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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!

Confused about GDPR? BRS Golf is here to help

GDPR has been here for a while and it hasn’t impacted you so far – phew. (Well, apart from all the work you have done and continue to do in order to comply!)

For those of you that were in the Scouts or Guides, you’ll be familiar with the “be prepared” phrase. It’s so important to be prepared because the potential fines would be crippling for any golf club, and because showing club members that you care about their data will help you build trust.

So, what do you need to do (if you haven’t done already)…

 

Is your privacy policy up to date?

As the focus is on generating and increasing revenue, it’s likely you’ll have forgotten about the essential building blocks of GDPR and your website privacy policy is probably the most visible of these building blocks – because both your customers and regulators can see it!

Updating your policy to meet GDPR’s new requirements can be daunting. You’ll need to discuss this with your legal representative to be sure it’s right for your business. They can advise on what details to include, but remember to think about the types of personal information you collect, how you use it, whom you share it with, and how long you keep it. Individual golfers can also ask for a copy of the personal information you hold about them, or ask you to delete it altogether, at any time, and you have only one month to do this. So, think about the easiest and most efficient way to respond to these queries if you get them.

Once you have your updated website privacy policy, you can make it available in BRS Golf by GolfNow, by accessing your dashboard and heading to Tools > Legal Messages.

You can edit your existing policy and replace the text with that of your new policy or you could paste the link to the policy on your website. If you paste the link, make sure to include the http:// or https:// (the easiest way to do this is to copy the link from your browser!).

Now here’s an important point to those clubs that have the Members’ Booking Module – the minute you update your policy members will be prompted to accept to the new policy the next time they log into the members’ booking module. Members won’t be able to proceed until they have accepted this new policy.

 

Have you updated your marketing preference message?

Post GDPR, regulators pay even greater attention to marketing consents. So, don’t forget to ask your golfers for permission before sending them marketing emails or texts, and to keep a record of these. Through your BRS Golf dashboard, we can help you do this, as you are able to capture consents in a recordable and auditable manner, tailored to your specific marketing needs.

In the Tools > Legal Messages, you can update the wording you want your members and visitors to see. You should be clear, but can also be creative (subject to receiving your own legal advice) in order to entice golfers to sign up for marketing messages and news from your club (via email, text, post, where applicable).

Think about the types of marketing that your club does, and make sure the text accompanying the consent box covers this clearly. For example, if the Professional at your club or your restaurant manager wants to send promotional emails, then you might need to add these to this consent message. If your marketing needs change, you should update the consent language. But always keep a record, so you know what marketing a golfer has agreed to receive.

Remember the marketing preferences message is limited to a maximum of 300 characters.

 

Are your Terms and Conditions fit for purpose?

Like any other business you should have terms and conditions for members and visitors of your golf club.

The visitors one is more commonplace as it deals with the terms relating to booking golf at your golf club. Any club that has online booking for visitors will have existing terms and conditions, however, you should review them and update them accordingly to ensure they are fit for your needs (be that cancellation terms, dress codes, etc.).

You may not have used terms and conditions for members previously. These should cover the terms of use of your member booking module and could include for example, your club’s rules on dress code, etiquette, casual booking rules, competition booking rules, etc. You may already have these terms and conditions outside of the booking modules, but you may want to include them within your BRS Golf as well.

Both terms and conditions can be changed in BRS Golf, via the admin dashboard in Tools >Legal Messages. As with the privacy policy, when you update the members terms and conditions, members will be prompted to accept the new terms the next time they log into the member booking module.

 

More help?

If you need any additional help with the above, please check out our FAQs page and our Template Privacy Notice for Golf Clubs (which can supplement your comprehensive website privacy policy).

In addition, you will find some useful information on the following websites:

England Golf’s GDPR page

Scottish Golf’s GDPR page

Wales Golf GDPR Guidance in association with the NGCAA

CGI’s GDPR page

In addition, the Sport & Recreational Alliance have issued a GDPR Toolkit, which provides template documentation to assist sports organisations and clubs comply https://www.sportandrecreation.org.uk/

If you have any issues using the Legal Messages tool, please feel free to contact our Customer Success Team on 0800 7808 8888.

BRS Golf’s very own dream team take on Le Golf National

After a jubilant European victory at the Ryder Cup last month some of the BRS Golf by GolfNow team had the chance to walk in the footsteps of our champions and play Le Golf National. Here’s how they got on…

Product owner, James Donaghy, writes: “What a Ryder Cup it was in Paris at Le Golf National! The atmosphere was incredible, particularly around the first tee on Sunday. I’ve never experienced anything like that at a golf tournament before.

“We were given an amazing opportunity to play the course on the Monday, the day after the tournament was over. Playing the same holes where we watched the drama unfold the day before was surreal. The grandstands surrounding us on the tees and greens made it a completely unique experience and a lot of fun. I can’t imagine the nerves the players felt when the stands were full!

“Le Golf National was in superb condition and I would say it played tough but fair. It wasn’t particularly long unless the wind was against you on some holes. Hitting the fairways was key, because the rough was very thick, meaning you couldn’t hit more than a short iron from it. There was plenty of great holes but the 1st, 7th, 13th, and 18th were my favourites. The whole day was an experience to remember and we’re very grateful to GolfNow for giving us the opportunity.”

Lucy Simpson, course sales associate, continues the story: “I don’t remember ever voluntarily setting an alarm for six hours before a tee time – but that’s exactly what I did for Sunday 30 September in Paris! Having had a great Saturday soaking in the atmosphere and being just arm’s length from the best players in the world, I couldn’t wait for the Sunday singles.

“It was beyond worth it, and a golf tournament and weekend I won’t forget! Adding to the excitement was the fact I knew I was going to be fortunate enough to play the course, with Sunday pins, on Monday.

“It was a surreal experience and it made you truly appreciate how good these guys really are. Two stunning shots that come to mind are Justin Thomas’s drive on 18 on the Sunday afternoon and Rory’s recovery on the 13th on the Friday afternoon. To be able to try and emulate those is something I won’t forget.

“As James mentioned, the course was in superb condition with hardly a blade of grass or grain of sand out of place – but you had to hit the fairway. Find the second cut of rough and it was difficult to advance the ball more than 100 yards. Despite the difficulty of the rough, it was a really fun round of golf and the water holes added to this. Our group played nearest the pin on 15 and 18 from the spots where members of both teams found themselves the day before. A huge thank you to GolfNow for the opportunity – another addition to the list of what makes this company a great place to work!”

An our finance director, Peter Stevenson, sums up his experience: “Playing Le Golf National the day after probably one of the most memorable Ryder Cup tournaments for atmosphere, excitement and pure enjoyment, was a once in a life time opportunity not to be missed! I’ll never forget the grandstand on the first hole. Think what the pros must have been feeling before teeing off!

“The fairways were narrow but like carpets and the rough was “roouuughhh” like a bad hangover! I remember Lucy saying to James and I: ‘If you’re going to miss the fairway, miss well and land it on the hills!’ The excitement of the water holes, especially 1,2,15, 16 & 18, was a real buzz. I tried to recreate shots of Tommy Fleetwood and Rory, however mine were very different!

“The final walk across the bridge to the 18th green surrounded by water was surreal and I imagined for a second that it was me celebrating the victory with the Europeans! The course reminded me a little of Lough Erne in Northern Ireland and every hole was stunning in its own way. A huge thanks to GolfNow for making the 2018 Ryder Cup an unforgettable experience!”

BRS Golf success stories: Tynemouth Golf Club

Once upon a time, Tynemouth Golf Club used the old ‘ball in chute’ system for members looking to get out on the course. Now? They use BRS Golf by GolfNow’s sophisticated online tee sheet to manage both member and visitor bookings. Follow their journey from offline to online and find out how BRS Golf has helped their business grow, our Senior Technical Specialist Barry Johnston writes.

Tynemouth Golf Club is one of the most attractive and satisfying parkland golf courses in the North East of England. The original course was designed by Willie Park Jr, and over the years has been extended and modified into a par-70 course of some repute.

In 2011 Tynemouth were interested in learning more about online booking after speaking to other clubs in the area about their experiences. At that time, members of Tynemouth operated a ‘ball in chute’ system, which was far from perfect!

Managing secretary at the time, Tim Scott, picks up the story: “We approached BRS Golf, who visited the club and demonstrated what their system was capable of. I was very impressed with, not only the online booking capability, but also the tee time administration functions and management reporting. I had seen enough to recommend that BRS Golf return and do a more formal demonstration to the committee. This took place a few weeks later, and, although there were plenty of questions, BRS Golf were very good at explaining the answers in detail and could direct us to other customers who had similar situations.”

And what was the outcome of the committee meeting?

Tim continues: “Most of the committee agreed that online booking was potentially an improvement on our current arrangements, and, although a bit concerned about how members would react to the initiative, we agreed to move forward with online booking as a project. However, although BRS Golf had provided a good quotation for their system, we also had another offer! Basically, the company who had recently provided us with a good website, indicated they were shortly about to release a new online booking system and that we would be able to get this system for free! So we decided to commit to the other company and thanked BRS Golf for their help!”

And all went well? Not quite…

Tim explains: “After many months of chasing the company to show us the new system, they failed to deliver anything to us, and we had no confidence that they ever would. So we decided to discuss online booking with BRS Golf again! In addition to the original proposal BRS Golf also put forward a comprehensive training and implementation plan which addressed a lot our concerns about getting the system up and running. We placed the order with BRS Golf in June, 2012, and by the end of July we were completely live!

“Not only is BRS Golf a very comprehensive system but it is also intuitive. But without doubt embarking on the recommended implementation plan set out by BRS Golf and Barry Johnston working on-site building the system with us, gave us knowledge and confidence to hold a few members’ evenings shortly afterwards. These were highly successful and because we had such a detailed knowledge of the BRS Golf system from our own training, we could handle all of the questions raised by members and make them feel comfortable that the new system would be easy for them to use and help the club.”

That was back in 2012 – is the system still in use?

Tim says: “Despite all our initial fears, the system quickly proved to be very popular with our members, and very helpful as an administration tool in the office. I retired a few years ago but still use the system regularly to book my golf as a member, as do all my friends!”

The current golf administrator, David Stenhouse, agrees: “The BRS Golf system is still very popular with our members and, over the years, has become an invaluable part of Tynemouth Golf Club’s operation. We could probably do more with the system, but it fits in nicely with how we like to manage our business here at Tynemouth and the staff that we currently have. There is no way that we could ever go back to our old booking arrangements!”

Paul Whittaker is general manager at Tynemouth. He adds: “I do not have too much to do with the system as, thankfully, we have David as our expert here in the office! But I know how popular the system is with members. We are a very busy members’ club and the system copes very well with the volume of tee time bookings in a way that is fair to all. The addition of the new BRS Golf Members’ Booking App for iPhone and Android devices has also been a significant development which makes things even easier for members”.

Thanks, gentlemen.

How can BRS Golf technology help your club? Make an enquiry today.

What the digital payments boom means for your business

Key industry statistics

  • Contactless payments now account for one third of all card payments.
  • In 2006, 62 per cent of all payments in the UK were made using cash; in 2016 the proportion had fallen to just 40 per cent.
  • By 2026, it is predicted cash will be used for just 21 per cent of all payments, down from 62 per cent in 2006
  • Online shopping is now 24 per cent of the total market share of non-food sales, up from 12 per cent in 2012.
  • By 2022, spend via smartphone is forecast to account for 23.8 per cent of all online expenditure, up from 15.1 per cent in 2017.

The UK and Ireland has seen a dramatic shift in consumer purchase behaviour in recent years with 2017 the first year that card payments overtook cash purchases as the most common method of payment. Online payments continue to rise, as more shoppers go online, and new payment methods are being introduced to give consumers more options to pay. While payments companies are fast introducing new ways to pay, businesses also have to stay up to date and make sure they have the capability to accept the latest payment methods.

Growing usage of mobile and tablet devices means consumers are shopping more often on these devices. By 2022, spending via smartphones is forecast to account for 23.8 per cent of all online expenditure in the UK, up from 15.1 per cent in 2017. According to Worldpay, the average value per transaction on a smartphone is rising too, up 11 per cent in the second half of 2017, indicating that consumers are becoming more comfortable making large purchases on a mobile device. At BRS Golf by GolfNow, almost 70 per cent of our user web traffic comes from a mobile or tablet device.

In the past five years, we’ve seen the introduction of ‘digital wallets’ like ‘Google Pay’, ’Samsung Pay’ and Apply Pay’, removing the need for shoppers to carry a card. Instead, they can upload their card details to their digital wallet app, and then use their phone for contactless payments. Technology is removing barriers to make payment in instances where shoppers don’t have cash or a card to hand.

 

How are golf clubs impacted?

Accepting payments online or over the phone for bookings and other items in advance of visiting benefits golf clubs by enabling them to receive upfront payments, removing the risk of lost revenue through ’no shows’ and making it easier to forecast incoming revenue. Contactless payment terminals in bars and restaurants are becoming the norm with contactless payments now accounting for one third of all card payments in the UK.

Member golfers may want flexible payment options when it comes to things like membership fees. Younger members in particular may come to expect that they can pay their fees online or in monthly installments for greater flexibility. Golfers might also prefer to attach their card details to an account with their golf club, so that the payment process can be fast tracked. As a business, you want your customers to always be in a position to pay you. Offering multiple payment options maximises sales opportunities.

Looking ahead, new payments technology like ‘invisible’ payments is already being used by companies like Uber. This technology removes the need for consumers to physically engage in a payment transaction. Card details are stored on the customer’s account through the app, and payment happens automatically when a trip is complete.

Barclaycard has already trialed their ‘Grab+Go’ technology for supermarkets, allowing the consumer to scan their item in store with their smartphone, pay with a single click, then walk out of the store. A potential future scenario is golfers eating in your club restaurant post round, receiving their bill and paying via their smartphone, then walking out.

The expectations of consumers are rising as they become accustomed to technology and improved customer experiences with businesses that make the buying process fast, easy and convenient. These expectations are not industry specific, and golfers will come to expect a similarly easy shopping experience when buying goods and services at golf clubs. Using the latest payment solutions will enable golf clubs to deliver great customer experiences and ensure they capture sales by giving customers flexibility when it comes to making payment.

Peter Alliss launches Irish Masters charity at GolfNow’s Belfast HQ

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.

Peter said: “I am utterly delighted to be here at the GolfNow offices in Belfast to bring the Peter Alliss Masters to Ireland. Michael Moss will be leading the charge in Ireland for us and already has fantastic clubs like Royal Portrush and Portstewart on board. We should have six wheelchairs to present to disabled youngsters and their families at The Open at Royal Portrush in 2019. It is an incredible moment when you hand these chairs over to these families – you are changing their lives and the joy on their faces is a wonderful moment.”

The commentating legend was a complete gent and even took a picture with the entire staff after he had wrapped up his media commitments.

Michael Moss added: “I would like to thank Brian Smith and GolfNow for hosting our charity launch at their fantastic, award-winning offices here in Belfast. I look forward to working closely with clubs across Ireland to help further this fantastic charity and we already have commitments from a good number of clubs. I think many of us forget how lucky we are to be able to get out on the golf course, or simply out for a walk, whenever we want. The sad truth is that for many it’s not so easy. If our efforts can help those affected by mobility issues and their families to lead richer lives then I will be very pleased indeed.”

Longniddry Golf Club grows visitor green fees by 44% with BRS Golf

East Lothian is popularly known as Scotland’s golf coast – it is posited the game was played here as far back as 1567 by Scottish nobles, including Mary Queen of Scots herself. Situated on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, it is arguably the finest stretch of golfing coastline in the country. Longniddry Golf Club, founded in 1921 by the 11th Earl of Wemyss and designed and built by Harry S Colt, is a true Lothian gem on this beautiful coast.

Although the club has over 700 members, its stunning location makes it a popular venue for visitors, and in 2010 the club was looking to replace their existing reservations system with a more effective facility. After reviewing several systems, the club decided to implement BRS Golf by GolfNow.

Initially, the club opted to introduce the administration suite along with visitor online booking.

Longniddry sees visitor green fees increase 44 per cent

General Manager, Bob Gunning, explains: “We were keen to increase our visitor green fee revenue, and manage our tee reservations more efficiently, and we recognised that BRS Golf would not only be a key component of our marketing strategy, but also an excellent administration tool that was easy to use. We were unsure if the members would be interested in online booking, so at that stage we decided to examine that option at a later date and concentrate on getting visitors’ online booking installed and working effectively.”

The system went live at the start of the 2011 summer season, and Bob has seen visitor green fee revenue grow by 44 per cent since then. As a popular members’ club, this growth has been achieved without unduly affecting the members’ playing times and this has been key to the success of the project.

And what about members’ online booking?

“Like many clubs, our paper-based tee time booking arrangements had evolved over many years, and it was frequently mentioned to us by new members that certain aspects of the arrangements were perhaps unfair,” Bob comments. “We understood the concerns and agreed to make changes which would be fair and equal for all members. The BRS Golf Members’ Module allowed us to do this perfectly, with many options we could configure to make sure it fitted properly at our club.”

The members’ online booking system was introduced towards the end of the summer season in 2013.

“When we went live, the members were able to see how easy it was to use the system and how fair the system was,” says Bob. “But we also got a lot of feedback about potential improvements. Many of these ideas were taken on board, and for our Saturday competitions we have settled on a process where there are two tee times every hour which are reserved for ‘book in person on the day’ players only. All other tee times are available for online booking, with the times going live at 7pm on the Friday evening, eight days in advance of the competition. This works very well for us!

“We are now into our eighth season using BRS Golf and it has become a vital part of our golf operations. It is easy to use, reliable and popular with our members. It’s invaluable!”.

How can BRS Golf technology help your club? Make an enquiry today.

Why I Golf – Lesley Williams, BRS Golf Business Analyst

In honour of Women and Girl’s Golf Week, our Business Analyst Lesley Williams takes an honest look at the highs and lows of getting into golf. Follow her journey from 32-handicapper to Lady Captain of Woodenbridge Golf Club in Ireland’s Co. Wicklow with a few bumps and bruises (some literal, some figurative) along the way.

 

  • 1965 – Golf tries to discourage me!

Watching my brother playing golf with his friends in our back garden (with plastic clubs and balls), I was hit on the head with a ball. An inch further to the left and I wouldn’t be here! I was only 15 months old! Of course, I don’t remember the incident, but I still have the scar today.

 

  • 1970 – I’m encouraged

Through my dad’s passion for golf, my brother and I used to play with him in the back garden. Dad had manicured the grass in the vain hope he could create a putting green – it never quite got there. Those plastic clubs and balls were resurrected, and we graduated from putting to chipping. Golf has been in the fabric of my life ever since.

 

  • 1977 – “Too boring”

In my early teens I remember thinking how boring the game of golf was. I thought “I’m not playing until I’m old”. I remember dinners in the golf club where there were so many rules it would stifle any child. Truthfully, I moved away from golf because of other sports (badminton and hockey), piano, school exams, discos and just normal teenager stuff!

 

  • 1995 – A breath of fresh air

In my late twenties, living in London, I found that my activities were mostly indoors, and I needed to do something that got me out into the fresh air. I started going up to my local pay and play club on a Friday night to play on my own, then progressed to joining up with other people. I was delighted as my game improved from hitting the odd good shot to regularly hitting good shots and, hey presto, I was addicted. That’s the thing about golf – you either love it or it’s not for you. I LOVE IT!

 

  • 1996 – A harsh lesson learned

I joined that club in London and was a member for a couple of years. I learned so much about the rules and etiquette of golf in those first few years:

  1. I lost the President’s prize because I didn’t sign my card. A hard lesson but I’ll never do it again.
  2. I learnt the rule about outside interference the hard way too when we witnessed my ball being taken off the fairway by a dog.
  3. But what I learned most is that golf is both competitive and friendly in equal measure, and that’s what I love about it.

 

  • 1997 – Homeward bound

I returned to Ireland and joined Woodenbridge Golf Club in Arklow and I’ve been there ever since. It is a wonderful place, surrounded by woods with the Avoca and Aughrim rivers meeting in the middle of the course – tranquil, peaceful and beautiful. That first year in Woodenbridge was exceptional. My handicap reduced from 32 to 22 and I won the Lady Captain’s prize.

 

  • 2018 – Still going strong

I’m still playing, still winning prizes and still having fun. My handicap is down to 13, I’ve represented my club at several levels – Intermediate Cup, Junior Cup, Senior Cup, Cullen Cup (winner twice), Irish Mixed Foursomes. I’ve been on the ladies’ committee and board of management and had the honour of being Lady Captain in 2012.

Playing golf has found me a couple of jobs, a husband, a wheelbarrow of frustration, a delight of friendships and an ocean of joy.

This game is, in equal measure, frustrating and fantastic – that chip shot you shank but the next time you hole, that putt you leave millimetres short and the one you sink to win a match, the drive that bounces out of bounds and the one that keeps on running. Before you start a game you never know what you’re going to get, regardless of the amount of practice you’ve put in. But oh, the delight, when it all comes together and you have the round of your life… until the next time!