Operational Audit & Planning

Many courses and clubs have retained Golf Business Advisors to conduct an operational audit to help them better understand their operational, programming, service and facilities strengths and weaknesses. This information is often the first crucial step in developing plans for future improvements.

Our Operational Audit and Planning services include:

  • Meeting with key Board members and key staff members (GM, PGA Pro and Superintendent) to understand golf course and operations history
  • Analyzing Member Surveys and/or comment cards
  • Conducting Member Survey (or simple Board survey) if needed
  • Reviewing each facet of golf course operations from arrival through check in to tee off and developing recommendations based on best practices at top clubs
  • Reviewing Pro Shop layout and decor (including merchandise, brands offered, cost of sales, signage, check in, access to locker rooms and golf course)
  • Reviewing all aspects of golf course (including bag drop, practice facilities) and each golf hole (including tees, fairway, rough, bunkers, greens, irrigation, maintenance facility and equipment, cart paths, trees, landscaping)
  • Reviewing all golf programming (including tournament schedule, instruction programs, junior programs and ladies’ programs)
  • Reviewing all non-golf facilities and programs, as well as all social programming
  • Providing full report to Club with recommendations
  • Providing a 10-year pro forma for recommended renovations 
  • Providing financing alternatives for Club to pay for renovations
  • Assisting Club in implementing recommendations that are selected
  • Developing (if desired) RFP for golf course architects on needed improvements and assistig with selecting architect and reviewing and finalizing plans
  • Assisting with developing plans for members to play during renovations


Case Studies

Select a case study below to expand the content and learn more.

Hillandale Golf Course | Durham, NC

In this instance, SunTrust Bank was the trustee of the Durham Foundation for the Hillandale Golf Course Fund, a 501 (c)(3) organization that owns the golf course. The Foundation’s mission was to offer affordable golf in the Durham market. In 2009, SunTrust Bank contracted Golf Business Advisors to perform an independent operational review and analysis of Hillandale and provide results of the study and recommendations to SunTrust.

As part of the audit, GBA completed the following: Situation Analysis, Historical Analysis, Overview of Competition and Fees, Financial Analysis, Human Resource Analysis, Lease/Contract Analysis, Golf Course Review and Facilities Overview, Instruction Program Overview, Marketing Analysis, Operational/Management Analysis Provided Recommendations and Options for the Future.

The findings of the audit were basically that the course had been run down and needed renovation as did the Pro Shop, however it was still a very popular place to play for the area public golfers.  Most importantly, the Golf Management Company was retaining all of the money and therefore there was no money to fund the needed repairs.

Based on GBA’s recommendations, the Bank (as the Trustee for the Foundation) gifted the golf course to the City of Durham (with an agreement that it had to remain an affordable golf course for the public) and they ended up leasing it to a local Golf Pro who made the needed renovations and everyone is now happy with the course and Clubhouse conditions and operations. 

The end result was that SunTrust escaped an undesirable situation and honored the Foundation’s wishes, the golf course management company that was taking all of the money was taken out, the new golf company that leased the course made all of the needed improvements and the public golfers have an excellent and affordable course.