Singapore: Sentosa Golf Club has made significant investment into ‘safe-proofing’ the acclaimed 36-hole venue against the spread of Covid-19.
Speaking during the latest LinksAsia webinar, Andy Johnston, General Manager and Director of Agronomy at the globally-admired Singapore establishment, said health and safety of members and staff was of paramount importance.
To that end, the emphasis at the club that re-opened on June 19 after a 10-week lockdown due to the Coronavirus outbreak, has been on building an environment that instils a sense of assurance and confidence in all those who visit.
“We’ve made a big investment in making sure all of our doors are now automatic. We’ve also reduced all the touch points and purchased over 40 touchless hand sensor soap dispensers,” said Johnston, who has also devoted considerable time and energy to ensuring all of the club’s 200-strong full-time staff lead by example.
“The most important question today is health and safety. None of us can afford to have a breakaway problem, so every day we’re consumed with health and safety, making sure that we’re doing the things that are important.
“We’re in a club where everybody is wearing masks. All of our staff wear masks and we make sure we’re providing that proper freedom that people can come and go, but that we’re giving them the best health and safety possible.”
The results are apparent from the number of rounds being played. “We’re busier than ever. Everybody’s playing golf again. We saw this back in SARS time. That’s when golf became very popular in Asia and it’s kind of that way again,” said Johnston.
Despite being full to capacity with members, Johnston cautioned that the future remains uncertain on a number of levels, including if scheduled tournaments in the fourth quarter will proceed and when tourist golfers may be able to return.
He said: “I’m very concerned about the world health. I wish I had a crystal ball that we could look in and point us all into the right direction and steer us through this. There are so many different elements that are happening around the world.
“We have a very unique bubble in Singapore and we all live within the rules that are given to us. But it still creates a lot of doubt trying to plan the rest of our year. We probably have five different budgets on the table and I’m not sure which one is going to happen.
“We have some really big events that are coming up at the end of the year and I’m crossing my fingers that world health improves and those events can play out as normal. If they don’t, we have to be smart and nimble on our feet and improvise and come up with as many ways as we can to be creative and productive and think differently.
“The kind of things that we did last week, last month, last year, they’re not going to happen again for years. At one of our recent management meetings, we were running through the idea that travel, like we knew it before, may not resume for three years. Travel will start again sooner or later, but it could be three years before you get the normal travel that brings tourists to cities around the world. There’s a lot of things we’re going to have to come up with in the meantime to make everything work.”
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