How to make waste management cost savings at your golf club

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick August 8, 2020 12:27

Gordon Campbell explains that waste management is a surprisingly simple way for clubs to make serious financial savings.

Great managers have been making golf clubs a success for many years by doing both the business basics of income generation and cost savings while balancing committee objectives and club direction.

My industry colleague John Lawler, now the general manager at Royal Portrush, told me of the incredible savings he was able to make in waste control during his time at The Island Golf Club. In my two club management roles to date, waste management is the first and typically the easiest area to affect a cost saving in.

Here’s a quick ‘how-to’ on waste management control:

  1. Contact your current supplier and request 12 months of invoices
  2. List the main items in your bill (in my case they were general waste (black), glass (mini-green), mix recycling (green) and organic waste (brown).
  3. Create an annual billing list on these items against their associated costs or Price Per Lift (PPL).
  4. Contact other suppliers and get quotes for these four services.
  5. Using the 13-week cycle as a quarterly measure, create competitor analysis based on newly received pricing.
  6. Identifying the ‘best’ pricing, return to your original supplier and ask for better pricing, simple. Put the new pricing in your model and see the potential savings, multiply by four and you have yourself an annual saving.

Now, for the kicker…

Ask about the collection practice. At my most recent club we were under a ‘full lift’ schedule meaning that each bin was lifted each week without being checked. Hard to believe but the collection agents would come to site, access the yard and lift all our bins, be they full or empty. As bins are lifted a barcode on the side of the bin is read by an on-board scanner and thus a charge created.

Request a ‘demand led’ or ‘full bins’ only collection agreement. From January of 2020, we have operated this policy – we leave our bins at a certain point in the yard from where they can be collected. I have engaged the staff in the procedure with the kitchen responsible for the general waste bins and organic waste. The pro shop is responsible for the mixed recycling and the bar for the mixed glass. They ensure that the night before the lift (clearly printed schedules are visible in the appropriate areas) that the bins are moved to the collection point and only full bins put out.

In January 2019 our waste bill was €799.04. January 2020 our billing came in at €368.59, a 53 percent saving. The next month it was a 43 percent saving. I am looking at €3,000-plus savings this year, which is huge.

So, thanks John – taking out the trash was worth it!

Gordon Campbell is the former operations manager at Castleknock Golf Club in Dublin and founder at, a service and strategy based consultancy

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick August 8, 2020 12:27
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