KENILWORTH, N.J. – Justin Avallone of Donnelly Energy, Amy Cowley and Michael Campbell of Montclair Golf Club, Steve Schloss of Edison Partners and Steve Mona of Club Benchmarking were the keynote speakers at the annual NJSGA Golf Summit on Tuesday, April 5, at NJSGA Headquarters at Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth.

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The Golf Summit welcomes all members, officials, and staff from any private or public golf facility in New Jersey, as well as members of golf-based organizations in the state.

Each year, the Golf Summit, now in its 12th year, offers speakers willing to tackle a variety of issues confronting those working in the aspects of the golf industry.

In the past, differing topics have been addressed such as strategic initiatives to substantially grow women's participation and retention in golf, the latest in golf course operations, how to attract and keep new club members, energy efficiency, golf course design and architecture, pace of play, turf practices, pesticides, green energy, and much more.

This year, Avallone, of Donnelly Energy addressed the increase in electric vehicles becoming the new form of transportation and commuting. Donnelly Energy provides charging station installation for clubs and are equipped to serve the demands of members, employees and guests at clubs. Additionally, Avallone, Vice President, Donnelly Energy said they provide support in order to identify the clubs energy supply status, installing the units and obtaining all rebates.

“All electric vehicles (EV) are the most prevalent car right now,” explained Avallone. “These popular vehicles you see now, Tesla, Mustang, Hummer have strictly all-electric vehicles, no gas to them at all. Sales of these electric vehicles have been doubling each year over the last three years and we see them as being the future.” (To view Avallone's slideshow, click here.)

Campbell, Director of Golf Course Operations and Cowley, Recruiting Assistant both of Montclair Golf Club covered the topic of recruiting in today’s tough labor market. The duo explained that like many organizations, it has been a challenge to retain employees since the pandemic.

“Everyone thought 2020 was the tough year, obviously all the uncertainty at the beginning of the pandemic we were all dealing with in our personal and professional lives. Specifically for Montclair, looking back at it now, I’m certain 2021 was the more difficult year than 2020," expressed Campbell.

“It seemed like one day we walked into work and it was almost like no one was working," reflected Campbell. "Looking back, Montclair, like many clubs has a heavy reliance on seasonal staff. Historically, people come back and there’s a risk in that, you’re expecting them to come back and in 2021 they didn’t come back for a variety of reasons.”

Cowley has been successful for Montclair Golf Club in seeking employees right for the job. Her tips include creating an attractive job ad, and applicant tracking system (ATS), making immediate contact with the future employee and make the hire. (To view Campbell & Cowley's slideshow, click here.)

Schloss, of Edison Partners broke down leading through uncertainty, a vital topic as the world navigates through ever-changing times.

“The opportunity to change culture starts by words followed by action and showing the commitment to do so,” expressed Schloss.

In order to see a positive and sustained impact, Schloss recommended several ways to update leadership practices, which includes, but not limited to thinking and operating outside-in, focus on culture and how work is done across the organization, shared purpose, accountability, agency, improve employee experience to increase impact, cultivate leader and peer coaching skills, develop a generalist workplace, embrace uncertainty as opportunity, with discipline, and show up and own up. (To view Schloss's slideshow, click here.)

Mona, of Club Benchmarking wrapped up the evening with a presentation on how to use data to better lead your club. Club Benchmarking provides information specializing in annual finance & operations, compensation & benefits, policies & procedures and the strategic monthly dashboard, integration of real estate and demographic data, industry leaders in capital reserve studies, capital strategies, member motivation, attachment and loyalty benchmarking and employee engagement benchmarking. Club Benchmarking offers these tools to cater to clubs in order to generate revenue and assist with vital metrics.

“The people who are working there, members, partners, suppliers, the community at-large,” said Schloss. “How this all connects, you to take an outside in view, that’s really important. To take an inside out view is missing an opportunity." (To view Mona's slideshow, click here.)

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