John Burbergs, General Manager of Portsea Golf Club on the Mornington Peninsula, is one of the latest Club Managers to engage 59club, sharing the common goal of wanting to deliver the very best service levels and customer encounters for their members and visitors.
59club opened it’s doors to golf clubs & hospitality providers across Australia & New Zealand at the tail end of 2022; and after a successful round of trial mystery shopper audits – Portsea Golf Club is the latest club, and the first located in Victoria to officially partner with the customer service specilaists.
As part of the agreement, the golf club; including the Mercure Hotel will now benefit from the continual support and regular feedback that 59club will deliver on all elements of its golf & hospitality operation – including the properties sales process, service offering and facility management.
With a series of mystery shopper audits which include recorded enquiry calls and live visits from 59club auditors, used to evaluate the experience afforded to customers, all in accordance with 59club’s global ‘objective’ criteria and benchmarking comparison tools.
The popular holiday destination – which ranks inside Australia’s top 50 – is located less than two hours drive from Melbourne. Adding to the alure of the destination, Portsea Golf Club is also home to the Mercure Portsea Hotel, boasting panoramic views of Port Phillip Bay, catering for upmarket tourists as well as corporate events, meetings and weddings.
59club’s vision, expertise and universal intel currently supports hundreds of golf clubs, resorts and companies worldwide, with leading names such as TPC Network, Marriott Golf, Troon International, European Tour Destinations, TPC Sawgrass, Emirates Golf Club, New South Wales Golf Club, The Belfry Hotel & Resort, Gleneagles, Le Golf National and Marco Simone, all engaged in the network and reaping the rewards of elevated customer service levels & sales performance.
John Burbergs, General Manager at Portsea, said: “Portsea Golf Club is proud of its team and is striving towards offering the best golfing experience on the Mornington Peninsula, and we’re always looking at ways that we can improve the experience we afford our members and guests.
“We have been very impressed with the range of services that 59club provides, and this knowledge will give us invaluable insight and understanding to help us engage even better with golfers, helping us to analyse each part of our operation in detail, and the process will identify areas that require our focus”.
Sam Hughes, General Manager of 59club Australia & New Zealand, commented: “The partnership between 59club and Portsea comes at a perfect time as the Club approaches its 100-year anniversary in 2026. We are eager to support John and the team to deliver a service level that not only compliments the quality of the golf course and facilities, but also rivals the best in the 59club global community.”
59club MEA & Asia brought the Golf & Hospitality Industry together on Thursday 8th March to celebrate elite standards of customer service excellence, as their annual awards event descended on JA Resorts, Dubai.
Festivities began with a round of educational and networking opportunities both on-and-off the course, before the evening celebrations paid tribute to the best performing properties within 59club’s mystery shopper programme of 2022.
59club’s coveted Gold, Silver and Bronze Flag awards were presented to nineteen properties across the Middle East, Africa & Asia for having achieved the required standard of customer service as well as providing the finest facilities and services for their customers enjoyment, as independently adjudicated by 59club’s comprehensive benchmarking system.
Emirates Golf Club received the highest of those accolades on the night – the Ultimate Service Excellence Award for their leading performance within the Gold Flag Designations. They also saw their F&B department awarded the team of the year title, a triumph that Mark Bull, 59club MEA Director previously revealed had seen Emirates’ CX performance across the F&B department rise by 5% and the overall golf operation up by as much as 6% over the past 12 months.
Cian Hurley, Director of Golf at Emirates Golf Club said of the awards, “We are delighted to have won the 59club Ultimate Service Award here at Emirates golf club. This is a true reflection of the overall team effort that goes into reaching and attaining the level of service standard we aim for. Working alongside the team at 59club has helped us to realise this achievement, the support provided is invaluable to us.”
Those properties achieving Gold Flag Designations on the night were: Abu Dhabi City GC; Al Hamra Golf Club; Dubai Creek; Dubai Hills Golf Club; Els Club, Dubai; Emirates Golf Club; Jumeirah Golf Estates; Trump International Golf Club; Yas Acres Golf & Country Club; Yas Links, Abu Dhabi.
Meanwhile six Silver Flag Designations were awarded to Al Zorah Golf Club; Arabian Ranches; Bryanston Country Club; Meydan Golf; Montgomerie Golf Club, Dubai and Vattanac Golf Resort. With Aquella Golf & Country Club; Riverdale Golf Club and Thana City Country Club claiming Bronze Flag Status.
Further celebrations were realised for Abu Dhabi City Golf Club, after they took the double crown having seen both their Retail & Membership departments awarded 2022 team of the year titles.
Rhian Lobo, General Manager, “We’re thrilled to win best Membership sales team, best retail store and reach the 59club Gold Flag award. Congratulations to the entire team for providing exceptional customer experience standards throughout the facility.”
Trump International Golf Club, Dubai became the my59 Ultimate Service Excellence Award heroes, an honour they have retained for the fourth consecutive year, having consistently demonstrated their commitment to regularly analyse and advance their customer service levels using a wealth of satisfaction surveys.
As proceedings unfolded, first time 59club champions Yas Acres Golf & Country Club took to the stage – having only enlisted the customer service specialists’ services the previous year, proving they are true professionals when it comes to service excellence – having been awarded Agronomy Team of the Year for their consistency on the golf course.
Saadiyat Beach Golf Club also had reason to celebrate after seeing their team claim the enviable Golf Operations Team of the year award.
Meanwhile, 59club Asia saw success from two newcomers to the 59club community: with Aquella Golf & Country Club claiming a Flag Designation and both the Retail, and F&B Team of the year accolade.
Speaking of their Bronze Flag Designation and their multiple team of the year successes in what is their first 59club Service Excellence Awards Ceremony; Brian Gibson, General manager of Aquella Golf & Country Club said; “Working with 59club Asia has helped our team achieve the service levels required and elevate Aquella G&CC to be one of the top golfing destinations in Thailand, benchmarking Aquella G&CC against the top clubs & resorts in the world allows the team to focus on the guest experience and continue to exceed customer expectations. The on-site training provided by 59club Asia has been instrumental in our success, the team members are more engaged as a result of the tailored and detailed training sessions delivered by 59club Asia associates, not only are our team consistently delivering a great experience, as individuals the 59club Asia training helps develop and shape their career, providing vital guidance and development”
Renowned Riverdale Golf Club celebrated being awarded Bronze flag designation, having worked tirelessly with their team to develop member and guest experience following the significant challenges Asia experienced during the pandemic, achieving this awards testament to the teams dedication to Excellence.
The same can be said for Thana City Country Club who also celebrated achieving Bronze flag status, Thana City was especially pleased to be recognised after investment saw them rebuild their greens 18 months ago which has been lauded in the region, as they continue to drive customer experience and focus on attaining Golf flag status.
And finally, Vattanac Golf Resort also proved that standards at the Cambodian resort are amongst the highest in Asia, after they scooped 59club’s Golf Operation Team of the year title, and their greens department won Asia’s Agronomy Team of the year award for consistently delivering a well-defined and presented golf course of the highest standard.
Of the annual hallmark event in the golf & hospitality business community, Mark Bull 59club MEA Director said “It was our pleasure to gather the Industry together at JA Resorts for a celebration of the Industry success across MEA & Asia. Congratulations to all winning clubs and managers. We are already looking forward to making the 2024 awards a bigger and better event for all.”
Araya Singhsuwan 59club Asia Director, commenting on the success of the annual event; “We are immensely proud of all our nominees and winners this year, everybody has tirelessly dedicated themselves, not only to deliver above and beyond excellence, but to do better and achieve the best in both their personal and professional lives. It is inspiring, and we are very happy and proud to see their achievements. Once again, congratulations to all, and we will continue to support all of our clubs on their journey”
59CLUB MEA & ASIA ‘SERVICE EXCELLENCE’ AWARD WINNERS (in alphabetical order):
Ultimate Service Excellence Award: Emirates Golf Club;
Gold Flag Designations: Abu Dhabi City GC; Al Hamra Golf Club; Dubai Creek; Dubai Hills Golf Club; Els Club, Dubai; Emirates Golf Club; Jumeirah Golf Estates; Trump International Golf Club; Yas Acres Golf & Country Club; Yas Links, Abu Dhabi.
Silver Flag Designations: Al Zorah Golf Club; Arabian Ranches; Bryanston Country Club; Meydan Golf; Montgomerie Golf Club, Dubai and Vattanac Golf Resort.
Bronze Flag Designations: Aquella Golf & Country Club; Riverdale Golf Club and Thana City Country Club
Golf Operations Team of the Year: Saadiyat Beach Golf Club & Vattanac Golf Resort
Agronomy Team of the Year: Yas Acres Golf & Country Club & Vattanac Golf Resort
Golf Retail Team of the Year: Abu Dhabi City Golf Club & Aquella Golf & Country Club
Food & Beverage Team of the Year: Emirates Golf Club & Aquella Golf & Country Club
Golf Membership Sales Team of the Year: Abu Dhabi City Golf Club
My59 Ultimate Service Excellence Award: Trump International Golf Club, Dubai
Many of the UK and Europe’s leading Venues, Teams and Individuals were in attendance as 59club recognised those who delivered the very best service to their Members and Guests during 2022 at their Annual celebration of Service Excellence, which this year took place at The Hilton, St George’s Park on Thursday 2nd of March.
Delegates enjoyed educational seminars during the day, which included Olympic Gold Medal winner and now Head of Performance for the League Managers Association, Tim Foster MBE; Bestselling author of “The Habit Mechanic” and founder of Tougher Minds Consultancy, Dr Jon Finn; and former Manchester United Captain and Premier League winner, Steve Bruce.
As day moved to evening; host for the evening, seasoned presenter, Vernon Kay opened the glittering awards ceremony that has long been regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the golf & hospitality industry, since 59club’s honours list began some 13 years ago.
The event recognises the finest customer service providers for having achieved the highest standards of excellence across 2022. 59club’s accolades are determined by scores collected from their impartial mystery shopping audits, which evaluate the experience afforded to guests, club members and prospective members, in accordance with 59club’s objective benchmarking criteria.
On the night, 59club saw their UK & Southern European teams present 38 individual & team awards spanning 18 categories, recognising ‘service excellence’ across all areas of the businesses; sales, service, operations, retail, spa, golf course, food & beverage and management. With 59club continuing to reflect the very best performances, regardless of a venue’s size, scale or profile, by segmenting several individual accolades into 3 categories, based on a venue’s average green fee rate.
Of this year’s awards, Will Hewitt, General Manager of 59club UK, commented; “With a growth of over 20% in the number of venues taking our services, an award nomination this year represented an outstanding achievement across a number of hugely competitive categories.
59club awards are based on an objective analysis of the service provided at a venue, therefore recognising the venues, teams and individuals who truly do deliver world class service on a consistent basis”.
The Grove and Belvoir Park Golf Club collected the highest prized awards of the evening – Ultimate Golf Resort and Ultimate Members’ Club respectively. Both venues also achieved multiple individual and team successes; with Brad Gould and his team at The Grove collecting the enviable Golf Manager and Golf Operations Team of the Year titles (>£130 green fee category); with Alice Kozlowski adding the Leading Individual Golf Sales Performance award to The Grove’s trophy cabinet.
Belvoir Park’s celebrations continued long into the night with both Aaron Small and Stuart McDonald having been crowned Greenkeeper and F&B Manager of the Year, before rounding off the evening with the forementioned Ultimate Members’ Club Designation.
Another club seeing multiple successes was Long Ashton, who scooped Golf Manager of the Year for departing GM, Gareth Morgan; F&B Manager of the Year for a 4th consecutive year for Glenn McNaughton; Golf Operations Team of the Year; and also a coveted Gold Flag Designation. In addition to this they also claimed the Ultimate Service Excellence Award for their fantastic efforts in utilising survey data to enhance their service offering.
Both Finca Cortesin and Branston Golf Club received a double dose of crystalware after Rocio Sanchez was crowned 59club Europe South’s Golf Manager of the year; and their Golf Operations Department claimed the Team of the Year accolade. Meanwhile Branston celebrated with a my59 Service Excellence Award; and a second victory after claiming Leisure Membership Sales Team of the year.
The Awards became a landmark moment for Matt Aplin, Golf Course Manager at Goring and Streatley, who has now retained the title of Greenkeeper of the Year for an incredible 5th consecutive year – an outstanding achievement given the quality of those competing in this category.
Alcanada, Camiral Golf & Wellness and Golf Son Muntaner were flying the flag for Spain, having each secured Gold Flag Designations. Marta Castells (Camiral) claimed victory in the Food & Beverage Category, while Paco Gavira (Son Muntaner) was crowned the regions Greenkeeper of the Year.
In Portugal, Quinta do Lago continue to lead the way by also securing a coveted Gold Flag, and in Italy, Royal Park I Roveri celebrated with a Silver Flag, and again as Fabio Vido claimed Retail Manager of the Year.
Lee Mathew Waggott, General Manager59club Europe South said; “Celebrating success is a key pillar of what we believe in and promote within 59club. Our venues across Europe South not only continue to deliver memorable experiences but are always striving to continue to develop their journeys by searching for those extra 1%’s day in and day out.
“In an extremely competitive landscape to receive a nomination and claim an award is a wonderful achievement, and the ability to share this recognition with individuals and teams across the property is incredibly important. We are extremely excited about the season ahead and welcoming even more forward-thinking & progressive properties into our Awards next year.”
Celebrations continued into the night, as 59club’s Industry Benchmark of excellence, it’s Gold, Silver and Bronze Flag Designations, were announced. These highly prized accolades recognise member clubs’ and resorts that provide excellent facilities for golfers to enjoy, as well as having achieved the required standard of customer service throughout 2022.
This year, 59club presented 28 ‘Gold Flags’. The deserving winners were: Belvoir Park Golf Club; Camiral Golf & Wellness; Celtic Manor Resort; Club de Golf Alcanada; Delta Hotels by Marriott, Forest of Arden Country Club; Dunbar Golf Club; Edgbaston Golf Club; Finca Cortesin; Foxhills Club & Resort; Frilford Heath Golf Club; Gleneagles; Golf at Goodwood; Golf Son Muntaner; Gullane Golf Club; Hanbury Manor, Marriott Hotel & Country Club; Harpenden Golf Club; JCB Golf & Country Club; Long Ashton Golf Club; Mount Juliet Estate; Panmure Golf Club; Quinta do Lago; Rockliffe Hall; Royal Dublin Golf Club; Royal Dornoch Golf Club; The Belfry Hotel & Resort; The Grove; The London Club and The Mere Golf Resort & Spa.
17 ‘Silver Flags’ went to; Barnham Broom; Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort; Branston Golf & Country Club; Carton House; Cameron House; Clevedon Golf Club; Infinitum; Ladybank Golf Club; La Moye Golf Club; North Foreland Golf Club; QHotels Collection, Slaley Hall Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort; QHotels Collection, Belton Woods Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort; Royal Park I Roveri; Slieve Russell; St Mellion; The Kendleshire and West Herts Golf Club.
And a further 15 “Bronze Flag” Awards were presented to; Conwy Golf Club; Delta Hotels by Marriott, Worsley Park Country Club; Golf Son Quint; Golf Son Vida; Goring & Streatley Golf Club; Hickleton Golf Club; Newport Golf Club; Pula Golf Resort; Teignmouth Golf Club; The Astbury; The Bristol Golf Club; The Vale Resort; Vale Royal Abbey Golf Club; Woodsome Hall Golf Club and Wychwood Park.
Gold Flag Designations 2023: Belvoir Park Golf Club; Camiral Golf & Wellness; Celtic Manor Resort; Club de Golf Alcanada; Delta Hotels by Marriott, Forest of Arden Country Club; Dunbar Golf Club; Edgbaston Golf Club; Finca Cortesin; Foxhills Club & Resort; Frilford Heath Golf Club; Gleneagles; Golf at Goodwood; Golf Son Muntaner; Gullane Golf Club; Hanbury Manor, Marriott Hotel & Country Club; Harpenden Golf Club; JCB Golf & Country Club; Long Ashton Golf Club; Mount Juliet Estate; Panmure Golf Club; Quinta do Lago; Rockliffe Hall; Royal Dublin Golf Club; Royal Dornoch Golf Club; The Belfry Hotel & Resort; The Grove; The London Club and The Mere Golf Resort & Spa.
Silver Flag Designations 2023: Barnham Broom; Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort; Branston Golf & Country Club; Carton House; Cameron House; Clevedon Golf Club; Infinitum; Ladybank Golf Club; La Moye Golf Club; North Foreland Golf Club; QHotels Collection, Slaley Hall Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort; QHotels Collection, Belton Woods Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort; Royal Park I Roveri; Slieve Russell; St Mellion; The Kendleshire and West Herts Golf Club.
Bronze Flag Designations 2023: Conwy Golf Club; Delta Hotels by Marriott, Worsley Park Country Club; Golf Son Quint; Golf Son Vida; Goring & Streatley Golf Club; Hickleton Golf Club; Newport Golf Club; Pula Golf Resort; Teignmouth Golf Club; The Astbury; The Bristol Golf Club; The Vale Resort; Vale Royal Abbey Golf Club; Woodsome Hall Golf Club and Wychwood Park.
Golf Manager of the Year (59club UK)
Brad Gould (The Grove) Over £131 Green-Fee
Sean Graham (Foxhills Club & Resort) £61-£130 Green-Fee
Gareth Morgan (Long Ashton GC) Under £61 Green-Fee
Golf Manager of the Year (59club Europe South)
Rocio Sanchez (Finca Cortesin)
Food & Beverage Manager of the Year (59club UK)
Jacques Hobson (The Belfry Hotel & Resort) Over £131 Green-Fee
Stuart McDonald (Belvoir Park GC) £61-£130 Green-Fee
Glenn McNaughton (Long Ashton GC) Under £61 Green-Fee
Food & Beverage Manager of the Year (59club Europe South)
Marta Castells (Camiral Golf & Wellness)
Golf Retail Manager of the Year (59club UK)
Russell McIntyre (Gullane GC) Over £131 Green-Fee
Andrew Crerar (Panmure GC) £61-£130 Green-Fee
Ryan Crowley (Clevedon GC) Under £61 Green-Fee
Golf Retail Manager of the Year (59club Europe South)
Fabio Vido (Royal Park Roveri)
Greenkeeper of the Year (59club UK)
Scott Fenwick (Gleneagles) Over £131 Green-Fee
Aaron Small (Belvoir Park GC) £61-£130 Green-Fee
Matt Aplin (Goring & Streatley GC) Under £61 Green-Fee
Greenkeeper of the Year(59club Europe South)
Paco Gavira (Son Muntaner)
Golf Operations Team of the Year (59club UK)
The Grove (Over £131 Green-Fee)
Delta Hotels Forest of Arden Country Club (Arden Course) (£61-£130 Green-Fee)
Long Ashton GC (Under £61 Green-Fee)
Golf Operations Team of the Year (59club Europe South)
my59 Service Excellence: Stoke by Nayland; Celtic Manor Resort; Branston Golf & Country Club; Edgbaston Golf Club; Radyr Golf Club; Farleigh Golf Club; The Vale Resort; Rockliffe Hall
my59 Ultimate Service Excellence
Long Ashton GC
Leading Individual Golf Sales Performance
Alice Kozlowski (The Grove)
Leading Individual Golf Membership Sales Performance
Philomena Wilkinson (Delta Hotels Forest of Arden Country Club)
Golf Membership Sales Team of the Year
The Mere Golf Resort & Spa
Leading Individual Leisure Membership Sales Performance
James Flesher (Dunston Hall – Q Hotels Collection)
Leisure Membership Sales Team of the Year
Branston Golf & Country Club
Leading Spa Experience Performance
Leading Individual Corporate Golf Day Sales Performance