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  • Writer's picturePhil Grice

Cats don’t bark and Dogs don’t climb trees….

What’s the difference between Cats and Dogs AND what has this got to do with managing a golf venue or members golf club?

Think of your members as being more like our K9 friends. They want, expect, and enjoy a two-way interactive relationship, they work best with some form of rules and or guidelines. They offer you great loyalty in return for preferential two-way affection. They believe they are your guardian and generally support you almost unconditionally if they are getting what they want. If you call them, they will for the most part come to you without need or recompense…just a friendly word. However, they can also be needy at times, they do want regular exercise, they can get over eager at times and don’t always do as they are told…can be high maintenance occasionally, but generally, they are fantastic loyal companions.


Our feline friends are much more straight forward, you give them what they want, and you will get a controlled level of affection in return. Some are friendly and some are not. Generally, affection is saved for those offering the most in return, which is fine if you know the rules. They are not looking for boundaries or guidelines, they work on a ‘free spirit’ kind of mentality. Sometimes they will come when you call, but if next door is offering better treats, they can go missing for a while… However, they are generally less maintenance and sometimes seem better value, they entertain themselves and look for very little in return.

Cats are ‘transactional’ by nature and Dogs are ‘relationship-driven’…and while both traits overlap to the naked eye, they are fundamentally different animals. That isn’t to say both cannot live together but as their guardian, you need to understand they both have different needs and wants from you…

If golf club members were dogs and casual green fee payers were cats, it then puts everything into perspective. Members are looking for a relationship experience with our clubs and venues. They want a home and buy into all we stand for. Casual green fee players are looking for a different experience, they don’t want to be tied…they enjoy their freedom and accept that stricter rules are not for them.

So, two takeaways

Firstly, not all golfers are looking for the same experience from a club/venue, you have two very different value propositions to fulfil.

Secondly, it’s down to you to make sure you manage the engagement, experience, and expectations of both to ensure no one is disappointed.

You have members and customers; they are similar looking with differing expectations…

Finally, remember some cats will act like dogs and some dogs will act like cats…also some cats will become dogs over time and vice versa, it’s not complicated, just get to know what animal you’re dealing with.



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