By John Torsiello
In an era of economic uncertainty, in an industry that is merely trying to hold its own, appliedgolf Course Management of New Jersey is something of an oddity. The three-year-old firm is actually in a period of solid growth and appears headed for even better things to come. The company has eight golf courses under its management umbrella, and its reach has spread into Indiana, Maryland and South Carolina.
“We are always looking to add courses that are the right fit for our company,” says Dave Wasenda, owner of the firm. “We need to know that going into a new project we are certain that, given the opportunity, we can elevate services and programs to the overall member and guest experience and at the same time assist our owners in becoming more profitable.”
appliedgolf, headquartered in Millstone Township, N.J., offers what Wasenda terms a “very customized and unique approach” to management services, which range from golf operations, food and beverage, marketing, agronomic, financial operations, and much more. The company focuses on constant personal interaction between senior appliedgolf personnel and course owners, and has built a management team that works diligently to establish “synergistic” relationships with the members, staff and owners at each facility. The goal is to create an environment in which the experience is enjoyable for everyone. With that continuity, owners can attain operational and financial stability and focus on growing their business.
“There have been some instances where we were in discussions with a potential client and the fit wasn’t right,” says Wasenda. “We need to know that we can deliver what we promise. Our results and referrals are always our best marketing tools.”
He adds, “Fostering a feeling of worth and reward for the facility’s members, guests and staff, and making sure the experience at each property is enhanced is always our primary objective. We also reach our goals by making sure the owners see operational and financial results from our management. Fostering a feeling of worth and reward for the facility’s members, guests and staff, and making sure the experience at each property is enhanced is always our primary objective.”
At time of publication, appliedgolf is involved with five golf facilities in New Jersey–Knob Hill Golf Club in Manalapan, Hawk Pointe Golf Club in Washington, the Regency at Monroe in Monroe Township,Clearbrook Golf Course in Monroe Township and Renaissance at Manchester in Manchester. In addition, the company’s out of state clients include The Bridgewater Club, a prestigious, private, 18-hole championship course designed by Pete Dye located in Carmel, Indiana, Hunters Oak Golf Club, a divisions of The River Plantation in Queenstown, Maryland, and Lady’s Island Golf Course in Beaufort, South Carolina. The firm also manages the Knob Hill Bowling Center in Manalapan, N.J., which it plans to combine with Knob Hill Golf Club over the winter to create a year-round experience for their members.
Wasenda said, “There can be two more facilities added to our portfolio very soon.” He added, “Although we run the gamut of properties, from multi-million dollar a year income facilities to a public course that grosses under $300,000 a year in revenue, the overall philosophy remains the same as to our approach,” says Wasenda. “You have to change some simple operational details, obviously, depending on the type of club and members and guests you are serving. And we believe that is one of our core strengths. We have all worked at various types of clubs and we are managing a wide array of properties, so we are very familiar with each type of course profile, making us very well rounded.”
Lou Kubisa, appliedgolf Director of Golf and Head Professional at Knob Hill Golf Club, came to the company from a long career at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township. “Several of us knew that there was a great opportunity with appliedgolf and Dave. His philosophy and work ethic are second to none. At some companies, the top executive isn’t in there working as hard as the rest of the team in day to day operations and continuing to grow the business. Dave works harder than anybody and when you see that it makes you want to do your job even better and try harder.”
Kubisa, a skilled player who enjoys not only socializing with the members but also getting out for a little golf with them once in a while, believes being empowered to make his own calls makes all the difference when it comes to member and guest satisfaction. “I’m allowed the staff I need and products I have to have in the golf shops to meet our member and guest demands. One of our company’s strengths is that we let the head golf professionals be traditional pros. We believe that the head pro should be there, giving lessons, playing with the members whenever they can. It’s our goal to attract new golfers to our clubs and the head pros’ job to keep them there.” Speaking company wide, Kubisa says knowing who you are and why the customer will come to you is crucial, especially in this market. “We’re successful now and weathering the economic storm partly because we are market¬ed and priced properly for the areas we are in. And appliedgolf doesn’t make false promises, come in, make some money and leave in two years. What we say we will do.” Jay DelliSanti, Food and Beverage Director, says one of the most important steps a successful company can take is to listen to the consumer.
“We always listen to the customer, and we do different things to keep our members and guests very happy. Whether we have a beautiful small bar or a larger restaurant operation, someone can always get a simple sandwich or a full dinner. In this economy, we pride ourselves on having a great variety of products at affordable prices. The staff is always proactive with the members and guests and do things that will keep our operation fresh and interesting.”
So, yes, it is possible to start and grow a company in challenging economic times. You’ve just got to have the right places, the right plan, the right people, and obtain great results to make it happen