Originally Posted by medmarkco
Even golf professionals carry a higher level of clout than ski instructors because there is a component of golf where prowess on the golf course can impact business success.
An absolutely cogent post!!!
Let me draw off of the part of your post quoted above and share a few thoughts about the PGA and golf industry as a comparison.
The PGA has recognized over the years the success of its membership is directly related to the impact its professionals can have on the business operations of the course owners. To that end, a number of years ago the Professional Golf Management program (which all aspiring PGA members must graduate from) was created to educate its apprentices as business men and women not just instructors. The PGM has continued to evolve with a tremendous amount of input from the course operators on the skill base they seek in their professional staff. The dominant theme has been increasing business management skills. As an apprentice goes though the PGM program a relatively small portion of their training is golf teaching oriented. They will be exposed to business management courses such as financial planning, customer relations, merchandising, food and beverage management, on and on. And by the way unless you are reimbursed by your facility you will spend almost $7,000 in education costs.
Recently we have introduced the "Certified Professional Program" (the corrolation between the term certified in the two industries is limited) which allows specialized education in areas such as teaching, merchandising, course ownership or golf operations. Basically it is an MBA in a specialized area of the golf world. I am currently working my way through that program now-it is all on line except the testing and all up to me to complete or not complete after I pay for the courses.
Additionally the PGA has worked with numerous other golf organizations to seek ways to grow the game. Golf20/20 is a strategic vision of where the industry wants to be in 2020. Under the umbrella of industry cooperation programs like "The First Tee" and "National School Golf Program" have been developed for our junior golfer base which the industry has always recognized is our future. In the adult world we have "Play Golf America", Link Up 2 Golf" among others like the "Executive Women's Golf Association" designed to bring more adult females to the game. This is where PSIA needs to focus in conjunction with NSAA in my opinion in addition to continuing to provide it education umbrella. How do we grow the sport?
In 2005 there were 16,052 golf facilities nationwide with annual golf spending exceeding $25 billion dollars. Rather than live in a pipe dream world of unionzation of our membership the PGA has wisely chose to collaborate with our peers in the industry to make our professionals more valuable. Why should a course owner hire an F&B manager when his Head Golf Professional can assume those duties in conjuction with actually managing golf operations?
Is this education and evolution possible in the ski area operations/instruction world? I don't know. NSAA's web site said this morning there were 478 operating ski areas in the US last year. That is a huge differential in potential employment opportunities-16,052 vs 478.
Unfortunately there are no easy answers.