Business of Golf: Islington Golf Club Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Problem Statement

The Golfing Industry in Canada is a very lucrative and popular area of business to become involved in. It can be very profitable when the economy is going in the right path, but when the economy takes a wrong direction it can be difficult to have a profitable business. The obstacles are vast in the current economy and people are not keen to spend the money and time they use to on such luxuries like golfing.

Islington Golf Club is located in the west end of Toronto, Ontario and is undergoing with a business dilemma. Mr. Dave Fox has been recently hired as general manager who is trying to figure out how Islington Golf Club can maintain its prestige and reputation, and can become a profitable business. The issuehe is facing is that he has different opinions of different members to stand for and the major problem is finances because Islington is going in deficit. He needs to consider all of the information about the internal and external factors as well as the counter effects of their actions. He can decide to use the money to do more renovations in the club, hold more corporate tournaments, host more events such as weddings and banquets, and build a long-game practice facility or anarrangement of them all. Each of these choices hasits owninternal and external impacts as well as advantages and disadvantages. The difficulty Mr. Fox has is settling on what alternative will be in the best interest for Islington Golf Club as well as for its valuable members.

Definition of Success and Critical Issues

In order to make Islington Golf club prestigious and profitable, Dave Fox needs to address the following:

  • Where does Islington see itself in the long run?
  • How could it achieve the goals and objectives to get there?
  • Engage the board of directors in determining the future of the club.

Situation Analysis

Internal

Islington Golf Club is very accessible to high-end community and to downtown Toronto due to the location of the course.  A friendly social aspect of the club was its unique feature “walk-on tee time” which allowed Golfers to show up whenever they wanted to playand have their first tee off. Islington hosted the Ontario’s Men’s Amateur Championship in 2008, after which ScoreGolf Magazine described Islington as a “strong local course”. Islington has also executed Trail Membership program successfully that has generated 15 new full play members in 2008 and in 2009.

Some of the club facilities are not up to standards of members. Clubhouse lacks ambience and is thought to be “tired” due to which formal dining room is closed. Food and Beverage operations are not getting positive reviews from the members, sales from F&B are flat and a loss of $50,000 has been budgeted which is more than $100,000 in recent years. Islington Golf Club also lacks a long-game practice facility, which isdifficult fix, because of land constraints. Absence of this feature will drive potential members to other clubs. Members also require professionalism from the staff because casual/summer help has made it difficult to provide consistency. If these weaknesses are not overcome then it will have a harmful effect on the status of club and Islington might lose its members to its competitors.

External

Islington Golf club has a lot of external opportunities. Fox wants to achieve higher profits while engaging the members of the club. The community will be keen to pay more but they require the most premium services in exchange. Islington could accomplish being the most reputable course in the area if it spends the right amount of money on upgrades. Islington needs its members to spread the word of mouth to enroll more members and this can be accomplished by spending some extra money, because Islington has the ability and potential to become the most prestigious club among others.

With declining golf industry due to economical threats, the location of Islington can also be considered as an intimidation for competition, due to the fact that Toronto has the most golf courses in North America, with more than 30 courses within a 30minute drive. Several clubs are also located within 5-10 minutes of Islington. A lot of competition is faced by Islington Golf Club just around the corner from them, another Stanley Thompson Course which is St Georges Golf and Country club also includes a curling club. Lambton Golf and Country Club, another competitor of Islington has 3 clubhouses, it has best year-round tennis facility and cuisines in Toronto. Islington does not have any of these features and needs to develop its own competitive advantages to overcome the competition. Economy is considered to be Islington’s biggest threat. Golf being a luxury item and due to declining economy, extra luxuries cannot be afforded by most people...........................

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General Manager, Islington Golf Club (Islington) facing difficult circumstances. This is a private equity club in western Toronto, Ontario, has been in existence since 1923. Membership in the queue was the norm, and the finances were in good shape. However, the context is changing. Economy works against the relatively high cost and time of the game of golf. Green fee income declined and club food and beverage revenues decreased. Capital to upgrade the club, and of course is not required. Senior members had different ideas about what should be a club than younger members. The competition is heating up with new clubs being built. Islington had to ask some fundamental questions. What was the general manager to recommend a board member to support the club in the future? The case can be used as a general guide, or general marketing as it forces students to think not only in the fact that the manager has to make, but the process or framework (s) that will be useful in obtaining solutions. "Hide
by Donald Barclay Source: Richard Ivey School of Business Foundation 14 pages. Publication Date: December 11, 2009. Prod. # 909A32-PDF-ENG

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