Why it pays to receive expert financial advice

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 26, 2023 11:00

A member with a little knowledge on maintaining their lawn shouldn’t be advising the course manager on the quality of the course – and a member with a little finance knowledge shouldn’t advise the club on the best way to pay for large machinery or irrigation purchases, writes Malcolm Pennycott from Golf Finance.

“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” is a common saying which suggests having a small amount of knowledge or a limited understanding of something can lead to misguided actions or beliefs, which can subsequently have negative consequences.

“I’m not an expert, but…”

“I’m not a brain surgeon, but…”

“I’m not a pilot, but…”

“I’m not an agronomist, but…”

Rarely do the pearls that follow these statements prove to be insightful or helpful.

We see this all too often in the golf world, where certain club members or individuals have dogmatic opinions; often sweeping and absolutist views fuelled by “a little knowledge.”

The cliched example in golf is the “my front lawn” versus the golf course comparison.

It should be obvious to state that just because someone has some experience and “knowledge” in maintaining their lawn, it does not in any respect make them qualified to advise a head greenkeeper or course manager on what is required to produce a quality golf course.

Comparing your garden to a golf course is like comparing your local swimming pool to the sea.

There are clearly some very basic similarities, but the context and the scale of the comparison points could not be much further apart.

When you have a hammer in your hand, everything looks like a nail – members often take a very linear view of what is a complex issue and see only the simplistic answer. Even when driven by the best of intentions, actions that are influenced as a result can have destructive consequences for any business.

If we apply this to our world of asset finance, we see similarities in certain key features which set it apart from other areas of funding and finance. These are important to take note of and often are not on the radar of people who have a “little knowledge” of this subject.

For example, a sound knowledge of end of lease transactions is crucial and often hugely overlooked. In some situations, there is a belief that the deal with the lowest monthly payment on offer is always the best option. However, on some agreements, depending if the rebate percentage is set up at the end of the term, there can be an unwelcome surprise in store when it comes to carry out lease disposals.

Golf clubs often set up agreements on a hire purchase structure, simply because they don’t realise that through a finance lease they can spread the cost of the VAT across the term of the agreement – for a large machinery or irrigation purchase, this can be a significant outlay of which only a small percentage can be reclaimed by the club.

The traditional term for machinery finance has historically always been five years, with many clubs under the impression that this is the only finance period available. However, with the improved quality of many machines resulting in much longer usable lifespans, coupled with significant equipment cost increases, very often spreading the purchase over six or seven years makes much more financial sense.

Don’t let “a little knowledge” steer your golf club down a road without taking on the expert support and guidance that is available.

“The more you know, the more you realise you don’t know.” – Aristotle

For further advice and information on asset finance solutions, contact Golf Finance at sales@golffinance.co.uk or call 01620 890200

All finance subject to credit approval. Business users only. Golf Finance is an Appointed Representative of Rural finance Limited. Rural Finance Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, FRN 630701. Rural Finance Limited is an authorised Credit Broker and not a lender. We offer financial facilities from a number of funders and a list is available upon request

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 26, 2023 11:00
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  1. Get Golfing November 13, 13:46

    Ummm – but can they be told!! I’ve listened to far brighter and more accomplished people than me talk absolute bunkum about golf club management. The list of seriously successful business people who have then taken a serious hair cut as a golf operator is as long a three shot par five

    I’m not sure that really good operators will ever really get yhe respect they will have earned – and if they do, it will be cursory.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Ivan November 12, 18:38

    What exactly comprises ‘expertise?’ Unfortunately the term ‘expert’ is frequently bandied around but almost never lived up to. Many decades ago when standards were universally higher my late father spent seven years as an apprentice joiner (carpenter). Not seven years to become expert. Hardly. Seven years to reach a level where he would be given unsupervised work to undertake. I suspect that today’s equivalent might be a six months course with automatic pass certificates on completion? Which is why in my 70s, and regularly requiring the services of for example a doctor and a motor mechanic, I am regularly studying in order to easily outperform ‘experts.’ Seamus I would be interested to learn of the full extent of your experiences which afforded you ‘expert’ status. Ivan Sanders

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  3. JRIG November 7, 11:24

    There is potential to keep this boom going. We are highly skeptical as the owners we’ve interviewed and discussed this with all seem to believe it’s something special “they” have created. If your course hasn’t found a way to retain all of these new golfers then you’ll just revert back to pre-pandemic levels and probably blame outside sources again. Off course facilities are the new boom and on course may once again be left behind. Higher prices is not always the answer and Higher costs are not always a good excuse. There are many ways to be creative that we’ve implemented that are not being considered. Time will tell.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Concept Golf October 30, 08:40

    It is so surreal, it is one of the only environments where this is so true…. Every member becomes a head greenkeeper, a restaurant manager, golf ops director and finance manager all at the same time. It is great to have a opinion as long as those running the club can educate and explain at least a bit…

    Reply to this comment
  5. Peter October 28, 16:03

    Of course true ! Yet we see it, all the time. At dysfunctional clubs often with dysfunctional Boards !

    Reply to this comment
  6. Flightscope October 27, 11:04

    Golf ability often does not translate into managerial acumen nor financial expertise. If you need a bookkeeper, hire one. Leave the Golf Pro in the bar.

    Reply to this comment
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