Golf clubs across the UK will need to gear up to temporarily manage their business in very different ways. That’s the view of Club Systems International (CSI), market leading software supplier to the industry, and it is offering clubs a range of different solutions – many at no extra charge – to ensure they have the tools to survive in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Whilst current restrictions continue to keep golfers away from the game in the UK, some other European countries are starting to allow golfers to return to their clubs – albeit with strict measures on social distancing, two-ball golf, fifteen minute tee time intervals and pro shops and clubhouses remaining closed. Early indications suggest that similar measures will be adopted here.
“Golfers are itching to get back out there”, says Richard Peabody, managing director of CSI.
“Because of the nature of the game, we anticipate that golf will be one of the first sports to be made available again, and we want to ensure that clubs have got the capabilities to take bookings and payments, and communicate with their members. ”
As an immediate supportive measure, CSI will make their online tee time booking facility available to their customers free of charge until at least the end of 2020.
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In addition, they are keen to remind premium customers using the Club v1 software that they have free use of the Club v1 app to communicate with members via push notifications. In face all CSI customers, whatever service they use, will have access to a version of the members app -an ideal tool to keep the conversation going with club golfers.
“Going forward we are also introducing on-course scoring which will directly connect to clubs’ in-house systems. This will be available when restrictions are lifted and we can play golf again. So essentially we can keep competition golf alive and kicking without the need for clubhouses to be open”, said Peabody.
CSI’s contactless payment system, Howdoipay, is yet another useful platform to allow clubs to maintain important revenue streams. In the coming weeks it will be available for “honesty box” payments allowing visitors to pay securely for greenfees where clubs are not staffed.
The team at CSI are also well aware that clubs are managing the challenge of membership renewals at a time when courses are closed. But they cite numerous examples of innovative measures clubs are going to in order to maintain incomes. Fulford Golf Club in York gifted its members with six free visitor green fees if they renewed before the end of March, while Royal Jersey Golf Club has made a name for itself in the local community by offering takeaway food.
Peabody was upbeat on the industry finding its way through the current crisis, adding:
“I am confident that our clients will learn from each other, and shared knowledge of incentive schemes and promotions will ensure the long-term future of the UK’s golf clubs.”
CSI, which owns and administrates Europe’s largest online golfing community, HowDidiDo, has been designing, building and supporting IT systems for golf clubs since 1982. Now, with nearly 2,000 golf clubs in the UK and Ireland – along with customers as far afield as Dubai, Ghana and Sri Lanka – CSI has grown to lead the UK and Ireland golf club market.