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BRS GOLF helps Scottish clubs generate £49m in revenue

Through BRS GOLF, clubs in Scotland have generated an incredible £49 million in direct visitor and Open green fee revenue. That’s seven million visitor rounds and one million Open rounds booked using our technology on which clubs collect the full amount. And thanks to our Members’ Booking App and Module, 110,000 Scottish club members have been able to book 17 million rounds at the touch of a button.

Since the first Scottish club came on board with BRS GOLF in 2007, our tee time management and booking technology has helped to promote and enhance the great game of golf within the borders of its ancient home. Over 10 years later, our relationship with clubs in Scotland endures and improves.

In 2018 the number of Scottish clubs signing up to receive the tremendous benefits and customer service offered by BRS GOLF continued to increase. These included a wide variety of club sizes and types, such as members’ clubs Belshill, Eastwood, Braehead, Jedburgh, Fort William and Whiting Bay; 9-hole courses like Cupar, and proprietary courses like Machrihanish Dunes, and the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre. In addition, late in the year we signed agreement with all seven courses in the Fife Golf Trust, built upon the existing work we have done with Ayrshire Council courses over the last few years.

And it’s easy to see why clubs in Scotland trust the most widely installed booking system in the UK and Ireland:

Through our affiliation with Teeofftimes and GOLFNOW we have helped clubs supplement their direct bookings revenue through effective dynamic pricing that pushes local and international visitors to book at quieter times while protecting members’ preferred tee times. Since 2007 BRS GOLF has managed £96 million in bookings for clubs in Scotland, of which £16 million was generated in 2018 alone.

In the last year we have enhanced our products by adding a Members’ Booking App, an integrated Payments solution and an iPad tee sheet so you can stay up to date on what’s happening on your course anytime, anywhere. And BRS GOLF has a number of exciting new product announcements on the horizon in 2019.

We continually invest in not just our technology offering, but the promotion of golf in Scotland too, pouring hundreds of thousands of pounds into marketing Scottish clubs each year.

The rise of 9-hole golf

Is 9-hole golf the future of the sport? Hard to say for sure without our crystal golf ball, but recent research from BRS GOLF by GOLFNOW shows there is a definite upward trend in the number of golfers opting to play nine. Last year over 1.4 million 9-hole rounds were booked across the UK & Ireland using BRS GOLF technology, up from 1.2 million in 2017 and 976k in 2016.

This increase in rounds is not just thanks to purpose-built 9-hole courses, but 18-hole courses offering the option to play nine holes as well. Currently 326 BRS GOLF customers offer a 9-hole course and a further 144 clubs offer a 9-hole rate on an 18-hole course.

There are a number of reasons why 9-hole golf is on the rise, chief among them being that shorter rounds fit more easily into a golfer’s busy schedule. In fact, a survey by The R&A found that 60 per cent of golfers would enjoy the sport more if it took less time to play – a finding which saw golf’s governing body go on to launch its first 9-hole Championship preceding The Open at Royal Troon in 2016. This continued into 2017 at Royal Birkdale and 2018 at Carnoustie and this year will culminate in a 9-hole final played over the first two and last seven holes at Royal Portrush on the morning of Saturday 13 July.

And the popularity of 9-hole competitions isn’t just confined to The R&A’s 9-hole Challenge. Currently 530 BRS GOLF customers offer 9-hole competitions at their course, with 49k such contests held at golf clubs using our technology across the UK & Ireland last year.

But for those of you thinking visitors are behind this upswing in 9-hole rounds, the numbers tell a different story.

Not only have the number of members booking 9-hole rounds increased year-on-year (from 126k in 2016 to more than 153k in 2018), but members are also taking part in more and more 9-hole competitions. Participation in these short form contests has risen from 6,170 members in 2016 to 8,025 last year.

Visitors do still make up the majority of 9-hole bookings, however, with in excess of 321,000 visitors booking 9-hole rounds in 2018. Up from 300k the year before and 241k in 2016.

What’s clear from these numbers is that the appetite for a shorter form of golf is growing and clubs not yet offering a 9-hole rate on their courses should embrace this demand. For help setting up a 9-hole rate at your course using your BRS GOLF system, contact our Account Management Team on accountmanagement@golfnow.co.uk or call 00800 7808 8888.

BRS GOLF technology enables almost 2,000 clubs across the UK & Ireland to manage all kinds of online bookings with ease, cut down on admin time and analyse course usage and demand.

GOLFNOW UKI pledges support to The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter

As the UK’s leading provider of online tee times and golf club management solutions, GOLFNOW UK & Ireland (including BRS Golf by GOLFNOW and Teeofftimes by GOLFNOW) today pledged its support of The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter and will undertake initiatives to help strengthen the focus on gender balance within the golf industry by promoting golf as a great place for women to work.

GOLFNOW will do more to advocate and encourage women to work in golf, and endeavour to include women players in its marketing campaigns, emails and website photography. The company will continue to work collaboratively with The R&A to achieve its aims.

The Charter, launched by golf’s governing body in 2018, specifically aims to:

  • Strengthen the focus on gender balance and provide a united position for the golf industry
  • Commit national federations and organisations to support measures targeted at increasing participation of women, girls and families in golf
  • Call upon signatories to take positive action to support the recruitment, retention and progression of women working at all levels of the sport
  • Set individual targets for national associations for participation and membership and reporting progress annually
  • Develop an inclusive environment for women and girls within golf

GOLFNOW UK&I General Manager, Brian Smith, says: “I whole-heartedly support this fantastic initiative by The R&A and am proud that GOLFNOW is the first golf technology provider to lend its support to the Women in Golf Charter. As both a keen golfer and an employer in the golf industry, I believe it is important to continually grow the game and I hope to see more women taking up the sport. At GOLFNOW we have a brilliant company culture which promotes inclusivity, as well as golf, and this has been integral to building a great team.”

GOLFNOW UK&I HR Manager, Rosie McCaul, adds: “Here at GOLFNOW and across the wider NBC Group, commitment and proactivity in ensuring Diversity and Inclusion is at the heart of everything we do. Growing the Game by encouraging more women to play golf will be instrumental in also attracting more women to work in the industry. This is a commendable commitment by The R&A and one that we are very proud to support.”

As an ongoing company initiative, GOLFNOW UK & Ireland already has been hosting regular society days and golf lessons, run by Course Sales Associate Lucy Simpson. The society outings take place in a scramble format so that beginners, both men and women, can enjoy the game without any pressure to contribute points to the scorecard.

Additionally, women hold key roles within GOLFNOW’s international business, including HR Manager Rosie McCaul  Amy Chambers in customer support, Lucy Simpson and Anna McWilliams in sales, support executive Rachel Kane, Lauren Kelly in HR, Karen Moss as marketing executive, data analyst Charlene Hesketh and technology specialists Lesley Williams, Niamh Goodwin, Sarah Bradley and Michaela McGrath.

BRS Golf helps The Abbey grow Pay & Play revenue 50%

The Abbey Hotel Golf & Spa in Redditch came on board as a BRS Golf by GOLFNOW customer in June 2018, but already they are seeing business-altering results. Pay & Play revenue over the last five months at this stunning, championship-standard parkland course in Worcestershire is up 50% on the previous year and members have taken to online booking with ease.

In fact, Golf Manager Rob Davies, was so pleased with the results of his partnership with BRS Golf that he is already using our technology at Abbey Hotel’s sister site Marston Lakes in Sutton Coldfield.

We spoke to Rob about why he chose to partner with BRS Golf, why he prefers the barter payment model and the transformative impact that online booking and efficient tee time management has had on his business.

 

Main aims

  • Increase golf course profitability
  • Increase direct online visitor bookings
  • Cater to Pay & Play golfers
  • Cater to members looking to book online
  • Improve efficiency

 

Why choose BRS Golf?

“The number one reason was to increase profitability,” he notes. “Honestly I felt like we were living in the dark ages by not offering visitors the ability to book online directly! We have used Teeofftimes effectively for a number of years and are one of the best-selling courses in the region on that platform – so the demand to book online was obviously there.

“I spent a couple of years pushing to implement online tee time booking for Abbey Hotel.

Then, about 18 months ago, we were bought by M&T Ventures and they were very supportive of my initiative to install online bookings. They had faith in me and my decision to go with BRS Golf.

“I knew about BRS Golf from other clubs using them, and from Teeofftimes being part of the same group, so it was a very straightforward move to go with BRS Golf.

“We are a proprietary club – although we do have about 350 members – and we’re very popular with Pay & Play golfers, most of which book online. I knew we needed to cater to that.”

 

Did you have any concerns?

Rob says: “We had very few initial concerns. The only one was cost! We went with a barter deal though, so cost was no longer an issue. We give one tee time a day in exchange for the technology and this is priced cheaper than our usual rate. For us it was definitely the best way to go.

“We had some concerns about transferring members to BRS Golf when we migrated the system over from V1, but it wasn’t an issue at all.”

 

How was your onboarding experience?

Rob replies: “The whole experience was great – from initial consultation to onboarding and training. BRS Golf Market Sales Manager Richard Dixon came and sat down with me on a couple of occasions to talk through the products and options – he was fantastic. Then BRS Golf Technical Specialist Barry Johnston came to do the onboarding and it was just a matter of a day’s training. He sat down with my staff and took them through the system as well.”

 

Do you feel your main aims have been met?

“We wanted to increase direct bookings and profitability,” Rob says. “And we certainly did that! We are 50% up on last year’s Pay & Play revenue over last five months! BRS Golf also allows us to reduce our rates at quiet times should that be necessary which has helped drive revenue.

“Having online booking feels like we have opened up a whole new customer base. We’re getting lots of return visitors booking via the website. We might even need to add a waiting list for popular tee times!

“I’ve also noticed that having online booking has helped to spread play out throughout the day as well. Rather than all turning up at the same time, members and visitors are playing different time slots throughout the day. I’m definitely noticing a more even spread of tee times on days with no competitions.

“In our membership we were seeing a growth in under 30s joining the club, so having the Members’ Module and booking app helps cater to them. Currently 60% of members are using the Members’ Module and I want to get that to 80% this year.

“BRS Golf has definitely helped improve efficiency. Previously the occasional booking coming through Teeofftimes by email would be missed, and you’d end up with a disappointed customer. Now staff can log into the system and see immediately all the bookings for that day. The reporting tools are fantastic and simple to use.

 

Would you recommend BRS to other clubs?

“Absolutely,” Rob enthuses. “In fact, at our sister site Marston Lakes the first thing I did was install BRS Golf to help revenue growth and efficiency there too! I can’t be in the same place at the same time, but I can login on my iPad and see what’s happening on both courses at a glance, maybe switch rates at quieter times.

“There are still quite a few clubs that don’t have online booking systems. I just don’t understand the mentality behind that. Sooner or later they’ll get left behind.”

Abbey Hotel Golf & Spa is one of over 1,500 BRS Golf customers throughout the UK and Ireland enjoying the simplicity of market-leading tee time booking technology.

 

 

New year, new rules. Our thoughts on R&A rule changes for 2019


The R&A published its new rules at the start of 2019 and, on the whole, it seems like these changes will have a positive impact on the game of golf – speeding up play and allowing some relief from the game’s more draconian ways. Here we round up what we feel are the most important changes to the ancient game of golf.

    • For the first time, a new Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf is being introduced to provide a shorter, more user-friendly version of the Rules for golfers at all levels of the sport.
      We like this one because it’s a great tool for beginners (and those of us who need a rules refresher!) and will help make the game more accessible.
    • Drop from knee height (NOT shoulder height)
      We like this one because shoulder height is a pretty serious distance from the ground and your ball could often end up bouncing quite a way’s away! Potentially this will speed up play. However pros like Rory have highlighted that it could have an advantage for more the diminutive among us.
    • Time to search – 3 minutes (NOT 5 minutes).This will definitely help to speed up the pace of play. And this goes hand in hand with…
    • Pace of Play – it is recommended that you take no longer than 40 seconds to make a stroke (and usually you should be able to play more quickly than that) and Ready Golf in stroke play is encouraged.
    • If you accidentally move your ball when searching for it, replace it without penalty
      This is just fair do’s! Why should you incur a penalty for accidentally moving your ball in search? It’s bad enough that you might have lost your ball, but heartbreak when you incur a penalty when you find it. Good call by the R&A.
    • No penalty for a double hit – it only counts as one stroke.
      Check out this video which Brandel Chamblee has put up showing a double hit- don’t worry, the rule incudes the word accidentally so this wouldn’t be allowed!

  • No penalty if your ball hits you or your equipment accidentally after a stroke.
    Ever hit a shot, didn’t turn out how you wanted, and to top it all it hit you or maybe your bag? If you can say yes to this question, you’ll know how good this rule feels! We think this one could be open to manipulation – but golf is a game of honour after all! This goes hand in hand with the next rule…
  • In bunkers you cannot touch the sand with your club in the area right in front of or right behind your ball, during your backswing or in taking practice swing.
  • No penalty if your ball strikes the flagstick when you have chosen to leave it in the hole.
    Really interesting new rule, we think. Not convinced it will always speed up play but less confusing for beginners coming into the game. It’s been well reported that Bryson de Chambeau, the PGA Tour’s mad scientist, is going to use this rule to his advantage where he can…
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The first time your buddy bounces a putt off the pin 🤣 #GolfRules2019

A post shared by Golf Channel (@golfchannel) on

  • Spike marks and other shoe damage on the putting green can be repaired.
    Very welcome! Especially on courses where greens are more susceptible to marks, or when you’re over an important 3-footer!

 

Plenty of folks like this new rule, even if they think it’s too cold outside to practice…

  • Ball accidentally moved on putting green – no penalty and replace.
  • Drop a ball out of a bunker – two penalty strokes
    Great for the beginner golfer. Or if you find yourself in a particularly nasty sand trap!
  • Free relief is allowed if your ball is embedded on the fairway or in the rough (but “embedded” means that part of your ball is below the level of the ground).
    A welcome change. Especially with some of the course conditions we have to play in here on the British Isles.
  • You cannot have your caddie or your partner standing behind you once you begin taking your stance.
    This one has been a bit controversial and there are arguments on both sides. It should make competition fairer and speed up play.

To read the full rules visit The R&A website.

Go Play!

Our year in review: BRS Golf highlights of 2018

We launched GolfNow Plus in the UK market

In February 2018 we announced the launch of GolfNow Plus for clubs in the UK and Ireland. The Plus management system allows clubs to monitor and respond to online reviews, better understand the competitive landscape through analytics and see at a glance what golfers are saying – or not saying – about their course. That critical business info is compiled into an easy-to-read percentage score based on tweets, Facebook and Instagram mentions, and emails.

In addition, a host of other features help clubs increase their membership, grow their databases and drive sales; including exclusive autopricing technology, designed to save  time by making real-time, utilisation-based updates to online rates based on what’s happening on your tee sheet.

Interested in joining Plus? Email: sales@GolfNow.co.uk

 

We encountered the Beast from the East

What a start to the year it was for golf clubs and golfers! The Beast from the East was a very different animal to storms we have encountered on the British Isles in the past. It brought widespread, unusually low temperatures and heavy snowfall leaving many courses unplayable throughout March. The Pro at Gleneagles wasn’t put off by the Artic conditions though!

 

We worked to achieve GDPR compliance

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), came into effect on 25 May 2018 and was almost as big a hurdle for many businesses as the Beast from the East! The new legal framework sets the standards for the collection and processing of individuals’ personal information in the EU. As the leading golf technology company, we take compliance and security seriously, and our team worked incredibly hard this year to make the required changes to our technology solutions.

If you would like further information on GDPR, please have a look at this handy article from BRS Golf.

 

We are named Best Business Premises

GolfNow’s Belfast office was delighted to be named “Best Business Premises” during a glittering Belfast Business Awards gala at historic St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast in May. These awards are highly sought after, with more than 100 companies shortlisted! We offer on-site BRS Golf training to golf club staff at our award-winning offices. To book a Power-Up session and unlock the power of our technology, please get in touch with our Customer Success Team on 00800 780 88888 or email support@brsgolf.com

 

We launched in-app push notifications

In June we announced in-app push notifications for our Members’ Booking App. You can now keep your members in the loop with our new ‘Club Messages’ functionality, found in the ‘Tools’ section of your BRS Golf dashboard. Save time and money on club admin and emails by quickly and easily communicating with golfers while they’re at home, on the course or in the bar. Simply add your social event, competition results or course closure notice into Club Messages and, at the push of a button, your members will receive the message directly to their phone.

Our client Leven Links, however, found a very novel use for this new technology. The Fife-based golf course utilised Club Messages to evacuate members who were out on the course when an unexploded WW2 grenade was found in the field adjacent to the sixth tee!

 

We unveiled the all-new BRS Golf dashboard

In July BRS Golf created a new dashboard that lets you see your daily vitals at a glance. Simply log in and immediately view tee sheet utilisation, booking totals and number of visitors and members playing that day. Switch between your courses at the touch of a button by selecting a course name on the top right-hand side of the screen. You can also see what’s happening tomorrow by clicking the ‘Tomorrow’ tab.

Plan your week and month more effectively by using the graph view to stay on top of the number of visitors’ rounds, types of reservation and tee sheet utilisation for the next 7, 14 or 30 days.

 

We continued commitment to Junior NI Open

For the second year in a row, GolfNow ran the Junior NI Open alongside the main NI Open event 16-19 August at Galgorm Castle Golf Club in Co. Antrim. Over 300 youngsters took part in the free competition on Galgorm Castle’s pitch and putt, where the standard of golf was incredibly high from these budding Rory McIlroys and Olivia Mehaffeys. Two young lads each managed a hole in one and the best score of the week was 11 (from five holes!). The four fantastic winners — Jonathan Dawson, Amy Nicholl, Parker Bonnes and Zara Proctor — won a brand new set of junior clubs each and a ticket for them and a guardian to attend the final day of next year’s Open at Royal Portrush.

The competition is part of GolfNow’s ongoing commitment to growing the game of golf and was open to anyone aged 4-11. Prizes were awarded to the highest scoring boy and girl aged 4-7 and 8-11.

 

We welcomed commentating legend Peter Alliss

Peter Alliss – the ‘Voice of Golf’ – launched the Irish branch of his Masters charity at GolfNow’s Belfast HQ on 29 August. The Peter Alliss Masters invites golf clubs to hold competitions to raise money for high-powered wheelchairs for disabled youngsters across the UK. Michael Moss, President of the Irish Golf Club Managers Association, will head up the charity in Ireland. The first chairs bought with funds raised by Irish clubs will be presented to families at The Open at Royal Portrush in 2019.

 

Galgorm Castle shares its BRS Golf success story

Before partnering with BRS Golf, Galgorm Castle used a manual diary to oversee all visitor and member bookings. That was eight years ago and now director of golf Ross Oliver says club staff can’t imagine managing casual or competition tee time reservations without our market-leading system.

“When Galgorm Castle first implemented the system in 2006, the goal was to modernise the booking process, become more efficient and increase sales. All of these goals have been met, and indeed, exceeded. BRS Golf technology allows us to look at our green fee forecasts and identify potential for further income while cutting down on admin costs and improving the booking process for members and visitors alike.”

 

Europe wins the Ryder Cup in exuberant style

After a jubilant European victory at the Ryder Cup in September some of the BRS Golf team had the chance to play Le Golf National. Product Owner James Donaghy, Course Sales Associate Lucy Simpson and Finance Director Peter Stevenson share their account of the day they walked in the footsteps of our European champions. Here’s how they got on…

 

We Tee It Up With Rory McIlroy!

What a day it was at Royal Portrush on 3 October as we welcomed Rory McIlroy and the winners of our Tee It Up With Rory competition, sponsored by TaylorMade. Our winners Ash & Richie loved every minute on the Dunluce Links (despite rather blustery conditions!). Rory had plenty of tips for the lads and even offered to buy their coffee at the halfway hut!

 

We host Golf Channel President Mike McCarley

The Belfast office hosted our GolfNow and Golf Channel colleagues for the company October TownHall meeting. President Mike McCarley spoke about growing the game of golf in the UK, US and the rest of the world while Jeff Foster and Will McIntosh talked about the exciting year GolfNow has had and what the future holds for our market-leading technology. Special guest from The R&A Neil Armit shared his excitement about TheOpen 2019 returning to Royal Portrush.

 

We meet 20×20 ambassador Stephanie Meadows

In November BRS Golf’s Lucy Simpson and Karen Moss attended a presentation by pro golfer, NorthernIreland native and all-round lovely lady Stephanie Meadow. Stephanie has been announced as a 20×20 ambassador – a campaign championing women in sport and inspiring a new generation. Supported by the Federation of Irish Sport, Investec and NI Sports Forum. Check out this video for more info on 20×20 https://lnkd.in/g6WBwrE

 

We’re pleased to announce the BRS Payments Processor

Accepting payments though BRS Golf by GolfNow is now easier than ever with the introduction of our new payments solution. Until now, we have worked with a number of third party payment providers, enabling golf clubs to accept online and over the phone payments through BRS Golf. However, we’ve responded to customer requests for a more seamless solution that is managed directly within BRS Golf. BRS Payments is a payments solution built specifically for golf clubs and their unique needs. Our aim was to simplify the entire experience of accepting and managing payments, and offer pricing that is easy to understand. Find out more.

 

Next year look out for our new-look Members’ Module, the launch of our iPad tee sheet, Member Buggy Booking and so much more!

The R&A’s Jackie Davidson on the Women in Golf Charter

This year has seen a huge drive by organisations like The R&A to encourage more women and girls to take up golf. Participation levels across the UK and Ireland were low but thanks to campaigns like the Women in Golf Charter, awareness is being raised and numbers beginning to trend upward. BRS Golf by GolfNow spoke to Jackie Davidson, assistant director of golf development at The R&A, about her pioneering work on the Women in Golf Charter, which launched on 29 May. The Charter is part of the organisation’s global commitment to get more women and girls playing golf and working in the industry.

What is the most important message to communicate?

Jackie says: “The Women in Golf Charter is all about allowing organisations within the industry the opportunity to commit to realistic goals. We are asking signatories to agree with the overarching aims of the Charter but allowing them to select what commitment they would like to make. Pledges are very different, with everyone doing something realistic, something achievable. We want this to galvanise the industry, to allow everyone to play a part in bringing more women and girls into this great sport.”

The Women in Golf Charter specifically aims to:

  • Strengthen the focus on gender balance and provide a united position for the golf industry
  • Commit national federations and organisations to support measures targeted at increasing participation of women, girls and families in golf
  • Call upon signatories to take positive action to support the recruitment, retention and progression of women working at all levels of the sport
  • Set individual targets for national associations for participation and membership and reporting progress annually
  • Develop an inclusive environment for women and girls within golf

Has the Women in Golf Charter seen any successes?

“Absolutely. We have already seen some success when it comes to participation of women and girls in golf – there has been improvement in the numbers playing in the UK and Ireland. This is great to see as we did have low participation numbers. Further afield, Golf Canada in partnership with Canadian Pacific, hosted a Women’s Leadership Summit during the Canadian Open in August and have committed to do the same again next year.”

What can organisations do to get involved?

“The Women’s Charter serves as a way to keep women’s golf in the consciousness of the industry and encourage people to be mindful of the culture of their organisation. Whether they are playing golf or working in the industry, women should feel welcome and know that they don’t have to dress a certain way or memorise a vast number of rules. Many women work so women members should be welcome to play on a Saturday.

“If you work in golf and have strong female role models within your organisation then shout about it! What are the good things you are doing? Tell the industry about them. But don’t rest on your laurels – keep improving.

“Male champions are very important – they have a powerful voice within the industry and will challenge attitudes and behaviour. The Charter is not about marginalising anyone, it is about bringing the industry together with a common goal.

“If your company hosts or participates in corporate golf days, make sure women are represented there. Whether you like it or not, a lot of networking goes on at these events and women should be there to participate. If you have a corporate golf day maybe include a golf clinic alongside for the newcomers so they don’t feel intimidated. Or include some other type of informative experience for those who don’t want to play but still want to attend.

“Websites shouldn’t just have male golfers pictured, let’s see some women there too. And clubs should consider their women members when writing their course descriptions – what is a par-4 for male golfers may be a par-5 for female golfers. Little things make a big difference.”

What kinds of organisations have signed the charter?

“Signatories pledging their support include: the Ladies’ European Tour, the PGA Tour, the European Disability Golf Association, Golf Australia, Golf Canada, England Golf, Wales Golf, New Zealand Golf and the Swedish Golf Federation, with a number of other bodies set to sign.

“We are always looking for new signatories and want to drive the message home within the industry – we’re looking for federations, media businesses, brands, manufacturers. Currently we’re in talks with The PGA and the British and International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association (BIGGA), and the Golf Foundation has just agreed to sign. We would love to have more manufacturers onboard – we would like to see a change in the imagery and messaging that’s used (both externally and internally) by some of the leading golf brands.”

What big change would you like to see in the industry?

“You never see female golfers launching the newest driver, or whatever it might be, from golf manufacturers. Why is that? It’s certainly not because they don’t know as much about the technical aspects of the equipment. Some might argue they know more! Many female pros don’t have equipment sponsors, so they are picking out clubs themselves, refining their knowledge about all the products out there and making sure theirs are the best of the best. I would love to see a woman launching the next big product from a really big golf brand.

“We would also like to see more events with male and female golfers playing side by side. Of course not all events can run this way, it depends how they are played but there’s no doubting the potential commercial value of these mixed events and we hope to see more of this.”

BRS Golf partners with the PGA to support golf in Ireland

Phil Posnett (PGA Secretary), Lucy Simpson (BRS Golf), Ricky Whitford (PGA Chairman) and Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge pro)

BRS Golf by GolfNow has partnered with the PGA North of Ireland to support the Ping Ulster Golfers’ Alliance winter pro-am fixtures. The partnership is part of BRS Golf’s ongoing commitment to both professional and amateur golf in Northern Ireland and Ireland.

BRS Golf announced its support at Ardglass Golf Club on Monday 12 November alongside Ricky Whitford, chairman of the PGA North of Ireland, and branch secretary Phil Posnett.

The PGA fixtures will run throughout the winter until March 2019, alighting at some of the finest golf clubs in Ireland and Northern Ireland, including professional events at Royal County Down and Royal Portrush and pro-ams at Ardglass, Concrawood and Castlerock.

The line-up of events gives BRS Golf the unique opportunity to talk to club professionals and managers about challenges and opportunities within the industry, and how our market-leading, time-saving technology can help them achieve their business goals.

In 2017 BRS Golf launched its members booking app which is already used by 1,139 clubs across the UK & Ireland. It allows club members to book the tee times they want anytime, anywhere with just a few taps. Clubs can send push notifications to keep their golfers in the loop on the latest fixtures and results, and members can use the app’s buddy feature to add their playing partners to their four-ball with ease.

The series of tournaments also provides an opportunity for the industry to celebrate its hard-working pros and gives amateurs the chance to play alongside and learn from some of the country’s best golfers.

BRS Golf’s marketing director, Andrew Hollywood, says: “We are delighted to support the PGA in the North of Ireland as they host their winter alliance events. It gives us the opportunity to meet up and thank the hard-working golf professionals at the end of a busy season. Last year BRS Golf launched a brand-new members’ booking app available to UK and Ireland golf courses.

“The app allows golf club members to make bookings at their home course and also reduces administration time for club managers. At the moment over 87,000 golfers use the app each week and it supports the management of 25 million golf bookings per year using our software.”

Success story: East Lothian Ladies County Golf Association

This month’s Success Story comes from East Lothian Ladies County Golf Association (ELLCGA), as BRS Golf by GolfNow helped streamline their competition booking and finances by moving the whole process online – for free!  In autumn 2016, the ELLCGA contacted BRS Golf to discuss the possibility of using our system for booking their competitions. They were aware that other golf associations and golf unions in Scotland had already adopted BRS Golf, and felt there were many benefits they could gain by using the system.

The ELLCGA was established in 1924 for the purpose of entering a team in the inter county competition for the County Shield, and to run competitions for members to raise funds to support the team. The format of these competitions has developed and grown over the years and the county committee also has a role in supporting East and Scottish events, including junior events.

Carol Murray, ELLGCA Treasurer, explains: “Although we do not have a vast number of members, and we do not run many competitions, the administration involved in handling entries and collecting money in advance for events is quite significant. And we have no paid employees, all of the work is completed by volunteers! So we were interested in finding ways to not only produce administrative efficiencies, but also to make the whole process easier and ensure the finances were more secure and easily audited.”

Open Competition Online Booking

Barry Johnston, account manager for BRS Golf at the time, met with the ELLGCA. He picks up the story: “When Carol and her colleagues explained how they ran things and what they were looking forward, I explained how they would be able to adopt part of our system, Open Competition Online booking, which would work well for them. I was confident that this would be a good fit because we had experience of working with other golf associations and golf unions who ran competitions in a similar way.”

At this stage, Carol was concerned the association would struggle to afford the system. “When we discussed the costs with BRS Golf, Barry indicated that we would be able to utilise the appropriate software and services at absolutely no cost! In return BRS Golf requested that we host some adverts for the company on our website. We were delighted with such a generous offer and had no hesitation in accepting the proposal!” Carol enthuses.

A couple of committee members underwent a tailored version of the BRS Golf onboarding training sessions and system was up and running in a short space of time and ready for the first competition of the year in April 2017.

“This was our largest competition of the year and being hosted at Muirfield Golf Course. We knew there would be a large demand for tee times. So this was going to be a very severe test for BRS Golf and our new processes,” Carol explains.

And how did it go?

“The Competition was fully booked within a few hours of opening! And through the online collection of payments all the money due was already in our bank account,” Carol says. “Apart from a few members who were unsure about using credit card payments over the internet, we had no issues whatsoever! We used BRS Golf successfully for all of the other competitions, and made sure that online entry was the only way members could enter, and this simplified our processes immensely.”

Has BRS improved efficiency?

Carol confirms:“Without doubt! BRS Golf has already made a significant difference. This was quite a big change for us to make, and we are appreciative of the help and support that BRS Golf have given us all the way through. We feel we are probably one of the smallest customers BRS Golf have, and we do not pay any money at all, but the implementation and support services have been wonderful! Now that we have set up BRS the way we want and have experience in using it, we are confident that this year we will achieve many more efficiencies and benefits!

“BRS Golf market themselves as specialists in the golf industry. We are able to confirm their expertise is superb and their help with us has demonstrated a ready and positive willingness to support golf in general, ladies golf in particular and ladies golf in East Lothian specifically!”

Thanks for that endorsement, Carol!