England Golf, the governing body for English amateur golf, has partnered with 59Club, Europe's leading customer service analysts and training consultants, to help create an even brighter future for the sport.
The agreement includes support for a pilot project which England Golf is running in Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Northamptonshire to trial new ways of increasing participation and club membership.
59Club's mystery testers will make telephone enquiry calls and live visits at selected clubs in each of the three counties. They will analyse customer service levels, including those offered to non-members who visit as day guests. 59Club will also gather feedback from current golf club members.
The data and feedback will be collated and analysed before a series of staff training programmes takes place, led by 59Club's team of experienced trainers.
In addition, England Golf has agreed a package for its GolfMark clubs, giving them access to 59club's customer service and sales resources at a subsidised rate. The GolfMark award recognises clubs which achieve high standards in recruitment and retention; management and sustainability; coaching and competitions; and safeguarding.
The partnership between the two organisations supports the aims of the England Golf strategic plan - Raising Our Game - which calls on all who care about the game to work together to create a brighter future for golf, including more players, more members and stronger clubs.
Richard Flint, the England Golf director of participation and club support, said: "59Club has a track record of success with individual resorts and golf clubs and many of its analysis tools - including in-depth, golf-member surveys - will prove advantageous to us as we work to grow the game.
"This partnership will allow England Golf to use club profiling to identify clubs requiring support, and also to trial 59Club's customer-service tools and mentoring."
Simon Wordsworth, chief executive at 59Club and a fellow of the PGA, added: "We are delighted to be able to make available parts of our process for the use of England Golf. Growing the game at the amateur level is essential for the whole industry moving forward, and if we can, in even a small way, play a part in making that ambition a success, we will be delighted."
59Club 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 including Wentworth, Marriott, Stoke Park and Goodwood. 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.