Great and good vie for golf service industry 'Oscars'

Just hours after the 87th Academy Awards have been handed out in Hollywood, the ‘great and good' of the golf service industry will be receiving their own ‘Oscars' at the fifth annual 59Club Service Excellence Awards.
The event, to be held at the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club on Monday, February 23, rewards the top golf venues across all business elements - sales, service, operations, retail and management. And 59Club's industry benchmark, the Gold and Silver Flag Awards - recognising the finest membership clubs and commercial venues - will also be presented.

Compered by award-winning BBC sports presenter Dan Walker, the event will celebrate the achievements of the very best individuals, teams and venues within the golf industry.

Some awards will see different categories of golf venues competing for top honours - from pay-and-play courses to international resorts: Johanna Arrowsmith from Pipe Hayes, in Birmingham, for example, will be up against the likes of Wentworth's Andre Friedrich for the title of ‘Food and Beverage Manager of the Year'. Lickey Hills and Hill Barn will be going head to head with Mannings Heath, Meon Valley and Mottram Hall for the title of ‘Most Improved Golf Operation Team of the Year'.

Meanwhile, Marriott will be looking to win the title of ‘Golf Group of the Year' for the third successive year, having been nominated again along with four other golf club operators: QHotels (formerly De Vere), Exclusive Golf, De Vere Venues and Dubai Golf.

The 59Club awards' evening - sponsored this year by;; Swatkins; Methven; Felicitas Media; Tacit; Fluid Productions; Pro Shop Europe magazine; and the Midlands and North (UK) region of the Club Managers Association of Europe (CMAE) - is often labelled the ‘Oscars' of the golf service industry, and its awards are all highly prized.

Simon Wordsworth, chief executive at 59Club and a fellow of the PGA, explained: "The ceremony will once again illustrate how the 59Club awards are unique, recognising all venues, large or small, for the level of service and operational consistency they deliver throughout the year. And it's all judged objectively and quantifiably, as the results are based on real data collected throughout the year.

"The event offers a great opportunity for those within the industry to network and recognise their peers for their outstanding performance throughout 2014."

Previous 59Club award winners include The Belfry; 2010 Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor; De Vere; Wentworth; Stoke Park; Close House; and Goodwood, among many others.

A selection of other awards up for grabs include the group golf sales, membership sales and golf operation team of the year, plus a number of individual accolades to include retail, F&B and golf operation manager of the year. 59Club will also be awarding the highly valued Gold Flags, for which only six UK venues - including this year's host, Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club - managed the required standard in 2013.

The awards' evening will be the culmination of a day of seminars on the theme of ‘customer relationships'. Heading the line-up of speakers for the day are three market specialists, offering a variety of experience in different, beneficial areas: the chief operating officer at Bellerive Country Club, Missouri, Jeffrey Kreafle; Colm Hannon, the founder of the Rugby Business Network; and Felicitas Media's Nathan Sansby.

59Club, a PGA Official Supplier, is fast becoming the industry standard for measuring and comparing customer-service levels and analysing all key revenue streams for golf venues, and is committed to the on-going development of club managers and PGA professionals.

The unique benchmarking and training service has already benefited hundreds of PGA members and golf course operators. The services include a series of mystery shopper recorded-enquiry calls and live visits, followed up with regular analysis and training to ensure venues can identify trends and compare, improve, or maintain, service standards.

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