Department Heads Offer Serapong Helping Hand

Andy Johnston (front centre) with the Sentosa Golf Club management team.

Singapore: Unusual times call for unusual measures. And so it’s proved at Sentosa Golf Club where Heads of Department (HOD) have graciously chipped in to assist in an unfamiliar role.

Going above and beyond the call of duty, a number of the club’s HODs rolled up their sleeves to assist with on-going renovations to the Serapong Course.

“A lot of people probably don’t realise that we’ve been under renovation on our Serapong Course during this timeframe,” said Andy Johnston, Sentosa’s General Manager and Director of Agronomy, speaking during the latest LinksAsia webinar.

With a large proportion of the course-building contractor’s employees in quarantine during the Covid-19 pandemic, Sentosa staff, led by HODs, volunteered their services, enabling work on the project to proceed at a good pace.

Johnston said: “We’ve self-performed some of the work. We actually did some of the shaping and sea-bed preparation and we had Heads of Department coming in and helping lay grass.

“I can’t think of many clubs around the world where you would see your Executive Chef, your F&B Manager, Director of Golf and Director of Corporate Services right in there, elbow-to-elbow with everybody else laying grass down on every fairway. With their help, we got almost nine holes completed during that timeframe. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Johnston also praised Sentosa’s members for their support of part-time staff. “I’m proud of the fact that our membership looked at people that aren’t full-time – our caddies and some of our other part-timers. They’ve gone around and done their own little collection to help them financially. So, we’ve had a real positive out of this.”

Prior to the re-opening of the club’s facilities on June 19 following a 2½-month lockdown, Sentosa Golf Club produced a Member Handbook.

Johnston said: “The handbook provided all the safe entry information that members needed to know coming back to the club – where do you change, how do you check-in. Everything’s different.

“Now we have a single point of entry. Before, you could come into our club from dozens of different entries, but now there’s only one. The handbook provided all that safe information and helped us connect back with our members so they knew the process.

“We restricted public access so for the first two months it was only member play. We’re just now allowing members to bring guests and quite honestly we’re as busy as we’ve ever been. Every day is like a Saturday. That’s because of the fact that travel is restricted, everybody is still at home, a lot of people still aren’t going to the office so they’re using the club every day. Making the environment safe and ensuring we fit within the guidelines we’re allowed was really important.”

Joining Johnston in the webinar discussion on Social KPIs: The Engines of Loyalty in Club Management were Gregg Patterson, Founder, Tribal Magic!, and Jim Prusa, Director, Golf Courses & Laboratory at Korea’s Sky 72. The session was moderated by Kate Burton.

Johnston followed Karen Proctor (Regional Sales Director, APAC – Textron Specialized Vehicles) as the second Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) Board Member to participate in the LinksAsia series. AGIF Chief Executive Officer Eric Lynge was a panellist on the first webinar.

Other representatives from AGIF member clubs and organisations who have taken part in LinksAsia webinars are Rick Blackie (General Manager, Sutera Harbour Marina Golf & Country Club), John Blanch (General Manager, Thai Country Club), Cho Minn Thant (Chief Executive Officer, Asian Tour), Simon Mees (General Manager, KN Golf Links) and Mark Siegel (Managing Director, Golfasian).

*To view the webinar, please visit: LinksAsia_SocialKPIs_Webinar

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