The Service Excellence Awards will see business leaders and their teams come together from across the USA, as 59club recognize the leading individuals, teams, and properties for their outstanding achievements realized within 59club’s independent mystery shopper program during 2023.
The event promises to deliver excellent networking opportunities; all centred around the prestigious Annual Service Excellence Awards Ceremony. Congratulations to all our nominees.
2024 Nominees (in alphabetical order)
My59 Survey Service Excellence Award
Reynolds Lake Oconee, St Ives Country Club, Talisker Club, The Country Club of Rochester, TPC San Antonio, Waterfall Club
Food & Beverage Manager of the Year
Gamble Sands, Palm Valley Golf Course, Rim Golf Club, The McLemore, The Pinery Country Club, TPC River’s Bend
Golf Retail Manager of the Year
Aberdeen Country Club, Canyon Springs Golf Club, Harrison Meadows Country Club, Ocean Course Hokuala, Palm Valley Golf Club, Valencia Country Club
Superintendent of the Year
Reynolds Lake Oconee, The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge, TPC Deere Run TPC Rivers Bend, TPC San Antonio, Weymouth Country Club
Golf Operations Team of the Year
Cascata Golf Club, Monarch Beach Golf Links, Ocean Course Hokuala, Palm Valley Golf Club, TPC Sawgrass, Valencia Country Club
Golf/Club Manager of the Year
Monarch Beach Golf Links, The Oaks Club at Valencia, The Shoals, TPC Deere Run, TPC Scottsdale, Valencia Country Club
Leading Individual Retail Experience
Arrowhead Country Club, Canyon Springs Golf Club, Cascata Golf Club, Four Bridges Country Club, Harrison Meadows Country Club, Highland Oaks, King’s Deer Golf Club, Mid Ocean Club, Palm Valley Golf Club, Reynolds Lake Oconee -The Oconee Course, Rim Golf Club, Rio Secco Golf Club, The Wigwam Resort, TPC Deere Run, TPC Las Vegas, Valencia Country Club
Leading Individual Golf Course Presentation
Chariot Run Golf Club, Desert Willow Golf Resort, Reynolds Lake Oconee, RTJ Ross Bridge, Royal Melbourne Country Club, Weymouth Country Club,
Leading Individual Golf Visit Experience
Cascata Golf Club, Desert Willow Golf Resort, Rio Secco Golf Club, RTJ Ross Bridge, RTJ The Shoals, TPC Sawgrass
Leading Individual Golf Membership Sales Performance
Bull Valley Golf Club, Hawthorn Woods Country Club, TPC Boston, TPC River Highlands, TPC Sugarloaf, TPC Twin Cities
Leading Individual Group Golf Day Sales Performance
TPC Boston, TPC Las Vegas, TPC River Highlands, TPC San Antonio, TPC Scottsdale, TPC Twin Cities
Leading Individual Event Sales Performance
Broadlands Golf Course, Dakota Dunes Country Club, Jackrabbit Run Golf Course, North River Yacht Club, TPC Deere Run, TPC Sugarloaf
Most Improved Golf Visitor Experience
Four Bridges Country Club, McDowell Mountain Golf Club, Palm Valley Country Club, Stonecreek Golf Club, The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge, TPC Scottsdale
The highlight of the evening will see 59club’s renowned industry benchmark – the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Flag Designations– presented to the USA Properties that not only achieved the required standard of service as part of 59club’s mystery shopping program, but also provide excellent facilities for customers to enjoy.
59club’s spotlight shines as the 2023 Eminent Collection is announced.
The latest properties and leaders from the world of golf & hospitality have been welcomed into 59club’s ‘Eminent Collection’ at two exclusive events, hosted at Trump International Golf Club, Dubai; and at Wentworth Club, England on the 21st and 23rd of November 2023, respectively.
The ‘Eminent Collection’ was established in 2022 to honor long-serving standards of customer service excellence delivered over a minimum of 5 years; with 59club Flag Designations, along with individual and team accolades, all contributing towards the global Eminent benchmark of excellence.
Recognition by 59club is unbiased, independent, and non-subjective, the only industry award of its kind, symbolizing a true badge of honor for those venues and people consistently delivering the finest levels of customer service,during 59club’s vigorous mystery shopper program.
The intimate ceremony, saw 59club welcome nine industry ‘leaders’ who join twenty-two individuals honored with Eminent Status in 2022. The newcomers receiving the enviable Eminent titles were; Casper Schonfeldt, Discovery Land Dubai; Chris Eigelaar, The Belfry; Chris Fitt, Moor Park; Clinton Southorn, Troon; Francisco de Lancastre David, Finca Cortesin; HoussemBelabed, Gleneagles; Jason Adams, Rockliffe Hall; Matt Aplin, Goring & Streatley; and, Scott Fenwick, Gleneagles.
With only one new property having met the demands synonymous with the Eminent Collection in 2023; as Saadiyat Beach Golf Club join twelve existing ‘properties’ from within 59club’s international network. The elite Collection now represents The Belfry Hotel & Resort;TheCeltic Manor Resort; Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club; Emirates Golf Club; Forest of Arden; Foxhills Club & Resort; Gleneagles; Golf Son Muntaner; The Grove;Rockliffe Hall; Saadiyat Beach Golf Club; Trump International Golf Club, Dubai; and Yas links, Abu Dhabi.
Of the honors, Simon Wordsworth, 59club CEO said; “What an incredible celebration of ‘excellence’! The Collection all came together to welcome our newcomers to this elite group of industry champions, whilst we honored our existing members for a second term. The Eminent Collection is the ultimate accolade we can bestow on any venue or individual, and it remains 59club’s honour and privilege to continue to shine a light on the people who are shaping the direction the industry continues to take, by maximising the experience that every single customer can enjoy.”
59club’s signature partner; Club Car once again extended their commitment to the Collection, in true reflection of their devotion to honor customer service excellence; with both Reesink Toro & Golf Genius also aligning their brands with this unique portfolio of industry professionals.
The Belfry Hotel & Resort The Celtic Manor Resort Delta by Marriott, Forest of Arden Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club Emirates Golf Club Foxhills Club & Resort Gleneagles Golf Son Muntaner The Grove Rockliffe Hall Saadiyat Beach Golf Club Trump International Golf Club Dubai Yas Links Abu Dhabi
Andrew Whitelaw, Aronimink Golf Club Angus Macleod, The Belfry Anna Darnell, The Grove Barney Coleman, Burnham & Berrow Bernat Llobera, Arabella Golf Mallorca Brad Gould, The Grove Casper Schonfeldt, Discovery Land Dubai Chris Eigelaar, The Belfry Chris Fitt, Moor Park Chris May, Dubai Golf Chris Reeve, The Belfry Clinton Southorn, Troon Craig Haldane, Gleneagles Francisco de Lancastre David, Finca Cortesin Fraser Liston, Forest of Arden Gary Silcock, Murrayshall Houssem Belabed, Gleneagles Jacques Hobson, The Belfry Jason Adams, Rockliffe Hall Jim Mckenzie MBE, Celtic Manor Jonathan Wyer, Rockliffe Hall Matt Aplin, Goring & Streatley Phillip Chiverton, The Grove Rob Rowson, Forest of Arden Scott Fenwick, Gleneagles Sean Graham, Foxhills Simon Howell, Forest of Arden Stephen Hindle, Worsley Park Stephen Hubner, Jumeirah Golf Estates Stuart Collier, Stoke Park Tom Hughes, The Belfry
59club is all about detail & data, and our technology plays a vital part in all of that, providing you with the ability to collect survey data direct from 1-1 survey invitations, or the simplicity of a well-positioned QR code or shareable link. We’ve also made some loyal friends along the way via mutual clients, and working together we can generate even more intelligence, while eradicating human error – that’s right, today we’re opening your eyes to CRM & POS hook-ups!
For the average golf & hospitality business, that simply means each time member and guest data is entered into your software, 59club’s survey platform will ‘auto-invite’ the customer to complete the venues custom satisfaction survey based on their recent encounter. For example; having joined the club, paid to play, visited the spa or F&B outlet, attended a golf club fitting appointment, made a retail purchase, or having relinquished their club membership.
The functionality can even track a customer’s experience at significant landmarks during their journey, auto generating a ‘series’ of questionnaires, in sequence at set intervals, as programmed by the venue; measuring a new member’s experience over a set timeframe, or even a ‘get into golf program’ as a guide.
Over the years we have managed integrations with a number of the leading CRM & POS providers globally on behalf of our mutual clients.
Most recently we have been linked with Lightspeed; a global innovative ePOS system, and we have also delivered integrated surveys for many clients with the help of other leading providers such as Concept, EZLinks, imaster.golf and Premier Software, all with the ultimate goal of supporting our shared clients to maximize the intel they receive from their customers.
With technology always at the ready, and a wealth of flexible survey templates that cover all areas of the hospitality industry, club staff can save valuable admin time, with elements of human error also eradicated, as the POS & CRM takes over. That means more time to spend on analyzing the data, utilizing the industry specific benchmarking comparisons, and ultimately; on the important parts of customer experience – spending time with the customer and subsequently around planning improvements!
And while our survey platform is all algorithms, metrics and values, there’s no bots here! We are human, with expert servicing teams located in 9 international regions – from ideation and build support, to launch assistance, data analysis & next-level advice – when you need us, we are with you every step of the way.
We’ll even support your CRM & POS provider with all the necessary’s tech-talk to maximize your data-capture. So, what are you waiting for? Talk to us about your provider, and let’s get you hooked-up and away to go.
Never again will you make decisions blindly or be left wondering why… because you’ll have the hard and fast data at your fingertips, as we open your eyes to the wonderful world of wisdom…
As always; reach out to your regional 59club Manager for more information and to get started…
WARNING!!! Please be assured that 59club will guide you through the process of becoming a tech wizard – no former data-geek experience necessary – full 59club support provided, we have an open API, we’re friendly like that, and we’ll even manage the integration process with your CRM & POS provider as required.
The greatest thing about golfers is that they like to play in groups. No one likes to play golf alone and that gives us a huge advantage, whether that’s a monthly seasoned away day, or an annual group of 40+ visiting golfers, we want them to choose to visit us, right?! But are we consistently hitting all the high notes during their inquiry? After all, they’re probably canvasing a few other venues for the best rates.
But does rate really matter?
To some, absolutely! Rate may be everything – but when you consider;
Value = Experience less Cost, it’s the experience that we really need to pitch, and that’s where excellent customer service and call management will always win, but how do you know what to pitch?
Well, I’ll let you in to a little secret – it all comes down to following a solid sales process – none of this wishy-washy stuff – and at 59club we’re experts at mapping out the perfect journey, so here’s some helpful hints & tips, just for 10.
Phone rings – so where do you start?
1. Has the group been before?
2. What’s their previous experience, where did they visit; what did they enjoy; and what are the most important factors to ensure a successful event?
3. Discuss their previous budget and typical spend.
4. Sniff out the competition; who are we up against, have they made other inquiries, have they been given any package prices?
5. Discuss the frequency of the event?
6. Data collection – name, email, number, address, how did they hear of us, what prompted them to call – we want it all…
7. Event data – date, times, number of golfers and their level of flexibility
8. Establish the parameters of their budget?
9. Understand the event specifics – and boy there’s a lot of technicalities to cover here, from F&B requirements, on-course services, and prize tables, to golf clinics and leaderboards.
10. Demonstrate that you truly value their business.
Then it’s a simple case of delivering a ‘tailored’ promotion to exceed expectations; as you discuss the venue, your product and your USP’s – demonstrating added value along the way!!! And please ALWAYS give more…
Sales close & Follow up…
Finally, you start your ‘sales close’ and agree your follow-up protocol, because we’re going to be proactive with our next steps. Whether that’s still attempting to convert the business, offering to hold space, or issuing a personalized proposal; or simply providing pre-visit advice having secured the booking.
Yes, the rate may be high on a specific day or time, but by simply understanding the flexibility of your group; you may well be able to come up with an alternative tee time to help shape a great package for them. That’s what group golf is all about, keeping the group happy, and if we can be seen to value their business, tailoring our offering to accommodate them, tweaking this and that to give them the very greatest experience for their buck, then we are hard to beat!
Stop thinking of golf as a solid flat rate – how can it be, when there are so many SPECIFICS to navigate with the group organizer, and added extras that may well cost you nothing, but make the group feel like a million dollars.
If you start out with a solid sales process, designed to glean the information necessary to over-pitch your offering, then you’re on to a winning formula.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our Group Golf Sales audits, education and survey tools. There really is a better way to do things, and we are here to help guide you through initiating that sales process…
From the second an employee arrives for work, and even before they’ve slipped their coat off and settled into their daily duties, there are customers waiting to be supported & served, and we expect that interaction to be delivered with a smile and genuine interest to help. (As well as hitting all the high notes within our Mystery Shopper audit criteria)
On the whole, performance is true to form, but from time-to-time standards slip – employees may feel the pressures of their role, they may feel undervalued, they may have unknowingly inherited bad traits from other team members – and slowly that smile becomes strained.
The customer may not even notice the difference in behavior at first, but over time it starts to show, you may even hear customers speaking of the uncharacteristic behavior of their favorite employee.
“Motivate them, train them, care about them, and make winners out of them… they’ll treat the customers right.And if customers are treated right, they’ll come back.”
J. Willard Marriott, American entrepreneur, businessman and founder of the Marriott Corporation
To consistently deliver exceptional service, you must nurture your people, inspire their behavior, support them with the right tools and training to perform well within their role, predict their needs, and listen to their woes.
With so many customers to serve and departments to oversee, time often slips away, and every good intention becomes lower down the priority order, but it doesn’t need to be that way.
Just like your customers, there is also a ‘need’ to survey your employees, and for that matter we created a bundle of HR Survey Templates, to make analyzing employee wellbeing that much easier, whether they are an existing employee, new recruit or a leaver.
There’s a whole load of pre-set questions for you to include – as always, we try and take the guess work away, but there’s also the freedom to add any custom questions to your surveys – you’re always able to do that within any of our golf & hospitality templates, you can even make a survey entirely of your own if you prefer.
What always captivates me with the inclusion of a templated question, is the ability to compare your own outcomes with the global industry & podium set averages, that’s what fascinates me the most. How other employees’ experiences, preferences, willingness and loyalty compares to yours, and what you can take from the wisdom of stepping out of your own four walls.
The venue will also be able to identify what motivates individuals, and how they can support continued growth within their employees existing role, also providing clarity and vision over personal career progression.
There may be other survey providers out there – heck one google search and you can find a ton of them! But what you don’t get from any of them is the specialized industry expertise, the flexibility, and the miniscule analytical data that only 59club is synonymous for.
We aren’t just here as a survey provider like some of our competitors are, or as a mystery shopping company either, we are here for the greater good. We don’t just help you to spot flaws or celebrate excellence with you, we give you the solutions to perfect experiences.
Circling back to Mr. Marriott, our very own mantra is cut from the same cloth, we exist solely to help you to motivate your team, to care about them, to train them, and every year we make winners out of them. Your people are the foundation to achieving customer service excellence, that’s the business we are all in, and we’re all in it together!
The Human Resource Survey Templates are free to use within your Survey Platform, they address all areas of the employment roster – from measuring the New Employee Experience, general Employee Satisfaction, plus an Employee Exit Survey.
So, while we’ve got your attention, take some time out today, look into the HR Survey Suite. Contact us at email@example.com, and let’s set some time aside to prioritize employee wellbeing, as we look forward to enjoying the perks of increased customer service delivery.
59club’s ‘Eminent Collection’ celebration is set to return this fall, as we continue to recognize the finest properties & leaders across the world of golf & hospitality, for their unwavering dedication to Customer Service Excellence.
With exclusive events taking place at Trump International Golf Club, Dubai, and at Wentworth Club, England on the 21st and 23rd of November 2023 respectively; 59club are delighted to announce that their signature partner; Club Car has once again extended their commitment to the Collection; with both ReesinkToro & Golf Genius also aligning their brands with this unique portfolio of industry professionals, as the 2023 inductees are set to be announced.
Eligibility into the ‘Eminent Collection’ is based solely on achievements across the 59club Service Excellence Awards, with individual and team accolades, along with 59club Flag Designations, all contributing towards the Global Eminent Benchmark of Excellence; measuring performances over a minimum of 5 years.
In 2022, just twelve ‘properties’ from within 59club’s international network had achieved the required benchmark synonymous with the Collection, with a further twenty-two ‘leaders’ honored with Eminent Status.
Of the impending celebrations, Simon Wordsworth, 59club CEO said;
“The ultimate accolade 59club can bestow on any venue or individual is to grant them entry into The Eminent Collection.The calculation is fair, transparent, objective, and open to all industry professionals, and by design showcases individuals and venues who not only invite independent scrutiny, but who then deliver outstanding and consistent performances across a minimum of five years.
“It is my honour and privilege to continue to shine a light on the people who are ultimately shaping the direction the industry continues to take, by maximising the experience that every single customer can enjoy.”
As the wider industry waits on bated breath for the 2023 announcement to be made later in November; 59club are preparing to host a full house, as the entire Collection reconvenes to officially welcome the newcomers as they join this elite group of industry champions.
For more information about the Eminent Collection, or to learn about 59club and their plight towards elevating service standards and profitability across the golf & hospitality industry; please visit www.59club.com
In the tranquil haven of Costa del Sol, where the lush greens meet the boundless blue skies, Finca Cortesin stands as a testament to golfing magnificence.
As it prepares to host the prestigious Solheim Cup this week, we had the privilege of sitting down with Rocío Sánchez, the Golf Manager of Finca Cortesin, to unveil the secrets behind their journey towards golfing greatness and their transformative partnership with 59club.
“Rocío, first things first, with the Solheim Cup just around the corner, can you share with us how everything is shaping up for the event, and how exciting is it for you and your team?”
“ We are all thrilled to be hosting the Solheim Cup this week, and have left no stone unturned in preparing to provide an exceptional experience for the players and guests. Over the past two years, all areas of our resort have been tirelessly improved to ensure we’re in top form. The excitement is building as we eagerly anticipate the event and we can’t wait for it to start”
“You have been working with 59club for a couple of years, can you tell us how 59club has helped Finca Cortesin objectively evaluate the customer experience and identify areas for improvement?”
“59club’s definition of excellence in service matches our own at the Club. With its well-defined parameters spanning various aspects of the golf reservation process, from the initial booking call to the ultimate visit day, we gain a comprehensive understanding of our service performance. The clarity offered by these parameters allows us to identify both our strengths and areas in need of improvement. By analyzing the entire customer journey, we can pinpoint specific touchpoints where we excel, and areas where we may fall short, enabling us to implement targeted strategies for enhancement.”
“As the Golf Manager of Finca Cortesin, can you share with us your vision for the club’s growth and what contributes to achieving that goal?”“As the Golf Manager of Finca Cortesin, can you share with us your vision for the club’s growth and what contributes to achieving that goal?”
“In achieving the high-quality standards that we set ourselves, my role involves evaluating the ratings provided by 59club’s mystery shoppers, and preparing comprehensive reports. These reports are then discussed with team leaders to identify areas where we excel and those that require improvement. Based on the findings, new guidelines are established to enhance our service further. Subsequently, I lead a meeting with the team to communicate the significance of this information and emphasize the importance of maintaining our level of excellence. Through this process, we aim to continuously elevate our service standards and provide exceptional experiences to our valued customers. “
“Collaborating with 59club has been instrumental in our continuous efforts to monitor customer service data and elevate our renowned service and facility standards. The ability to track each parameter over time ensures that we remain vigilant and take initiative, never letting our guard down“
“Can you share any specific goals or benchmarks you aim to achieve in terms of service quality and member experience, utilizing 59club’s services?”“Can you share any specific goals or benchmarks you aim to achieve in terms of service quality and member experience, utilizing 59club’s services?”
We have a very clear vision in the quality of service that we want to offer, so our standard rate to achieve this memorable experience for our members and visitors should be always to be in the top 3 clubs and maintain a 59club Golf Flag designation.
“How do you think the ongoing evaluation through 59club’s mystery shopping services will support Finca Cortesin in maintaining a culture of continuous improvement and delivering unparalleled experiences for your members and guests?”
“Over the years, collaborating with 59club has been instrumental in our continuous efforts to monitor customer service data and elevate our renowned service and facility standards. The ability to track each parameter over time ensures that we remain vigilant and take initiative, never letting our guard down. This partnership empowers us to stay responsive to our customers’ needs, identify areas for enhancement, and consistently deliver exceptional experiences that set us apart in the industry.”
“You & the team led the way at our recent Service Excellence Awards by winning Golf Manager of the Year & Golf Operations Team of the Year, what does this mean to you & the team?”
“We are delighted to receive these two awards; it is a testament to the hard work and effort demonstrated by the team day-in-day-out. Undoubtedly, these awards recognize the teamwork that we apply at Finca Cortesin, and we are very fortunate to have an incredible team that allows us to maintain our standards of service each and every year.
Personally, it has given me immense pride in winning 59club’s Golf Manager of the Year & Golf Operations Team of the Year awards. Being recognized in such a unique way makes us feel thrilled! Customer service has always been about exceeding customer expectations, and our team is very professional when it comes to daily tasks and responsibilities. We understand the established standards at the Club that are required to maintain an excellent level of service.”
“As a leader in the golf industry, how do you think the insights and best practices provided by 59club will contribute to the growth and development of golf clubs in Spain, particularly in the Costa del Sol region?”
“The adoption of tools such as 59club by clubs in the Costa del Sol can help raise the overall standards of service, setting a wider benchmark for excellence – as Clubs can monitor their levels of service in a very transparent way and therefore take action to improve on the required areas.”
“Finally, what advice would you give to other golf clubs considering partnering with 59club to improve their customer service, staff training, and overall performance?”
“Finca Cortesin has received some prestigious awards over the last few years for its quality of service and standards that set the benchmark in our region. Our partnership with 59club has been extremely helpful to track our metrics from a non-biased perspective, and take action where needed. So, any service and assistance that can help you achieve your goals, I think its always a good thing”
In the competitive world of golf and country club management, staying ahead of the curve requires a combination of dedication, innovative strategies, and utilizing the right tools.
Today, we bring you insights from an industry leader who’s making headway in optimizing member experiences, Jason Hanna, COO of the Credit Valley Golf and Country Club in Canada. We talk about his vision, 59club’s transformative role in their operations, and the future of golf clubs in the region.
The Visionary Path
Under Jason’s stewardship, Credit Valley aims to grow its member service standards by “creating means to measure our progress year over year and benchmarking with similar clubs in our market.” This ensures they’re either meeting or exceeding industry standards and expectations.
Jason highlights the significance of 59club’s industry benchmarking services, calling them “an invaluable tool, not only for club managers but for committees and Boards to better understand industry standards.”
Striking a Better Club Experience
Credit Valley is focusing on enhancing locker room and outside golf operations. They’ve found an ally in 59club, whose survey software and mystery shopping audits has resonated with the club’s team, mainly due to its granularity. This has facilitated more accurate evaluations, streamlined internal communications, and enriched staff training.
“Benchmarking and surveys have been instrumental in setting targets. We have used the HR survey templates exclusively on staff to date in order have a sense of their comfort heading into a busy season, and a peer assessment method with our management team that folds into their appraisals. We will also be expanding to use surveys for Board and committee effectiveness,” Jason shares. This bespoke approach has been pivotal in understanding Credit Valley’s unique aspects, and driving continuous improvement.
On Course for Continuous Improvement
When asked how they intend to capitalize on data, Jason expressed that the information gathered has already contributed to shaping their operational plans, especially around staff engagement.
He also emphasizes the role of mystery shopping services in evaluating customer experiences, stating, “Receiving a timely, comprehensive report covering all areas of interaction at the club allows management to make real-time adjustments, or seek further inquiry into areas performing below standard.”
Industry Influence and Future Forecasts
As a leader in the golf industry, Jason believes that 59club’s insights will contribute significantly to the growth of golf clubs in Canada, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area, that holds about 20% of the nation’s population and many of the top-tier clubs.
“Implementing new operations or software can be daunting at times, but working with 59club makes implementing new protocols and services fairly routine,”
He advises other golf clubs considering a partnership with 59club; “Due to the ability to build services around the specific needs and nuances, 59club will capture data and measure service standards at any club.”
On the horizon for Credit Valley is further integration of these performance management services, especially in terms of member satisfaction surveys on targeted areas of the club’s amenities and additional mystery shopping across other areas of the business such as member onboarding. According to Jason, 59club’s regular training and support will make this a walk in the park.
“Implementing new operations or software can be daunting at times, but working with 59club makes implementing new protocols and services fairly routine,” said Hanna. “59club is with us every step of the way, not only helping us read and interpret mystery shopping data, but also recommending and helping us with our employee education and training plans, as well as providing operations support, they are always focused on identifying opportunities for growth.”
The partnership between Credit Valley Golf and Country Club and 59club paints a picture of progress and promise. With a vision to improve, the right tools in place, and a commitment to service excellence, the future seems bright for Credit Valley and the Canadian golf club industry as a whole.
The world of golf and country club management, as observed through Jason’s lens, is one of relentless innovation, continuous improvement, and unwavering dedication to service excellence. As we navigate the future, these insights serve as a testament to the transformative power of collaboration, and the drive for progress that defines leaders like Jason Hanna and organizations like Credit Valley Golf and Country Club.
In the world of club operations, having the right people, in the right places, behaving in the right way is paramount to success. A customer only has to receive one bad experience to disassociate themself with a brand or organisation, while spreading news of that poor experience far and wide.
To some, the notion of reinvesting surplus back into operations specifically to educate and develop the team may seem groundbreaking, but could it potentially become the standard for future budgeting?
Now, imagine we shift our perspective slightly and ask: what if a ‘specific portion’ of your overall revenue is dedicated to staff training and development in your budgeting process, just like McDonalds, Starbucks and other enormous global companies earmarks a particular amount for advertising each year?
Although training and development have always found a place in your annual expense report, how can you be certain that your investment is enough, and how can you be sure that it’s paying dividends?
Over the past three years, Club Study has conducted multiple surveys via its industry network to understand the investment trends in staff training and development.
Interestingly, the Club Study industry peers report that their investment seems to have slightly dipped since 2021, as seen in the graphic below.
Surprisingly, these numbers seem rather underwhelming for something so crucial to club operations. Observing the expenditure as an absolute dollar value, however, changes the narrative.
A club with a $3 million turnover will spend less than $30k on average on training & development. Given the financial constraints that club budgets often have to grapple with, including break-even targets, slim profit margins, and increasing inflation, this amount suddenly seems justifiable, even generous to some. But can we really justify increasing this budget?
In the wake of a recent increase in club activities and longer wait lists, many clubs may not see the immediate need for investing more in staff training. The decision-making process is typically reactive rather than proactive, and clubs often prioritize preventing losses over seeking gains. But wouldn’t you agree that the clubs investing more than 2% in staff training probably enjoy a more robust staff culture, leading to better relationships, longer staff tenures, and an overall happier environment? Ultimately, selling and servicing customers to better degrees.
We are pleased to report that we have seen an increased appetite for staff training in recent times, with many 59club clients who receive ‘mystery shopping’ audits investing heavily in training, probably for the same reason they are challenging the golf industry by delivering some of the finest customer experiences in the world of golf.
59club handles enormous quantities of live data and insights, so much so that we are the only authority in golf who can go out on a limb and make such bold accusations about global CX benchmarks and industry trends.
Surprisingly, these numbers seem rather underwhelming for something so crucial to club operations.
Just as we support our clients to understand their customers, we know our clients and we know them very well, and we can whole-heartedly confirm that they take education extremely seriously – so much so that we have witnessed a 166% increase in the number of training sessions delivered by the 59club UK team between 2021 & 2022.
Taking it back to the wider industry, the Club Study network reports that the largest proportion of development dollars is spent on middle management. So, where exactly do these training dollars go? The most logical answer seems to be conferences, organised by various associations and governing bodies at national and regional levels. Conferences can provide inspiration, reflection, and innovative ideas, not to mention the fantastic networking opportunities and the fun that they provide.
Yet, it remains hard to precisely calculate the ROI from these events.
The crux of the matter when justifying expenditure lies in quantifying the return on investment (ROI) from training and development, which is no easy task. If we don’t measure it, it’s likely to be overlooked.
To quantify improvement in training and development, we need a benchmark. This is where “mystery shopping” comes in. As an unbiased, ground-level measure of your customer service, it provides the perfect service benchmark. After a period of conducting such audits, you’ll have a robust dataset highlighting your strengths and weaknesses, confirming (or disproving) your suspicions.
So, what’s next? The answer is simple: Train! Use the data, celebrate the successes, and develop strategies to address the weaknesses. Department-specific training, consistent programming, and building an ongoing relationship geared to enhance club culture, audit after audit, will make a world of difference.
Your focus should always be on measuring. Once you start doing that, you’ll start viewing training as an investment that yields a return. This brings us back to the heart of the industry: relationships.
As the world continues to blaze the digital frontier, there are now more ways than ever to book a tee time or make a dinner reservation at your club. At face value, that’s a good thing. Additional ways to sell tee times and restaurant covers mean more ways to make your club more accessible and potentially profitable.
But new digital pathways also create opportunities for digital missteps. Mainly, customers want to know their credit card information is secure and they want to know when you have reserved their spot – whether that be for a tee time booking, a dinner reservation or even a treatment at the health spa. And if you’re not providing a written record of their place on your tee sheet or a table at your restaurant, customers may start to feel uneasy about the entire process.
More importantly, an inquisitive written confirmation – which we’ll discuss below – eliminates common customer service problems and opens additional upsell opportunities at your club and restaurant.
Golf Visitor Experience Mystery ShopperInsights:
The global golf industry failed to request an email address during 40% of all tee time reservations made during 2022.
17% of all email confirmations went astray; either the incorrect email address was recorded, or possibly never sent.
Only 56% of golfers ever received their booking confirmation…
What’s the point?
The initial purpose of a written confirmation is to acknowledge the correct date and time of the reservation. Simple. The bare minimum.
If you ordered a widget from Amazon without a confirmation of the purchase, you would be left wondering if Amazon is, in fact, fulfilling the order. That kind of digital misstep creates enormous uncertainty and is unlikely to be the first impression you want to convey to your customer.
With email fields being mandatory, most online tee-time and restaurant booking engines provide immediate and automated written confirmation, allowing customers sight of their booking details and the opportunity to spot any potential errors. When the reservation is booked over the phone the duty of collecting the email address sits with the reservations agent. According to Matt Roberts, 59club’s Director of Training & Education, the absence of a written confirmation can lead to uncertainty and potentially some level of confrontation, not to mention the potential loss of revenues.
“If you’re taking the reservation by phone, it’s imperative to take the customer’s email address and ensure it is correct by repeating it back to your guest to avoid errors. From our experience, you would be amazed at how many people show up at the wrong time or even on the wrong day. This leads to an awkward conversation at the check-in counter trying to figure out how the error may have occurred.”
“Mycustomerhasbooked, mysoftwaregeneratedanimmediatewrittenconfirmation, ormystaffhaveaccesstosend a ‘templated’email. Doneanddone. Right?” Not exactly. For many places around the world, golf and secondary revenue channels like restaurants and bar are seasonal. Operating hours, menu items, club dress code and practice facility access and other large parts of the overall golf experience can change and be different from week to week. How often do you rehash the templated message? – and does it contain everything you’d expect?
Small additions to a written confirmation with updated restaurant hours, dress code or practice facility access, for example, ensure customer expectations match your club’s operations. According to Roberts, clubs who don’t include this information in their written confirmation are leaving themselves open to poor customer experience.
“Everything in the written confirmation has to match the customer expectations,” said Roberts. “The last thing you want to happen is someone arriving at your club expecting to eat breakfast and the restaurant is closed or wishing to hit some balls prior to play and it just happens to be that one day the range is closed for maintenance!
Worse yet, and the one that can cause confrontation, is when a player arrives wearing an outfit outside of the club’s dress code policy. The staff are now faced with an undesirable dilemma: do I make a concession to this one visitor and risk others perceiving this as special treatment, or do I force this customer to purchase attire from the club shop to then adhere to the dress policy? A bad experience either way. Both are avoidable with an informative written confirmation.”
Asking questions or providing additional information within the written confirmation also creates upselling and subsequent marketing opportunities. A common example is the promotion of a golf cart/buggy if one hasn’t been reserved at the call stage. Just by offering a link or a contact to the consumer for them to be able to reserve prior to arrival is imperative for increasing revenue. It also allows the club to prepare this hire item for the arrival of the guest.
Any operator will tell you that the whole check in experience can be busy, but then throw in additional needs of the customer, such as buggy hire, club rental, use of a caddy, or even a personalized gift that the club wasn’t aware of, will lead to more time servicing the guest’s needs and a delay in an already busy operation.
Multiple course operators can also promote the options of an upgrade or highlight other courses within a group. The booking confirmation can also promote elements such as accommodation either on-site, or at other local establishments that offer preferential rates when booked via the club.
And, let’s face it, the opportunities to upsell are endless, when you consider other services and facilities such as high-ropes, custom-fitting, score card marking, leisure & spa usage, private dining etc that can be accessed either on the day, or that may tempt a future return to the club.
Directions or a link to an interactive map, potential transfers and how to book them as well as any information about how to access the club are always useful for any visitors who may be unfamiliar with the area.
Finally, and possibly the most important, are the Terms and Conditions of the club which are there to provide clarity on payment and cancelation, pairing up policy, bad weather and course closures must also be included within the confirmation. You will always be in a more comfortable position, when facing any confrontation, if your T’s and C’s are set in place.
Of course, this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to customer service at your club, and your fellow 59club manager can guide you through industry best practices.
Last year, 59club announced its commitment to become carbon neutral across its global operations by 2030, and is unbelievably excited to have taken a huge step on that journey, with its UK & Ireland business now officially accredited with achieving neutrality in 2022.
To help guide them through the transition to carbon neutral, 59club found solace in the services provided by “Neutral Carbon Zone (NCZ)” – a leading consultancy, management and certification platform.
“Strategically we decided to start with the UK business as it is our most mature business. If we can achieve carbon neutral here, we know we can share best practice and achieve it in our Asia, Australia, Canada, European, MEA, Nordic & USA businesses.” said Simon Wordsworth, Founder and CEO of 59club.
Over the last 16 months, Alan Stenson & Krys Stanton from NCZ supported Will Hewitt, Andy Etherington and the 59club UK team to adopt NCZ’s three scope structure to tackle the key areas of emissions, by creating strategies for every emission line, either at the company’s cost or simply behavioural changes within the business.
59club even went further than ‘required’ to help its team members tackle their own carbon emissions through their personal travel and home energy use.
“We reviewed emissions directly generated by the company’s activities, emissions that are indirectly generated by energy purchased by the company, and lastly emissions that arise from organizational activities, but from sources owned or controlled by other organizations.
“It’s taken time simply because of the complexity of our business, as it’s not just our office and our people, but all the emissions created by our mystery testers and auditors as they move around the UK & Ireland, the events that we host such as the annual awards ceremony, client golf days, the servers that our software runs on…the list could just go on.” continued Wordsworth.
The business even went further than ‘required’ to help its team members tackle their own carbon emissions through their personal travel and home energy use.
To date, 59club’s UK & Ireland division has completed the first phase of its pledge, having received the results of a recently commissioned carbon footprint assessment, which measures the carbon emissions generated by the organisation’s activities. The assessment is the critical first stage of a comprehensive and commercially focused carbon management plan. The measurement of 59club’s carbon emissions follows the internationally recognised standard ISO-14064-1:2006.
Wordsworth added; “As we progress through this journey, will start to change company buying decisions to ‘fellow green businesses’ who are positively seeking neutrality – where we stay, where we eat, who we buy from etc.”
Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2030 across 59club’s Global Operations
“For 59club, the pursuit of excellence extends beyond exceptional customer service; it encompasses a responsibility towards our planet. Today, we proudly reaffirm our commitment to achieving carbon neutrality across our global operations by 2030. With this effort, 59club is dedicated to creating a brighter future, where exceptional experiences coexist with a greener world.
“Today’s announcement marks an important milestone in 59club’s journey towards global carbon neutrality. We firmly believe that every long journey begins with a first step, and this commitment to becoming carbon neutral across our entire global operations by 2030 is just the beginning.”
Wordsworth concludes; “Some of our operations that cover huge geographical areas are going to find this really difficult whilst still trying to grow and be profitable, but we believe this is an absolute necessity for the preservation of our planet. Over the coming decades, we will continue to forge ahead, implementing innovative measures and collaborating with partners worldwide to ensure a sustainable future. We have always tried to be amongst the first/early movers, tried to be creative and innovative and this journey allows us to flourish, playing our part to inspire positive change for generations to come.”
In the ever-evolving world of golf club and hospitality management, being a successful manager involves juggling multiple roles. In the whirlwind of these responsibilities, there isn’t enough time to play guessing games about your member or guests’ needs. The best way to learn what your customers want at your club? Ask them !!!
Over the years, we have witnessed a significant shift in customer behaviour within our Survey Software. What started out with aspirations of becoming the most comprehensive pick & mix survey tool in the golf & hospitality industry, has inspired a new-age of club managers who stretch beyond the realms of typical club surveys, to solicit feedback on a whole host of areas to help inform their decision making and the direction the club chooses to take.
Some of those uses border on being radical – a phrase that doesn’t usually appear in the context of Customer Service Management or in Golf in general… but then again, we’ve always been a magnet for those in the industry who like to do things better, and in doing so we like to support them to behave a bit differently…
So, what exactly are these new radicals up to?
They’re putting the club’s destiny in the hands of their members, guests and employees, they’re not just seeking opinion, they’re making instant ‘data-driven’ decisions to help guide the most suitable offering for their customers without prejudice and based on science.
A new age of club managers are delivering surveys for a whole multitude of reasons, some even to establish where their members would prefer grant monies to be spent – on the course, or in the clubhouse?
We’ve seen a club make their entire stock selection based on responses to a simple ‘one question’ survey to establish which brands members would prefer to see in the pro shop – giving different supplier options to both male & female members.
Many clubs are now turning to their members requesting feedback on the club’s competition calendar in an attempt to increase participation, with others collating data to help shape their social events calendar, based on likes and dislikes from previous years, whilst ascertaining interest on potential new themes.
There are so many daily decisions that as managers we face, but the new-age of club managers are involving their members, guests and employees, after all it’s their club and we need them to enjoy it to the absolute maximum, if we want to secure their loyalty.
We’ve always been a magnet for those in the industry who like to do things better, and in doing so we like to support them to behave a bit differently…
We’ve witnessed members inspire seasonal menu changes, and on occasion beer and wine suppliers being switched to the delight of those thirsty members. And then there’s a whole bunch of clubs who made member driven changes to their tee-sheets.
There’s so many survey templates to choose from, and so much data to gain and take inspiration from, but there’s one that remains a favorite, always topping the usage charts – and that’s the new member survey. Designed to ensure all newbies are integrated into the club community from day one. Some club managers go one step further using the intelligent software to send their new members a ‘series’ of surveys at specific landmarks during their first three months at the club – monitoring their journey into club life, and addressing any weaknesses along the way.
But let’s not forget the most important people within your business – your employees!!! Forward thinking managers are gathering critical data from the HR survey template bundle, to analyse new and existing employee’s satisfaction levels, along with finding out why some chose to leave.
We’ve noticed a huge shift from being reactive to pro-active, and that in itself is pure 100 percent karat gold, gone are the days of making assumptions of what will sell in the shop, or what events members may enjoy attending, or why suddenly a loyal group of members went AWOL.
The best way to learn what your customers want at your club?
Big shout out to all our radical customers – you know who you are!
And if you’re just starting out on your journey with us – let us guide you to get the best out of your customers, and to give the best back.
The game of golf has seen significant changes over the past few decades and so have the people who play it. Once stuck with the stigma of being stuffy and elitist, golf is now showing signs of getting younger, more inclusive and available to players of all abilities.
As a result, what was expected of a golf course in the past – in the way of customer service and player experience – is changing at the same rapid rate. In phrase: the days of focusing only on turf conditions are coming to an end.
Bernat Llobera receiving his Eminent Collection award in 2023, presented by 59club EU South General Manager Lee Matthew Waggott
In this 59club Spotlight on Service, we head to Mallorca, Spain to catch up with Bernat Llobera, Area Golf Director at Arabella Golf who echoes the importance of providing exceptional customer service across the board, and uses 59club’s industry leading services to objectively evaluate their customer experience, drive continuous improvement, and establish a club-wide culture of service across their three golf properties on Spain’s largest island.
“We see nowadays that it is not only about having a course in great shape. It is about a journey, a full experience.” – Bernat Llobera.
For Llobera, identifying growth opportunities – for revenue and service operations – begins with understanding the experience from the player’s perspective. Working with 59club has made that objective infinitely easier through regular mystery shopping services at Arabella Golf.
“59club’s evaluations are incredibly valuable assets as they provide a client’s perspective which resembles a real guest experience,” said Llobera. “The objective insights provided by 59club are far more valuable than internal assessments. The ‘extra bonus’ is being able to compare ourselves, our three courses, and the ability to compare this to the wider industry benchmarks. And once we have identified areas for growth, 59club’s training and education services allow us to make improvements to our systems and protocols extremely quickly.”
Llobera went on to say identifying and fixing problems as they arise is only half the battle. A commitment to continuous improvement must be the driving force behind changes to customer service protocols.
“Once we receive our evaluation results, we immediately sit down to discuss them as a group,” said Llobera. “We look at everything from comments and images to objective ratings and begin to identify trends and long-term solutions, something that wouldn’t be possible if every team member wasn’t completely committed.”
That commitment to improvement at Arabella Golf, and regular training through 59club has created a culture of customer service at the club. Employee training sessions are completed every year in many aspects of hospitality service, including phone skills, upselling options and retail protocols.
“We see nowadays that it is not only about having a course in great shape. It is about a journey, a full experience.”
“Our team members love the training sessions,” said Llobera. “It’s clear to see that everyone takes them seriously and strives to improve. The common feedback from the team is that 59club knows and understands the intricacies of the business, and from what I know, there is nothing that can be compared to what 59club offers. Most recently 59club training sessions have been instrumental in improving our reservations department – often the first impression with your customer.”
Another goal for Llobera this year? Pick up a few awards.
“We were extremely proud of all three of our properties’ recognition at the most recent Service Excellence Awards, with Son Muntaner leading the way with a gold flag,” said Llobera. “It encourages you to keep working hard. Ultimately, our team members are the ones who create an incredible golf journey for our guests, so it’s especially gratifying to see the entire team recognized for their commitment and hard work.”
Arabella Golf, Mallorca – Son Vida Course, Hole 16
The age old saying goes, ‘that great managers lead by example’; and 59club are quick to point out that Llobera was recently invited into 59club’s Eminent Collection, joining only twenty-two managers spanning 59clubs global territory – and the very first in Europe – having achieved this international benchmark of excellence, which recognises the finest individuals who are leading the industry in the customer experience realms.
Eligibility into the Eminent Collection is based solely on achievements across the 59club Service Excellence Awards, with individual and team accolades, along with property flag designations, all contributing towards the Eminent Benchmark of Excellence; measuring performances over a minimum of 5 years.
Golf experience in Spain is being elevated by managers such as Llobera who seek analysis and feedback to support their team to strengthen their proposition in the marketplace. The advice that he would give to other club managers in Europe and across the wider golfing landscape is that “59club’s wide range of services and solutions improve the business, and therefore, the bottom line. Through personal experience they understand the golf operation and the hospitality industry better than anyone we have met before; they are a great support specialising in customer service; I highly recommend them and their services.”
Connecting Managers with industry Insight, and a global network.
Our minute surveys are used to collect immediate and diverse responses from 59club’s global network, with results analysed to identify emerging trends and then published days later.
Each fortnightly survey highlights technical, conceptual and philosophical insights from inside Golf, Leisure & Hospitality businesses from across the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Asia, Middle East, Africa, Australia & New Zealand. The Insight, Collaboration and Community that Club Study creates will inspire curiosity, and ultimately empower Club Managers to make informed data-driven decisions.
Participants are encouraged to submit questions they would like to appear in subsequent surveys, putting Club Managers in control of the direction the study takes to give an industry perspective like no other.
Previous reports have revealed a Club Manager’s typical ratio of hours spent in versus outside the office, the composition of a club’s board or management group, the frequency of F&B menu changes, and emotive responses to pinpoint a manager’s stress level, to provide a broad flavour of what’s in store.
Currently Club Study is a complimentary offering as part of 59club’s commitment to support the Club Manager to achieve Customer Service Excellence by harnessing insight, collaboration and building community.