If You Aren't Innovating, You Are Behind: A Summary of the Golf Inc. Innovation Day

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking

that we used when we created them.”

-Albert Einstein

RCS attended the Golf Inc. Innovation Day earlier this week, where the best and brightest attended bringing with them new ideas and predictions for the future of the golf and club industry. Whitney moderated a panel discussion about innovative ideas and strategies for private clubs and had thought leaders Perry Kenney from Sawgrass Country Club; James Hudock from Gibson Island Club and inventor of Cide Kic; and Ken Kosak from Belfair, imparting their wisdom and thought-provoking ideas during the conversation. A special thank you to Jack Crittenden and the team at Golf Inc. for a wonderful day and for the opportunity to participate.

During the day, Club Car demonstrated the new Tempo Walk we learned about the future of leading companies like Top Golf and Troon Golf, who recently acquired OB Sports, and connected with friends and colleagues – old and new.

The biggest takeaway from the Golf Inc. Innovation day is how Big Data and technology is changing the industry. Many other industries, such as retail, have a significant head start in this area, but golf and clubs are catching up quickly.

Many innovations are currently underway with benefits reaching consumers now and many more in the coming years. The USGA has the ability to track golfers at a course and overlay the usage/behavioral information (data) onto the course map to view where golfers walk and drive. As this technology becomes more common in the marketplace, it will fundamentally change the way clubs use chemicals, water, mow and staff the facility along with the way courses are designed.

Major golf club manufacturers are building sensors into their clubs in order to track data in new ways. Club technology will revolutionize club fitting and how the average golfer approaches every shot. Arccos Golf claims to be able to improve your score by 4 strokes using their technology for one year.

James Hudock, the inventor of a new start up kitchen management company, Cide Kic. Cide Kic takes the processes in the kitchen and turns them on their head such that one beta tester club kitchen has not used a piece of paper in 6 weeks…No clipboards, ‘86’ sheets, banquet event orders at all - for 6 weeks! Imagine how that can revolutionize your kitchen and appeal to younger generations of employees.

Top Golf is poised to bring their Tracer Technology to the masses. Soon you won’t need to visit a Top Golf facility to enjoy their technology, it will be at your country club range. There was much discussion regarding the removal of the "human touch" as technology expands into more areas of our life. The most progressive people in the room (and industry) pointed out that technology should be used to enhance the experience, not replace the human touch completely. Whitney suggested clubs offer high touch and low touch options to their members as a means of understanding their needs by allowing members and guests to use the club in the manner they prefer.

Other conversations revolved around staffing. If staffing is an ever-increasing challenge with no end in sight, how can technology be used to help? Can technology help clubs keep their best employees and allow them to provide a great level of customer service to more members, while technology helps with appropriate tasks? Employees that enjoy their job and are skilled at their job will flourish.

Don’t forget to take a look at RCS's most recent innovative solution for training, RCSU. RCSU provides on-demand, comprehensive, interactive virtual training courses for high-turnover positions and to help entry and mid-level managers improve their skills. RCSU offers RCS’s award-winning training programs on-demand delivered by RCS president and founder, Whitney Reid Pennell. Nothing speaks more to innovation than club managers training their staff whenever and wherever fits into their schedule, and at a pace that fits each staff member’s individual learning style.

Brian Armstrong is RCS's primary recruiter, and a Certified Club Manager with over 17 years of management experience in all types of clubs. Brian's industry knowledge is vast and extends to every area of the club. This well-rounded expertise combined with a forward-thinking perspective enables Brian to effectively and strategically guide clubs and their Boards into the 21st century while still respecting the traditions of the past. He was elected President of the National Capital Club Manager's Association in 2012 and 2013, served over 5 years on the Board and countless others on various committees, and shares RCS's passion for giving back to the industry.

Contact him at Brian@consultingRCS.com or visit the RCS website at www.consultingRCS.com.

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Whitney Reid Pennell
 Founder & President

Whitney Reid Pennell is the founder and president of the award-winning RCS Hospitality Group (formerly Reid Consulting Services). She is a published author and widely praised seminar leader, with over 20 years of club operations management and consulting experience. 

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