While 2020 was an unpredictable year, the appetite across 59club partner venues to deliver the greatest customer experiences across golf, leisure and hospitality didn’t falter.
59club, the market-leading performance-management specialist, will continue to honour their best performers across the UK and Ireland with a virtual recorded presentation, as their 11th Annual Service Excellence Awards Ceremony is available to watch from 4pm, Wednesday, March 24 hosted by presenter and broadcaster Dan Walker.
Despite the difficulties presented by COVID-19 and the consequent lockdowns throughout 2020, 59club continued to support their client venues to ensure the highest standards of service were maintained, whilst also introducing a virtual employee training platform to upskill performance and elevate service standards even further.
The award winners are determined by scores collected from 59club’s impartial mystery shopping team, which evaluates the experience afforded to visiting golfers and prospective members across the spectrum, in accordance with objective industry leading benchmarking criteria.
59club UK’s General Manager, Will Hewitt, explained: “Let’s not forget, 2020 was a unique year for most industries, not just golf; it was very testing and threw up unprecedented challenges to venues across the globe.
“But they weren’t closed for the whole of the year and, when they were open, our mystery shopper audits continued, enabling us to maintain our annual recognition of performance in what will be a virtual ceremony to celebrate what has become widely regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the industry.”
He added: “It’s certainly a different programme, as, this year, our awards will be split with, hopefully, a ‘live’ event in the summer to crown the gold, silver and bronze flag recipients, the 59club Industry Benchmark of Excellence. But the virtual event on March 24 will celebrate the individuals, teams and venue titles which have become so highly coveted.”
Owing to 59club’s ever increasing portfolio of affiliate venues, along with the diversity of the golf club industry, an additional tier for the 2020 awards has been introduced, which now sees winning performances recognised across three categories, to reflect the respective price points and the market segment each property has chosen to compete within.
Among the nominees aiming to become multi-award winners are four individuals hoping to retain titles they won in 2019: Long Ashton’s Glenn McNaughton, and The Belfry’s Jacques Hobson, in their respective ‘Food & Beverage Manager of the Year’ category; Foxhills’ Sean Graham, in ‘Golf Retail Manager of the Year’; and in the ‘Greenkeeper of the Year’ category; Goring & Streatley’s Matt Aplin.
Both Radyr Golf Club and Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa are also looking to retain their 2019 titles which saw them each receive the ‘Ultimate Service Excellence’ award for their commitment to engage, analyse and enrich their member and guest experience, utilising a diverse range of survey tools across 59club’s software platform.
Meanwhile, Forest of Arden, Marriott Hotel & Country Club’s Philomena Wilkinson is in the hunt for her second success in the category of ‘Leading Individual Golf Membership Sales Performance’, having won the equivalent title in 2018.
Host Walker, who is a familiar face on TV through his work on BBC Breakfast and Football Focus, is a keen golfer himself, and said: “I’ve been lucky enough to present these awards for a number of years. It’s always a pleasure to reward venues and people who go the extra mile to make our golfing experiences as memorable as possible. It’s great to see how the event has become seen as the ‘Oscars’ of the golf industry.”
■ The pre-recorded awards presentation will be available to view at www.59clubuk.com from 4pm on March 24, as presenter & broadcaster, Dan Walker announces the winning individuals, teams & managers for their achievements across 2020.
my59 Ultimate Service Excellence, sponsored by Golfbreaks.com: & 3D-IFS: Ashford Manor GC; Dulwich & Sydenham Hill GC; Edgbaston GC; Farleigh GC; Glynhir GC; Haydock Park GC; Highgate GC; John O’Gaunt GC; Long Ashton GC; Panmure GC; Pollok GC; Radyr GC and Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa; and Trentham Park GC.
Leading Individual Golf Membership Sales Performance, sponsored by Albatross: James Flesher (Dunston Hall Hotel); Phil Stickler (St Pierre, Marriott Hotel & Country Club); and Philomena Wilkinson (Forest of Arden, Marriott Hotel & Country Club).
Leading Individual Leisure Membership Sales Performance, sponsored by Tacit & Eagle: Dan Hawkins (Celtic Manor Resort); George Wainwright (Branston Golf & Country Club) and; Victoria Martin (Old Thorns).
Leisure Membership Sales Team of the Year, sponsored by Kennet Leasing: Branston Golf & Country Club; Celtic Manor Resort; and Old Thorns.
Food & Beverage Manager of the Year*, sponsored by Comesto: Christian Tarca (Stoke Park); Craig Sutherland (Brora GC); Daisy Ash (Foxhills Club & Resort); Glenn McNaughton (Long Ashton GC); Greg Smith (Edgbaston GC); Jacques Hobson (The Belfry Hotel & Resort); Josie Swift (Farleigh GC); Leanne Ray (Wexham Park GC); and Simon Ibbotson (Kingswood GC).
Golf Retail Manager of the Year*, sponsored by Asbri Golf: Alyson Lilley (Gleneagles); Jack Heginbotham (Long Ashton GC); Kenny Monaghan (Stirling GC); Matt Lacey (Hurtmore GC); Paul Babbage (Farleigh GC); Peter Lane (Harpenden GC); Sean Graham (Foxhills Club & Resort); Stuart Morrison (Tain GC); and Tim Harris (Stoke Park).
Greenkeeper of the Year*, sponsored by Toro: Angus Macleod (The Belfry Hotel & Resort); Craig Parry (Edgbaston GC); David Wyborn (Foxhills Club & Resort); Derek Hunter (Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club); Gary Nicoll (Panmure GC); James Braithwaite (Long Ashton GC); Matt Aplin (Goring & Streatley GC); Phil Chiverton (The Grove); and Terry Wharton (Haydock Park GC)
Golf Operations Team of the Year*, sponsored by Club Car: Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club; Farleigh GC; Gleneagles; Long Ashton GC; Porters Park GC; Stirling GC; Stoke Park; The Grove; and The Mere Golf Resort & Spa.
Golf Manager of the Year*, sponsored by Golf Genius: Andrew Jowett (Gleneagles); Brad Gould (The Grove); Gareth Morgan (Long Ashton GC); James Ibbetson (Farleigh GC); Karen Drake (Burnham & Berrow GC); Ruud Hercik (Gaudet Luce GC); Stuart Collier (Stoke Park); Tom Lawton (The Mere Golf Resort & Spa); and Tom Scott (Harpenden GC).