How do golf clubs respond commercially to coronavirus? – Part 2.

By: April 8, 2020

As you probably heard of it that I started on Monday an article series about the coronavirus and its effect on our golf club business.

The intention was/is to show how various golf club managers of leading golf clubs are trying to respond commercially to coronavirus.

I would love to facilitate debate around this topic with you who are working in golf clubs and resorts. Share your thoughts & best practices in the comment box!

I asked golf club leaders two questions:

  1. How do you minimize your golf club’s losses due to coronavirus/COVID-19?
  2. Have you got a recovery plan/idea for the post-coronavirus era?

Here in the second part of the series, you will be able to read from:

  1. Nora Maier – Marketing & PR manager, Öschberghof (Germany);
  2. Scott Evans – Managing Director, Centurion Club (UK);
  3. Jurgen Wondergem – General Manager, Royal Mougins Golf Resort (France).
fight back coronavirus

How do you minimize your golf club’s losses due to coronavirus/COVID-19?

Nora Maier:

We will try to mitigate our losses by

  • Shorter working hours for employees;
  • Saving energy and water in guest areas;
  • Keeping the fairways in re-opening ready condition;
  • Restructuring and reorganizing administration tasks and processes;
  • Continuous communication with club members and golfers and other guests;
  • Facilitating a one-on-one conversation with guests and members to understand their concerns, needs, and expectations;
  • Selling greenfee vouchers.

Scott Evans:

We are complying with the UK Government’s decision that all non-essential businesses must close.  

We have therefore had no alternative but to furlough our staff, with the British Government paying 80% of employee salaries between April and June 2020.   

Our Greenkeepers, however, are still allowed to maintain the course, ensuring it will be in the best possible condition when we are allowed to reopen. 

Jurgen Wondergem:

We have closed the entire resort (golf course, shop, restaurant, hotel, and Spa). Besides the greenkeepers, 1 technician and a few gardeners all staff are at home.

Some (communication, etc.) are working 1 or 2 days a week all others are in unemployment. They receive 70% of their gross wages which is (at some time) being financed by the French government.

We have also applied for a loan as facilitated by the French authorities.

The safety of our staff is our first priority. Our second priority is to maintain our facilities as if we were open for business. This to be ready at any given time when can and may re-open.


Have you got a recovery plan/idea for the post-coronavirus era?

Nora Maier:

Öschberghof will continue its intensive online communication via newsletters, social media (e.g. Facebook, YouTube) to keep up the interest in future events including golf tournaments.

To be able to keep up the high-level customer experience we will focus on club members’ feedback and loyalty program. Öschberghof will express its gratitude and appreciation to its members.

We will put extra effort into exceeding club members’ expectations by exploiting customer data at their disposal. The future FAM trip will focus on the healthy lifestyle (wellness, well-being) and golf (FYI: Öschberghof has got 2 18-hole golf courses + a 9-hole academy course + a high-end golf academy).

The sales team will try to get back as soon as possible on business as usual by 

  • doing sales trips to key markets,
  • promotion of tee times online booking possibility,
  • organizing Öschberghof Club Tour,
  • preparing special packages for tour operators. 

Until the end of the coronavirus, Öschberghof will offer 

  • disinfectant stations at all public places of the resort;
  • enable guests to be in safe, physical distance from each other.

Scott Evans:

We are currently in our annual renewal period and are incentivizing Members with a 2-3% reduction and complimentary guest green fees to encourage settlement of their fees. 

We are hoping we will be able to reopen the Club in May.

Jurgen Wondergem:

Communication amongst staff and our members if very important right now. Furthermore, we are working out a plan to re-open in phases asap.

We will target the local and regional markets more than before as I am convinced that it will take some time before international travels will pick up.

We are also rethinking the way we use to work and try to learn from this crisis.