By Clair Goodwin
The Joplin Globe
Rita Moore is the face of Schifferdecker Municipal Golf Course.
Her effervescent personality, easy smile and natural friendliness permeates the atmosphere of the clubhouse and pro shop and sets a standard for those who work with her.
Her philosophy, she says after giving thought to the question for a minute or so, is simple: “I think it has to be customer service first. We have to be sure they want to come back to Schifferdecker. We may not necessarily be able to offer the best course in the area, but I would like for us to offer the best service. ... I want people to know that we want them to come back.”
It has worked.
Schifferdecker is having a banner revenue year. In fact, revenue is at a record high and is exceeding expenses.
“We’ve had almost 30,000 rounds this year,” Moore said. That is a far cry from the 1950s and 1960s when the number of “plays” ran 40,000 to 50,000 annually. But greens fees were much lower in those days because the course lacked such modern amenities as an automated irrigation and high-tech mowing equipment.
The life’s-blood of Schifferdecker today are senior golfers, nearly a dozen weekly leagues and a full schedule of tournaments, many of them fundraisers for local and area charitable causes.
Schifferdecker is short and relatively easy, which suits many older players and beginners. It also allows the evening leagues to get around in a reasonable time frame. Larger leagues each account for 30 to 40 players every week. And while other leagues have fewer golfers, they contribute to the weekly total play and, of course, to revenues.
The biggest of the tournaments on the schedule each year is the Ozark Amateur. It is the granddaddy golfing event in the region and one of the oldest stroke-play tournaments west of the Mississippi River. Charitable causes find Schifferdecker an attractive place for their events, thanks to the cost, the course and Rita’s obliging crew in the clubhouse.
“I think I have a good staff,” Moore says. “They have the right personalities. People are nice. You just have to treat them good.”
The increase in play has put the course “in a good spot right now,” said Moore, who has been clubhouse manager for three years.
“If we maintain what we’re doing. I don’t think we have to have 50,000 plays a year,” she said. “I love Schifferdecker and I believe it has a place in the golf world in Joplin.”
As far as this writer is concerned, Schifferdecker is headed in the right direction. The key to success is keeping the people that count, the golfers, happy.
And that is at the top of Rita Moore’s list of things to do.
Here are several dreaded gut-check examples in golf. I guess if I had to choose, I would prefer No. 3. How about you?
1, Standing over a side-hill, five-foot putt for par on greens that are slicker than glass.
2, Assessing your chances of pulling off a tee shot over 200 yards of water.
3, Looking down a narrow fairway with woods on the right and O.B. on the left.
4, Blasting out of a sand trap toward a greenside pond.
5, Having to dig deep into your “hideout” cash to pay off bets at the end of around.