English Golf Courses

Update can make all the difference

Changes can keep your club a desirable place to play

WITH the traditional golf season finished until next March, footfall at golf clubs tends to drop dramatically at this time of year, meaning there is no better time to take stock and make improvements to your clubhouse in plenty of time for the new season starting.

While the golf course tends to be the focus of everyone’s attention; appearance, feel and atmosphere in the clubhouse can make all the difference to both members and visitors, and can be the factor that convinces them to come back again and again.

All you need to do is take a look at your surroundings and you might realise your club could do with a few licks of paint to breathe life back into it and ensure it returns to the welcoming, friendly, attractive place you want it to be.

OVERHAUL

One club that benefitted extraordinarily from overhauling its ‘tired’ clubhouse was Kilmarnock Barassie, with its marketing convener Brian Wallace stating the changes came ‘out of necessity’.

His role in the club is to keep bringing in more visitors, ensuring they enjoy their visit and return for more. It’s also his job to make sure members, the club’s bread and butter of the club, are happy. This is why he pushed for renovation of the clubhouse lounge and bar area at the Ayrshire club.

“Like most clubs, we have projects and eventually some things start to cause problems,” said Wallace. “We realised there were a number of things we wanted to do as the place was getting a bit tired. With that in mind, we decided to speak to the professionals.”

LIGHT

The club hired an interior design firm to manage the operation. Ceilings were raised and walls were re-plastered which helped to open up the room and bring in more light. A brand new heating system was also introduced.

He continued: “We have had excellent feedback from members and visitors. Golf clubs are funny places; they’re like your favourite armchair next to the coal fire. People are quite happy going down three times a week and sit in the same chair. The fact that your backside is hanging out the bottom is, well, just part of the deal. But if you’re a visitor and you walk in, you would think it was getting tired. But the members have said, ‘you’re quite right’. We’ve had great feedback.”

Giving visiting golfers a good experience was something the club viewed as key and the renovations have worked their magic with the club seeing a number of new visitors in recent times, according to Wallace.

“I was talking to our professional, Gregor Howie, and he says he’s seen an increase in couples coming.

“He says there’s been a few more middle age couples coming down; they’ll both play golf and stay and have a bite to eat. I said that’s why the clubhouse becomes important… people want to feel as though they’re in a nice comfortable environment, and they want to be served in a place that’s more like a European wine bar than a Scottish golf club.”

QUALITY

If that’s caught your interest then we can give you a helping hand with some top quality companies that will be able to help you along the way. Kilmarnock Barassie made the most of the help of an interior designer and you can do the same by working with Smart Interiors (01159 207 528 / smartleather.co.uk). An established importer of contract furniture, Smart Interiors are a leading UK stockist and supplier of furniture to the leisure and hospitality industry that offer a vast choice of indoor and outdoor furniture suitable for several areas in your club and they also have the experience to know the right products to make your clubhouse a comfortable and enjoyable place to spend time.

All it takes is a few changes here and there, as well as some thoughtful consideration and you’ll be onto a winner.

Trust LED (0191 258 3213 / trustled.co.uk) can help you make your clubhouse more welcoming to members and visitors alike. Based in the north east of England, Trust LED are LED lighting consultants that can give your clubhouse a more homely feel by creating smarter lighting without the sluggish start up and cool down times of other environmentally friendly bulbs.

While you’re refurbishing the inside of your clubhouse, there’s plenty of fantastic golf artwork that can be put up on your walls to inspire the youngsters in the club and allow everyone else to reminisce about memorable golfing moments and places. One firm, aptly called Jack’s Majors (jacksmajors.com), offers a portfolio of highly collectable and original paintings which recognise each of Jack Nicklaus’ major wins. These paintings would enhance the feel of your clubhouse, whilst also acting as investment pieces for the forward-thinking club.

When refurbishing your clubhouse It’s important to leave no stone unturned, and that includes the toilet facilities. Too often you walk into a clubhouse toilet and find it is both dark and dingy and clearly in need of an upgrade. Eco Toilets (01327 844442 / eco-toilets.co.uk) offer a service that can give your toilets a modern feel, while also helping your club to become more environmentally friendly.

Eco Toilets’ composting facilities help to save water, save money on the installation fee and save on running costs, so take a look at the services they can offer you and help you make the most of your upgrades.

Back out on the course, winter is the ideal time to consider any changes that need to be made. Whether it’s re-shaping holes or re-seeding ground, it’s important to think about your options, Premier Golf Promotions (01252 549149 / premiergolfsigns.com) specialise in hand crafted tee signage which is designed to enhance the appearance of golf courses, whilst also improving the playing experience for golfers.

Each of Premier Golf Promotions course partners receives bespoke tee signage for free (including a high resolution image of each hole), as well as a welcome sign with course map and rules. They have also partnered with a number of golf courses to offer businesses an exclusive package that combines local advertising with corporate hospitality.

IMPROVE

On top of that, Ecobunker Ltd (02920 660154 / ecobunker.co.uk) can help you preserve, maintain and improve all aspects of your golf bunkers.

Bunkers are known to be one of the most problematic aspects of the course for greenkeepers, as bunkers are often last on the list of on course aspects to have money spent on them. This means that the condition of bunkers can let the course down. To make sure your bunkers aren’t bringing the customer experience down at your course, contact Ecobunker and find out how they can help you.

These are all just some of the suggestions as to how you could improve your club over the coming months and, ultimately, the overall experience for both members and visitors. Whether it’s extensive work or just a few improvements, there is always room for change.

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