Many golf courses have remained open and fortunate while following health regulations during the coronavirus pandemic. So how can we all move forward and stay within guidelines? Read on for a podcast-interview recap about golf course owners who have kept their business running successfully!
A Podcast with Hermitage Golf Course
Hermitage Golf Course in Nashville, Tennessee is one of those courses that has remained open, while maintaining safety and keeping golfers happy. The success is majorly due to the club owners’ abilities to adapt and act early enough to make course changes.
Golf industry professionals: Ashley Cottrell, President of Hermitage Golf Course and Chris Pierce, Director of Golf/Head Pro, have dealt with more than one economic crises this year—namely the tornado that damaged East Nashville on March 3rd. Businesses in similar regions often experience natural disasters and owners must persevere during economic impact. As a result, courses like Hermitage may have been uniquely poised to react quickly to the COVID-19 crisis.
In this recap, we’ve listed the major points from Ryan’s interview on the Golf Business Secrets Radio podcast, where he speaks with Ashley and Chris about how they’ve handled the changes.
Fast Tactics for Staying Open and Safe
Ryan begins by talking to Chris and Ashley about how Hermitage Golf Course took safety precautions immediately. On March 18th, they moved all functions that require close interaction outside like:
- Food orders
- POS transactions
Other course changes made:
- 1-person-per-cart limit
- Limited number of cups
- Lifted the cups up onto the greens
- Check out line keeping 7-feet distance between customers
Business Preparedness for Economic Crisis
Many businesses need to pivot during economic crises, and to do it quickly and successfully like Hermitage can be difficult.
So how can your club be better prepared to deal with the fluctuating economy? In this last segment, these golf industry pros from Hermitage tell you how simple safety measures, if performed immediately, can be the saving grace to your business.
Providing Alternative Payment Options
They discussed the benefits of checking-in online, or calling ahead once golfers book their tee-time. Consider providing alternative options for payment in order to maintain health and safety. Ryan brought up how online payment is a fairly new option for golf courses.
Always Being Prepared
With not only the Coronavirus, but the Tornado that hit Nashville in March, people in those regions strive to be prepared and think outside the box when it comes to a sudden crisis. Even if it means right now, thinking together as a community (as with the current case of social distancing) and organizing in safe ways that preserve business, which prepares for future economic demands.
Moving POS Outside
Pull the pro shop outside. Take all orders outside and deliver the meal with proper precautions. Hermitage provides a nightly meal along with a menu for families to order for pick-up or delivery. Customers have enjoyed the versatile food and safe options. When asked about how food and beverage sales are doing, Ashley mentioned they are down, but more importantly, they are still able to provide full service.
Re-prioritizing Roles & Procedures
- Marshalls help regulate and manage pace of play. Now, it’s a priority to patrol groups not following certain rules when it comes to keeping social distance, like congregating. At Hermitage, they’ve allowed the Marshall to step up to this important role.
- Keep a consistent procedure with carts. Once the cart comes in, wash and sterilize everything that could have been touched, then let it dry so it’s ready to be used again.
- They also encourage walking as a club activity.
Golf Community Values and Commitment
“The big thing is letting the community know we’re just trying to do our part,” says Pierce.
They answered with: “What we’re seeing the most is the appreciation that the golfers have for us being open. For us, having them here on a daily basis is a positive to us that we’re doing what we should be,” says Cottrell. “We’re here because of them.”
Business strategy aside, they shared their uplifting gratitude and genuine connections with golfers that really keeps the values of the golf community going.
As an overview, the 4 general points we’ve covered are:
- How to Go into Effective Action
- Fast Tactics for Staying Open and Safe
- Business Preparedness for Economic Crisis
- Golf Community Values and Commitment
Tune In to Golf Business Secrets Radio
If you haven’t already heard about Golf Business Secrets Radio, foreUP has sponsored a podcast made for club owners and the golf industry. You can catch up with all the previous episodes HERE. Podcasts are released by Ryan Petersen every Wednesday.
We empathize with the challenge of adjusting quickly in business in this time of need. We’d like to thank Hermitage Golf Club owners for sharing their advice and experiences. We’re grateful that these two industry pros were gracious enough to tell us of their perseverance and strategies that can help your business during difficult times.