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How Landscapes Golf Management Adapted to the Challenges of COVID-19

Posted by Ryan Segal on March 30, 2020

Adapting to Change

As COVID-19 started to have a bigger impact across the United States, Scot Wellman, Director of Marketing and the rest of his team at Landscapes Golf Management knew they had to take action. With government legislation permitting the continuation of golf operations in most of their operating regions, certain policies and precautions needed to be introduced to ensure the safety of not only their golfers but their staff as well. Being an MCO with just under 50 facilities owned or operated by Landscapes Golf Management, there was a difficult challenge to balance new government policy as well as new ideas that would help put their golfers and staff at ease while still allowing everyone to enjoy their rounds of golf.

Landscapes Golf Management took the approach of implementing  MCO-wide policies that they expected all of their open facilities to adhere to while also allowing individual courses to add additional policies to their specific situation as they saw fit. These additional course-specific policies have since turned into a thread amongst all of the course operators where they share ideas and strategies of how to keep themselves safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Keeping Staff and Golfers Safe

Landscapes Golf Management’s biggest priority is the health and safety of its golfers and staff. They have taken several precautions and implemented certain policies to ensure the well-being of everyone at their facility. One of the first policies that they implemented was their no-touch policy. They wanted golfers to be able to come and play their round of golf without ever having contact with another person. They decided to turn on Chronogolf by Lightspeed’s online pre-payment function and have golfers pay for their rounds before stepping foot on the premises. As Scot said, “we flipped the switch and in seconds, our golfers were able to pay for their rounds online”. This allowed the Landscapes Golf Management facilities to close their clubhouses. Usually a place of congregation and human interaction before leaving to the first tee, the clubhouse would be the perfect environment for a virus to spread. With online payment and closed clubhouses, management was able to ensure that the virus wasn’t being spread while handing cash back and forth.

On the course, there are many touch-points that are difficult to continuously clean, especially with balls flying towards the hole every few minutes. The team at Landscapes Golf Management came up with a simple solution for two highly trafficked areas on the course, the cup and the flag-stick. On a normal day, many golfers would be picking up the flag-stick and reaching into the hole to retrieve their ball. This would allow for the virus to easily spread to every golfer. In order to combat this, the Landscapes Golf Management courses either raised the cups or placed a pool noodle around the bottom of the flag stick. This ensured that the ball wouldn’t actually go in the hole but would merely touch it, reducing yet another point of contact.

Golf carts are another place where the virus can easily spread. Being mere inches from another golfer riding to the next hole creates the perfect conditions for transmission. To combat this, most Landscapes Golf Management courses have permitted their golfers to take a cart out by themselves rather than sharing with another golfer. Additionally, at the end of a round, the carts are thoroughly sanitized to ensure that they are perfectly clean for the next golfer to use it.

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Protecting Employees

During unprecedented times like these, protecting employees has two definitions. The first being protecting the health and safety of employees working at the course and doing everything possible to prevent your employees from contracting COVID-19. The second is protecting their jobs and continue offering them employment during such difficult times. With their use of technology and policies, Landscapes Golf Management has been able to successfully protect their employees under both definitions.

In terms of employee health and well-being, Landscapes Golf Management has provided their staff with all of the necessary protective equipment including gloves and hand sanitizer. They want to make sure that their staff feels comfortable coming into work everyday amidst the pandemic but, they also understand that some employees may not want to come in. They have also started looking into working with their suppliers in order to get their employees necessary items that may be difficult to find in stores. These items include toilet paper and hand sanitizer among others. Additionally, because they are operating on a cloud-based system they are pushing for employees who can work from home to do so. Administrative tasks that can be done remotely are easy to accomplish away from the course with an online solution.

In an effort to further decrease contact between golfers and employees, the team at Landscapes Golf Management has begun to look into implementing a Self Check-in Kiosk at their courses that would allow their golfers to check-in without speaking to a staff member. These kiosks would have sanitizing wipes so patrons could clean the screen before and after use as well as hand sanitizer to ensure golfers are doing their part.

When looking at protecting the jobs of their employees, the team at Landscapes Golf Management has been able to successfully shift employees from certain areas to others in order to ensure they keep working. For example, the dining area of their restaurants have been closed due to government restrictions, so they have shifted many of those employees to help out on the course with the usual spring time tasks including aeration of the greens, stump grinding and the creation of new bunkers.

 

Staying Connected

As director of marketing, Scot Wellman understands how important it is to keep golfers engaged whether they are coming to the course or not. The technology that they have deployed in their operations have made this communication seamless. Through their custom built website, they were able to put together a strong content strategy to provide entertainment for their customers who are staying at home. Whether it’s blog posts as simple as the top five golf movies to watch or as complex as how to build a golf hole in your backyard, Landscapes Golf Management is committed to pushing out content to help their golfers stay connected to the game they love.

Engaging golfers through online posts wasn’t enough for Landscapes Golf Management. They used their ChronoPitch Email Marketing module to send communications to their customer-base. From policy updates to new content posts, their email marketing strategy allows them to keep their community informed and entertained no matter where they are.

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Conclusion

Landscapes Golf Management has successfully embraced technology in their operations and it has allowed them to strategically navigate a period as difficult as the COVID-19 pandemic. As Scot puts it “these types of situations are likely to come and go, but may never go away. If you embrace technology today, you’re more likely to be better prepared to handle these situations when they come up again in the future”.

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We’ve recommended Chronogolf by Lighspeed to a number of different operators. I feel very good about making that recommendation, you guys have done a great job of following through with everything that I told people you were going to do.

Aaron Gleason,
Walters Golf

Based on more than 100 reviews from operator wordwide.
Read them here.

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