Slow play and dress code policies working3rd February, 2014 by Alistair Dunsmuir
The head of the world’s largest golf club operator has said both its dress code relaxation and anti slow play policies, introduced in the last 18 months, have so far been successful.
Bruce Glasco, senior vice president and managing director of Troon International Operations, which runs scores of major golf clubs around the world, said the two policies are so far having a positive effect on the clubs’ bottom lines.
At the end of 2012 Troon brought in a group-wide dress code relaxation policy and last summer it introduced ‘Troon Values Your Time’, in which each individual facility calculates its ‘time par’ – how long a round should take – which is then communicated to all golfers.
“Based on our consumer feedback, we found that clubs’ ‘stuffiness’ and / or overbearing rules were barriers to some visiting,” he said.
“Having strict rules on attire meant families and the like were going elsewhere for lunches, drinks and dinner, which was therefore negatively affecting a critical revenue stream for our owners.
“Our new dress code has allowed a family to come and enjoy the facilities without having to worry so much about what they wear.”
Bruce added that the initiative has helped the clubs’ businesses, but it is still early days.
“We are still in the early stages, but we are hearing the right feedback from club managers and our members and guests alike. We will review, in more depth, how these relaxed rules have influenced revenue at the end of the financial year, but the initial signs are positive,” he said.
For slow play, Bruce revealed that the communicative policy, which is designed to manage expectations in relation to the time the round will take, is already having a clear impact.
“One recent assessment at a course in the USA saw the time par reduced by 11 minutes while another in the Middle East took seven minutes off their round time. These are initial positive indications that the campaign is working,” he said.
Bruce also stated that the policy has been well-received by customers.
“There was some concern that golfers would be resistant to being told the time par and our expectation but a recent survey at one of our USA courses found 87 percent of those surveyed thought positively about the initiative,” he said.
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