Hole-in-one Featured

8:00pm EDT May 26, 2008

The National Golf Foundation reported that golf course closures exceeded course openings for the first time in the group’s history and predicted the best an operator in this area could finish was even with last year’s receipts.

However, that wasn’t the case for the Cleveland Metroparks, which finished its golf season with increases in revenue (6.2 percent) and rounds (2.5 percent).

One may not have to look any further than the organization’s customer service practices to explain the organization’s success when others were having trouble.

Because golf clubhouse employees are sometimes the most visible representatives of the Metroparks, it’s important they are at the top of their game, and each employee is asked to make a personal commitment to excellent guest service.

During hiring, the Cleveland Metroparks and Director Vern Hartenburg want employees with innate friendliness and a desire to help. Then, if need be, they learn the game of golf.

Employees start with a kick-off training session that every employee attends. Follow-up training sessions, include weekly workplace training, covering topics specific to that workplace, and golf-wide training sessions for each position.

Position training sessions ensure that each position, regardless of location, receives the same information and gives like employees a chance to brainstorm on how to best handle different situations.

Employees also review the yearly updated Cleveland Metroparks golf clubhouse services seasonal employee manual. The manual provides tips on addressing customers, from sample greetings to appropriate body language as well as hypothetical situations with the appropriate responses.

A detailed three-tiered model provides the necessary tools to calmly handle potentially difficult situations. Each employee is empowered to make things right for a customer who feels he or she has been unfairly or poorly treated.

HOW TO REACH: Cleveland Metroparks Golf, (216) 635-3229 or www.clemetparks.com/recreation/golf