Planning - Business

In any business it is essential that a clear strategic plan is developed, implemented, and continually reviewed.

For New Zealand golf clubs (most of whom are significant commercial organisations with large asset values) developing a detailed strategic plan is an absolutely critical part of working towards creating a sustainable future.

In its broadest sense, a strategic plan outlines an organisation's basic purpose for being whilst also defining the direction and operational nature of the entire business.

Setting clear strategic objectives shapes the direction and operation of the whole business and also provides a basis from which a detailed business plan can be developed.

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>> The Strategic Plan - An Overview

A strategic plan is a document which outlines the long term goals (3-5 years) of a golf club. It defines the overall mission and direction of the golf club whilst also broadly outlining how an organisation will operate in order to achieve desired outcomes.

A strategic plan normally encompasses the following components:

The business plan is a far more detailed document that outlines exactly how the golf clubs strategic vision will be achieved. The business plan includes all of the information from your club's strategic plan, plus considerably more information about your club and how it will be operating over the short term (1-2 years) in order to deliver on the strategic objectives defined in the club's strategic plan.


>> The Planning Process

New Zealand golf clubs operate in an ever changing environment that presents many evolving challenges.

A good planning approach enables a golf club to better understand those challenges, make better strategic choices, and ultimately establish a clear direction that has support amongst members and other stakeholders.

Poor planning puts a golf club at risk of making poor decisions and operating in a reactive rather than proactive manner.

The planning process normally involves four continuous stages:

  • Preparation: assigning a timeline and key responsibilities for the planning process
  • Development: identifying the strategic challenges, assessing the options, and determining the overall direction and desired outcomes
  • Implementation: putting the strategic plan into a detailed annual business plan.
  • Monitoring: measuring performance results and making appropriate amendments to the plan.

    Developing A Strategic Plan for Your Golf Club
    When writing any formal plans for your club, keep in mind these tips:

    >> Developing A Vision And Mission Statement

    The first step of developing a golf clubs strategic plan is the setting of a vision and/or mission statement. This sets the foundation from which the club operates.

    Vision Statements:
    A vision statement describes the preferred future that a club is aiming to achieve in the next three to five years. It is an inspirational statement that captures the essence of a clubs ideal future.

    Mission Statement:
    A mission statement describes the club's basic purpose for being. It typically describes the what, how and why of a golf club.

    To develop a golf clubs vision and/or mission statements, some good starting questions to ask are:

    Set of Values:

    Whilst vision and mission statements outline the desired direction of a clubs future, a strategic plan may also include a set of values.

    A set of values is not what your golf club does, but how it does it.

    These values should reflect and foster the attitudes and behaviours that your club intends employees and members to exhibit.

    To develop a golf clubs vision and/or mission statements, some good starting questions to ask are:

    Together the vision statement and the club's values form the ongoing purpose of the organisation.

    >> External Analysis (PEST Analysis)

    An important part of any strategic plan is establishing where your golf club sits in relation to the current landscape. It is essential to consider all of the outside influences which may affect your golf club and its day to day business

    Most environmental factors cannot be controlled by a golf club, however they can be anticipated, understood and responded to. Ignoring the impact of these factors will over time undermine the future of the golf club.

    A simple tool that is commonly used for this function is PEST environmental analysis.

    For each environment category the following questions should be asked:

    It should be noted that PEST analysis does not include an analysis of competitive forces which are generally considered as part of developing a marketing plan. Competitor analysis will be presented separately on this website.

    >> Internal Analysis (SWOT Analysis)

    A SWOT analysis is the process of looking closely at your golf club and asking what is good and bad, what are the challenges you are facing and how a potential member may regard you.

    SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. By using the SWOT analysis you can identify where your golf club stands in the market.

    This provides a useful basis for making future strategic and marketing plans.

    Examples of typical golf club strengths include:

    Weaknesses often appear as the direct opposite of the golf clubs strengths and include:

    Opportunities refer to the possibilities of new growth because of the changes in the external environment and can include such things as:

    As with strengths and weaknesses, the threats are often very similar to the opportunities. Examples of threats include:

    >> Setting Key Objectives

    Setting a golf clubs strategic objectives shapes the direction and operation of the whole business.

    This function should therefore be carried out by the board of a golf club after wide consultation and analysis.

    The key objectives defined are critical and in developing the strategic direction a golf club may consider the following questions:

    Measuring Performance
    Performance measures are often referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs should be used at all levels within the organisation for monitoring short-and long term performance. All KPIs used should be ultimately linked to the outcomes defined in the strategic plan.

    It is important to define the key strategic objectives even more clearly by making them SMART:

    Key strategic objectives that are SMART allow a golf club to accurately measure performance over the period of the strategic plan.

    Additionally SMART key objectives are directly linked to the business plan performance measures which golf club management & staff may be responsible for delivering as part of their job description.

    Have strategic objectives that are clearly defined and SMART allows the golf club to be accountable at board, management, and employee level.

    >> The Business Plan - An Overview

    Following the development of the strategic plan, the golf club should develop a business plan that translates the strategic direction into actions that deliver results.

    Business plans can be very detailed documents that include the full strategic plan in addition to the marketing, financial and management plan.

    All parts of the golf club need to contribute in some way to achieving the desired strategic outcomes so it is important that the various business units within a golf club do not develop individual plans in isolation. They need to understand how they can contribute to achievement of all the desired strategic outcomes and how they need to work with each other to do so.

    While the format for a business plan can vary considerably between golf clubs, in general terms it might contain:

    Detailed Business Plan:

    Basic Business/Operational Plan:

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