St Andrews, Scotland: St Andrews Links Trust will assume responsibility for the distribution of all commercial Old Course tee-times for the season commencing April, 2018.
The St Andrews Links Trustees have decided to take control of the distribution of all commercial tee-time operations and informed long-standing partners, Old Course Experience (OCE), that its existing contractual arrangement will conclude at the end of 2017.
Euan Loudon, Chief Executive, St Andrews Links, told Golf Business News: “Following a lengthy period of consideration the Trust has decided that it is the appropriate time to take control over the presentation and sale of all Old Course commercial times as well as developing and managing a closer working relationship with multiple tour operators.
“This change in emphasis will bring to a close the existing contractual arrangement which we have enjoyed with our partner, OCE, for more than 20 years. We would like to thank the entire team in St Andrews, London and New York for all their hard work, support and assistance during this time.
“This relationship has been highly successful and they have helped to enhance the visiting golfer’s experience at the Home of Golf with their commitment to customer service as well as their passion, not just for our golf courses and facilities, but the town as a whole.
“Our partnership has been beneficial to the Links and has played a significant role in transforming our landscape over the years; using some of our highly sought-after Old Course tee-times for commercial use has helped to improve the condition of our courses; assisted with the development of a number of new facilities and enhanced the reputation and renown of St Andrews to a global audience.”
Sheelagh Walker, Head of Golf Operations, OCE, said: “We are remarkably proud of what we have achieved with St Andrews Links over the past 20 years.
“Our number one priority has been, and will continue to be, to deliver the best possible experience to the thousands of guests who have visited the Home of Golf with our team.
“We fully respect and appreciate the ambition and objectives of St Andrews Links Trust in making this change. As we look towards our own future, we look forward to offering a continued quality service to golfers and we hope to enjoy a successful working relationship with the Trust for many years to come.
“We will now concentrate our efforts on planning for post-2017 arrangements and making sure that in the short-term we deliver the same quality service to every visitor booking a guaranteed Old Course tee time in 2016 and 2017.”
Loudon added: “Having enjoyed a close working relationship with the OCE team over such a long period of time we are pleased to hear that they will continue to operate beyond 2017, when we formally take control of all commercial Old Course tee-times.
“Alongside day-to-day golfing operations for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, the Trust will now undertake a significant programme of business development to ensure we deliver a robust system of commercial tee-time distribution, on a non-exclusive basis, to a broader range of tour operators for 2018. This work will focus only on commercial tee-times and will not impact on the ballot, advanced reservations or local preferential times on any of our courses.”
A period of market evaluation will now be undertaken by the Trust, which will encourage participation from golf tour operators and the wider golf tourism industry. This will take place in the first half of 2016.
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