59club Eminent Collection

59club are the industry’s leading customer service management authority, dedicated to advancing the customer experience across Golf & Hospitality.  

Our Eminent Collection includes those individuals and properties responsible for consistently delivering the finest levels of service within our global network, since the inception of 59club. 

Eligibility is based solely on achievements across the 59club Service Excellence Awards; with individual, team, and property accolades all contributing towards the Eminent Benchmark of Excellence.  

Independent non-subjective scrutiny underpins the integrity of The Eminent Collection. 

The individuals and properties within the collection are held in the highest regard, they are an outstanding example of high-performance leadership.  

The Belfry Hotel & Resort
The Celtic Manor Resort
Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
Emirates Golf Club
Forest of Arden
Foxhills Club & Resort
Golf Son Muntaner
The Grove
Rockliffe Hall
Trump International Golf Club Dubai
Yas Links Abu Dhabi

Andrew Whitelaw GM/COO, Aronimink Golf Club
Anna Darnell
Resort Director, The Grove
Barney Coleman
Club Manager, Emirates Golf Club
Bernat Llobera
Area Golf Director, Arabella Golf Mallorca
Chris May CEO
Dubai Golf
Gary Silcock
General Manager, Murrayshall
Stuart Collier
Director of Golf, Stoke Park

Brad Gould Director of Golf, The Grove
Chris Reeve
Director of Golf, The Belfry
Fraser Liston
Director of Golf, Forest of Arden
Sean Graham
Head of Golf Operations, Foxhills
Stephen Hindle
Golf Manager, Worsley Park
Stephen Hubner
Club Manager, Jumeirah Golf Estates

Angus Macleod Director of Golf Courses & Estates, The Belfry
Craig Haldane
Golf Courses Manager, Gleneagles
Jim Mckenzie MBE
Director of Golf Courses & Estates, Celtic Manor
Jonathan Wyer
Golf Course Manager, Rockliffe Hall
Phillip Chiverton
Golf Course & Estates Manager, The Grove
Rob Rowson
Golf Course Estate Manager, Forest of Arden

Jacques Hobson Food & Beverage Outlets Manager, The Belfry

Simon Howell Golf Operations Manager, Forest of Arden
Tom Hughes
Head of Golf Retail & Operations, The Belfry

59club universal insight confirms service is on par

If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that Michael Gove MP was wrong when he said: “the people of this country have had enough of experts”. If you require a medical diagnosis, consult a medical professional, don’t Google it; if you want accurate information about a pandemic, listen to a virologist, don’t believe social media; and, if you wish to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the global golf and hospitality industries, few organisations are as well placed to offer comment as 59club.

With unprecedented access to performance data from a wide variety of venues across the globe, 59club, with its seven divisions, is in the perfect position to assess the vagaries of the sector, as well as knowing who’s doing what well, and when. And, who isn’t …

Mark Reed, 59club Director, explained: “When comparing 2021 performance levels with pre-covid 2019, we have witnessed a minor decrease in measured service standards within our golf visitor experience mystery shopping programme.

“Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, golf clubs have experienced significant increased traffic, often alongside a depleted workforce and amid challenging operating conditions. It is, therefore, remarkable to think that fewer servicers have been servicing more people, but to almost the same levels of 2019, when it comes to ‘customer experience’.”

Available data shows that the global industry average for service standards across 59club clients had decreased by just 5 per cent in 2021, when compared with the pre-Covid 2019, and that visitor and member rounds increased dramatically, whilst staffing levels reduced.

It’s an anomaly, yet, perhaps, part of the reason for that lies in the fact those facilities are clients of 59club. That means, of course, each is routinely visited and rated. Those facilities where such measurement isn’t undertaken will not have access to such knowledge or data, though data suggests a 20 per cent lag across the industry for non-59club venues. (non-contracted venues receiving 59club trial audits).

Reed is prepared to go further, and posited: “Not only are we able to advise clients of performance stats, we are able to see when they invest a higher proportion of capital into 59club resources to develop and educate both new and existing staff and, ultimately, relate that to maintaining the experience afforded to members and guests.”

During the past couple of years, that investment has been made largely in onsite and/or remote training, in tandem with 59club’s virtual education platform; MyMentor, which affords data driven learning directly linking to an individual’s mystery shopper audit, and, as a consequence, filling any learning gaps for employees.

Indeed, a 34 per cent increase in the number of venues being trained – either in person or virtually – by 59club staff in 2021, compared with 2019, might be seen as a direct correlation with the service standards remaining almost the same. What’s more, across the ‘podium’ venues – the best-performing facilities – service standards have remained stable over the two-year period.

This is also reflected in 59club’s own performance in the years in question. It has seen a 200 per cent increase in contracted venues around the globe, in the two years since 2019 – and all this at a time when the globe – and golf in particular – spent large periods of time in both lockdown and shutdown.

A good example of how investment in staff training and data analysis can have a direct effect on satisfaction levels of members and visitors is Hoburne Golf, which operates three venues in the south of England: Crane Valley GC, in Verwood, Hampshire; Bulbury Woods GC, in Poole, Dorset; and Hurtmore GC, near Godalming, in Surrey.

Each has embraced the challenge of mystery shopping and has engaged in a tailored staff training programme that has delivered, not only, a 10 per cent growth in their 59club visitor experience measurement, but also a four per cent increase in membership satisfaction (measured using 59club’s Survey platform; My59, between 2019 and 2021).

That experience is not solely the preserve of Hoburne Golf, either. Harpenden GC, in Hertfordshire, joined the 59club community shortly after reopening following the first English lockdown in early 2020.

The club’s general manager, Tom Scott, explained: “Having worked with 59club in a previous role, I had a good understanding of what it delivers and felt it could support our aim of delivering a better level of service to our members and guests.

“We began a programme of mystery shopping in 2020 to gain a thorough understanding of our strengths and weaknesses and were thrilled to be awarded a Bronze Flag Designation in the 59club annual awards ceremony, based on our year one results, and a year later we increased to Silver; an incredible achievement in such a short time frame, which is testament to the commitment of our staff members.

“59club has supported the development of our team by delivering a number of engaging training sessions at the club, and we are delighted to report we increased our measured service across all operational departments in 2021, by 16 per cent.

“We plan to continue this training alongside the virtual mentor platform, which can be used on a day-to-day basis. The My59 Survey platform also allowed us to gather valuable feedback from our members on a number of important topics in a very user-friendly way, delivering an overall response rate of more than 75 per cent.

“This gave our data further credibility and allowed the club to make confident and informed decisions. The entire team at the club remains fully engaged in the process and we look forward to challenging ourselves further in 2022.”

Other clubs are following the lead of Hoburne Golf and Harpenden GC according to 59club’s own data. The total number of surveys undertaken by member clubs via the My59 Survey Platform showed a huge leap of 268 per cent in 2021 compared with those launched in 2019, across the globe. Positive engagement with members, guests and staff has never before been so prevalent.

Meanwhile, the MyMentor virtual learning experience now supports in excess of 2,250 employees to develop themselves and the team. And, with 59club clients reporting challenges in recruitment – especially with greenkeepers and catering staff – the on-line training platform is expected to further increase its reach in 2022, not least as recent independent data stated that one in eight roles in the hospitality industry remains vacant.

Ironically, the increase in 59club’s client portfolio may, initially, skew the average figures.

Reed added: “In addition to the challenges facing the industry it is important to note that an influx of new clients is likely to create an initial dip in the industry average as managers and their teams often spend time gathering performance data and generating a full understanding of strengths and weaknesses, before undertaking necessary training, reinforcing standards and developing a plan of improvement.

“However, with golf clubs becoming more accustomed to increased footfall, an increase in skills, and an increased sense of ‘business as usual’ – in tandem with a number of clubs moving in to a second year of measurement – we would expect to see a return to pre- pandemic levels or higher this year.

“Of course, clubs not utilising the 59club toolkit won’t be in a position to discover their strengths and weaknesses until much further down the line, by which time, they may have lost disgruntled staff or members, and be back to square one.”

He concluded: “One challenge that will remain this year is that of attracting and retaining great people. It is, however, very gratifying to hear more and more clubs recognising wellbeing, education and a need to invest in their people, and, to assist with this, 59club UK delivered more than 50 days of training and education within clubs between December and March alone.”

Ian Knox, head of European Tour Destinations – a network of world-class venues with a close association to the European Tour – has worked with 59club for over 10 years. Maybe the last word should sit with him – he is an expert, after all.

He said: “In 2020 and even the start of 2021, for a lot of venues it was a case of controlling costs, and there was almost a survival element. Now … they are realising their operational focus needs to be back on the levels it was, in fact, exceeding the levels it was. So now is the time we have been kicking in with mystery shopper visits and working with venues to look for areas where they can continue to improve.

“The biggest area people are now focussing on is human contact again. You’ve missed that through the problems you had with the pandemic, so that personal service, that personal touch is really going to be the key focus. That’s what we’re looking for our venues to be delivering.”

As the great Willie Nelson once sang, “Nobody said it was gonna’ be easy”, but, with experts available to guide one through the metaphorical minefield, it’s a journey that can be made with a lot more confidence.

Leading Clubs & Resorts honoured at 12th Annual 59club Service Excellence Awards

A welcome return to a “Live Event”, saw the very best Venues, Teams and Individuals from across the UK, Ireland and Europe South assemble at The Belfry Hotel and Resort on March 3rd 2022, ahead of 59club’s annual Service Excellence Awards.

The day began with a full day’s education provided by Gregg Patterson of Tribal Magic, and Lora Cavan, having flown in from the US and Canada respectively.  And as night fell, aspirations of being recognised with a 59club Service Excellence Award grew, as the curtains opened on the ceremony that has long been regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the golf & hospitality Industry, since the 59club’s honours list began some 12 years ago.

The 2-day event, a long-standing fixture within the golf business recognises the finest customer service providers for having achieved the highest standards of excellence in 2021. 59club’s illustrious accolades are determined by scores collected from their impartial mystery shopping audits, which evaluate the experience afforded to visiting golfers and prospective members, in accordance with 59club’s objective benchmarking criteria.

On the night, 59club presented awards across 29 categories, recognising ‘service excellence’ spanning all areas of the businesses – sales, service, operations, retail, spa, golf course, food & beverage and management. With 59club continuing to reflect the very best performances, regardless of a venue’s size, scale or profile, by segmenting several individual accolades in to 3 categories based on a venue’s average green fee rate.

Portmarnock Golf Club and Gleneagles collected the highly prized awards of Ultimate Golf Members’ Club and Ultimate Resort. Portmarnock achieving success in their first year of working with 59club, with Gleneagles recapturing the title they last won in 2018.

Andrew Whitelaw, General Manager of Portmarnock Golf Club, said; “I am absolutely delighted that the team have won the Ultimate Members Club Experience through their hard work and dedication to service excellence, truly one of the toughest awards to win it is recognition on how hard the team have worked. It really was a team effort in every department, which it has to be with 59club. To win an award that recognises our commitment to our members is extremely satisfying and motivating. After a couple of challenging years when the club operated in unusual circumstances the teams ability to change and deliver a world class experience was wonderful to be part of.”

Of their success Andrew Jowett, PGA Head of Golf of Gleneagles said; “This award underlines an incredible team effort, not just in golf, but across every facet of our 850-acre estate. It is an important accolade because it recognises world-class customer service and experience, something we strive for every day at Gleneagles.

“The fact this award comes as a direct result of authentic, independent and benchmarked visitor feedback, underlines its importance and value to us as a leading hospitality and leisure business.”

The Awards was a great showcase for The Mere Golf Resort and Spa, after they claimed 5 of the 6 available Sales Awards, their success included a magnificent performance from Alice Cox-Cooper, adding a further 2 individual titles to their awards cabinet as well as having led her Membership Team to success in both the Golf and Leisure categories. The Mere also celebrated Max Cornes, after he scooped one of the Golf Event Sales Awards, and the venue went on to secure their first ever Gold Flag Designation.

Of their achievements, Gary Johnson, General Manager of The Mere, commented; “These awards are paramount to the continuing success of our business!

“It has been our strategic plan to focus on all of our service standards and procedures to ensure we are always aiming for excellence!

“59club and Matt have proven that with a proven formula and competitor set analysis drilled down and determination the goals can be achieved and the team at The Mere Golf Resort and Spa make me a very happy and proud leader!

“Finally…That gold flag was always in our cross hairs and it is sat on full display on our trophy wall.”

For other venues there were double celebrations on the night, firstly The Grove saw Phil Chiverton and Brad Gould retain their Greenkeeper and Golf Manager of the Year titles. Next it was Foxhills Club and Resort, who were left reveling after Sean Graham and his Golf Operations Team picked up Awards, and finally, Worsley Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club enjoyed 2 victories with an individual win for Stephen Hindle and a team accolade for his Golf Operations team.

Special recognition must go to Glenn McNaughton of Long Ashton Golf Club after being named F&B Manager of the Year for the 3rd consecutive year, while Matt Aplin of Goring and Streatley Golf Club fended off tough competition to be named Greenkeeper of the Year for an unbelievable 4th year in a row, leaving everyone questioning – can he make it 5?!

Of this year’s awards, Will Hewitt, General Manager of 59club UK, commented; “It was an honour to recognise and celebrate our leading service providers in person once again, and while the past year presented huge challenges for the golf industry, relating to both the operation and the people within those businesses, that only added to the splendour, it was incredible feeling seeing all those familiar faces and many newcomers united by their shared passion for delivering the very best customer experiences, the excitement in the room was electric!

“Golf has been incredibly fortunate to benefit from a significant surge in demand, and it is extremely encouraging that more venues than ever before are choosing to work with 59club to focus on their service offering and sales levels whilst working to engage and keep this new audience. 59club’s focus will remain the provision of objective and accurate performance data, providing greater market insights and a supportive network of likeminded professionals which will further aide performance enhancement.”

Celebrations continued into the night, as 59club’s Industry Benchmark of excellence, it’s Gold, Silver and Bronze Flag Designations, were announced. These highly prized accolades recognise member clubs’ and resorts that provide excellent facilities for golfers to enjoy, as well as having achieved the required standard of customer service throughout 2021.  

This year, 59club presented 18 ‘Gold Flags’. The deserving winners were: Celtic Manor Resort, Foxhills, Gleneagles, Long Ashton, Portmarnock, JCB, Royal Dornoch, Hanbury Manor, Gullane, Panmure, Edgbaston, Belvoir Park, Frilford Heath, The Mere, Mount Juliet Estate, Rockliffe Hall, The Belfry Hotel & Resort and The Grove.  

8 ‘Silver Flags’ went to Forest of Arden, Harpenden, Burnham & Berrow, Branston Golf & Country Club, Whittington Heath, North Foreland, West Herts and Radyr Golf Club.

And a further 8 ‘Bronze Flag’ Awards were presented to Worsley Park, The Vale Resort, Ladybank, Dunbar, Royal Winchester, Conwy, Woodsome Hall and Farleigh Golf Clubs.

The following morning all attention turned to the 59club Golf Day which played out on the world famous Brabazon Course, the winning team made up of David Griffin (Celtic Manor Resort), Callum Nicoll (Rockliffe Hall), Jake Rhodes (Golf Genius) and David Kinsey (BRK) claimed the illustrious 59club Claret Jug, with James Sibbles from Golf Genius claiming the individual title which brought the 12th annual Service Excellence Awards Event to a perfect end, leaving all attendees reinvigorated and focused for the year ahead, and many with heightened hopes of securing their own victories next year.

Full list of award winners can be seen in the table below.  

59club ‘Service Excellence’ Award Winners 2021/22:

The Ultimate Members’ Club: Portmarnock Golf Club

The Ultimate Golf Resort: Gleneagles

Gold Flag Designations: Belvoir Park Golf Club, Celtic Manor Resort, Edgbaston Golf Club, Foxhills Club & Resort, Frilford Heath Golf Club, Gleneagles, Gullane Golf Club, Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club, JCB Golf & Country Club, Long Ashton Golf Club, Mount Juliet Estate, Panmure Golf Club, Portmarnock Golf Club, Rockliffe Hall, Royal Dornoch Golf Club, The Belfry Hotel & Resort, The Grove and The Mere Golf Resort & Spa.  

Silver Flag Designations: Branston Golf & Country Club, Burnham & Berrow Golf Club, Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Harpenden Golf Club, North Foreland Golf Club, Radyr Golf Club, West Herts Golf Club & Whittington Heath Golf Club.  

Bronze Flag Designations: Conwy Golf Club, Dunbar Golf Club, Farleigh Golf Club, Ladybank Golf Club, Royal Winchester Golf Club, The Vale Resort, Woodsome Hall Golf Club & Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club.  

My59 Ultimate Service Excellence Award: Long Ashton Golf Club & St Austell Golf Club. 

My59 Service Excellence Award: Ashford Manor Golf Club, Farleigh Golf Club, Foxhills Club & Resort, Henbury Golf Club, Langdon Hills Golf Club, Radyr Golf Club & Stoke by Nayland Golf Club.

Golf Manager of the Year: Brad Gould (The Grove), Sean Graham (Foxhills) & Stephen Hindle (Worsley Park)

Greenkeeper of the Year: Andrew Smith (West Herts), Matt Aplin (Goring & Streatley) & Phil Chiverton (The Grove)

Food and Beverage Manager of the Year: Glenn McNaughton (Long Ashton), Greg Smith (Edgbaston) & Susan Robb (Royal Dornoch)

Golf Retail Manager of the Year: David Coles (Harpenden), Tom Hughes (The Belfry) & The Retail Team (Crane Valley)

Golf Operations Team of the Year: Foxhills Club & Resort, JCB Golf & Country Club & Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

Leading Individual Group Golf Sales Performance: Joel Westwell (The Grove)

Leading Individual Corporate Golf Day Sales Performance: Max Cornes (The Mere)

Leading Individual Golf Membership Sales Performance: Alice Cox-Cooper (The Mere) 

Golf Membership Sales Team of the Year: The Mere Golf Resort & Spa

Leading Spa Experience Performance: Rockliffe Hall

Leading Individual Leisure Membership Sales Performance: Alice Cox-Cooper (The Mere)  

Leisure Membership Sales Team of the Year: The Mere Golf Resort & Spa

59club releases “live feedback App” for members, boards and managers

59club’s performance management tools have proved hugely beneficial for clubs across the globe – but now clubs can go one better in their efforts to streamline operations management and evaluate and advance member experience; by utilising the new mytell App.

This multi-functioning App captures live performance data submitted by the management team, employees and club members, supporting the venue to make informed decisions to elevate standards, satisfaction levels, retention, and profitability.

The management team through their use of the App can log observations during their daily departmental evaluations, both on and off the golf course.

With technology and convenience at the forefront of development, managers store data within measurable pre-set categories – spanning golf course & practice area presentation, maintenance & amenities, retail & front of house management and employee behaviour and well-being – meaning paperwork, email trails, group chats and the constant transferring of images becomes a thing of the past.

Complete with the ability to share live performance reviews with the team, set targets, track accountability, and monitor progress over time, the App fulfils every need.

A number of industry professionals supported the development of the new App, and they were all quick to praise 59club for the benefit the App would bring to the industry, as well as to them personally, one of those individuals was General Manager of Teignmouth Golf Club; Martin Hucklesby who said;

“Managing a golf club in my view is like any other service industry, it should be driven by its standards.  The vastly different areas of expertise required to be able to measure, manage & record ‘a score’ to these standards has always been something that as a General Manager I have done via a spreadsheet as I have walked through the club & course. Now with Mytell, and using technology I am able to do this via an App. It is brilliant, highly recommended and is on the front page of my phone!”

And it’s not just management who stand to benefit, the App also controls member feedback across golf, health & recreation when it comes to the club’s culture & community, the facilities & member services, its food and beverage outlets, and a huge part of ‘club life’; its people.

Whether a club chooses to invite all club members, or they prefer to limit its users exclusively to those within the management team/board/committee or perhaps they want to go one further and create an engineered focus group; this clever little App will store and channel feedback along with supplementary ratings, comments & images to the relevant department.

59club Director, and the technical brain child behind the Apps content and development; Mark Reed said;

“This is a step-change for club operations, anyone who is responsible for the daily delivery of club standards and ensuring member and guest satisfaction – from Golf Course & Estates Directors to Spa Managers – will tell you that paper trails and breaks in communication detracts from getting the job done, and serving customers well, but now with the launch of our new mytell App; we believe, we have the solution!

“But it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution: each venue can create its own bespoke, white-labelled experience, ensuring it retains control over which elements of the business its users can submit data around. And the App also contains the facility to create and customise subsidiary outlets, if, for example, the property has more than one golf course, fitness studio, or restaurant.

“From a member’s perspective it gives them an unprecedented opportunity to give praise where it’s due and highlight where they feel they are not getting value for money. The mutual benefits are numerous”.

The easily navigable App – available on both Android and iOS platforms – tracks trends, monitors patterns of performance, whilst generating statistics for periodic reviews. With feedback received within a secure dashboard, away from the public eye and with total confidentiality.

For further information on the mytell App, or any area of 59club’s industry-leading service, please contact your regional 59club manager.

59club’s Spotlight on Service Featuring Farleigh’s Award Winning; James Ibbetson

What a year it’s been for James Ibbetson, General Manager of Farleigh Golf Club, having been crowned Golf Manager of The Year in the prestigious 59club service excellence awards, whilst simultaneously leading his team to a second victory, earning the enviable ‘my59 Ultimate Service Excellence’ title, in recognition of the club’s commitment to engage, analyse and enrich their members and guest experience utilising the my59 survey tools. All while dealing with the pressures presented by the pandemic, and after only one year with the Surry club.

Glory aside; Ibbetson explains how satisfaction surveys have become fundamental at Farleigh, and how 59club’s performance management tools are supporting his progressive plans…

I’ve been working with 59club for the best part of 12 years now and, when I joined Farleigh, in November 2019, introducing the survey tool was one of the first things I did. Indeed, I think it was the first members’ survey at Farleigh, and it’s something we have continued to do on an annual basis.

The members were given a month to complete the survey, and subsequently their feedback really helped shape the action plan for future development at the golf club, from a policy and procedure perspective, to managing potential investments, etc…

Working in the business, we don’t play the golf course that often, as much as we would like to get out there and see it from a member’s perspective; so we’re heavily reliant on gaining feedback from the members, who play the course day in, day out.

Delivering surveys is not a tick-box exercise; we use the process as a window to gain as much information from the membership as possible, and then we can start acting upon it. There’s very little point in doing a survey if you’re not going to do anything with the information you collate. We’re an open book with the data and try to communicate the results out to the members in as much detail as possible – from experience, the more invested the members are in the process, the more fruitful the feedback. It’s also important for them to feel as though their voice and opinion has been recognised, and the club are actively doing something about this.

We value our members interaction with the entire process and as such, we send out snapshots of the results: highlighting areas where we performed well, the 59club analytics in terms of where we sit in relation to the ‘industry’ and the ‘best performers’; and then also the areas where we didn’t do so well, outlining the actions we’re going to take to improve, and how we’re going to get there. We call this our ‘You Said, We Did’ action plan.

For the most part, members chose to remain anonymous when completing surveys, for those who were happy to waive anonymity it was straightforward to reach out to those individuals. Myself and the team make a point of calling these individuals to try to arrange sit down meetings to discuss their feedback, and any additional points that they may have since completing the survey, in greater detail. Annually, we probably sit down with 30-40 members in person to run through the results.

The 59club survey tool has developed over time, it’s a very user-friendly experience. Pretty much all the questions you’d want to ask new and existing members are already saved within the various templates, meaning you don’t need to spend hours and hours adding your own questions. Over the years they’ve developed a key list of questions and criteria that all club managers need. Or at least providing information club managers would like to have.

I’ve been guilty in the past, perhaps, of making some surveys too long, which has had a negative impact on the response rate. And that came out in some of the early feedback. Nowadays, we are more succinct, and focus on the specific areas we want to explore, and that naturally flows well from a members’ perspective also.

Feedback has helped us shape the decision making on our offering. It just gives you a well-rounded representation and, yes, some of the feedback you get may be a little bit pipedream-esque, but for the most part you do get real, solid insight that you wouldn’t have achieved otherwise.

Sometimes when you’re in the building six or seven days a week you may miss something that’s right in front of you. And you certainly don’t see it from a member’s perspective. It’s easier to push decisions through if members feel they’ve been actively involved in the process and there’s logic behind what we are trying to achieve.

You need to show the members that you’ve taken onboard some of the feedback and that you’re going to action certain things, even if you can’t action them immediately. Simply sending out a survey and then doing nothing with it is counterproductive. If that’s your intention, you’re better off not sending out the survey at all. Members take the time to submit their feedback, the least a club can do is sit down and analyse the results, communicating actions in the process.

The more information you have, the better – and the more a member feels involved in the decision-making process, the easier it is to get their support and their buy-in, which is, ultimately, what we’re after.

We don’t just survey members, though – we also use it for societies. Twenty-four hours after an event, all event organisers receive an automated survey from the my59 software, requesting their feedback: Communication before the event, quality of the F&B and the golf course on the day… amongst many other areas. So, we rely on the information collated by 59club heavily – one of our very early surveys, identified the need for a tee-time confirmation email which has long since been implemented and well received.

We have also taken this a step further in 2021 tailoring surveys for internal use, specifically for our Employee of the month nominations. In the past the nominees had been put forward by the Heads of Department – we felt however that it was important to open this up to all employees to get their buy in. A simple survey is therefore sent out to all staff each month requesting their nominations.

As a result of our 2021 Membership Satisfaction Survey (Sent out in October, over 240 responses, overall satisfaction score of 80%), the following have been identified as priorities for 2022 and beyond. Important to note that some of these areas have already been actioned:

A horsebox halfway house is now available on site during busy days and has been met with some fantastic feedback from members and guests alike.

Inefficiencies were identified with the current booking platform, and as such we are currently working alongside our software provider to make the online customer journey more fluid and ultimately user friendly.

Members can feel a little bit of an anti-climax around renewal time, with feelings as though you hand your money over and that’s it – and so in response to this, the ever-popular membership renewal booklet (with over £1,000 in additional value) will return for 2022. And, for the first time in the club’s history, all renewing members will receive a personalised bag tag on renewal.

Our member communication came out as excellent – during the lockdown, whilst the club was closed, we sent 2 member round ups each week, which we have now scaled back to once a week.

New tee markers, along with new divot bins and replacement tee caddies will be onsite ready for the season.

Full bunker audit instigated, with the most problematic bunkers being addressed as soon as possible with the remainder works scheduled in order of priority as part of a wider 3-5 year plan.

Additional staff training is currently being undertaken with a view to re-instate table service as of January 2022.

If you’re a club that wants to progress and are looking to focus on the things the members & visitors actually want, it’s a very, very useful tool. But the biggest piece of advice I have for anybody contemplating it is: if you’re going to do it, you’ve GOT to do it properly.

International benchmarking specialist partners with golf’s leading HR & employment law firm.

59club UK, the Industry’s leading Customer Service and Sales Analysts and Training Provider, has today announced a partnership with Golf HR, the expert Employment Law and HR Specialist supporting golf clubs in the UK.

Golf HR and its sister company Gap HR have been keeping organisations tribunal-free for 19 years, and now work with 129 private member clubs, and 62 private sector companies. More than a quarter of the Top 100 Golf Courses in England work on with Golf HR on a regular monthly basis. Golf HR has also run the GCMA Employment Law Helpline since January 2018, which members can call to talk about any issues they have in their clubs.

The partnership will see the two companies unite in providing data, support, and expert advice to ensure their clients make informed decisions on both their product offering, service, and to support and develop their people.

Will Hewitt, General Manager of 59club UK commented;

“We are delighted to partner with Golf HR and share our mutual clients’ sentiments and enthusiasm towards the great work that Carolyne and the team are delivering.

“59club’s success is achieved through gathering global proprietary data; to better understand individual client performance levels, and subsequently supporting our properties to make informed decisions to elevate their sales and customer service performance. With the training support we offer, and the use of our performance management tools, it’s a complete package; and that’s what I saw in Golf HR; their style of doing business mirrors our level of support in exactly the same way.”

Carolyne Wahlen, Director of Golf HR was similarly delighted to partner with 59club;

“Our partnership with 59club will help more golf clubs be aware of the things they need to be doing to increase success.

“Our HR services ensure our clients have all the information they need to deal with staff issues safely, legally and in a way that provides the best outcome for the club, and we’re excited to partner with an organisation that also provides critical information to help golf clubs move forward. 

“Just like 59club, we promote decisions based on facts and realities, gathering data to help our clients make the right decisions when dealing with employee issues.”

59club goes green to champion climate change

59club Headquarters are delighted to announce their commitment to becoming carbon neutral by the end of 2022, and their division serving the UK joins them in this promise 8 years earlier than planned.

As the market-leading performance-management specialist continues to expand its operation around the world, they had originally set sights on a global goal of becoming carbon neutral across all territories by the end of 2030, however 59club UK and its Global Headquarters have brought forward their plan by 8 years.

General Manager of 59club UK, Will Hewitt describes the move as; “Essential, if we are to achieve our goal of being a responsible employer.  We could wait, it would be easy to do so and with much less business expense, but we feel that action is needed now, and we are willing to act.

“Our plans have scrutinised every single activity and expense that our company undertakes, from our Mystery Shopping, Training Services, our Awards Events and program, right through to the servers which host our software and the power used for every aspect of our employees work.

“We are confident that within the UK we can achieve the goal of eradicating our carbon footprint within the next 12 months. In addition, we want to go further and will also factor in the activities that our staff undertake away from work where we can support them. 

“As part of the plans we will also develop a tree planting project here in the UK, delivered in partnership with our clients, to compensate any areas of our business that happen to tilt the balance”.

59club has 6 territorial divisions around the globe; UK & Ireland, Asia, USA, Middle East and Africa, Western Europe and Southern Europe, with two new openings set for 2022 in Canada and Australia. The hope is that the other offices will also be in a position to accelerate their neutrality plans, with emphasis placed on the new divisions serving Canada and Australia to open in a carbon neutral position from day one. 

59club CEO Simon Wordsworth added, “We have long been regarded as an industry leader championing customer service and driving our affiliate venues towards delivering the greatest customer experiences, and now we’d like to take that position of trust and use it for the greater good, with the hope that others will follow in our footsteps.

“Attitude to climate change is very different across the regions that we operate, and we have to respect those cultural differences, whilst not losing sight that we have a duty to preserve the planet for the next generation. Working together to change behavior is the only real way forward, and for those fortunate enough to be in decision making positions, it’s up to us to create the environment to change attitudes faster, 59club are doing that. There is a significant cost to these actions, this cost is often used as a reason to push the deadline off into the distance. We firmly believe that companies should take action now, should use a “green” supply chain – we will be doing so and this feels like an opportunity not a cost in the medium term.”

The project is being led by 59club Director Andy Etherington, who has already delivered numerous work and lifestyle changes across the company over the past 2 years including dietary changes, increased use of locally sourced food, recycling and composting and the use of renewable energy.  Earlier in the year 59club chose Kinsey to supply uniforms globally through their new brand, BRK, which is made of ‘100 per cent renewable source materials’. The latest move will see Etherington fulfil the switch over of all company vehicles in the UK to electric models.

59club will share further details and landmark moments of their journey towards becoming green on their website and via their social media platforms.


With many corporations paying lip service to the reduction of their carbon footprint, it’s refreshing to learn of a company which has genuinely taken further action towards its aim of becoming carbon neutral.

Market-leading performance-measurement specialist 59club has taken another step towards its goal of becoming carbon neutral by the end of the year by partnering – appropriately – with the Kinsey Partnership, the designer and manufacturer of high-quality golf clothing.

As part of the new relationship, Kinsey will supply ‘uniforms’ to 59club globally through a new brand, BRK, which is made of ‘100 per cent renewable source’ materials.

59club’s CEO, Simon Wordsworth, is driving the green initiative personally. He explained: “Ideally, I’d like 59club to be carbon neutral now, but I am a pragmatist. It’s not something that can be done overnight, but we are determined not to procrastinate about it, and the chance to switch all our uniform to 100 per cent renewable sources was an opportunity not to be missed.

The new uniform is available for both ladies and gents and is designed to cover all climactic ranges experienced by 59club divisions, with its headquarters in the UK, and divisions now spread far and wide across Europe, Asia to the Middle East and beyond to the USA.

In other green initiatives, the company’s staff have worked from home since 59club’s inception, in 2008, and are already incentivised to change utility suppliers to renewable energy and to switch their vehicles to electric or hybrid models.

Next year UK staff will have three mileage rates, with those driving electric and hybrid vehicles benefiting from a higher rate than the standard company rate, thus generating personal reward for making the switch.

“As UK government policy changes for the better, regulation may allow us to go further and support in other ways, and wherever possible we will try to take advantage of these policies,” added Wordsworth, “in the meantime all these small gestures add up to our goal.”

“The Kinsey Partnership also shares the same ethos as 59club, which makes the new arrangement work on another level too: we’re both committed to creating the very best experience possible for our clients – many of whom we have in common.”

“For a long time now we have never sent Christmas cards, donating instead to a chosen charity, and we try to be a paperless business wherever possible across all products; mystery shopper results, my59 surveys, my59 mentor virtual training platform and the new mytell member communication all are fully paper-free. Next project for us to look at is the carbon footprint created by our testers”.

The Kinsey Partnership is the name behind some of golf’s best quality brands. It is the exclusive licensee in Europe and the UAE for Imperial Headwear and Donald Ross, and in the UK, Ireland and the Middle East for Marbas, and has more than 15 years of experience working with the brands.

It also designs, sources, and supplies private-label clothing and accessories within both the golf and corporate markets.

The Kinsey Partnership’s Managing Director, David Kinsey added: “We are delighted to have developed the relationship with 59club and thrilled that our forward looking and environmentally conscious Spanish brand BRK was so attractive to all regions.

We look forward to continuing the development of outstanding, considerate, fashionable clothing for all markets.”

59club was established in the UK in 2007 and is now the market leader in the provision of bespoke performance measurement and management programmes for the golf, leisure, spa, events, F&B and hotel industries, with six territorial divisions across the globe: UK & Ireland (HQ); Asia, USA, Middle East and Africa (MEA), Western Europe and Southern Europe.



The golf industry ‘Oscars’ went ‘virtual’ this year, with hundreds tuning in online to watch their contemporaries receive a coveted 59club Service Excellence Award, as the market-leading performance-management specialist continued to honour its best performers across the UK & Ireland.  

And, for two individuals, it proved doubly worthwhile, as Long Ashton’s Glenn McNaughton and Goring & Streatley’s Matt Aplin retained titles they received the previous year.

McNaughton repeated his feat of being crowned ‘Food & Beverage Manager of the Year’, while Aplin continued to bloom as one of the victorious ‘Greenkeepers of the Year’, both within their respective qualifying categories.

There were also more celebrations at the Bristol-based club, as Long Ashton was named one of the class winners in the ‘Golf Operations Team of the Year’ category, while retail manager Jack Heginbotham secured the club a third title, and the venue went on to retain its my59 Service Excellence accolade, in the virtual event hosted by presenter and broadcaster Dan Walker.

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 was introduced, which saw winning performances recognised across three categories, to reflect the respective price points and the market segment each property has chosen to compete within.

McNaughton was joined in the F&B winners’ enclosure by Kingswood’s Simon Ibbotson and Stoke Park’s Christian Tarca, while Aplin’s fellow greenkeeping celebrators were Phil Chiverton, of The Grove, and Gary Nicoll, of Panmure GC. The latter three venues enjoyed further celebration when Panmure landed a my59 Service Excellence award, Tim Harris (Stoke Park) scooped ‘Golf Retail Manager of the Year’, and Brad Gould (The Grove) was crowned ‘Golf Manager of the Year’, alongside Tom Lawton (The Mere Golf Resort & Spa).

Speaking of the Long Ashton’s triumphant successes, Gareth Morgan, General Manager said: “Over the past 2 years, 59club has given us the structure and the theory to ensure everyone in the team knows what is expected of each other across multiple departments, and that has assisted us to develop our reputation for delivering great customer experiences both on and off the course. I can genuinely say there is a buzz around the place every time a mystery golfer report lands.

“The recognition the team have received this year has been well deserved in my biased opinion. Despite all of the challenges COVID has thrown our way they have each contributed to an increase in service levels, and I am incredibly proud that every possible area of the Club received a nomination for this year’s awards.

“We are already looking ahead at how we improve from here.  Because, as 59club always tell me – better never stops!”

Will Hewitt, 59club UK’s general manager, said: “This was our 11th annual Service Excellence Awards ceremony, but the first – and, hopefully, the last – we’ve been forced to host remotely.

“As always, our congratulations go out to all the winners and those who secured ‘podium’ finishes, which is still a sign of exceptional quality. But a special mention must go to Long Ashton GC for stealing the show in securing four titles.”

Stirling GC witnessed a double celebration as Kenny Monaghan scooped the ‘Golf Retail Manager of the year’, while the venue claimed the ‘Golf Operations Team of the Year’ title alongside Gleneagles.

Also landing two titles was Farleigh GC, which secured both a ‘Golf Manager of the Year’ award, through James Ibbetson, and the much-coveted ‘my59 Ultimate Service Excellence’ title for its commitment to engage, analyse and enrich its members and guest experience utilising the my59 survey tools.

Two other venues shared the ‘my59 Ultimate Service Excellence’ award: newcomer Glynhir GC, and Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa, which retained this highly prized title from 2019.

Phil Stickler (St Pierre, Marriott Hotel & Country Club), and Dan Hawkins (Celtic Manor Resort) were both victorious within the individual ‘Golf & Leisure Membership Sales’ category, with Branston Golf & Country Club claiming the ‘Leisure Membership Sales Team’ award.  

Other venues celebrating success on the day were Ashford Manor GC, Dulwich & Sydenham Hill GC, Edgbaston GC, Haydock Park GC, Highgate GC, John O’Gaunt GC, Pollock GC, Radyr GC, and Trentham Park GC.

The places in the 59club service excellence awards are determined by scores collected from its impartial mystery shopping audits, which evaluate the experience afforded to visiting golfers and prospective members, in accordance with objective benchmarking criteria. And they represent all areas of the business: sales, service, operations, retail, golf course, food and beverage, and management.

59club’s coveted industry benchmarks of excellence – its gold, silver and bronze flag designations – are scheduled to be revealed at a ‘live’ event in the summer, as 59club recognises member clubs and resorts that provide excellent facilities for golfers to enjoy, as well as having achieved the required standard of customer service throughout the year.

WINNERS (and runners-up)

My59 Service Excellence, sponsored by Golfbreaks.com 1, Ashford Manor GC; Dulwich & Sydenham Hill GC; Edgbaston GC; Haydock Park GC; Highgate GC; John O’Gaunt GC; Long Ashton GC; Panmure GC; Pollok GC; Radyr GC; and Trentham Park GC.

my59 Ultimate Service Excellence, sponsored by 3D-IFS:  1, Farleigh GC; Glynhir GC, Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa.

Leading Individual Golf Membership Sales Performance, sponsored by Albatross: 1, Phil Stickler (St Pierre, Marriott Hotel & Country Club); 2, Philomena Wilkinson (Forest of Arden, Marriott Hotel & Country Club); 3, James Flesher (Dunston Hall Hotel).

Leading Individual Leisure Membership Sales Performance, sponsored by Tacit & Eagle:  1, Dan Hawkins (Celtic Manor Resort); 2, George Wainwright (Branston Golf & Country Club); 3, Victoria Martin (Old Thorns).

Leisure Membership Sales Team of the Year, sponsored by Kennet Leasing: 1, Branston Golf & Country Club; 2, Celtic Manor Resort; 3, Old Thorns.

Food & Beverage Manager of the Year*, sponsored by Comesto:1,Christian Tarca (Stoke Park); Glen McNaughton (Long Ashton GC); Simon Ibbotson (Kingswood GC); 2, Craig Sutherland (Brora GC); Jacques Hobson (The Belfry Hotel & Resort); Leanne Ray (Wexham Park GC); 3, Daisy Foster (Foxhills Club & Resort); Greg Smith (Edgbaston GC); Josie Swift (Farleigh GC).

Golf Retail Manager of the Year*, sponsored by Asbri Golf: 1, Jack Heginbotham (Long Ashton GC); Kenny Monaghan (Stirling GC) Tim Harris (Stoke Park); 2, Alyson Lilley (Gleneagles); Paul Babbage (Farleigh GC); Stuart Morrison (Tain GC); 3, Matt Lacey (Hurtmore GC); Peter Lane (Harpenden GC); Sean Graham (Foxhills Club & Resort).

Greenkeeper of the Year*, sponsored by Toro: 1, Gary Nicoll (Panmure GC); Matt Aplin (Goring & Streatley GC); Phil Chiverton (The Grove); 2, Angus MacLeod (The Belfry Hotel & Resort); Craig Parry (Edgbaston GC); Derek Hunter (Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club); 3, David Wyborn (Foxhills Club & Resort); James Braithwaite (Long Ashton GC); Terry Wharton (Haydock Park GC).

Golf Operations Team of the Year*, sponsored by Club Car: 1, Gleneagles; Long Ashton GC; Stirling GC; 2, Farleigh GC; Stoke Park; The Mere Golf Resort & Spa. 3, Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club; Porters Park GC, The Grove.  

Golf Manager of the Year*, sponsored by Golf Genius: 1, Brad Gould (The Grove); James Ibbetson (Farleigh GC); Tom Lawton (The Mere Golf Resort & Spa); 2, Gareth Morgan (Long Ashton GC); Karen Drake (Burnham & Berrow GC), Stuart Collier (Stoke Park); 3, Andrew Jowett (Gleneagles); Ruud Hercik (Gaudet Luce GC); Tom Scott (Harpenden GC).

*Three categories


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).

*Three categories


– Sponsored by 3D IFS, CGI Insurance, Comesto, Golf Genius & Toro; 59club’s regular accolades reward individual staff performance throughout the year –

59club, specialist customer service analysts and training provider, today announce their prestigious quarterly Service Excellence Award winners, as they continue to recognise ‘excellence’ throughout the year across their affiliate golf venues. The designated UK & European awards focus on four categories spanning Golf Operations, Golf Course, Retail, and the Food & Beverage experience.

The honours saw Brad Gould of The Grove retain his title for delivering 59club’s Leading UK & European Golf Operation.

With Andrew Jowett of Gleneagles Hotel, Chris Reeve of The Belfry Hotel & Resort, Gareth Morgan of Long Ashton Golf Club and James Ibbettson of Farleigh Golf Club, all narrowly missing out following a run of very successful audit reviews, as adjudicated by 59club in accordance with its objective benchmarking criteria.

When it came to delivering the best golf course, The Grove had more reason to celebrate as Phil Chiverton went on to achieve 59club’s Leading UK & European Golf Course Experience.  

Angus Macleod of The Belfry Hotel & Resort, Gary Nicoll of Panmure Golf Club, Neil Robson of Harpenden Golf Club and Stewart Duff of Gullane Golf Club, were all amongst 59club’s top performers across the Leading UK & European Golf Course Experience, each narrowly missing out.

Reflecting on The Grove’s success, Anna Darnell, Director of Golf & Leisure said; “To say I’m immensely proud of our team would be an understatement.  The passion and determination the team have, and the delivery of this experience to such a high standard through these challenging times is incredible.  It’s through the 59club visits and the consistently high levels achieved by other venues that continually push us to strive for more and put our focus on improvements in our guest experience and course conditions. In such a trying year we should all be proud of what we have been able to achieve.”

Within the Retail category, it was Helen Lavis of Thorpeness Golf Club & Hotel who claimed 59club’s Leading UK & European Retail Experience award.  

With Alyson Lilley of The Gleneagles Hotel, Dean Rodgers of Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club, Kenny Monaghan of Stirling Golf Club and Simon Dainty of Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa all identified as leading runners-up within the Retail Award across the quarter.

Commenting on Helen’s winning performance, Christine Langford – Director of Golf said; “Helen has worked tirelessly over the last 5 years building the reputation of the pro shop at Thorpeness, in terms of retailing we truly have gone from zero to hero. She has developed some great relationships with suppliers and worked hard to ensure that the pro shop team has the product knowledge and skill sets that enable us to offer members, visitors and hotel guests a retail experience to remember. The pro shop at Thorpeness is only a shed in stature but it has a superstore heart thanks to Helen.”

When it came to recognising service excellence delivered within the clubhouse during a golf visitor mystery shopper experience, 59club’s Leading UK & European Food & Beverage Experience award was presented to Stirling Golf Club.

With Craig Sutherland of Brora Golf Club, Glenn McNaughton of Long Ashton Golf Club, Josie Swift of Farleigh Golf Club and Leanne Ray of Wexham Park Golf Centre all narrowly missing out on claiming the title.   

On receiving the accolade, Garry Bowman, Managing Secretary said;“Stirling Golf Club have enjoyed their relationship with 59club and have found the experience extremely positive. It has seen proactive changes in how we manage our booking procedures, and the welcome we afford to our visitors and members. The results have motivated staff and encouraged everyone to think about what they could do better. We will focus on ensuring that all visitors and members are all being treated consistently, and professionally looked after when they contact or visit the club. Going forward, we cannot rest on our laurels and we will build on the lessons learned over the last 3 years which will allow us to return to the standards we have set pre-COVID-19.”

Special recognition goes to both Long Ashton Golf Club and Farleigh Golf Club who despite missing out on a victory, were close contenders across multiple awards categories for the Quarter, with Wexham Golf Centre claiming their place as a runner up within the F&B category who were also praised for the quality, value for money and service received across their independent 59club mystery shopper audits for the Quarter.

Commenting on the success of each of the winners and all the top performers,Will Hewitt, 59club UK General Manager, said: “As many of our venues are busy making plans for the high season, and the frenzy that the return to golf will undoubtedly present, it’s great to be able to look back and celebrate those individuals and teams who delivered great customer experiences in the final quarter of 2020.

“It is particularly pleasing to witness the ‘variety’ of clubs vying for awards, it just goes to show how both Private, and Pay & Play facilities, across a wide range of price points can all benefit from the products and services which 59club offer. Our Mystery Shopping analysis is designed to strengthen and highlight staff engagement, hospitality provision and individual passion – the winning formula of customer service – our congratulations go to all those responsible for delivering these exceptional experiences”.

59club is the industry’s leading customer service & sales analysts and training provider, raising service standards across the golf & hospitality sector to new heights as they gather primary data and implement strategic solutions. 59club’s ultimate objective is to transform the revenue performance of its clients by enhancing their approach to customer service and sales procedures. By understanding where strengths and weaknesses lie (using live consumer data), 59club support venues to implement lasting change, to benefit their members, guests, staff and profits.

For more information on 59club, visit: www.59club.com 

Stay up to date with all the action, and behind-the-scenes insight by following 59club on Twitter and Linked In 

59club Dazzle in Dubai, assisting UAE clubs to do members & club life best…

59club Director, Mark Reed is back from his Tour of the UAE where he has been busy corrupting the teams at Dubai Golf & Yas Links empowering them to convert more member sales and retain more club members.  

Training has focused on the exact same ‘59club membership sales procedures’ that assisted one of the largest golf group in the UK increase their membership sales performance by 77% in year 1, and 90% in year 4.  

Yas Links is fairly new to 59club after calling on their expertise last year, but the teams wasted no time in getting to grips with the 59club sales and service principals.  

Howie Roberts, Yas Links General Manager was quick to acknowledge the positive impact that 59club has had on staff performance and the way he manages his business when it comes to visiting golfers, members and prospective members.  

“I am confident that when a golfer visits Yas Links that everything we do has been carefully planned, that the service we offer is guaranteed and that when it comes to our bottom line we are doing well. 59club has assisted us to breakdown the customer journey and scrutinise the minuscule to make a big impact.  

Marks training day with the team put the icing on the cake for us, he gave them new focus, ignited the fire in their bellies and has given them new direction and a process that we now need to follow in order to excel.  We are already looking forward to Marks return trip as we constantly strive to do better”.

The team at Dubai Golf have worked with 59club to develop their sales performance & service etiquette for the past 5years where both The Emirates Golf Club & Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club as a result are witnessing some of the best membership conversion and retention rates that the group has ever seen.   

Chris May, Dubai Golf CEO said “Having Mark deliver the training to the team has given them a heightened perspective of the standards that we expect from our staff and the service that our members and guests deserve.  

It’s truly inspirational to see Marks passion and vision for wanting to create the best experience for our members from the very moment they join. The team are literally buzzing and can’t wait to incorporate 59clubs sales and service tactics into ‘club life’.  

59club Director Mark Reed added, “When members choose to join these forward thinking clubs, reassuringly they will never be treated like ‘a number’. These clubs work hard to assist members integrate into club life and guarantee to make their life as a member experience the very best”.  

Dubai Golf famously collected the ‘Golf Group of the year’ Award at the 2016 ‘59club Sales & Service Awards Ceremony’ famously regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the golf industry. The Creek was honoured with the ‘Ultimate Golf Members Award’ and The Emirates went on to collect the 59club Gold Flag Award, further demonstrating the groups commitment to providing the best experience for visiting golfers and their members who are lucky enough to call Dubai Golf their club!  

59clubs UK Sales, Service and Retention Roadshow’, coming to a club near you, takes place between the 5th and 8th of December 2016. The 59club Directors will empower you to convert more member sales & maximise member and visitor revenue. Whilst the infamous American, Gregg Patterson, will excite & entertain as he discusses the BUZZ, the LOVE and the GLOW enlarging and enriching the service experience.  

Contact 59club for further information on this must attend event aimed at Owners, Managers, Directors of Golf and all aspiring future managers – come and be enlightened!