Making golf and country clubs profitable again

After 25 years of CEO experience, author F.H. Benzakour reveals 12 proven strategies
By: F.H. Benzakour
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* Hospitality

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* Old Tappan - New Jersey - US

OLD TAPPAN, N.J. - Jan. 5, 2019 - PRLog -- What's the big secret? In a nutshell, start treating your employees as customers.

"I think they're even more important than customers," said 12 Golden Keys to Hospitality Excellence author F.H. Benzakour. "This book is really about working with the people you manage. I've put together 12 golden rules or keys that every manager should know.

These rules could apply to any business enterprise. Each one is extremely important for success in the hospitality industry. It goes beyond what is taught at business schools."

He learned these lessons over 25 years, while helping failing country clubs that were on the verge of bankruptcy, prosper again despite a generation of industry decline. For example, in 2016 there were 200 golf course closures just in the U.S.

Under his management as CEO & General Manager from 2013-2017, Benzakour turned around The Village Club of Sands Point in N.Y. from losing $800,000 to making $200,000 a year (EBITDA). He also increased revenues of the Middle Bay Country Club at Oceanside, N.Y. from an annual loss of $500,00 to making a profit of $800,000 from 2006 – 2011.

Building employee loyalty

"Among the many wise things that F. H. Benzakour does in 12 Golden Keys is to focus management attention on the critical connection between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction," said Risa M. Mish Professor of the Practice of Management Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University.

"Indeed, a key root cause of many organizational challenges is failure to invest time and resources in employee engagement. Benzakour provides here a clear and compelling management toolkit for developing the people who are most responsible for customer satisfaction and business growth: the employees," said Mish.

"If you treat your employee right and give them an opportunity to evolve within the organization, they will become loyal and help build your business. I believe in over paying people. I speak about that in one of my chapters. If you pay them what they're worth, you'll gain their loyalty," said Benzakour.

"More important than money, I give employees an opportunity for growth. All organizations should have opportunities of growth for all employees. The two major goals for any CEO are to make sure the business does not go out of business and to create a succession plan for every single position, including the CEO."

There should be an understudy for every single person somebody, who is willing to take over just in case there is change. This also creates a culture of possible growth within the organization.

"I also believe in education because it has opened doors for me. I make it a point to send at least one kid to college at every organization I'm at. I start by meeting the staff to determine who has potential and find out for whatever reason they did not peruse their studies," said Benzakour.

Achieving community support

Besides engaging employees as your ambassadors, the book teaches important strategies to gain community support.

"You are what the local community thinks you are," said Sam Haig: president & CEO - LaKota Hotels and Resorts. "This book will inspire every leader to do the right thing for his/her community."

While at the Rockrimmon Country Club in Stanford, CT, Benzakour used these strategies to increase bookings six-fold ensuring the on-going success of the organization.

The 12 key strategies covered in detail in the book include:

·         Over invest in people—It's an investment you're guaranteed to reap rewards.

·         Celebrate diversity—Diversity in ethnicity and cultures in members and employees.

·         Be a student of the obvious —Look for simple solutions to complicated problems.

·         Be a master of game theory — Work out a winning business strategy.

·         Swim in blue oceans— Create new demand in competition-free market spaces.

·         The Pareto Principle— Focus on the 20 percent of actions that generate the greatest results.

·         Innovate or die— Move toward the future or you'll become part of the past.

A paperback and Kindle edition of 12 Key to Hospitality Excellence are available at (

About author F.H. Benzakour

F. H. Benzakour was the Chief Operating Officer & General Manager of the Edgewood Country Club in River Vale, N.J. He holds a MBA from Cornell University and is Professor of Contemporary Club Management at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is also a certified executive and manager of the Club Managers Association of America.

His numerous awards in the hospitality industry include: Visionary Leader in Club Management, Golf Kitchen, 2018; Finalist – Industry Professional of the Year, HSMAI of Greater New York, 2017;

First Prize - Johnson School of Business Shark Tank Competition, Cornell University, 2016; Industry Professional of the Year, The Food and Beverage Association of America, 2014; 20 Most Admired Golf Operators, Golf, Inc., 2009; Top Guns in Club Management, Club Leaders Forum, 2008; Rising Star Award, McMahon Group / Club & Resort Business, 2006; and Top Private Club President/General Manager of the Year, Board Room Magazine.

He writes and has been interviewed by numerous industry trade publications including BrightView, Golf Maintenance, Golf Inc. Magazine and The Bottomline Magazine for his expertise and participation in industry events. He is also available for interviews and speeches.

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F.H. Benzakour
(917) 749-1968
Location:Old Tappan - New Jersey - United States
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Page Updated Last on: Jan 06, 2019

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