59club, the global force in Customer Service Management opens eighth division serving Australia & New Zealand

The CX Management Specialist has today announced its global operations have expanded into Australia & New Zealand. Bringing with them over 15 years of global customer service intel, plus a wealth of industry leading mystery shopping audits, satisfaction surveys, and employee education pathways.

Golf, Leisure & Hospitality Businesses within the region, can now look forward to enjoying the ‘richest’ rewards of their labor, as 59club’s proven formula of supporting club’s to elevate customer service standards and deliver improved profits is rolled out.

The latest opening serving Australia & New Zealand passes to Sam Hughes, the former Club Operations Manager at Glenelg Golf Club, Adelaide. Hughes’ experience at Glenelg Golf Club – widely regarded as one of the best Golf and FunctionVenues in all of Australia, boasting a string of awards to boot – coupled with his passion for delivering customer service excellence, will serve him well in his new role.

At the time of launch, Hughes was preparing to represent 59club at the Golf Business Forum / PGA Expo in Melbourne and went on to say; “It’s a privilege to be part of 59club’s global operations, and to be able to support neighboring club managers to integrate 59club’s proven formula to achieve the greatest service standards and financial successes.

“We’ve got off to a great start, planning and delivering a series of trial audits for club managers up and down the country, igniting their passion and desire for achieving service excellence, and I am excited to see our following grow after more trials and contracts are shared and exchanged in the months ahead.”

Hughes is not alone on this journey, and benefits from the support of 59club founder, Simon Wordsworth and his fellow Directors, along with the experience of seven other Regional Managing Partners spanning the UK & Ireland, USA, Canada, Middle East & Africa (MEA), Asia, with two others based in continental Europe.

The Customer Service Specialists are proud to work with hundreds of clubs world-wide, of all sizes and profiles, with customers who include the likes of TPC Network, Marriott Golf, Troon International, European Tour Destinations, Sawgrass, Emirates Golf Club, The Belfry Hotel & Resort, Gleneagles, Le Golf National and Marco Simone to name just a few.

Many of the greatest names in the industry credit 59club for their properties success, having worked with them to measure, train, support & reward their workforce, as they achieve sales & customer service excellence, while elevating customer acquisition, satisfaction and profits. Head to 59clubau-nz.com for more information, or to sign up to receive a product demonstration; please contact sam@59clubau-nz.com

59club Spotlight on Service as told by Karl Hepple of Stoke by Nayland

Stoke by Nayland is one of the busiest 36-hole venues in the UK with a significant membership who like to play a lot of golf.

Managing the differing needs of members, hotel residents and pay-and-play golfers represents a challenge, but also being just one moving part in a significant resort business means I have to coordinate the activities of the various elements of my own department – booking, retail, starters and marshals, greenkeeping and academy – as well as managing a relationship with key partners such as membership committees and other hotel departments, such as rooms and F&B.

I’ve worked with 59club for around 11 years – the last three here at Stoke by Nayland. Of all the many benefits we’ve enjoyed from working with 59club, I would say the most significant – and something that helps us grow as a golf club – is the ability to benchmark against other venues.

For example, how do you know that what you’re doing is any good, in comparison to other properties? The beauty of 59club is that it gives us the ability to choose a cluster of venues that are very similar to us and our operation and to see how they perform as a collective; and with that peripheral view ultimately, we’re able to benchmark ourselves in terms of where we lie in the market.

And that mystery shopper intel isn’t limited to those competitor properties either; we also benefit from insight into 59club’s industry benchmark defined by the 3 best performing venues, which is always slightly higher than the actual industry average data. So, we’re comparing ourselves constantly not only to our immediate competition but also with a range of properties, which really helps us.

I have an excellent relationship with 59club and we speak regularly, whether it is to discuss ideas related to the club, or to discuss challenges. We also use the data we receive as part of our internal induction process and ongoing staff training. We have monthly team debriefs where we use that data as the key training issue or the tool to highlight the training need.

If, let’s say, our mystery audit comes back and it appears that a retail member of staff wasn’t particularly clued up on an item of clothing they were trying to sell, that indicates, clearly, a requirement for further training for the team. Pretty much every month we’ll highlight the big downfall, for want of a better word, within any audit and we focus our training on that area over the next few weeks.

Again, the ability to benchmark our member and guest survey data against similar facilities, is absolutely vital for us. An example is where I ask the members to survey the bunkers – and we score six out of 10. To the untrained eye that score may look pretty poor, but what 59club can do for us, in terms of the survey platform, is telling us the average score that club members across the industry have rated their bunkers, and a lot of the time that industry data is not as high as you’d imagine.

In a perfect world you’re aiming for a 10 out of 10 but the ability to know that some of the better courses may only be scoring 8.8, for example, is a good tool for us to be able to manage what we’re trying to achieve. Six no longer looks as low as it might have done previously.

The benefits to staff training and planning are also manifold. It could be somebody in the halfway hut, who hasn’t greeted a guest in a particularly great manner, or the example of the retail staff. We go through a series of meet and greets and building relationships with people.

We sit down at the start of the year and one of the big things we do is we review the mission statement we have with the golf club. The mission statement doesn’t necessarily change much, year to year, but some of the measurements we use to ensure we’re on track do change.

In the last couple of years, we’ve set benchmarks in terms of the member satisfaction scores generated from our 59club surveys and a guest satisfaction score from our mystery shopper audits, and, additionally, one of the measurements we aim for has been the 59club silver flag award, which are presented to the venues that not only achieve the required standard of service as part of the mystery test audit criteria, but also provide excellent facilities for customers to enjoy… It plays quite a big role in the bigger picture.

We didn’t get to win the silver flag award we covet, so that’s something we’re aiming for this year, but we have seen multiple success at the awards based on our appetite for gathering feedback from members and guests and the effective management of the survey data we received. We won an ultimate service excellence award in 2019, being one of only two venues recognised at that standard, and again in 2020 we retained that premium title, and also in 2021, we were honoured with a service excellence award in the same category.

From a personal perspective the most important and valuable element 59club delivers for me, is the data; collecting data, helping make sense of the feedback and being able to action any kind of changes accordingly, because of what our actual customers and a panel of mystery shoppers are telling us. Ultimately, it’s a really objective measure of the performance of the golf business.

Furthermore, every year we run the members’ survey and, as a result of that, we identify the three or four lowest scoring areas, and we implement changes based on the feedback. The changes we’ve made in the past are ongoing, and we will address any further necessary changes when we complete this year’s member survey.

We deliver pretty much the same survey, annually – albeit we break it down into three different parts: you and your membership; the course and its facilities; and staff. So, we can track progress that way.

In 2020 we used the survey platform more frequently for really nuanced stuff. For example, when coronavirus hit, we surveyed the membership on its preferred choice of touch-free hole inserts and, from the golf-club perspective, it’s really factual. It’s not my decision to use option A, for example, it’s the decision of the membership, because they’ve voted on it. I’ve found it’s far easier to justify a decision with a set of data to support you.

Without doubt, if we weren’t working with 59club we’d have a really subjective view of the golf club’s performance. I would only have opinions to judge my business on, rather than truly objective measurements.

If you look at the real top-quality venues in the UK, there’s a very high possibility those venues are working with 59club and what that says to me is that 59club gives you a really good, stable platform upon which you can build your business, whether that be a service or a product.

There’s a very experienced team of people inside 59club, and, ultimately, if you follow the guidance of these guys you’re not going to go far wrong.

Knowing that, I don’t understand why clubs in our sector wouldn’t work with 59club, to be frank. It’s a tool that offers so much in terms of looking at the broader picture, as well as somebody who wants to look at minute details in terms of, for example, selling golf shirts.

It’s a no-brainer for me. I’ve worked with 59club for years and I will continue to work with them wherever I go in the future. It’s incredible value for money.

59club expands operations into Canada with perfect Club Study pairing.

59club, the industry leading sales & customer service analysts has today announced its global operations are expanding into Canada.

The new opening signals great opportunities for the Canadian golf & hospitality market, as 59club’s signature performance management tools and global intel are now made available to businesses within the region.

59club has driven a data revolution within the industry, and are famed for their insightful customer satisfaction surveys, mystery shopping audits and employee education pathways. Their expertise and industry insight into global sales performance and customer service standards are well documented, and many of the greatest names in the club industry credit 59club for their properties success, working with them to measure, train, support and recognize their workforce as they achieve sales and customer service excellence, while elevating customer acquisition, satisfaction and profits.

Headquartered in the UK and firmly established in golf, hotels, leisure, spa and restaurants, 59club now has seven divisions across the USA, Middle East & Africa (MEA), Asia, two in Europe, with the latest opening in Canada.

With customers who include the likes of TPC Sawgrass, Bobby Jones Links, Emirates Golf Club – Dubai, Thai Country Club, The Belfry Hotel & Resort, Gleneagles, Le Golf National and Marco Simone to name just a few, and hundreds of other properties. When it comes to driving sales and customer service excellence 59club are proud to work with venues of all size and profile, supporting club management to deliver unprecedented service experience whilst simultaneously driving revenues and profits.

And the front man behind 59club Canada is Club Study owner and PGA member Ryan Tracy. Commenting of the new opening, Simon Wordsworth Founder of 59club said; “Ryan will be a great ambassador for our brand, and we are all excited to begin working with him and his existing clients as we introduce our products and services to the wider hospitality business community across Canada. We champion ‘service excellence’, and with this new division, golf as a global entity only serves to become bigger, better and stronger, with enhanced services and greater experiences tailored to the discerning golf & hospitality enthusiast, engineered from real live intel and expertise”.

Tracy added; “I have been fortunate to serve the golf industry in Canada for the last 20 years, specifically with Club Study providing customized pools of operational data in club management over the last two years. When a mutual client made an introduction to Simon, conversations over our shared passions and subsequently the similarities between the two entities made the decision for us to work together a natural progression. I realized immediately that the insight that 59club creates will help operators in Canada, and I am excited to bring these resources to market”.

And now as Club Study falls within the 59club armory, the pair can deliver even more industry insight as the bi-weekly national surveys, which had previously been connecting Club Managers in Canada & US, are now made available to the entire 59club global network.

Head to 59clubcanada.com for more information.

Clubs in Canada can sign up now for a Demo and to unlock a Free Trial by contacting Ryan.tracy@59club.com


The very best individuals, teams and venues have been unveiled for 59club’s 12th Annual Awards Ceremony, celebrating excellence across sales, service, operations, retail and management, with some of the highest-profile and best-loved venues in the running for a hospitality industry ‘Oscar’.

The glittering affair, hosted by BBC’s Dan Walker will be staged at The Belfry Hotel & Resort, 3rd and 4th March 2022, and will once again provide an opportunity for the industry to come together to honor individuals, teams, and venues for their outstanding performance throughout 2021.

The accolades are determined by scores collected from 59clubs impartial mystery shopping team, who evaluate the experience afforded to visitors and prospective members in accordance with 59club’s objective benchmarking criteria. 

Each venue is judged on its performance in the following areas: sales, service, operations, retail, facilities, food & beverage and management. 59club continues to reflect the very best performances, regardless of a venue’s size, scale or profile and as has been the case in recent years, five of the main titles will be further segmented in to 3 categories based on the average guest fee charged.

Leading the nominations this year is The Mere Golf Resort & Spa who are vying for awards across 8 categories. The Mere have displayed particular strength in the Sales arena with 6 of their nominations spanning the Golf & Leisure Membership Sales departments & Corporate Golf Sales categories. Following closely, The Belfry Hotel & Resort, The Grove and The Vale Resort, are all competing for titles across 7 awards.

It is not unusual for the Resort properties to be leading the nominations but reflecting the changing nature of the 59club UK family, the world of Member Clubs is well represented with Branston Golf & Country Club securing 5 nominations, closely followed by JCB Golf & Country Club and Long Ashton GC with 4 nominations each and 3 nominations for Royal Dornoch GC, Panmure GC and Harpenden GC.

A number of venues, teams and individuals are looking to defend the titles which they collected 12 months ago.

Special recognition must go to Glenn McNaughton of Long Ashton GC who aspires to be named Food and Beverage Manager of the Year for the third consecutive occasion, whilst Goring and Streatley GC are hoping to see Matt Aplin scoop the Golf Course Manager of the Year for a fourth consecutive year.

59club’s diversification into Spa Experience and Corporate Sales (Meeting & Events and Golf), sees the dawn of two new awards categories, with Eden Hall, Foxhills Club & Resort, Hoar Cross Hall, Rockliffe Hall, The Belfry, The Mere and The Vale in the running to be named “Leading Spa Experience”, while Bernadette Turner (Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel & Country Club) Ella Faller & Marc Brooks (Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club),  Elliott Brown (The Grove), Max Cornes (The Mere), and are competing to be crowned “Leading Individual Corporate Golf Sales Performance”.

Looking ahead to the Awards, Will Hewitt, General Manager, 59club UK said: “We are delighted to be returning to a live event to celebrate the 12th year of our awards, bringing the 59club family together to reward the outstanding venues, teams and individuals who have delivered excellence in spite of the well documented challenges faced during 2021. The Awards nominations illustrate some outstanding displays of consistency from many of our longest standing partner venues but also some incredible experiences delivered by many of those who have recently come on board. 59club Awards are always hard earned and we look forward to recognizing the highest standards in our industry with an event to remember”.

Other UK venues to receive multiple award nominations include Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Celtic Manor Resort, Edgbaston GC, Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Foxhills, Gleneagles, Portmarnock GC, Rockliffe Hall and Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club.

With Bulbury Woods GC, Burnham & Berrow GC, Crane Valley GC, Farleigh GC, Gullane GC, Mount Juliet Resort, Radyr GC, Stoke by Nayland GC, The Bristol GC and West Herts GC all nominated.

The night’s proceedings will also see 59club bestow accolades upon venues for their commitment to engage, analyse and enrich their member and guest experience, utilising a broad range of survey tools across the my59 software platform. Nine venues will be recognised within this category, including: Ashford Manor GC, Farleigh GC, Foxhills, Henbury GC, Langdon Hills GC, Long Ashton GC, Radyr GC, St Austell GC and Stoke by Nayland GC. These venues will all compete to win an Ultimate Service Excellence accolade.

The award ceremony – sponsored by; 3d ifs, Albatross Digital, Asbri Golf, BRK, Club Car, Comesto, Dragon Golf, Golf Genius, Golfbreaks.com, Golf HR, Kennet Leasing and Toro – will also see 59club’s Industry Benchmark, its Gold, Silver and Bronze Flag Awards presented to golf resorts and private member clubs which have demonstrated distinction against broad criteria for both customer service delivery and the quality of their facilities.

To watch the highlights of our previous ‘live’ awards ceremony click here

Leading Individual Golf Sales Performance

Andy Todd (Panmure GC); Chloe Stewart (The Bristol GC); Joel Westwell (The Grove); Tom Gregory (The Grove)

Leading Individual Golf Membership Sales Performance

Alice Cox-Cooper (The Mere Golf Resort & Spa); Ashley Freeman (Rockliffe Hall); Becky Chard (The Vale Resort); Philomena Wilkinson (Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club)

Golf Membership Sales Team of the Year

Forest Of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club; Rockliffe Hall; The Mere Golf Resort & Spa; The Vale Resort

Leading Individual Leisure Membership Sales Performance

Alice Cox-Cooper (The Mere Golf Resort & Spa); Becky Chard (The Vale Resort); George Wainwright (Branston G&CC); Neil Rees (Celtic Manor Resort)

Leisure Membership Sales Team of the Year

Branston G&CC; Celtic Manor Resort; The Mere Golf Resort & Spa; The Vale Resort

Leading Spa Experience Performance

Eden Hall; Foxhills Club & Resort; Hoar Cross Hall; Rockliffe Hall; The Belfry Hotel & Resort; The Vale Resort

Leading Individual Corporate Golf Day Sales Performance

Bernadette Turner (Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel & Country Club); Ella Faller & Marc Brooks (Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club); Elliot Brown (The Grove); Max Cornes (The Mere Golf Resort & Spa)

Food & Beverage Manager of the Year

Ali Zrayer (Portmarnock GC); Craig McKinlay (Panmure GC); Dan Orchard (Branston G&CC); Eddie Devane (Mount Juliet Estate); F&B Team (Bulbury Woods GC); F&B Team (Harpenden GC); Glenn McNaughton (Long Ashton GC); Greg Smith (Edgbaston GC); Houssem Belabed (Gleneagles); Jacques Hobson (The Belfry Hotel & Resort); Lianne Harrison (Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club); Susan Robb (Royal Dornoch GC)

Golf Retail Manager of the Year

Andrew Crerar (Panmure GC); Brad Smith (Royal Dornoch GC); David Coles (Harpenden GC); David Haines & Graham Coombe (Burnham & Berrow GC); John Howells (JCB Golf & Country Club); Jack Heginbotham (Long Ashton GC); James Lambert (Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club); John Eyre (Woodsome Hall GC); Retail Team (Crane Valley GC); Simon Swales (Radyr GC); Tom Hughes (The Belfry Hotel & Resort – Brabazon Course); Tom Minshull (The Grove)

Greenkeeper of the Year

Andrew Smith (West Herts GC); Angus MacLeod (The Belfry Hotel & Resort – Brabazon Course); Callum Wark (JCB Golf & Country Club); David Wyborn (Foxhills Club & Resort); Eoin Riddell (Royal Dornoch GC); Gary Johnstone (Portmarnock GC); Ian Brawn (Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club); Jake Field (Edgbaston GC); James Braithwaite (Long Ashton GC); John Smith (Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel & Country Club); Kenny MacPhail (Farleigh GC); Matt Aplin (Goring & Streatley GC); Neil Robson (Harpenden GC); Phil Chiverton (The Grove); Stewart Duff (Gullane GC – #1 Course)

Golf Operations Team of the Year

Branston Golf & CC; Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club; Foxhills Club & Resort; Gleneagles; JCB Country Club; Long Ashton GC; The Belfry Hotel & Resort (Brabazon Course); The Belfry Hotel & Resort (PGA National Course); The Grove; The Mere Golf Resort & Spa; The Vale Resort; Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

Golf Manager of the Year

Andrew Jowett (Gleneagles); Brad Gould (The Grove); Brian Duncan (Celtic Manor 2010); Callum Nicoll (Rockliffe Hall); Chris Reeve (The Belfry Hotel & Resort); James Clark (JCB Golf & Country Club); Karl Hepple (Stoke by Nayland GC); Noel Werner (The Vale Resort); Sean Graham (Foxhills Club & Resort); Simon Joyce (Branston Golf & CC); Stephen Hindle (Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club); Tom Lawton (The Mere Golf Resort & Spa)


At a time when golf clubs might well cite the pandemic as mitigation for a drop in standards, it’s all the more creditable that so many venues across UK and Europe were recognised for their service quality with the annual award of 59club’s coveted ‘golf flag destinations’.

Remarkably, at a virtual ceremony hosted by presenter and broadcaster Dan Walker, 13 clubs received the highest accolade of a gold flag – the benchmark of excellence – for standards in customer service.

What’s more, they were joined on the virtual podium by eight silver and eight bronze award winners, illustrating that despite everything that has plagued the UK & European golf industry since early 2020, many clubs refuse to allow their standards to drop.

Introducing the awards, Walker said: “59club’s industry benchmark of excellence, its bronze, silver and gold flags, is an annual tradition across the golf industry. ​They recognise commercial venues and member clubs that have achieved the required standard of customer service, as determined by 59club’s impartial mystery shopping audits, with additional recognition for providing the very finest offerings for golfers to enjoy.

“Employee qualifications, restaurant accolades, member communication, and environmental accreditation, are just some of the determining factors within the qualifying golf flag criteria.

“This year, we have witnessed innovation, diversity, and a determined attitude across 59club’s affiliate properties. We have seen scholars earn additional qualifications, dining experiences honoured by the finest associations, with facilities and courses positioned among some of the very best in the industry.

“Above all else, the level of engagement achieved with members and guests demonstrates a beacon of light to the future prosperity of the golf industry.”

Host; Walker then congratulated the winners of the awards before confirming the launch of a summit that will see clients from all 59club territories compete in the inaugural ‘World hospitality service excellence awards ceremony’ in 2022.

The 13 venues celebrating the ultimate gold flag in 2021 – and, presumably, harbouring hopes of success in next year’s new worldwide ceremony – were Celtic Manor Resort, Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Foxhills Club & Resort, Gleneagles, Gullane Golf Club, Rockliffe Hall, Stoke Park, The Belfry Hotel & Resort, and The Grove, in the UK; Mount Juliet Estate, in Ireland; Club de Golf Alcanada and Golf Son Muntaner, in Mallorca; and, from Portugal, Quinta do Lago.

The following venues were honoured with a silver flag designation; Burnham & Berrow GC, Farleigh GC, Frilford Heath GC, Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Le Golf National, The North Berwick GC, The Mere, and Woodhall Spa. 

And finally, the properties celebrating bronze flag status were Harpenden GC, Kingswood GC, Ladybank GC, Long Ashton GC, Panmure GC, Porters Park GC, Royal Dornoch GC, and Slaley Hall.

The 59club industry awards signify the benchmark of excellence and can be seen proudly on display at some of the very best establishments around the world.

Starting with its mystery shopper experiences in UK golf clubs back in 2009, 59club has built a proud reputation and an enviable client list, and is no longer limited to golf clubs – or just the UK.

It remains headquartered in the UK, but now has several divisions across America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and multiple offices serving Europe. It now also has a diverse offering that has the brand firmly established in hotels, restaurants, leisure clubs and spas, in addition to its heartland of golf.

Each division is delivering market-leading performance analytics and resources to measure, train and support properties in their region, while also feeding worldwide sales and service performance data into a central database.  That vision, teamed with 59club’s expertise, is the winning formula that has been driving the hospitality industry to become more customer centric, and, ultimately, more profitable.

With Thanks for our 59club Sponsors & Partners