Lessons from a Bad Golf Course

September 16, 2021

I'm sure you're wondering why I'd write about lessons learnt on the golf course. Many things remind me of my company (which is helping small businesses succeed via the web).

This week, I had a terrible encounter at a golf course that made me think, and I came up with four things I learnt from it.

Here's how it goes:

Last Friday, my wife asked if I wanted to play golf. I was busy, so I took a break and played nine holes at a nearby par three course.

We didn't call for a tee time since it was a Friday and a workday, so we decided to swing by and see how busy it was. There was no one on the tee box when we arrived, and the back nine was as vacant.

When my wife walked in to pay, there was a young guy behind the counter. I'll try my best to get you a tee time in an hour or two, he replied.

“There's no one here!” said my wife. He apologized once again, saying, "I'm sorry, but I can't let you start for an hour."

She said once again that there is no one on the tee or even in the parking lot. Sorry, you'll have to wait an hour, he replied.

What exactly did we do? We walked away.

The four lessons I took away from this shoddy golf course were:

It's never a good idea to refuse money.

They had a chance to earn some additional money since the course was empty. Instead, they alienated us, and I'm not planning on returning for a long time, if ever.

While this may seem self-evident, most of my work originates from individuals who are fed up with web designers and developers who can't be bothered to contact them back or respond to an email about potential work. People that can't be bothered and leave money on the table always surprise me.

But it occurs more often than you would imagine. It's never a smart idea to alienate potential business partners in this environment.

Many of my rivals, as well as this golf course, believe so. Being attentive to your client's/requirements customer's is the simplest thing you can do in business.

It costs you nothing to return a phone call or respond to an email.

Imagine if I stood on the street with a fist full of hundreds of dollars and offered them to you. Would you accept them or refuse them?

That is precisely what you are doing if you do not return calls or emails.

I know, it's an exaggeration, but it astounds me when businesses reject money in the form of consumers or clients.


In today's environment, the ability to be flexible is a must. You must adapt with the times and be flexible and open-minded about your company if you want to remain in business.

Now, if this course was completely filled and groups were waiting to go out and play, I would have completely understood. Unfortunately, the idiot they put in charge was incapable of rational thought; otherwise, he would have taken our money and sent us on our way to play.

The world has changed, and you must adapt to the changes and be willing to do things differently than you did before. Otherwise, you'll turn into a dinosaur, which is extinct and only found at the bottom of your petrol tank! Learn more about business flexibility.

Excellent customer service

Poor service is a certain way to lose consumers or clients. They left such a sour taste in our mouths in this instance that we are unlikely to return and will also inform our friends and coworkers about what happened today.

I've already informed a few individuals about the issue. He should've looked for a method to make us happy.

If he had glanced out the 10th tee, for example, he would have seen no groups even two or three holes away and could easily have sent us out. We would have been satisfied with his service and departed with a positive impression of the training.

Consider how happy we would have been if he had informed us we needed a tee time and then gone out of his way to assist us. As we discussed in number two, this would have necessitated his flexibility.

This is something I've seen in my business as well. People are inflexible and refuse to assist their clients/customers, which results in a loss of business.

I've always attempted to offer the finest customer service possible at Roosites, and I always try to reply to a request the same day. This is why, after more than two decades, we are still in business.

Enable Your Employees

Maybe the kid at the front desk was instructed never to allow anybody in without a tee time. If this is the case, the golf course should be ashamed of you.

They should've stated something like, if no one is on the course and someone comes by, send them out to play. This is something I've learnt over the years: you have to empower your employees and allow them to make choices.

When I collaborate with designers and developers, I strive to offer them as much creative latitude as possible, which typically yields good outcomes.

People get uncomfortable when they attempt to be too strict, and they never perform their best job, or, as is the case now, they leave money on the table.

In conclusion

If you pay attention, there are lessons to be learned everywhere. Unfortunately, we learn those lessons most of the time by observing what not to do.

Always put yourself in your customer's or client's shoes. Consider how you would respond in a certain scenario.

They did everything wrong at the golf course on Friday and lost prospective clients. So much is still up in the air with Covid, and you can't afford to lose any business.

Thanks to Barry Roos at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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