The GTC (Greenkeeper Training Committee) has recognised a growing expectation amongst golfer’s seeking to play on golf courses in pristine condition for as near to 12 months a year as possible with those in golf club membership seeking to derive full value for their annual subscriptions.
The prevalent trends of reducing waiting lists, removal of entry fees and the active promotion of new member packages now offer the ‘nomadic’ golf club member an ideal opportunity to satisfy his/her needs to move freely between golf clubs at will.
Kevin Weir, the Scottish Golf Union’s, golf service manager, says, “The reasons for joining a golf club are obvious – location, cost, length of waiting list, ease of access to the course, practice facilities, condition of the course and many more. But fundamentally golfers simply join clubs to play golf.”
Kevin explains, “Golfers will therefore seek a course that is presented in the best possible playing conditions at all times for as near to 12 months of the year as possible, having had their expectations significantly fuelled by current TV and golfing media coverage. Augusta and the Masters inevitably kick starts this in early Spring every year.
“Expectations such as these will apply whether playing in a club championship, an open competition, a monthly medal, a bounce game with friends or a few holes on a summer’s evening – the player will always want to enjoy the best possible course conditions at all times,” Kevin continues.
It is important for golf clubs to identify and implement course management practices appropriate for their courses that will best deliver the best possible quality playing surfaces for their members and visitors alike. To do this golf clubs must plan ahead utilising a long term course management policy framework. This process should not only include the course management and development programme for the golf course but also the commitment of the golf club to support and fund this agreed programme.
The policy document should be openly shared and communicated to the golf club membership, allowing them to understand the agreed long term plans for the golf course, some elements of which they will have voted for. The policy should be reviewed regularly and updated as required.
Kevin adds, “The success of the golf club will depend on high quality playing surfaces that can reap huge rewards for a club and also significantly enhance the reputation of its green staff. This will retain existing members, attract new members, establish the club as an attractive venue for visiting parties, visiting golfers and corporate events, and external sponsorship. Most importantly golfers will achieve value for money, have access to the quality of a golf course they desire and become extremely satisfied customers!”
Greenkeeper Training Committee www.the-gtc.co.uk