CSI helped implement a number of changes,
which included restructuring Oceanside’s
governance and bylaws, initiating a growth
campaign, and hiring a new general manager
and membership director. After 18 months,
the club had added 300 members, paid off its
debts and revamped its clubhouse. It now has a
membership waiting list.
“Now this club is fully self-managed, and the
board and members are happy,” Riscigno said.
CSI’s principals say they don’t want their
firm to be the biggest, but they want it to be
the best for each client. Each engagement
with CSI begins with an in-person meeting
and a site assessment.
“We don’t just tell you the symptoms,” Stark
said. “We tell you the symptoms and the cure.
That separates us more than anything.”
James J. Keegan
Talk to golf strategist Jim Keegan on the
phone, and in seconds you’ll discover his pas-
sion for the golf industry. You’ll also learn he
likes to rattle off statistics: In mid-July, he’d
just completed 20 flights in 30 days. Over his
career, he’s worked with 4,000 courses in 49
JJ Keegan+, based in Castle Rock, Colo.,
works with a range of clients. About 10 percent of them are resorts, 20 percent are clubs,
30 percent are daily-fee courses and 40 percent are municipals.
The adoption process is particularly slow
for munis, he said, in part because of government procedures that must be followed.
“Advising is one role, and getting clients to
execute is another,” said Keegan, who formed
the consortium of leading golf experts in
Clients will respond to Keegan’s advice at
varying speeds, he said. For example, a client
from years ago recently emailed to say that 80
percent of his recommendations have been
The firm recently submitted a report to the
city of Albuquerque, N.M., which is losing
$1.6 million annually on its golf operation,
mostly because of the high cost of water and
the cost of employee benefits. The city has
three 27-hole complexes, a nine-hole course
and a six-hole pitch-and-putt course. The
number of rounds played peaked in the year
2000 and has been falling ever since.
Keegan’s report warned that the long-term
economic viability of the city’s courses was in
question, since competing courses in the area
offer a much better value.
He came up with a series of recommendations designed to improve Albuquerque’s
golf operations. They included leasing the
courses to private operators or turning them
over to third-party managers, hiring Class
A superintendents to increase professionalism, purchasing new maintenance equipment
annually, integrating the tee sheet and point-of-sale system into online systems, adjusting
fees based on each course’s qualities and closing the six-hole course.
Using his background as a CPA, Keegan
took a quantitative approach to the situation.
His firm offers a unique product, a predictive
index score that ranks the profit potential of
each U.S. course — all 15,000 of them.
This seven-step process takes into consideration the local market, the number of
playable golf days per year, the venue’s use of
technology, financial benchmarks, the state of
the course and its facilities, its operations and
its customer base.
“Sometimes it seems you have to be very
sophisticated to be an adviser, but sometimes
the solutions are very simple,” Keegan said.
Much of his role is finding the balance
between supply and demand, and between
expenses and revenues.
“The accelerating costs of renovation and
repair versus the underlying ability to charge
the customer has created a fracture in the
economic structure of golf that causes short
and intermediate concern,” Keegan said.
His consulting work includes looking at
programming and determining how to attract
more people to golf. And there are some areas
that give him hope.
Keegan pointed out two exciting areas in
the golf industry: Topgolf and PGA Junior
League Golf. He said the success of those programs should show courses what to focus on
— specifically young adults and kids younger
James J. Keegan
OF THE YEAR