Thursday, April 10, 2014

Are you hiding from positive feedback?

Are you hiding from positive feedback?  Seems like a silly question doesn’t it?  But positive feedback seems to be a foreign concept in the golf course superintendent profession.  Sometimes these kind verbal phrases are referred to as compliments.  Maybe you have heard of them? 

Sarcasm aside now, let me explain my opening question.  As I communicate more directly with GCSAA members, I am often amazed by the lack of accessibility of superintendents on facility websites. The GCSAA database contains some information regarding you as members, but has hardly any details about your facilities. I typically find the facility on the web for general background information, including items such as accessibility (public/private), directions, or small course details. Inevitably I will try and find the superintendent on the website.  I have found that there are surprisingly few superintendents even mentioned.  Managers, club staff, golf pros, as well as others, are often prominently displayed, but not the superintendent. So I did a small study. 

I looked up five members randomly from three chapters (Rhode Island, Cape Cod, New England), and went to their facility’s website.  I looked for a mention of the superintendent and direct contact information. I found that the superintendent was mentioned by name on seven of 15 websites. I also found three of the 15 had direct contact information for the superintendent.  Surprising? In addition, four websites had direct contact information for multiple staff members, but not the superintendent!

Back to the opening question:  Are you hiding from positive feedback?  I think we have answered the first part with the above (very unscientific) study. It was a small sample size, but clearly it is hard for the general public to reach the superintendent. What about the positive feedback part?  Well, let’s face it; if someone has a negative comment it will be directed to anyone and everyone.  It will undoubtedly get back to you no matter how difficult you are to contact. But what if someone has a compliment about the course or for you? If your contact information is readily available, they can send it directly to you.  I suppose they could use a general contact for the club.  Do you think you would receive that message?  

Think about the communication tools available at your club, especially the website. Consider how they are affecting the flow of information, including potential positive feedback from golfers, guests or others. Advocate for yourself and, if needed, increase your level of self-promotion on the facility website.  Perhaps you might happen upon some of those compliment things I mentioned earlier!

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