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The Secret to Exceptional Locker Room Service: Taking it Up a Notch

What’s the secret to providing exceptional service in your locker rooms? Aspiration and knowledge. First, the team in locker rooms must want to provide the best service possible to members and guests. Put another way, no strategy, no matter how well written, will change a thing in any work situation unless the staff is willing to implement a new or different approach. 

Second, the locker room staff needs knowledge of how to provide exceptional service, including how to “take it up a notch.” That’s what this article provides through case studies from several real-life situations from country club locker rooms. 

The exceptional service described in this article is divided into several categories: shoe care, locker management, amenities, miscellaneous and member misbehavior. Under each category, you’ll find locker room case studies that occurred between locker room staff and a member or guest (except for the amenity category, in most, just products are suggested). Next, an example of what the average manager/attendant would do is detailed, followed by how the employee provided exceptional service. Finally, how to take service up a notch and really impress a member or guest is detailed. 

These case studies showcase that as the quality of service increases, so does the effort and time it takes to provide it. In other words, if you want an average performance grade, all you have to do is put in a minimal effort. If you want to earn an “A,” it takes more work and commitment. The same is true when providing outstanding customer service. Guess which one is the most rewarding? 

One thing I’ve heard repeatedly during the last 30 years is that anyone can be a locker room manager at a country club.The cases below reject that notion. No one can walk into a club locker room and provide exceptional service—to say nothing of taking it up a notch—without experience, study, the right personality and a good work ethic.  

CASE STUDY: A member drops off a pair of white Adidas 360 golf shoes for a new set of spikes. 

AVERAGE SERVICE: The manager replaces the spikes and puts them back in the member’s locker. 

EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE: The manager replaces the cleats, shines the shoes and replaces the shoelaces. 

TAKING IT UP A NOTCH: The manager does all the above and asks the member what spike he would like to have put in as the staffer has two kinds of cleats that will fit his shoes. The staffer shows him the two spike choices, then installs the one the member prefers. 

CASE STUDY:The manager takes a cart full of cleaned/shined golf shoes and heads into the locker room to put them in members’ lockers. 

AVERAGE SERVICE: The manager opens each locker and puts the shoes away. 

EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE: The staff’s motto is: always leave a member’s locker in better condition than you found it.” When putting shoes away, if needed, the manager pulls all the shoes out and puts them neatly in the locker, removing grass, debris and stains where needed. 

TAKING IT UP A NOTCH: The manager does the same as above, but if he sees loose shoe trees, he puts them in the member’s most expensive/favorite pair of golf or dress shoes. He pulls out any dirty street or golf shoes and shines and returns them to the member’s locker. If the attendant sees a loose pile of used socks (or sees them scattered about), he has them washed, puts them in a bag and returns them to the locker. He puts any loose garments on hangers. 

CASE STUDY: The manager opens the locker room doors for another day of golf. 

AVERAGE SERVICE: The manager doesn’t print the day’s tee sheet but improvises as he goes. 

EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE: The manager prints that day’s tee sheet late in the afternoon on the prior day, then sets up the guest lockers with amenities for the next day. He puts the guests’ names at the top of a welcome poem on each locker with a photo of the course’s signature hole. As members and guests arrive, they are greeted by name and shoe service is offered. As they leave for the day, they are thanked for coming to the club. 

TAKING IT UP A NOTCH: Members and guests are greeted before and after rounds and shoe service is offered. Each person leaving the locker room is offered a shoe bag and given a hearty farewell.   

CASE STUDY: Amenities in men’s and women’s locker rooms. 

AVERAGE SERVICE: Manager limits amenity choice to one in each category (shave gel/cream, deodorant, cologne, perfume, etc.) 

EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE: The manager provides 3-4 choices in each amenity category. He provides products not available to members at other clubs (e.g., Collarstyx, Biofreeze, Icy Hot Spray). 

TAKING IT UP A NOTCH: If a member asks for a specific brand of shampoo, the manager will get the preferred brand and put it in the member’s locker the same or next day.                                                                    

CASE STUDYThe pandemic is still a concern at the club and stopping the spread of the Delta variant a priority. 

AVERAGE SERVICE: The manager puts a box of masks on the shoe room service counter and makes sure everyone that comes in has a mask. If they don’t, he insists they get one out of the box and wear it. 

EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE: The manager leaves a half dozen loose masks on top of the box for easy member access.                                   

TAKING IT UP A NOTCH: When members or guests come in the locker room without a mask, the manager politely asks, “Excuse me, but do you have a mask with you?” If the answer is no, the staffer hands the member or guest a mask. 

CASE STUDY: A member brings a black belt in and says he needs a hole punched in it because he’s lost weight. 

AVERAGE SERVICE: The manager says he doesn’t know how to punch a hole in a belt. 

EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE: The manager retrieves a leather hole punch from the shoe room, has the member show him where he wants the hole punched, and puts a hole in it for him.  

TAKING IT UP A NOTCH: The manager has the member remove the belt and gives the member a pen so that the member can mark the belt where he wants the hole to go. The manager punches a hole in the belt. He then takes a bottle of liquid polish or a Sharpie and colors the raw leather in the hole so it blends in with the belt. He takes the belt, polishes it to a glassy shine on the electric buffer, sprays it with Kelly’s Instant Shine, then places it in the member’s locker when it’s dry and ready to wear. 

CASE STUDY:A member makes hole-in-one. 

AVERAGE SERVICE: The manager enthusiastically congratulates the member on his hole-in-one as soon as he arrives in the locker room following his round. 

EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE: The manager congratulates the member after his round. The manager hears about the hole-in-one before the member gets in, alerts the men’s grill so they can get a bottle of champagne to celebrate when the member and his group get in. 

TAKING IT UP A NOTCH: The manager spreads the word to golf shop staff and the member gets mentioned in the club’s weekly video and monthly newsletter. The manager puts “Ace” on the member’s locker plate above his name; hangs a spinning miniature disco ball in the locker and turning it on just before the member gets in so it spins and sparkles. The manager prints, “Congratulations on your ace!” on card stock paper and puts it on the member’s locker. The member’s name is added to a plaque that features those members that have made hole-in-ones.  

CASE STUDY:Fourfirsttimeguests stop in to change their shoes. 

AVERAGE SERVICE: The manager greets them, asks if they want their street shoes shined and inquires if they need guest lockers and sets them up.  

EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE: The manager greets them, shows them their guest lockers with their names on them, opens one of the lockers and shows each of them how to use the keys to the locker box and outside lock. The manager gives them a tour of the locker room, pointing out the wet areas, amenities and men’s grill. Their street shoes are shined and placed in the guest lockers. 

TAKING IT UP A NOTCH: In addition to above, the manager asks the group if this is their first time playing the golf course. They indicate they’ve never played it before. The manager gives them tips about the speed of the greens, local knowledge of how putts break on the course in general and on specific holes where it’s nearly impossible for a first timer to see the break correctly. The group comes in afterwards to thank the attendant for the tips as they easily saved them several strokes during the round. 

CASE STUDY: Following every workout, a member comes into the locker room and takes a shower, shaves, uses several towels and leaves them strewn throughout the bathroom and locker bay, including in the entrance and at the shower stall he uses. 

AVERAGE: The manager says nothing to the member. After all, part of the job is to pick up after members. 

EXCEPTIONAL: After the manager sees the member come in, he pulls him aside and says, “I’ve noticed that when you come in, you use several towels. That’s fine, but I’ve noticed that they get left on the bathroom floor, some of them in the entrance to the shower stall. I’m just concerned that one of our older members might not see them, trip, fall and hurt themselves. Would you mind picking them up when you’re done?” 

TAKING IT UP A NOTCH: It’s suggested that you say something similar to the member that was noted above. Taking it up a notch in this case does not mean to get more intense or angry at the member. Notice that the manager only used, “you” once, stuck with “I” messages and focused on the harm that could happen to other members. The member’s response to this situation was a positive one. He always picked up after himself after the attendant intervened. 

CASE STUDY: Mrs. Long, a member of the club for about a year, brings her young daughter into the locker room bathroom area. The 7-year-old begins exploring, and pulls open a drawer containing single wrapped, disposable, oneuse toothbrushes. Using both hands, she scoops up a couple dozen. The attendant walks in and sees it happen. 

AVERAGE SERVICE: The manager quickly accuses the young girl of stealing. Mrs. Long gets very upset, and the daughter begins to cry. 

EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE: The manager walks in, sees the little girl, smiles and says, “It looks like you discovered our toothbrushes. Tell you what Tiffany, you can have one and so can your mom. But we need to keep the rest for our other members and guests. Would you mind putting the rest back?” The girl complies and the manager thanks her for doing so. 

TAKING IT UP A NOTCH: The manager says that the girl and her mother can each have a toothbrush along with one for each member of their family. As above, the staffer thanks the girl for her cooperation. 

These case studies are from The Secret to Exceptional Locker Room Service by Todd Dufek. To receive a free PDF of his book, visit or scan the QR code. You can also receive free membership to the Locker Room Managers Association, which includes a monthly newsletter and weekly email. 

Todd Dufek is the locker room manager at The Country Club at DC Ranch in Scottsdale, Ariz., and has been the president of the Locker Room Managers Association for 21 years. He can be reached at [email protected].