The golf industry’s very best clubs, resorts and individuals descended on The Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club on March 12 with the hope of claiming an industry ‘Oscar’ at 59club’s 10th annual Service Excellence Awards.
A day which started with a series of inspirational educational seminars, ended in a glittering awards ceremony honouring the finest customer service providers for having achieved the highest standards of excellence across 2019.
59club’s awards are determined by scores collected from 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 64 awards across 27 categories, recognising ‘service excellence’ across all areas of the businesses – sales, service, operations, retail, 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 based on a venue’s average green fee rate, of either above or below £75 per person.
Stoke Park and The Belfry Hotel & Resort picked up the highest prized awards of the evening, The Ultimate Members’ Club, and The Ultimate Golf Resort respectively, with The Belfry retaining their title for a second consecutive year and Stoke Park having claimed The Ultimate accolade previously in 2015.
Stuart Collier, Stoke Park’s Director of Golf, said; “It’s a huge honour for the entire team at Stoke Park to be awarded the prize of Ultimate Members’ Club at this year’s 59club annual awards dinner. We have worked very closely with 59club since 2011 and this has enabled us to review, develop and improve the overall member and visitor experience at the club. At Stoke Park we are blessed to have world class facilities but we feel the interaction with the staff is the most important element of any visit and we rely on the 59club to provide us with real feedback to monitor, manage and improve this”.
In addition to being crowned The Ultimate Golf Resort, The Belfry’s celebrations continued, as Chris Reeve retained his Golf Manager of the Year title (>£75 category), with Jacques Hobson crowned Food & Beverage Manager of the Year (>£75 category).
Upon collecting numerous awards personally and on behalf of The Belfry Hotel and Resort, Chris Reeve, Director of Golf, said: “Having received crowning glory from 59club once is truly an honour, to maintain the highest prized accolade 2 years in a row across our entire operation amplifies the teams solidarity for delivering the greatest experiences in golf, cementing our position as Europe’s Ultimate Golf Resort.
“It was fantastic to see Jacques Hobson crowned Food & Beverage Manager of the Year, and retaining the Golf Manager of the Year title is a personal highlight in my career – as we continue to deliver the unforgettable member and guest experience that The Belfry is synonymous with, we all have a lot to celebrate”!
59club’s Industry Benchmark of excellence, it’s Gold, Silver and Bronze Flag Designations, are always a highlight of proceedings. 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 2019.
This year, 59club presented 14 ‘Gold Flags’. The winners were: Celtic Manor Resort, Club de Golf Alcanada, Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Foxhills Club & Resort, Gleneagles, Golf Son Muntaner, Los Naranjos Golf Club, Monte Rei, Mount Juliet Estate, Rockliffe Hall, Roehampton Club, Stoke Park, The Belfry Hotel & Resort and The Grove.
The Foxhills Collection were left revelling on the night having been awarded Golf Group of the year, with Foxhills Club & Resort achieving Gold Flag status, Golf Operations Team of the Year (> £75 category), and Golf Membership Sales Team of the Year. Further celebrations saw Sophie Whitmore honoured for her Leading Individual Golf Membership Sales Performance, and Sean Graham crowned Golf Retail Manager of the Year (>£75 category).
Marriott Golf also boasted numerous successes on the night, with Forest of Arden seeing Fraser Liston crowned Golf Manager of the Year (<£75 category), with two further team awards recognising their Golf Operations and Golf Sales departments, the latter having been retained for the fourth consecutive year, as well as the venue retaining their Gold Flag status. Tudor Park provided more reason to celebrate after Rachel Palmer was honoured for her Leading Individual Group Golf Sales Performance. St Pierre continued the winning streak having scooped the Golf Membership Sales Team accolade, with Hanbury Manor achieving Silver Flag Status.
Of this year’s awards, Simon Wordsworth, CEO at 59club, commented: “Forest of Arden was the perfect host for our 10th annual awards ceremony, and my congratulations go to our nominees, the winners, our supporters, and everyone involved with 59club for their commitment to perfecting service standards across our industry.
“Ten years ago, we celebrated our first award winning performances, and as I look back at that wealth of data, I am privileged to have witnessed 59club quite literally reinvent member and guest experiences across Golf & Hospitality using technology and data to measure, train and support our clients to achieve service excellence.
“Our promise to our clients, and to those just embarking on their journey with 59club – as 12 Franchises take hold around the world servicing golf, leisure, spa & hospitality providers – has always been to continue supporting their customer journey, with new tools and more intel, to equip our most ambitious companies in their pursuit of excellence. The first half of 2020 sees ‘Business Metrics’ and our ‘Education Platform’ launch simultaneously, with many more progressive tools waiting in the wings.”
Other prestigious award winners on the night included Matt Aplin of Goring & Streatley who retained his Greenkeeper of the Year title (<£75 category), with Scott Fenwick & Craig Haldane from Gleneagles crowned Greenkeepers of the Year in the over £75 category.
Jonny Dye of Rockliffe Hall was hailed Golf Retail Manager of the Year (<£75 category), whilst the Food & Beverage Manager of the Year title (<£75 category) was presented to Glenn McNaughton of Long Ashton Golf Club.
Five-time winner, The Vale Resort was awarded Leisure Membership Sales Team of the Year, and Alice Cox-Cooper from The Mere was recognised for her Leading Individual Leisure Membership Sales Performance.
8 ‘Silver Flags’ went to Golf Club Castelconturbia, Frilford Heath Golf Club, Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club, La Manga Club, Le Golf National, The Duke’s, St Andrews, The North Berwick Golf Club and Woodhall Spa.
A further 7 ‘Bronze Flag’ Awards were presented to Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club, Gullane Golf Club, Porters Park Golf Club,Royal Automobile Club, Royal Dornoch Golf Club, Sandy Lodge Golf Club and Slaley Hall.
To recognise venues which have shown continued commitment to engage, analyse and enrich their member and guest experience, utilising a collateral of survey tools across 59club’s software platform, 13 ‘Service Excellence’ designations were presented on the night. Recipients included Aldenham Golf & Country Club, Branston Golf & Country Club, Celtic Manor Resort, Cotswold Hills Golf Club, Edgbaston Golf Club, Goring & Streatley Golf Club, Long Ashton Golf Club, Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, Moor Park Golf Club, Mount Juliet Estate, North Middlesex Golf Club, The Scandinavian and Vale Resort. Radyr Golf Club and Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa received distinction in this category achieving the Ultimate Service Excellence honour.
Celebrations continued the following morning as guests re-assembled for the 59club golf day, sponsored by Golf Genius, which teed off on the Arden Course, and saw the winning individual Phil Rowsell of Asbri Golf – 59club’s most recent industry partner – claim the Claret Jug, with an individual score of 40 points. The winning team consisted of Eryl Williams, Richard Dinsdale both of Asbri Golf, Chris Dowrick of Foxhills Club & Resort and Will Hewitt, 59club, who led a three-point team victory.