Friday, August 07, 2009
In the British Isles "private" golf clubs imply they have a membership. In the U.S., a club that is designated as private probably restricts access to the course and facilities to members only. The British "private" does not, indeed most "private" courses in the British Isles welcome and are somewhat reliant on visitors for revenue.
I played at the Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach recently. The previous round was in 1984. Who needs repeat guests like me! The Dunes Club is probably one of the nicest facilities in Myrtle Beach and certainly one of the oldest. The clubhouse is on the beach and a great spot to have a drink or dinner. The course most recently hosted the Senior Tour Championship a few years ago. They have a manned security gate to protect their members from the outside world. The set up is typically that of a private club.
The twist to the story is that the Dunes Club accepts outside play. If you are a resident at one of 4 or 5 hotels you have the opportunity to play the Dunes Club on the hotels membership at a healthy greens fee. The members apparently accept this arrangement as the revenue infusion more than offsets any annoyance at unrepaired ball marks or slow play from non members. If the Dunes Club were located in virtually any other part of the U.S. the members would be appalled at this outside play...but this is Myrtle Beach and the way things are done. Which just goes to confirm you are a product of your environment.
I had not realized before how similar Myrtle Beach golf is to British golf!
Monday, July 20, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Images of this beautiful vessel are available at: http://www.harmonyyachtclub.com/virtual-tours/
We shall be announcing specific programs in the near future. During these challenging times it is always particularly rewarding to be able to introduce new travel opportunities to our many clients.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I expect to see 5 - 10% of golf/country clubs go bankrupt over the next 24 months in the USA. The fundamental model for many of them is flawed. Society has changed and golf is one of the current losers in the shake-up. Various ideas have been discussed...but one thing is for sure...there are no easy answers or quick fixes. Indeed, there is no cookie cutter solution...every club has it's own unique challenges and solutions.
Leisurecorp from Dubai who recently purchased Turnberry Hotel in Scotland are in the midst of a $50Million refurbishment. Recent reports suggest even Leisurecorp are under pressure to perform...no one is immune.
As the travel press has reported incessently, value added travel offers are everywhere. Availability has never been better and suppliers are working tirelessly to ensure memorable trips. The challenge is that even if trips were free, travelers will not have the confidence to travel if they feel they may not have a job or a business to return to. Lack of confidence.
We need a few weeks of sustained decent news...not great, but a material change from the depressing articles we currently see, hear & read on a daily basis.
The golf travel industry just needs Tiger to win the Masters and the U.S. Open, ideally both events by wide margins...and then off to Scotland he goes with a vast entourage in tow to see history unfold. If only it were all so easy!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Since the New Year we are witnessing some very early indications that some of this may be occurring. For the prospective international golf traveler there truly has never been a better time to buy a foreign trip; availability is excellent; suppliers are providing some value added incentives and the exchange rate is generally more favorable today than it was a few months ago.
An emblematic sign of the times in southern Spain; an unnamed, exclusive club which has accepted visitors on a limited basis for many years has dropped green fees by 40% while opening up access significantly.
On the air travel side, premium international travel has been affected by a decline in corporate travel and as a result it has probably never been cheaper, with good availability, to purchase discounted First & Business Class travel.
These cycles are just part of the normal economic ebb & flow and are inherently good as it tightens up businesses that possibly were getting overstaffed or delivering poor service. I know from personal experience that as a company, we have been innovating with various changes to our business practises and also redoubling our efforts to develop compelling travel opportunities. We also have been working to create messaging and communications which are as attractive as possible to potential travelers.
On the supplier front, we are excited about seeing Turnberry Hotel reopen after their extensive renovations & refurbishment this winter. Turnberry was acquired by a Dubai based company in 2008 and have closed the golf course and hotel over the winter as they prepare for the 2009 Open Championship. The hotel is being rebranded as a Luxury Collection property within Starwood (an upgrade from Westin) when it reopens this coming summer.
Also in Scotland we have course openings at Castle Stuart (near Inverness) and Machrahanish Bay which will both add tremendously to the golfing landscape in their respective regions.
All in all, a wonderful time to travel if you have the ability to make the trip.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Historically we have seen "golf inflation" increase in some areas at a far greater rate than inflation calculated with more of the staples of life. Golf inflation being defined as the increase of green fee rates.
Therefore, as we hit this speedbump in the world economy and the impact of this slowly works through various sectors, it is heartening to see suppliers take the lead in holding prices for the 2009 season, even as their costs increase. The latest, and highest profile announcement is that of the St. Andrews Links Trust who manage the Old Course, St. Andrews are leaving their green fees unchanged for the 2009 season. This is welcome news and while the actions of one supplier will not change the underlying challenges in our business, we hope that others join in and make a similar statement. We have previously been advised by a number of hotels they are maintaining 2008 prices for travel in 2009...great news as these companies understand, as the Links Trust does, the need for a concerted effort to reinvigorate golf travel to the British Isles.