Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How to navigate an FDD + the link between "Junior Golf" & "Entrepreneurs"

One of our rituals at TGA is that we do internal trainings every quarter where each staff member trains the rest of the team on a core function of his/her job.

We're scheduling our Q2 training which has me thinking about the last one I did, which was to attempt to make sense of our 240+ page Franchise Disclosure Documents (FDD) in a simple, "Cliffs Notes" format.  This is particularly relevant for us as we are currently in the middle of filing our new annual FDD's so I'm shoulder-deep in this information right now.

You can find a lot of FDD guides on the Internet but all the ones I saw looked almost as cumbersome as the FDD itself.  Therefore, I wanted to share my presentation in the hopes that it would be a helpful guide to anyone out there looking into a franchise system.

In separate but related news, TGA is fortunate to be featured in the current edition of Golf Range Magazine, a publication operated by the same group as PGA Magazine.

The title of the article is: "Junior Golf the TGA Way: Entrepreneurs Go Where the Kids Are - School.

I share this because it's a cool thing to see the words "junior golf" and "entrepreneurs" side by side.  11 years ago when we started TGA, it felt like taboo at times within the golf industry to be a for-profit junior golf company.  It's nice to see that perception has developed to the degree that our entrepreneurial approach is now being recognized and complimented.  This is an important development as I believe that entrepreneurs will need to be the heart-and-soul of industry growth and innovation moving forward.

Thanks to Golf Range Magazine for their kind words and kudos to the 52 entrepreneurs who comprise the TGA family for making TGA part of this important conversation.

Have a great week and happy entrepreneuring...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Junior Golf "Dream" Has Arrived

Last Sunday was the Drive Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta National and it was the most important moment we've had in junior golf in a long time.

Leading up to it, I wasn't sure what to expect.  On one hand, the old version of DC&P never really got traction and I was suspicious of whether something like this would "grow the game" as the participants would already be part of the golfing population.  On the other hand, there was the "wow" factor of Augusta and the intrigue of an event for children as young as 7 that focused on specific skills as opposed to the ability to navigate a lengthy golf course.

It turns out that the event was spectacular and all the organizations behind it - Augusta National, the PGA of America and the USGA - deserve a standing ovation.  So does the Golf Channel for their masterful production job.

What struck me about DC&P during and after the championship was that its value is much bigger than the event itself.  It fills a void we've long struggled with in the world of junior golf.

The best companies and organizations in youth sports are masters at selling "the dream."  Children learn, practice and play in pursuit of the dream.  In baseball it's making the all star team.  In karate, it's the awesome prestige that comes with being a black belt.  In basketball and soccer, it's making the traveling club team. And so forth.

In golf, the "dream" starts with tournament play and ends on the PGA TOUR.

The challenge is that tournament play isn't available until the age of 12 for most tours.  Golf courses are too long and challenging for children younger than that to walk and play, especially the 10 and under crowd.  Golf doesn't have a dream for these players that is immediately achievable in the way that making an all star team or earning a black belt are.  And, we know that the time to capture a child into any activity is before the age of 10.

At TGA, we've replicated Karate and many other activities by having a multi-level program that culminates with a black level, but the "prestige" element of it is still a work in progress as prestige takes time to build.

The true value of what DC&P accomplishes is that it gives the thousands of junior golf organizations and instructors this missing "dream" that we can sell to our young players.

We're already talking at TGA about how we can promote the upcoming DC&P qualifiers to our families and incorporate preparatory activities/events into our programming model.  Incidentally, two of Sunday's winners have ties to TGA as former students.  It's a very real thing to be able to tell our current students that if they practice hard now during our spring session programs, they'll be ready for the DC&P qualifiers in June/July and they could be on TV next year.  It's a goal that is available, viable, immediate and awesome.  That's the best kind of dream there is.  We're going to sell it at TGA and I think every other junior golf organization/instructor should as well.

Thank you to golf's governing bodies for the impressive accomplishment of creating a "dream" that is inclusive of all junior players and available to the entire industry.  It is exactly what the junior golf ecosystem needed.