Prior to 2014, a Committee of Management was responsible for administering the Rosebud Park and Recreation Reserve inclusive of an 18 hole golf course. With the golf industry becoming highly competitive and a move in locations by the resident club Carrington Park to a nearby privately owned golf course, the Committee made the decision to release an Expression of Interest (EOI) to operate and maintain the golf course. The objective of the EOI was to attract a professional organisation with a proven track record of both building and administering successful golf businesses.
At the conclusion of the Expression of Interest process, August 2014, Golf Services Management (GSM) won the rights to a long term lease of the venue. GSM’s immediate goals were the re-establishment of visitation levels at the venue, the strengthening of secondary sales streams and to provide an improved facility and experience for both golfers and casual visitors to the parklands through capital investment programs.
In 2014, capital programs were initiated providing a course machinery fleet upgrade, the establishment of a motorised golf cart fleet numbering 20 vehicles and the extension and refurbishment of the clubhouse and pro shop building. The building works provided an al fresco decking area, increased retail sale floorspace and a cafe area for 80 persons. A liquor licence was successfully obtained allowing the café to serve alcohol in conjunction with a menu of light snacks and coffee.
GSM rebuilt the depleted in-house grounds maintenance department providing a level of resources to establish the course playing surfaces to a higher level than the average golfer would expect for the green fee outlaid. A reliance on recycled water as the sole irrigation source meant that over the years a deterioration of soil quality had been experienced and a restoration project through an ongoing healthy chemical budget is achieving ongoing improvements in soil and plant health.
The results to date are testament to our grounds team producing a quality playing surface that is consistently presented and a clubhouse team that provides a warm welcome. The venue continues to gain recognition amongst the general golfing public with the majority of first time players acknowledging the course condition and the value for money they have received.
Golf Services Management (GSM) were appointed to this short-term contract (2015 – 2017) by the PASK Group to manage the Kingston Links Golf Course and Function Centre in its wind down phase given the property had been re-zoned for residential development. The contract conditions provided an expectation that GSM in the role of venue manager would deliver an operational cash positive result through the wind down period.
GSM’s track record of sustaining a high level of operation at the Amstel Park Course in the face of persistent rumours of the course closing-down and market doubts as to the quality of course presentation over a period of five years was the reason the PASK Group sought out the services of GSM.
An integral component to successfully achieve the contract expectation was positive marketing and promotion to assure the golfing public that the quality of the venue would not be compromised due to the pending closure. A strong focus was the venue being ranked the number one public access golf course in the metropolitan area and the challenge it provided for players of all abilities. The support that was generated through our database libraries was a major factor in a number of successful marketing programmes.
The business segment incorporating function room hire, food and beverage services was rationalised with the focus on attracting sales streams that coincided with the golf course operational hours (dawn to dusk). Our target was the corporate sector with marketing emphasising a range of product options that aligned to training organisations, corporate meetings and small conventions / trade shows. Over the period of the contract GSM successfully grew this business segment by 30%.
GSM completed a 30 month engagement having successfully implemented a business plan that delivered an operational cash surplus to the stakeholder.
One of Victoria’s premier municipally owned golf courses and practice facilities.
In 2009, Golf Services Management (GSM) won the tender to provide golf operation services at the venue. The immediate focus was to present Council a business case supporting the upgrade of the driving range which at the contract commencement consisted of a poorly grassed surface, sub standard hitting mats and manually based ball sales. The strong business case presentation resulted in a capital works program that 12 months later, driven by a strong marketing campaign to the local community, produced a volume usage increase of 31% on the driving range. The investment payback for the Council was less than two years.
The ongoing success of GSM meeting KPI criteria with either a financial and intrinsic measurement has resulted in three successful tenders for this contract. GSM’s success in winning successive contracts is related to:
- maintaining visitation levels that report less deviation from historic numbers than the industry average,
- continued growth of the driving range business,
- strong retail performances,
- impeccable customer service,
- a high rating in customer surveys conducted by independent 3rd parties,
- the continued growth in registrations in programmes aimed at schools and junior golfers,
- a transparent and close working relationship with all organisations related to the venue.
The City of Whitehorse is in the process of implementing a significant capital expenditure program to refurbish and add services to the venue and GSM are working closely with the stakeholder as part of this process. This process is aimed at improving service levels for traditional golf activity, the demand for shorter versions of the game, improved and more extensive practice facilities and developing a higher level of interest to junior players through the introduction of adventure golf. The establishment of a café area to service a higher quality food and beverage presentation is an integral component in the development program.
The golf course was established by the developer as part of the Peregian Springs housing estate development and had been under the operational management of the Peregian Springs Golf Club for a period of 14 years, in July 2016 the Club was placed into receivership and the course and clubhouse ceased to operate.
The Owner sought expressions of interest for the operation or purchase of the venue and in November 2016 GSM won the rights to a 10-year lease. The terms of the lease hold GSM responsible for the administration of the venue and the provision of services in golf and driving range operations, food and beverage from multiple bars and coaching as well as controlling golf course maintenance.
A significant capital investment was required upon commencement of the lease to replace plant and equipment in all areas given that the receiver managers had liquidated all the assets owned by Peregian Springs Golf Club.
In the period of the lease to date GSM have established a business that boasts consistently high levels of course presentation and customer service. The establishment of season pass playing rights has led to establishing a resident Club on the course with a strong base of over 400 players. A substantial financial allocation to marketing campaigns across a range of media channels and platforms linking the venue to an ‘All Welcome’ tagline has provided positive results in capturing a growing share of the tourism golfer and ongoing sales growth from green fee users now able to access the course 7 days a week with no time restrictions.
To date GSM have been successful in establishing a cash positive operation in a business from a failed model that had historically operated in a cash negative position over 14 years. The key to success so far is that GSM have been able to plan and implement a business model that provides a cost effective operation while delivering services that meet the expectations of a diverse group of customers.
The rise from the ashes that Peregian Golf Course has experienced is testament to the ability of GSM’s management group to identify opportunities, create workable business models and plans, implement and manage sound business practices.
GSM’s association with Amstel Golf Club commenced with the provision of golf operation services at the Amstel Golf Course in 1987.
In the late 90’s GSM worked closely with the Club’s Board and management in the planning of a second 18 hole course to provide members a wider golf experience. In 2002 Ranfurlie Golf Course was opened and GSM was awarded the contract of managing the golf operations at both venues.
With the opening of the Ranfurlie Golf Course an opportunity to establish a revenue stream from public golfers utilising vacant tee times at the Amstel Park Course was identified. GSM were charged with the responsibility of marketing Amstel Park to the wider golf market and within two years had established a visitation level far in excess of KPI targets.
The rezoning of the land that situated the Amstel Park Golf Course within the urban growth corridor resulted in the Club formulating a longer term plan to sell the land for development to provide a significant capital base to fund improvements of the Club’s offering to members.
In 2015, the sale was concluded and the Amstel Board of Management in a restructure of the Clubs administration appointed GSM as its Corporate General Manager to oversee the Ranfurlie Golf Course inclusive of Clubhouse and Driving Range operations.
A progressive and proactive Board of Management, with an open mind towards reinvigorating its golf offering through a more open minded and modern approach, empowered GSM to lead the development of a driving range and clubhouse facility that fulfilled the needs of members while allowing public access.
The development of a state-of-the-art driving range and sports bar has experienced immediate success and created a strong revenue stream as a result of being public access. This in turn has led to a growing awareness of the quality of Ranfurlie Golf Course to a new user demographic. In conjunction with the development, GSM recommended the introduction of a wider variety of golf membership options that would better suit the new user group. In 2018/19, golf club membership grew by 250, a remarkable result, far in excess of industry benchmarking.
GSM envisioned and project managed the Ranfurlie Range which commenced operation in February 2018.
With GSM’s appointment as the Corporate General Manager of the Ranfurlie facility in 2015, the Amstel Board entrusted GSM with the task of breathing fresh life into the venue, which at the time was very much centred around the traditional golfer archetype.
GSM etched out an all-encompassing plan to develop a facility to engage the interest of a greater proportion of the local community in one of the state’s fastest growing urban corridors.
With wider inclusivity being at the forefront, it was identified that a heightened focus on fun, hospitality and non-conventional golf formats were fundamental purposes in the Range’s design. The result is a facility that boasts 16 bays, 2 premium rooms with 2 bays in each, a new cafe and bar facility, new practice putting green and an outdoor al fresco area. The premium bays include auto-tee up systems, unlimited golf balls, TVs serviced with Foxtel, personalised bar and food service plus more.
The launch of the range in 2018 was planned rigorously and executed enthusiastically, marking a significant milestone for the club. Fast forward to today and the ensuing results are reflected in the golf club amassing an extraordinary 250 new members in the first 18 months of operation, making it the fastest growing membership in Australia. Visitations and revenue levels across all business segments continue to go from strength to strength, well in advance of KPI targets.
Further development plans for this landmark facility is underway with more ambitious components to be added to further strengthen the Range’s reputation as one of the most unique and dynamic facilities in the country.
GSM were instrumental in the re-birth of this once exclusive private golf course situated in the Cups Region of Australia’s premier golf destination.
Our first involvement was on a consultancy basis for a group of buyers who were in negotiation with the property’s receiver managers. The purchase did not go through due to the poor condition of the golf course and the fact there was no existing trading business. GSM identified these negatives as an opportunity and approached the receiver managers with a business case to open a public access golf course given that the property had been on the market over 2 years. The business case included an operational model whereby GSM would be responsible for the reinstatement of the golf course, marketing the launch, implementing and managing the operational services. The short-term objective of the business case was to assist in the sale of the property and therefore an expectation of the contract was that GSM worked actively to secure a buyer for the property.
From a zero revenue base, GSM through vigorous marketing and the establishment of partner networks, created a financial structure based on over 20,000 rounds per annum within the first 12 months of operation. Supporting revenue streams from retail sales, cart hire, food and beverage services all exceeded the business case expectations. The success of GSM’s public golf course initiative culminated in the sale of the property to an investor with no prior experience in golf facilities. A condition of sale was that GSM take a short-term minor stake holding and lease on the property, as surety that GSM were committed to establishing the property as a long-term profitable golf facility.
In conjunction with maintaining a profitable operational model for the golf facility, GSM management work closely with the owner in the development of the resort property in its entirety which when completed will potentially include apartments/golf lodges, restaurant, boutique hotel and a hot spring bathing facility.
Currently St Andrews is ranked 13th in Golf Australia top 100 in Australia and is the highest ranked public access on the mainland with the only public access courses ranked more highly being Ocean Dunes, Barnbougle Lost Farm, Cape Wickham Links and Barnbougle Dunes.
GSM continually attain our KPI’s a statement that is supported by a 10 year association with the venue under contractual arrangements that have been reviewed on three occasions.
The ongoing success of this venue is testament to the marketing ability of GSM to attract new business as the majority of visitations are of a once off nature driven primarily from the course being situated in a strong tourism region. Approximately 25% of the annual visitations are from repeat customers many of whom are disenchanted club members who opted to take up GSM’s ground breaking Lifestyle playing arrangement which was firmly established at St Andrews some 5 years before a general industry uptake.