How students could help your golf club

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 20, 2017 17:09 Updated

Could business students come up with free solutions to the issues facing your golf club? Two clubs have approached their local university for support – and the recommendations are now with their committees

Two north east England golf clubs recently decided that business students at Northumbria University might be able to help them boost profits.

Allendale Golf Club’s nine-hole course in Northumberland is situated among the hills in an area of outstanding natural beauty, while Whitley Bay Golf Club’s 18-hole course in Tyne and Wear enjoys stunning views of the coast and countryside. Each had very different reasons for seeking the input of the students.

Colin Wraith, chairman and secretary of Allendale Golf Club, with club treasurer Robin Down

For Whitley Bay Golf Club, with over 800 active members and plenty of golfers using the course, the question was mainly about how to make better use of the facilities to generate additional income, without compromising the positive experience of its loyal members and visitors.

By contrast, Allendale Golf Club has a much smaller member base of just 128 individuals and with many of them older, there were concerns over how to both maintain and increase membership levels going forward. The club is kept open mainly by the hard work of volunteers and many facilities, such as the bar in the grounds, are not fully utilised due to not having employed staff to run them.

Both called the Business Clinic at Newcastle Business School – an education scheme whereby a group of business students form a ‘consultancy firm’ to provide free advice for clients. Students are asked to analyse the problem they are presented with, consider possible solutions and provide a detailed report and full presentation of their recommendations for their client.

Two groups of four students researched each club, the facilities and current and potential usage, before considering a range of options to suit each club.

Business Clinic students with representatives of Whitley Bay GC

Colin Wraith, chairman of Allendale Golf Club, was impressed with the students’ work. “They were excellent, their work provided a great refresher for us when looking at different areas where we could potentially develop the club. Their report was very helpful, particularly their review of possible community initiatives. We’ll be sharing their findings with the general committee for discussion. Overall I have to say they were extremely professional and the whole experience has been great.”

Keith Williamson, one of the directors at Whitley Bay Golf Club, added: “The students were very easy to work with and had clearly thought about the problem we posed to them before we even met for the first time. The research they provided was thorough and very relevant and it was great to get a fresh look at our club from four non-golfers, as this provided a level of insight we would not have been able to get from our members. Their report is now with members of our committee and we’ll be looking to discuss their findings at future meetings.”

Nigel Coates, director of the Business Clinic for Northumbria University, said: “We have found that the Business Clinic is not only a great experience for our students, but a huge opportunity for organisations of all kind to get the kind of comprehensive advice they might otherwise be unable to access. We’re looking forward to supporting more businesses in the years to come.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 20, 2017 17:09 Updated
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