The Golf Business: a Thinking Man’s (or Woman’s) Game

As World Golf Hall of Fame Member, Chi Chi Rodriquez said, “Golf is a thinking man’s game. You can have all the shots in the bag, but if you don’t know what to do with them, you’ve got troubles.”

This observation rings true in all aspects of the golf industry. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of resources to help you when you are facing challenges in growing or maintaining your golf course or when you are ready to implement your next big idea.

golfmakGolfMak, Inc. a Golf Business Consultancy

In 1994, Michael A. Kahn founded GolfMak, Inc., a Florida Corporation dedicated to helping golf course owners and operators effectively manage the business of golf courses. Over the years, GolfMak has consulted, managed, brokered or financed golf courses across the U.S. and has done so by using no-nonsense business tactics that have withstood the test of time and the ups and downs in the economy.
You could say Mike Kahn takes an old school approach to the business of golf. Mike explained, “I have managed most every type of golf facility from executive course, private country clubs, daily fee, semi-private, municipal, even a lighted par-3 course. I’ve shoveled snow and mowed Bermuda grasses.”

Working in so many varied aspects of the golf industry, he learned the business from the ground up. Along the way, Mike has also developed a network of business colleagues that includes many of the best and most experienced names in the golf industry today.

GolfMak offers a range of consulting services for golf operations of all sizes. Some of the most noteworthy turnarounds the company has facilitated include:

• Moving a 36-hole golf course out of
foreclosure and to a successful resale
resulting in a $4 million profit for the seller
• Adding 30,000 rounds and $800,000 in
revenue as part of bringing a 27-hole
course out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy
• Quadrupling revenues while leading an
18-hole course from 30 rounds per day to
over 120 rounds daily

A previous holder of licensing in Ontario as a superintendent and a current member of the Golf Course Business Consultants Group (BGCBC), Mike has described his business style as, “non-patronizing, downhome… no BS, just common business sense.” Always focused on growing a golf course’s bottom line, he observed, “The best money in the golf business comes from the golfer who pays a green fee, buys a few balls, plays 18-holes, has a beer and a sandwich and goes home.”

Learn more at

TCF Equipment Finance
Based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, TCF Equipment Finance (TCFEF) is widely recognized as one of the premier equipment finance companies in the United States. TCFEF offers a comprehensive suite of products targeted to the distinctive needs of the golf industry. As a division of TCF National Bank, TCFEF is backed by $19 billion in assets and has experienced growth and remained profitable throughout tough economic conditions.
TCFEF provides flexible and tailored financing for golf cars, turf equipment and select irrigation equipment. With TCFEF, even the basic financing options have room for customization, helping ensure that the terms offered match the needs of the golf course. Well-versed in the unique requirements of the golf industry, TCFEF recognizes the importance of offering flexible options and customer-centric benefits such as: 1) seasonal payment terms, 2) quick-response decision making, 3) packaging of equipment, installation and other services into a single lease, and 4) dedicated service from an experienced golf finance professional.

The programs and products offered by TCF Equipment Finance include:

• Loans
• Capital leases
• Tax leases
• Payment deferrals
• Cash-flow management payments
• Seasonal payments
• Flexible payment options
• Operating leases

Committed to the belief that golf course decision makers who understand their options make the best choices, the team at TCF Equipment Finance explained, “Before we offer financing options, we take the steps to build a relationship with each customer.

Find out more about TCF Equipment Finance for the golf industry at

Fail-Safe Product Protection
In 1987, Western Association, an insurance provider located in Kansas City, Missouri, established Fail-Safe Product Protection. Their objective was to offer an extended protection program for outdoor power equipment dealers and members in Kansas and Missouri.

Demand for the protection program grew quickly and Western Association joined with First American Insurance Company in order to expand its service territory. Soon, the company’s extended warranty programs for agricultural and construction equipment and the Fail-Safe Outdoor Power Equipment plans were being marketed throughout the U.S. and Canada.

In 1991, Ron Reusch and Randy Kuhnhoff purchased Fail-Safe from Western Association and formed Fail-Safe Insurance Services, Inc., a company dedicated to helping manufacturers and distributors with warranty needs and to developing and marketing other extended protection plans for equipment and machinery dealers. Within a year the company had secured its own underwriter and began offering plans designed to serve larger agricultural and industrial equipment.

Over the years, the company has continued to grow, adding specific coverages to address compact equipment including golf and turf equipment. In 1999, Fail-Safe entered into a relationship with Toro to administer an extended protection plan for Toro’s commercial division.

Today Fail-Safe offers all of its programs through one underwriter, simplifying the process for the equipment user or owner. In 2016, the company will celebrate 30 years of offering extended protection to its clients, paying claims and supporting the needs of equipment dealers.

You can learn more about Fail-Safe’s bulletproof protection programs at

CXT Inc.

CXT Inc. provides engineered concrete products both for the railroad and the golf and recreation markets. Already an industry leader in its own right, in 1999, CXT Inc. became part of L. B. Foster, a company widely recognized as one of the largest manufacturers, fabricators and distributors of transportation and construction materials in the world.

As a manufacturer of precast concrete buildings, CXT Concrete Buildings offers

• Vault (waterless) restrooms built for one or
two single users available in a variety of
sizes and styles
• Flush toilet restrooms in single and
multi-user layouts
• Utility and concessions buildings, in a
range of styles and sizes

CXT also offers professional site services and building installation as well as a range of park products including picnic tables, waste and recycle bins, restroom and vault fixtures, electrical and solar fixtures, doors, windows and signage.

An American company with deep roots, you will find parent company, L. B. Foster products in use in the construction and rehabilitation of the New Orleans Flood Barrier, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Panama Canal and other iconic aspects of our country’s critical infrastructure.

Learn more about precast concrete structures, supplies and services from CXT Inc. at

Mid-America Golf and Landscape
Based in the heartland country of Lees Summit, Missouri, Mid-America Golf and Landscape is a GCBAA certified, full service golf course contractor. The company’s services include new golf course construction, full golf course construction feature renovations, golf course drainage and irrigation installation projects, and a range of other sports and athletic field construction projects for both public and private sector clients.

Among the many specific services offered by Mid-American Golf and Landscape are:
• Construction and installation of bridges
and stream crossing
• Preparation of seedbeds, fertilization and
• Soil preparation and application of soil
• Erosion and sediment control and stream
bank protection
• Heavy earth moving (mass excavation)
• Staking, clearing and grubbing
• Both rough shaping and fine shaping
• Construction of greens, tees and bunkers
• Lake and pond construction
• Installation of irrigation and drainage
• Grassing and other projects

Known for a company vision that is based on family traditions and principals, Mid-American Golf and Landscape takes pride in seeing client contacts develop into lasting relationships. Visit the company’s website to learn more

Parting Thought
As the end of the year approaches and you are making your plans for 2016, we thought we’d share this interesting perspective on the business of golf, a reassuring reminder that business is inherently cyclical. The following comments appeared in an article written by the editors of Golf Digest–an article that was published more than thirty years ago.

What’s Ahead
The golf industry has long contended that people will continue to play the game and pay for the privilege, through good times and bad; that the need and the demand for leisure activity is just as strong when the economy is down, maybe stronger as people try to take their minds off money problems. That point of view may be subjected to a severe test in 1975.

…Throughout golf–in private club operation, equipment, travel and the construction of new courses–the outlook for the coming year is less bright than we are used to.

…Perhaps nowhere in golf has the economic crunch been felt more keenly than in course maintenance… Golfers may soon find their courses less manicured and not quite as lush.

Linda Parker has been writing professionally since the 1980s. With clients in finance, sports, technology, change enablement, resorts and nonprofit global initiatives, Linda helps organizations communicate their stories in meaningful ways to the people they most want to reach. She has authored, ghostwritten or contributed to more than a dozen nonfiction books. Linda is a member of the Authors Guild and the Golf Writers Association of America. You can connect with her on Facebook at:

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