A unique opportunity to broaden golf’s base and attract a raft of new players to the game will present itself in the post-Coronavirus era.
As golf courses re-open around the globe following various government-enforced lockdowns, Troon, one of world’s largest golf course operators and management companies, is seeing the emergence of a positive new trend.
“Without exception, every one of our golf properties that has re-opened has been busy,” said Dubai-based DJ Flanders, Senior Vice President, Troon International, an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
With social distancing likely to prove a major issue for sports such as football, rugby and basketball, Flanders believes golf is in a position to capitalise by enticing exponents of those activities.
Speaking in the latest in a series of AGIF podcasts with leading lights from the industry that are being broadcast at www.agif.asia, Flanders said: “There’s a lot of people who usually play contact sports who now don’t have that outlet and are choosing to either take up the game of golf or come back to the game.
“As an industry, if we manage this well, and are all responsible and take care of each other, I think the game of golf can actually benefit through this epidemic period and have a lot of new golfers once we get on the other side. That’s because people see it as a safe option to get outside and have some exercise.”
According to Flanders, another positive trend that Troon has seen for golf clubs is the immediate impact of new membership sales when courses re-open following easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
He said: “One of the strategies we did within our Troon portfolio – and I’d recommend this as a best practice – is that we re-opened as members-only for the first week, because it was a benefit to our membership and it gave us the ability to control the number of people that were coming through the door.
“Almost without exception, we sold memberships during that period because there were people who wanted to play golf and were willing to buy a membership so that they could get out and play.”
Given the company’s involvement at more than 400 properties in 35 countries, Troon’s senior management executives are better placed than most to assess the current state of the industry.
Flanders said: “We have calls daily with our teams around the world and they’re getting more and more positive about the future of golf. It’s been a long slog for the past six weeks. I know some countries were impacted worse than others, but I can assure you that from a Troon standpoint we’re seeing more positives than negatives now.
“We’re seeing that courses that do re-open are opening up with pretty good revenue streams out of the gate – maybe not upto where we were budgeted, but healthy enough to support covering pay roll costs and, hopefully, most of the operating costs. And as we grow our business and get more comfortable with our social distancing and how we can maximise revenues while keeping everyone safe, I think the business is going to be there to support us through it.”
*To listen to the full interview with DJ Flanders, please visit https://agif.asia/agif-podcast/
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