Many Canterbury Golf Clubs took the opportunity to attend the bi-annual PowerTurf Canterbury Golf Club Forum held at Russley Golf yesterday.
The theme was "Beyond 2021 - Golf Clubs in a COVID World" with most discussion centering around how to maximise the growth in golf through COVID, and locking in the gains made particularly when the borders reopen. Master MC Stephen Gee kept the mood in the room light, fun and interactive ensuring the day was a pleasurable and informative experience.
In the first session the guest panel consisted of three golf clubs representatives - Gary Knight from Akaroa Golf, Jane Panghborn from Ellesmere Golf, and Michelle Campbell from Hastings Golf Club. They spoke of their club experiences through COVID, and what they thought clubs needed to do to maximise the gains made. After group discussion it became apparent planning and retention were the keys. In particular planning for the effective use of increased cash reserves, and providing a quality experience to new members and visitors so that they renew their membership and continue to play and use the course facilities.
Golf NZ Chief Executive Dean Murphy then addressed the audience. It was interesting to hear about the man himself - from his roots in the Manawatu, to work and travel experiences in Europe, and move back to New Zealand to eventually take up the helm at NZ Golf. Dean's key message was for clubs to plan well, get good people involved, and take action.
After lunch a technology session was led by Dot Golf GM Matt Smith, assisted by Golf NZ Club Marketing Support Mike Hadnet, with Dean Murphy adding context around the globalisation of the Dot Golf business. Smaller clubs in particular gained a valuable insight into the breadth of what Dot Golf can offer to assist with operational tasks and improve the customer experience. Attendees also got a sneak peek of new technology that Dot Golf will bring online in the coming months.
The final session was about building golf communities with discussion on the golf club as a community facility, and the need to examine how Canterbury clubs can best provide golf services that meet the demand of the Canterbury public. NZ Rugby Participation Development Manager Mike Hester led the panel with some case studies and historical insights into issues that rugby clubs have faced and how they have been managed - the key message being the need for clubs to remain relevant to the communities they serve. Remuera Golf Club GM Chris Davies added how his club had partnered up with other local sports and community organistaions, and engaged the residential communicty that surrounds the course. Auckland Golf CEO Jacob Cameron spoke on environmental issues that face golf clubs, with water usage and cost being a major topic of discussion for Canterbury clubs.
The day finished with networking and debriefing over a beverage kindly sponsored by Asahi.
Thanks must go to principal sponsor PowerTurf, supporting sponsors Jennian Homes, Asahi, and Golf NZ, and the Russley Golf Club who were superb hosts providing a great venue, great service, and fine food and beverage.
The day was video recorded by Golf NZ and a highlights package will be available in due course.