Tag Archives: Golf Card International

Former Guests David Kramer and Jay Miller at Los Serranos Country Club

It’s rare that two guests from the Defining Success Podcast and I are able to get together, but last week, David Kramer and Jay Miller met me at Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills, CA.

David Kramer, Zeb Welborn and Jay Miller at Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills, CA

David Kramer, Zeb Welborn and Jay Miller

Jay Miller is the Director of Business Development at Golf Card International and he met me early in the morning at Los Serranos Country Club so we could get in a round of golf. 

Jay and I were the first ones out in the morning and sped around the golf course playing a round of 18 holes in a little over three hours.  The round seemed to fly be even quicker as I got to hear some amazing golf stories from Jay about his experience working and playing with some of the top golfers in the world.  Jay is absolutely one of the most interesting people I’ve ever had the opportunity to play a round of golf with.

Jay bogeyed the last hole to shoot a one over par and I played one of the best rounds I’ve played in a long time, shooting a three over par 75, at least that’s what Jay told me.  I was so invested in hearing Jay’s stories that I really had no idea what I shot.  But, I knew I was playing well.

David Kramer and Jay Miller met me after our round for lunch.  David Kramer is the Senior Vice President at Los Serranos Country Club and was one of our very first guests on the Defining Success Podcast.  He’s very passionate about golf and helping others and when he and Jay got together, it was great to see them share such memorable stories about golf and life.

David Kramer and Jay Miller have known each other for a long time as lovers of golf and have worked with each other on numerous golf-related activities in the California Golf Course Owners Association, of which, Los Serranos Country Club was named the 2012 Golf Course of the Year.

Because he enjoyed being on the podcast so much, Jay Miller recently gave me free golf cards from Golf Card International to give out to listeners of the Defining Success Podcast.  If you would like a free 3-Month Membership to Golf Card International, please visit the 19th Hole Media Website found here – http://19thholemedia.com/special-offer-free-membership-to-golf-card-international-sign-up-for-the-19th-hole/

These are definitely two of my favorite people and it was a blast getting together with both of them.  I hope we can all get together a bit more often.  Thanks David and Jay for taking me under your wing and helping me navigate the world.  I owe you both so much already.  Thanks for everything!

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Episode 35: Making Your Customers A Part of Your Business | Johnny Hakim from Greenskeeper.org

Johnny Hakim from Greenskeeper.org shares his insights on how to make a customer feel like they are a part of your business and how he uses that to keep customers for longer and become active promoters of his business.  Learn how to create raving fans by making your customers become a part of your business and learn how to manage your online reputation in Episode 35 of the Defining Success Podcast.

Johnny Hakim | How to Make Your Customers Become a Part of Your Business | Greenskeeper.org

Johnny Hakim

Johnny Hakim (JohnnyGK) is the owner of Greenskeeper.org.  Greenskeeper.org is a free online community and golf social network providing golf course review, aeration alerts, overseeding schedules, photos, specials, tee times, score tracking, outings, product reviews and more.

Greenskeeper.org started back in 2000 and Johnny was doing record promotion and he was always golfing on Wednesdays.  There was too many times where he encountered golf courses that were doing aeration that he decided to see if there was any place online that was giving golfers aeration alerts.  He couldn’t find anything.  While he was doing this record production he decided to make his own website and wanted to do more with it.  He interviewed some programmers and found what he was looking for.  He’s been inspired ever since.

His website started working in Ventura County, Los Angeles County, Orange County, and once he put those up other places were asking for it including San Diego County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County.  A lot of people highlighted their appreciation of the program and loved what Johnny has been able to do at Greenskeeper.org.

Johnny has set up his website and it has pretty much spread organically since its inception.  People come up to him all the time and tell him how wonderful the site is and how much they love what he is doing with Greenskeeper.org.

When Johnny started his website, he just wanted to let people know about the aeration schedules at golf courses.  But, he knew that the website was a work in progress.  The users have helped determine the direction of the website and all the things you see on the Greenskeeper.org website comes from the users themselves and suggestions from golf course owners.

Right now, the website revolves around the “GKer” the people who are giving back and helping others understand the condition of local golf courses.  Johnny’s website gives people an opportunity to share their experiences at golf courses, for the benefit of those who are involved in the game.  Most people come to Greenskeeper.org to read the golf reviews.  People use Greenskeeper.org for aeration alerts, they use a score tracker, they are now using the community forums where people can discuss and share their thoughts about golf and local golf courses.

One of the biggest challenges Johnny had faced in building his business was actually making money. When he started the site, he was hoping that golf courses would be eager to advertise on his platform where he was reaching enormous amounts of golfers.  The problem was that the golfing industry was way behind the times when it came to their online presence.

The biggest problem Johnny sees in the golf industry is that they are not adapting to the changing world.  They are still marketing traditionally and are not investing in the online world and are losing to competitors who are taking advantage of the opportunities available online.  In order to succeed golf courses need to control their online presence and promote themselves online.

The people who are going to succeed are the ones who are looking into the future and not the ones who are holding on to the past.  This is probably the biggest reason why golf courses are failing today.

On the Greenskeeper.org website golfers can leave reviews on golf courses all over the United States and one of the things Johnny has had a hard time doing is convincing golf courses to reach out to the people that are playing their course and say thank you.  By being proactive on the Internet and thanking those people who have played the course, you are creating an opportunity for massive word of mouth promotion.

By responding to criticism or thanking people for using your business.  You are now able to show that you are being authentic and that you genuinely care about your customers.  Before the Internet, each customer was valuable, but now, other customers can see how you treat your customers in a public forum and they can connect with that.

The large majority of people who visit Greenskeeper.org are not the people who are leaving the reviews.  They are what Johnny calls, lurkers.  They visit the site to get information about golf courses and then make decisions about the golf courses they plan on playing from there.  So, even though there are only a few recommendations on the golf course pages themselves, those reviews are being seen by hunderds and, in some cases, thousands of golfers.

Monetizing Greenskeeper.org has been no easy task.  Johnny has spoken with golf course owners and decision makers for years trying to understand their needs and figure out how he can service those needs with his website and it has been a struggle, but he has come up with a solution that works.  Golf courses are now using Greenskeeper.org to highlight their golf courses on the website for a small monthly fee and the golf courses who utilize these features have experienced a lot of success.

One of Johnny’s greatest moments working at Greenskeeper.org was recently when he set up his first golf outing for golfers in Central and Northern California.  Many people in the GK community took part in the tournament.  They came together and had a great time.

John Hakim from Greenskeeper.org on the Defining Success Podcast with Zeb Welborn Know Before You Go

Greenskeeper.org

Engaging Discussion Questions:

  • How do you make your customers feel like they are a part of your business?
  • Do you think the Internet and online marketing can help in word of mouth marketing?
  • How do you handle reviews about your business?

Links to Great Stuff:

  • Greenskeeper.org – “Greenskeeper.org is a free online community, golf social network, providing golf course reviews, aeration alerts, overseeding schedules, photos, specials, tee times, score tracking, outings, product reviews, more.”
  • Gary Vaynerchuk – “I love to hustle!”

Success Quotes:

  • “Success is inspiration.”
  • “When you’re following your heart or passion, you’re successful.”
  • “When you’re inspired, you’re successful.”
  • “To be a GKer is to be someone that appreciates the site in general and is a part of the community concept.”
  • “To be a GKer is to be active in writing reviews and a part of the community.”
  • “Every time we do one of these GK events there is just a good vibe.”
  • “The most active pages on Greenskeeper.org get 1,000’s of views a month.”
  • “When a golf course is being authentic and thankful, golfers will see that as that’s how they treat their customers.”
  • “Just saying thank you can make all the difference in the world for a golf course.”
  • “It boils down to word of mouth.  That’s what drive most business.”
  • “Golf courses need to take their online presence seriously.”
  • “They are getting the pants beat off of them by the wholesalers and they weren’t identifying that there customers were going online.”
  • “The golfing industry is way behind the times when it comes to their online presence.”

Special Requests:

Zeb Welborn Golf, Defining Success Podcast Golf and 19th Hole Media Golf are offering you a free 3-month membership to Golf Card International

Free 3-Month Membership to Golf Card International

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Episode 20: The Importance of Youth in Golf and in Business | Jay Miller from Golf Card International

Jay Miller Golf

Jay Miller Golf

Jay Miller loves the game of golf.  He’s passionate and has great ideas on how to grow the game for the future.  A big push Jay says that needs to be made in golf is to encourage more young people to take up the game.  By giving youth golfers more opportunities, Jay says, we can help grow the game. Attracting the youth is also valuable in business because in order to maintain the longevity of a business you have to be willing to attract younger generations that will one day fill the role of different age groups.  By learning how to build a business focusing on the youth, we can help build better businesses overall.

Recap:

Jay Miller was the past President of the California Golf Course Owner’s Association, Founder and past-CEO of one of the most successful non-profit golf foundations in America,past General Manager of the National Golf Course of the Year, Golfer’s Association’s “Man of the Year” and is currently the Director of Business Development for Golf Card International and Fairway Rewards.

Jay got started in golf at Edgewood Country Club when his parents let him hit his first shot at a young age and knocked it close.  His parents immediately got him a set of clubs and got in touch with some golf teaching professionals who taught him the game.  He eventually gave up all the other sports he played to become a golfer.  He started working at a local course and he went to Purdue University on a golf scholarship where they won the Big 10 Championship in his senior year.

Jay tried to become a professional golfer but realized he wasn’t good enough to make it and so he quit playing professionally but started his own business.  The man who sponsored him on tour owned the largest manufacturing facility of plaques and he jumped into the business.  The first year he did the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs and got to play golf with Gerald Ford.  Betty Ford went on Good Morning America where she talked about Jay and his business which gave his beginning company a huge boost.

He was doing donor recognition wall displays across the country and offered a bunch of new products until 2001.  He was playing 160 rounds of golf.  In 1986 he had a dream about changing children’s lives and he wrote a 72 page thesis on how to grow the game.  A good, wealthy friend of Jay took him golfing and asked Jay what he would do with money if his friend were willing to give it to him and Jay said he would start an organization to teach young people the game of golf.  A couple years later his friend gave him $3 million dollars to start Jay’s project.

His wife named the project “Get a Grip.”  Get a Grip on your life, education, the golf club and the Lord.”  They were named three-times the National Junior Golf Education Foundation of America.  They had one location called Cresta Verde Golf Club in Corona California.  They built an education center at Hidden Valley Golf Club.

Jay took over Hidden Valley Golf Club in 2007 and became the National Golf Course of the Year in 2011.  Jay went down to Florida where he managed a few clubs and did some consulting for other golf courses.

Golf Jay Miller

Golf Jay Miller

Jay is addicted to the game of golf and has probably played over 16,000 rounds of golf at 700 golf courses.  He got hooked on hitting the cool shots.  He loves the camaraderie  the fellowship, and talking smack with your buddies.

His purpose is working in a program called Mulligan, connecting golfers to God.  The famous Wally Armstrong, Jim Hiskey who invented Bible study on the PGA Tour.  He loves helping golfers enjoy the game and grow the game.

Jay says we’re losing 100,000 golfers a year meaning that more people are quitting the game than are starting the game.  In 1957, 88.6% of all children had a father at home.  In 2007, 44.4% of the children born had a father at home.  Around 90% of the golfers were introduced to the game by their father or by a sibling of their fathers.

Single mothers don’t have the time, energy or resources to introduce their children to the game.  Some parents are spending $20,000 a summer in an effort to get their children a golfing scholarship.

According to Jay, $100 million has been spent on the First Tee Program which offers money to inner city youth to take up the game and the program is failing.  Because many inner city youth do not go on to college and therefore can not afford to pay for golf at a later age.  Jay suggests we raise $10 million a year to get students started playing the game in preschool.  They get preschool teachers to learn how to teach golf and the instructors can teach preschool teachers in around 5 hours.

If you love golf then you should introduce others to the game.  Donate clubs and balls to juniors.  Glen Ivy in south Corona gave Jay close to 12,000 golf balls to give to young players.  Jay encourages golf courses to give youth the opportunity to play the game in any way they can.  If all golfers could have a philanthropic attitude we can all help grow the game.

I interviewed 1,500 real golfers and I found out that 68 to 78% of golfers don’t have a handicap.

Jay has gotten to play with two U.S. Presidents, many celebrities, many professional golfers at hundreds of courses.  Jay feels he was created to change childrens lives through the game.  He wants to improve their game, make them feel important and give them a product that was a good value for their money.

The top golf stories Jay ever had was when he played golf with Keith Jackson and Frank Boyles, Bob, the friend who funded the get a grip foundation on a golf trip.  They spent four days at Augusta National and and Shoal Creek. The opportunity Jay had to spend the trip with two legends in the game of football was one of Jay’s most memorable golfing stories.

Engaging Discussion Questions:

  • How can we help grow the game of golf?
  • How would you get more people to play golf?

Links to Great Stuff:

  • California Golf Course Owner’s Association – “The California Golf Course Owners Association (CGCOA) is dedicated to the stimulation of market growth for California’s golf course industry. We promote collaborative advertising and promotional advertising programs encouraging more rounds of golf throughout California.”
  • Golf Card International – “Golf Card International was founded in 1974 with a simple idea: find a way to help golfers save money on the high cost of green fees. To do this, we formed a club for avid golfers and built a network of affiliated golf courses that would provide savings to our members. After 38 years, our membership is still strong, and Golf Card is now accepted at nearly 3,000  courses in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean.”
  • Fairway Rewards – “Fairway Rewards is a venture–funded startup now located in Sonora, California. For eight years, we’ve strived to provide innovative customer loyalty, incentive marketing, and media solutions for golf courses.”
  • The Mulligan Golf Club – The “Mulligan Golf Club” is a metaphor that describes the largest golf club membership in the world (golfers who have been invited to follow Jesus!)
  • The Golf Club at Glen Ivy – “Glen Ivy Golf Club is a unique golf experience, with scenic views and creativley placed fairways, tees and greens.”
  • PGA Tour – “The PGA TOUR is a tax-exempt membership organization of professional golfers. The mission of the PGA TOUR is to expand domestically and internationally to substantially increase player financial benefits while maintaining its commitment to the integrity of the game. The PGA TOUR events are also committed to generating revenue for charitable causes in their communities.”
  • Wally Armstrong – “Wally Armstrong competed in more than 300 PGA Tour events, including  numerous US & British Opens, Masters, PGA and Tournament Player’s  Championships. In his first Master’s tournament, Wally finished fifth,  setting a rookie scoring record of eight under par at Augusta. He is a  Lifetime Member of the PGA Tour and holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s  Degree in Education from the University of Florida, where he also  achieved All-American Honors in Golf.”
  • Augusta National – Home of the Master Golf Tournament located in Augusta, Georgia.
  • The Esteban Toledo Family Foundation –  “For fifteen years it has been my dream to establish a Giving Foundation that will put efforts into helping children around the world, and I am proud to announce that my dream has become a reality. With the assistance of my family, friends, fans, and supporters, I am proud to introduce The Esteban Toledo Family Foundation.  A foundation focused on helping others, especially children. Our purpose is to supply basic needs such as shelter, clothing, food, education, love, and an introduction to the Lord.”

Success Quotes:

  • “Success is using your blessings and your purpose.”
  • “You show me somebody that wakes up in the morning with a purpose and can’t wait to go to work no matter what they do.”
  • “Women golfers on average play faster than men ever dreamed about playing.”
  • “If you don’t have four hours three to four times a month to enjoy a game of golf with your friends than your life is not balanced.”
  • “The father is a key component to introducing your children to golf.”
  • “You hit one shot equivalent to somebody on T.V.”

Special Requests:

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