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Leading Bodies Issue Coronavirus Advice To Golf Clubs

Golf Care, 13th March 2020

BIGGA, the PGA and GCMA – the three main organisations who run and maintain golf clubs – have issued guidance on how golf clubs can deal with the coronavirus emergency.

It has been estimated that an incredible 25% of small businesses don’t reopen after a serious emergency.

In an attempt to stop golf clubs from being part of this list, BIGGA, the PGA and GCMA have put together a seven-point checklist of the steps golf club owners should take to isolate their facility.

Here’s a full breakdown of the advice they’ve given…

Plan ahead

Before anything happens, make it a priority to put together a plan of action. Draw up a list of what could go wrong in your business if you believe a member of staff has been exposed to the virus. You’ll want to speak to department heads to get their input on this too.

Next up, go through that list and work out how you could overcome each of these problems. If you’ve anticipated a problem and you have a plan in place, you’ll be better prepared to deal with it.

Here’s a basic template for a disaster management plan:

  • Summary: Outline objectives and scope of the plan
  • Role and responsibilities: List everyone, both inside and outside of the organisation, who may be affected by a disaster and detail their role descriptions and responsibilities
  • Trigger: State when the plan should be triggered and when to let people know there’s a problem
  • Action: What needs to happen when the disaster recovery plan is triggered?
  • Resources: List all documents and resources that are relevant to the plan

Bring together a senior staff group

Your golf facility needs to have a senior group of managers who are in constant contact and can spring in to action if something happens. This should be your Club Manager/Secretary, Course Manager/Head Greenkeeper and PGA Professional and any other relevant department heads.

During a period of heightened risk, meet on a daily basis and provide an update on staff absence, business pressures such as stock levels or machinery maintenance and other matters. When the crisis subsides, this group should continue to meet on a monthly basis to ensure policies are maintained and updated.

Draw up a comprehensive risk register across your facilities In collaboration with the senior management team, draw up a list of risks stemming from a potential case of COVID-19 in your business or immediate vicinity that could have a negative impact on the business. The risk register should:

  • Identify risk
  • Evaluate the severity of any identified risk
  • Apply possible solutions
  • Monitor and analyse the effectiveness of any steps you take to reduce the risk

Upskill the team on alternative key roles and tasks

What are the essential tasks that will mean the golf facility cannot operate if a member of staff or whole team is unable to work? Identify the highest-priority tasks, such as mowing greens, taking bookings, payroll and housekeeping. Enlist staff from various departments who may be able to fulfil additional responsibilities.

You’ll need a wide spread of staff if a specific department is quarantined. Provide them with basic training and make instructional information available for each of the tasks, to allow staff who are able to work to keep the facility open. It may also be an idea to engage in a contract with a temp agency who can provide support staff at short notice.

Upskill a team of volunteers in case the above team also goes down

In the event that the entire staff is unable to work, a small group of volunteers may be able to complete the most basic tasks that will allow the facility to remain open. Identify who these volunteers are and then provide the relevant training, including details of Personal Protective Equipment.

Before enlisting the help of volunteers, make sure your facility has the correct level of Employers’ Libaility or Public Liability insurance in place.

Ask volunteers to sign an agreement that will explain:

  • The level of supervision and support they will get
  • What training they will get
  • Information regarding the golf facility’s Employers’ Liability or Public Liability insurance
  • Health and safety issues
  • Any expenses the organisation will cover

Buddy up with another local club

In the instance of a localised infection, it is possible that your golf club is affected but the facility across town remains open, or viceversa. In this instance, the golf industry has an opportunity to show its strength of community and facilities can come together to support each other.

Engage in a dialogue with the other golf clubs in your immediate area and discuss an action plan. Is there a reciprocal arrangement in place to allow members to play at a different facility if one of your clubs closes.

Alternatively, and where the risk of infection is minimal, will the other clubs be able to lend resources and staff who can complete the basic tasks that enable the affected golf club to remain open?

Share all risk issues and solutions

Communication is key and you’ll need to keep your customers informed that the golf facility is operating on a reduced level. Be honest and don’t hide anything as customers will appreciate being kept informed and it will reduce the spread of rumours.

The golf industry is a community. Therefore, if you find yourself encountering a problem or have devised a way to overcome the challenge faced, then it’s important to keep talking to each other. Each of the major golf bodies have communications channels that can be accessed, including social media.

Why not talk about the practices you’ve put in place, share a template for a risk register that you’ve put together, shout about how you’re helping another club out?

The information you share may provide the answer to a problem that another facility is struggling to overcome.

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