Interview with Golf PEI’s Mark McLane – Part 1 – The Uniqueness of Golf PEI

@36aday is pleased to introduce interviews with leaders in the game of golf in Canada. Nine questions are presented to probe important issues of the game, personal experiences, stories and insight. Just like 9 holes of golf, I hope you find this enjoyable and that it leaves you wanting more.

A Quick 9 With Executive Director of Golf PEI, Mark McLane

1. @36aday – I understand Golf PEI began in 1986. What is the vision for the organization?

MM – Back in the 80’s our provincial government recognized that golf in PEI could be a destination. They wanted to get in the golf business in order to enhance the destination so as part of that golf course owners understood the power of singing the same song in the same tune, from that perspective, so they formed Golf PEI. We get funding from the accommodations industry, the golf course owners, our tourism department contributes and our economic development agency also contributes to our budget. But our golf course industry is the biggest funder of our organization. So they understand – our members – that if one course is busy than they’re all busy. It’s pretty unique in North America.

The view from the 16th green at Crowbush Cove
The view from the 16th green at Crowbush Cove – Photo Credit – Golf PEI

2. @36aday – You now have 18 member courses under the umbrella of the organization. There are some other courses in PEI that are not affiliated. How pleased are you with the array of courses that are within Golf PEI?

MM – We are very pleased. I think the courses that aren’t members of our organization deem themselves as private or semi-private so they don’t cater to the traveler. Our mandate is really to promote the brand of golf in PEI and to attract the non-resident golfer to PEI. So some courses, smaller or private would deem themselves as local courses that cater to the local public and they don’t join our organization. And it’s been pretty consistent over the years as to who is a member and who is not, it hasn’t changed too much.

Eagles Glenn - Photo Credit - Golf PEI
Eagles Glenn – Photo Credit – Golf PEI

3. @36aday – There are other jurisdictions in Canada offering similar services. While this is no longer a unique business model, what are your courses saying to be the value proposition of Golf PEI?

MM – I’ve only been Executive Director for about three years and I come from a non-golf background and we want to provide some operational benefits to our members. So over the last couple years we have developed one online booking engine, one central place to book all your tee times in PEI. Instead of having 16 licenses with a technology company we have one. We have a website program for our courses where we will manage their website for them, which is good. We have about 8 or 9 courses that participate in that program and we like because it provides consistency of messaging, from that perspective. Last year we also put in a customer experience survey so for 19 courses across PEI after you play your round you can actually fill out a survey and the course specifically will get their results but we can compare them overall. Their overall satisfaction is 75 and they can compare to an average rate that is, let’s say, 78. So again, from a benefits perspective and we call them member benefits, this year our office has also transitioned into a retail location. All 16 courses bring their excess inventory to us in October and we sell for them at a discount. It’s another member benefit. We sell a lot of product for them. It’s a neat idea.

@36aday – It’s a great idea.

Seventh hole at Fox Meadow - Photo Credit - Golf PEI
Seventh hole at Fox Meadow – Photo Credit – Golf PEI

Tomorrow – Part 2 – Success and the Competition of Cabot Links