English Golf Courses

Spring clean your club this winter

Ensuring your club isn’t worn out is vital to attracting new members and visitors to play the course

AS the season draws to a close and your course begins to get quieter, there is no better time of year to get all the improvements completed in plenty of time for the new season.

While the golf course tends to be the focus of everyone’s attention, the appearance, feel and atmosphere in the clubhouse can make all the difference between someone returning to the club again and deciding not to bother.

You can’t deny that the condition and modernity of material surroundings can make all the difference to a club and if you take a look at your surroundings, you might realise your club needs a serious lick of paint.

There is no better time than now to get thinking about what you can do to change and update the appearance of your facilities. In turn, you will be able to have a major selling point to attract new members as well as increasing the number of visiting groups and societies.

Tradition plays its part in every golf club but there’s no justification for keeping furniture that is stuck in the past, plus, when you’re completing a refit all that tradition can be included in the design.

It’s amazing what a lick of paint can do, it freshens the place up and gives it a different feel. A few simple touches here and there is all it could take to make a significant difference. In some cases, more work that needs to be done, we know that, but we also know that there are plenty of companies with the expertise to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

If you think about it from the view of a tournament committee’s point of view: there are two clubs with nothing to choose between the two courses but one club has more modern, contemporary facilities and is generally kept in better condition. Which of the two options are they likely to choose? Which would you choose? It’s a no brainer, really.

On top of that, it also gives you the chance to bring in some extra revenue by hiring out rooms for various seminar groups, committee meetings, business appointments and so on. This is something that an old worn out clubhouse will not be able to give as businesses will immediately look elsewhere due to the aesthetics. It's also a source of income that you're missing out on by not offering.

Let’s start in the lounge. Often the second most used area in the club after the course itself, you’ll want something bright, colourful, warm and inviting. When you’re walking through your local village and see a dark, dingy pub, it’s not the most welcoming place to have a drink or a bite to eat and the exact same stands for the bar in the clubhouse.

People like to relax in nice, comfortable surroundings with a great atmosphere and that’s something a company like Smart Interiors (01159207528/smartleather.co.uk ) can help you with. Their wide-range of comfortable seating  and other furnishings mean you can create a space that really looks the part.

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

Modern bar fittings are another attractive feature that will make a significant difference to what you can offer. The trick to securing custom is hitting that instant, sensory appeal. A bar that looks inviting, clean and bright will serve up more pints than one that has wallpaper peeling away from the walls.

The lounge shouldn't be your only focus though, it’s also important to modernise your locker rooms. No one wants to leave their belongings in somewhere that is old, rickety and doesn't look capable of winning a fight against a strong wind. They should always be clean and hygenic first and foremost, with brightness and modernity arriving a close second.

Investing in some artwork is a good idea, too. If you have a space on the wall but you’re not sure how to fill it, then then this could be the perfect solution. The importance of bright walls and colourful décor is all to easy to overlook but it’s vital that your rooms don’t look bare.

Grandison Golf Gallery (grandisongolfgallery.com / 01259 740318) offers the ideal artwork to bring an attractive look and a golfing touch to your rooms.

There are also the less obvious aspects that need to be dealt with too, flooring for example. Too often when you walk into a golf club bar or lounge you’re confronted with a smelly, stained carpet that appears to be centuries old. Instead of continuing with the status quo, you should consider all options, carpet, laminate, real wood. If it can be used as flooring, you should take a look at it. Kilworth Flooring (0116 240 4290 / kilworthcompanies.co.uk) are specialist interior contractors and can help you design and install the ideal flooring to suit your needs and the needs of the club.

Another less obvious but essential for your club during a refurb would be switches and sockets. No lights and electricity means no bar, no customers and no money. Wandsworth Electrical (01483 713400 / wandsworthelectrical.com) can help you sort all those needs to a professional standard and ensure that the appearance is in-keeping with the rest of the room. They’ll also make sure you have enough sockets and switches to cater for everything you have to install.

So far we’ve discussed the conventional fittings and fixings that really make a golf clubhouse attractive and are generally expected to be there when you rock up at a club but what about thinking a bit outside the box and making a real impression.

City Golf (01494 784297 / citygolf-uk.com) have installed adventure and mini golf courses at a number of clubs across the country and it's safe to say they work. Clubs have recorded increased profitability and increased visitor numbers after installing one of these and it’s easy to see why. They can be constructed to any them you wish using natural stone materials together with on-course water features and even include the odd themed building or obstacle. While not everyone plays golf, the vast majority of people enjoy a round of adventure golf. With obstacles galore and a lot of fun, it’s also great for attracting kids to the club and may even result in them taking up golf as a hobby.

In the clubhouse, it’s important to invest in a fully-functioning security system. Thefts from golf clubs are regular occurences with valuable trophies, medals and clubs all sitting around the club.

Secure door entry systems, CCTV survelliance equipment and burglar alarms just be the deterrent you need to keep the criminals at bay and keep your club safe.

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 the ground, it’s important to think about your options. Barenbrug UK (01359 272000 / barenbrug.co.uk) are the ideal partner to help you with re-seeding and their experience in providing top quality grass seed mixture to sporting venues around the country ensures you’ll get no less than top quality service.

If it’s a bit of landscaping you feel your course needs to create a more testing layout or even just to make it appear nicer to the eye then get a company like Ruskins Trees and Landscaping (01277 849990 / ruskins.co.uk)to help you plan and ensure you get everything just the way you want it.

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

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