How does the London Golf Club retain its best talents?


By: February 2, 2022


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed just about everything, including golf club HR and talent management. People are reevaluating their work preferences. Unfortunately, not always the job/work in golf club comes out as a winner.

Employee experience must be redefined and leveled up to meet employee expectations and wellbeing. We could see also in the case of the Burhill Group, the good impact of investing in the training and development of our golf club employees. And this is just one example out of many.

It’s fair to say that the quality of professional life and learning and development opportunities have a huge impact on employee experience (EX) and engagement.

London Golf Club Reece Salvage, Becky Bainbridge and Lewis Matthews

London Golf Club – talent retention & development

One of the core values of golf club managers should be to encourage personal development.

As part of ongoing investment into staff development, well-being and progression, London Golf Club is providing employees with an array of exciting new ways to grow their skills, experience, and careers through

  • strategic partnerships,
  • qualifications, and
  • workplace education.

Aiming to not only provide opportunities for staff to develop and learn new skills but also to create a platform that allows them to be forward-thinking and innovate.

Among the updated practices that are already having a positive effect is the support given to assistant PGA professionals as they study for the PGA’s Foundation Degree in Golf Studies.

Over the last few years, London Golf Club has supported this qualification by not only enabling the time out of office and delivering valuable one-to-one contact time with head PGA golf professional Paul Stuart, but also by financially supporting each member of staff undertaking the program – something that many other clubs do not offer.

London Golf Club Heritage 18th Green and Clubhouse

Paul Stewart (head PGA golf professional) said

“Not every club would go this far to support their staff, but we realise that we can’t say we are committed to our staff and their careers without putting it into practice.

Currently we have 3 members of staff working towards their PGA Foundation Degree and we are delighted to have our first female member of staff, Becky Bainbridge, joining the course.”

London Golf Club – ‘job-swap’ experiences

In addition to supporting qualifications, London Golf Club also offers ‘job-swap’ experiences through their partnership with European Tour Destinations and other surrounding clubs in the London and southeast area.

The ‘job-swap’ experiences can vary from a few weeks to year-long placements, depending on the positions available.

Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, two greenkeepers headed off to Le Golf National in France for the Ryder Cup and assisted the local team in the build-up and throughout the tournament.

London Golf Club golf course fairway

This gave them an invaluable insight into how the course should be presented and what is required to undertake an event of this stature, and the experience proved invaluable when London Golf Club hosted the Cazoo Classic this summer, with the greenkeepers able to offer valuable additional advice and ideas for the presentation of the course.

London Golf Club – in-house opportunities to grow

London Golf Club also supports staff in-house by offering opportunities to try other departments and areas of the business.

This is very much encouraged and, in turn, new careers are forged which lead to happy, engaged staff, brimming with ideas and determined to fulfill their role to the best of their ability with the obvious benefits to the club and club members.

A recent example of this is food and beverage team leader, Mackenzie Sharp. Having shown an interest in accounting and recently gained some accounting qualifications, she completed a week-long ‘job shadowing’ placement in the accounts department.

The next step for Mackenzie will be a transition of her role into the department which the club will fully support.

London Golf Club golf course bunker close look

Final thoughts & recommendations

The HR best practices that London Golf Club has implemented reminded my early career when I worked at multinational companies that offered similar opportunities.

London Golf Club is utilizing effectively its cooperation with the European Tour Destinations to develop its employees.

If the London Golf Club will continue on this very forward-thinking path, then it will have a chance to be known in the golf industry as an employer of choice that inculcates lifelong learning for all its employees.

If I were the London Golf Club I would build a framework that not only recognizes the skill and knowledge gaps, but also builds on those gaps and creates a positive impact on its talents.

London Golf Club should not forget to enable its employees to put new skills into action.

If you heard of similar innovative employee experience development best practices then please send them to me: [email protected]