‘We had 358 golfers book in one hour’

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 25, 2020 11:34

Windlesham Golf Club in Surrey hosted, on average, 235 golfers per day in its first full week after lockdown restrictions were lifted – well over double the typical figure.

Writing a weekly blog on LinkedIn about being the golf operations manager, Jack Bamford, at Windlesham Golf Management, has been detailing his experiences. These include making the online booking system work as well as possible despite huge demand to play at the venue, plus flexibility requirements surrounding how many holes golfers can play, tee time intervals and how many golfing partners players can have, plus how to create the ‘social distance pro shop’.

The online system worked so well that at one point the club booked 358 rounds of golf in one hour, and on one day more than 250 golfers played.

Sunday, May 17, 251 golfers played today! Certainly a record for Windlesham on a single day,’ he wrote.

Monday, May 18, we noticed a pattern from last week that we had a greater demand for later / evening golf, rather than early. So we shifted the tee times from 8am to 6pm – back by an hour.

‘Skype call with the golf club captain to fill him in on our thoughts and ideas on how to progress our current position of nine holes further and about re-opening the driving range.

Jack Bamford was interviewed on Sky Sports, the previous week, about the resumption of golf in England. Image from LinkedIn

Tuesday, May 19, I think 10 minute intervals between tee times could become the norm for us. Only 219 golfers today. ‘Only’.

Wednesday, May 20. We start to think about a retail solution, and how we can operate a Click and Collect service whilst also appeasing those who just want a chocolate bar, bottle of water and a sleeve of balls maybe. We re-designed the entrance to make it possible for only one person to access at a time.

‘My colleague, Richard, makes a very good observation about how to handle driving range bookings as it became clear we were putting far too much attention on one system to do the entire job. Instead, why not use our competitions and handicap system for the driving range and keep the tee time software for just the golf course? It worked a treat.

Thursday, May 21. Final touches to the ‘social distance pro shop’ with some further signage and sanitiser measures to ensure we guarantee the health and safety of our customers. Bookings go live for the driving range – thankfully this time, everything goes to plan. We have an open-space range at Windlesham, so we skip a lot of the other challenges some operators have with regards to re-opening that area of the club. Members are used to booking for tee times now, and booking for the range is no different in theory.

Friday, May 22. A total of 358 golfers booked (mostly online) in one hour. If last week was anything to go by [prior to online improvements to the booking system], this would have taken two of us approximately four hours on the phones non-stop to repeat.

‘By close of play, 38 per cent of next week’s tee times were booked, down approximately by 57 per cent on the week before but we anticipate on-the-day bookings to top this up significantly on some days.

Sunday, May 24 (after a day off). Another steady morning whilst reviewing the week past and predicting the week ahead. We averaged 235 golfers a day this week. In 2019 our average daily was under 100. The forward bookings for the week ahead are slowly easing down, although we already have just under 900 booked in for next week.’

UPDATE: In response to some questions about how the club managed to accommodate so many tee times, Windlesham re-opened with nine holes only, a two-ball restriction and two starting tees. This equates to a 244 tee time capacity per ten hours.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 25, 2020 11:34
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  1. Brian May 25, 12:23

    Intrigued how you can get 251 golfers playing when it’s only 2 balls? 6am-7pm tee times with 10 minute intervals is approx 170 players. Exaggerated massively.

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