin Group, a human resources management consulting firm.
That means using every tool available,
he said. Do not skimp.
“In golf, we want the equipment to
match our swings and we want to carry 14
clubs, not 12, not 10,” he said. “We could
shoot scratch golf with 10 clubs on
occasion if we’re scratch, but we’re
certainly not going to beat
another scratch player who is
using 14 clubs on a regular
That means the vetting process needs to be
extensive. (Carry those
14 clubs.) Don’t base the decision on one
“Making a more informed decision
requires obtaining as much appropriate
information as possible,” he said. “You are
trying to match the candidate’s behaviors,
ability and prior experience/knowledge
with your opening.”
Hire the wrong person and your organi-
zation could end up in the rough. (There’s
a lot of rough along this fairway. Ask any
employer how dicey hiring can be.)
“It’s impossible to predict with 100 percent certainty whether or not someone’s
behavior is perfect for your opening,” he
said. “It is possible to hope you make the
right decision, which we all do once we
offer the job.”
INTEREST ON DEBT
Par (Greatly depends)
Length (Greatly depends)
If a golf course owner took on significant
debt to buy a course or to fund improvements before the industry got rocked,
look out. It could be in trouble, making
this hole rife with problems.
Cronin noted that it is standard for
clubs to use the Uniform System of
Financial Reporting to clump a number
of costs together, creating what’s known as
“Fixed Costs.” They include, as we mentioned earlier, taxes and liability. Fixed
costs also include interest, he said.
Together, all these costs represent
between 10 percent and 15 percent of the
course’s fixed expenses. But clubs with significant debt can see that number climb to
20 percent or 25 percent of fixed costs,
That’s the hazard.
“Clubs with high debt have interest
expense, which can quickly become a
significant portion of the ‘back office’ or
overhead expenses,” he said.
Indeed, debt has forced some clubs to
go bankrupt. The Edgmont Country Club
12 Golf Inc. Fall 2014