Within the Boardroom

Within the boardroom with Golf Industry Central MD Mike Orloff

In this edition of “Within the Boardroom” UAE Golf Online have spoken to Mark Orloff, the MD of Golf Industry Central based in Australia. We welcome him to this feature and hope you enjoy his answers below.
1 – Can you give us a short brief into what is your role at the company, how long have you worked at Golf Industry Central (GIC) and what the brand stands for?

I am the Founder and Managing Director of Golf Industry Central which was first launched in July 2008. I had previously worked for two of the largest golf management companies, both whom ended up leaving Australia. I decided it was time to get some of my own “skin in the game” and create a brand of my own.
We have now expanded into 5 distinct sub brands  Golf Industry Central (Media), Grow The Game Central, Golf Marketing Central, Golf Recruitment Central, and Golf Operations Central. All pretty self-explanatory.

2 – What do you think makes a good GM?
A good GM is more than a manager- they are a leader. They need to inspire others to follow on the journey in achieving whatever the vision is for that particular facility or company.
They need to be a good communicator, have a strong understanding of financials, and are able to make tough decision when need be.

3 – GIC have been in operation since 2008, in this competitive market, how have you managed to keep the company current, innovative and respected?
VERSATILITY- I initially started out as a management consultant in 2006 till the launch of Golf Industry Central. Ive then moved us into various areas of the industry in marketing, recruitment, Grow the game and operations. We’ve now also become an industry media platform.
The geography is very large in this part of the world, but the industry is fairly small. The experience I learned and processes I helped develop for the two biggest golf management companies has given me a real head start on the industry here, which tends to be slow to react, and is well behind the major US golf markets when it comes to parts of operations.
Ive kept control of content and am particular in what we publish. The platform was developed to help share ideas and stories from around the globe. Some of which are very relevant to our industry here. I hope that stories will get people to think about how they can make a difference in their locale.
We embrace new technology where we can, though we are careful not to be too far ahead of the curve so our target market isn’t left out of what we do. Consistency is everything!
If we can assist the industry, even in a small way, improve- then we are doing our job.

4 – The internet is a great place to find business, but also there is a lot of competition and spam, how do you keep on top of this?
Systems, structures, and auto-notices!  It does get crazy at times to stay on top of all the mediums we are part of, but we must be diverse in our marketing across older traditional mediums and of course the new ones. The new ones are coming thick and fast too!

Golf Related:
1 – You mention in one of your statements that “Golf Industry Central exists to help golf facilities in Australia and New Zealand perform better”
Can you give a brief overview as to how you achieve this?
We have a diverse offering of not just information we publish but also in the products we provide and how we share information. I lecture for the PGA International Golf Institute, write articles for a few different golf publications, plus our own.
We share what have learned and experienced, some we share for payment, other information we share as part mentoring students or assisting applicants find jobs.
Most clubs don’t need a full “bells and whistles” approach to improving their operation, just some simple guidance to get them on track. We are boutique in approach and can usually work to any size budget.
In the end the club or facility needs to help themselves. We cant do it for them.

2 – In your opinion how is the health of the Golf Industry in Australia and New Zealand?
I think some parts are going fine- they have strong strategic planning in place and allow their GM/CEO to do what they are experts at.
Other parts of industry here though are very slow to change, and we have Boards micro managing the GM/CEO which doesn’t allow them to focus on the important items. Clubs can be slow to react and before they finally do it’s too late.  Problems then are passed onto the next generation of members.
They need to look at their facilities as businesses.

3 – Are you seeing a rise in recruitment roles in the Golf industry?
They tend to come in cycles, so I wouldn’t say there is a rise at moment. The general quality of GM is improving as we are seeing better educated and modern thinking people come up the ranks.
The challenges we see are Boards change and then change goalposts for managers. Not all managers can adapt, are versatile enough, or even ask for help in areas they may not have expertise.

4 – As a brand, how do you choose which partners to work with, what is your criteria?
Whichever brand chooses us!  I look for brands that I really believe in, or feel will bring value to our industry here. Each have different needs, so as long as I feel we can assist them to achieve their goals, we will look at working together in some capacity. It may only be a simple introduction to the right people or in some cases assisting in an ongoing capacity.

5 – Are you a golfer? If so What is your handicap?
ARE YOU A GOLFER?? Well that is questionable at times. I am a US and Australian PGA Member, though playing golf has taken a back seat over the years. Ive been pretty career oriented since I started in golf, and only play about 10 times a year. The game is very rusty but I can still hit the ball alright, just don’t score very well.  Im a good Ambrose partner though have 0 handicap doesn’t help!

6 – Where would you like to take GIC in the future? Do you have a vision in place already for the next few years?
I’ve had a vision in place since inception of the company. I always believed it would grow organically and at its own pace. We are versatile and move with where the market wants us to be. We adapt to opportunities that we see coming, which as a small company is easy to do.
Whatever we do though fits into our mode of operation which is “have computer will travel” so we can work pretty much anywhere as long as we have internet.
Yes a few goals and plans in place for this year, but Ill wait to announce them when they are complete. Can’t give the secrets away.

7 – Do you think Australian Golf Courses in general are planning the right way for the future?
I think they are typically too bureaucratic especially compared to privately owned facilities. I worked most of my career in a commercial environment, where we were always looking to grow our business every day we were open. In past 7 years Ive worked a lot in the traditional Board run operation, which can be challenging as change takes a while to happen, and then the board changes and you start all over again. Its tough to get operational momentum happening, or Boards won’t make the hard decisions for real change as it wont be approved by members as the change that will eventually save the club, is too much of an impact on their personal membership. People (Members) can be very selfish especially when change will effect their own back pocket or access to course.

8 – If you were in control of Golf in your region, what are a few changes you would like to implement?
Streamline the National bodies under one umbrella so full control of growing the game and overall industry can be administered via one platform. We have limited resources and a lot of duplication of roles in certain sectors.
The industry here tends to work in layers with not all communication get through properly to all stakeholders. The past few years we have seen some good movement toward the above model, but it is very slow moving and still full of politics.
In the end we just want what is best for the industry to be sustainable.

We would like to thank Mark for his time, please visit – www.golfindustrycentral.com
If you would like to be featured, please contact us

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