Head PGA Pro, Matthew Davies, Vale of Llangollen Golf Club, Wales
Matt Davies's golf club sits on the Wales side of the Welsh/English border, and says the decision to stay closed this week by the Welsh government has both pro's and cons.
What was your reaction to the lock down almost 2 months ago?
We could obviously see it coming and in that last week, it was pretty clear how it was going to pan out so we took the XPOS hardware home from the shop. During the first couple of weeks of lock down, we were mainly looking into what monetary aid there would be for us and, once the government released the schemes and grants, I relaxed a bit.
What has been your main focus during lock down?
Mainly, I wanted to look at how I could still bring money into the business. I ran the Unpopular Products report in XPOS and brought everything home from the shop that was on that list. I put it on eBay, set up a Facebook shop and just tried to drip it through. It's been quite successful and I think it will be something I do each year to help clear old stock. Customers will have seen it for 10 months or so, and this is a good way to try to recoup some money back.
I'm reluctant to sell current product on eBay but I did manage to sell some stock that members hadn't responded well to. It was last year's stock. Stock levels are now back down and manageable, and there's less stale stock on the shop floor when we go back.
How have you communicated with members?
Typically, I do a monthly email to members but, during lock down, I've emailed the customer base twice a week. One email is generally to let them know what's happening at the club and I might include news of a raffle or some products they might be interested in. The second email is more light-hearted and might contain some golf jokes or riddles to just keep up that engagement with members.
I created a new newsletter, using Mailchimp, and have started to attach members' accounts statements with it. Members are often surprised how much money they have on account and sending them a statement has led to some sales so it's definitely something I'll continue to do as a matter of course.
Have you had spare time to do anything else?
Yes, I've completed Level 1 on the Capto putting analysis system, and started Level 2. It's a data capture device that attaches to a putter and captures an incredible amount of data. Prior to lock down, I was doing a lot of tuition with the Capto so I'm really hoping that will take off now.
I've also upgraded my XPOS system to Version 2, which is great, and have spent some time getting used to that. It's a better version of the system and I really like that I can log in at home and use the reports when I want them. The sales screen is easier; it's easier to search and is just more intuitive.
How do you feel about this week's decision by the Welsh government to stay closed?
I can only comment from my personal view but I guess it has been disappointing to see the Welsh government act differently to the UK. Saying that, I can see both sides of the argument in terms of opening up courses.
Being a Welsh club right on the border with England does present another problem and we are concerned that some members might join an English club if they're desperate to play. I have just heard that Welsh courses should open from Monday 18th May, so hopefully, our members will hang on a bit longer!
Again, from my point of view, one of the positives of staying shut is that it gives us more time to prepare and put plans in place, and we'll also have the opportunity to see what does and doesn't work for English clubs as they slowly allow golfers back on the courses this week. I'm wishing everyone out there the best of luck as we slowly and safely return to work.