In this excerpt from C+RB’s special report on management companies, learn how Troon assisted club leaders and associates in dealing with an ever-changing and complex COVID landscape by creating and maintaining an online resource guide that includes up-to-the-minute health and legislative directives, best practices and messaging templates.
While providing resources and expertise so their portfolios’ properties could navigate the pandemic, multi-club operators also made moves to prepare for the “new normal” and lent muscle to the country’s larger recovery effort. This special report provides updates on how the year unfolded for several of the leading U.S.-based management companies, focusing on how they marshalled their collective resources to not only support the needs of their properties, but also the larger recovery efforts for the club industry, the regions they operate in, and the country as a whole. The report can be found in its entirety in the latest Club + Resort Business digital issue (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/category/digital-issue/).
Here is the portion of the report dedicated to Troon:
Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Troon, which started as one facility in 1990, has since grown to become the world’s largest professional golf and golf-related hospitality management company. After the announcement at the start of 2021 of its acquisition of Indigo Golf Partners, Troon now provides managed services to more than 585 global locations, including 17 countries and 42 U.S. states, and more than 630 golf courses, while also managing various complementary amenities, including tennis, aquatics, fitness, food and beverage, lodging and more.
More than 360 locations utilize Troon’s facility-management services, and another 100-plus utilize caddie management services through CADDIEMASTER. Thirty-seven locations feature managed tennis operations under the Cliff Drysdale Tennis management brand.
Troon’s approach focuses on overseeing daily operations of facilities and providing an option other than self-management, while at the same time allowing control of the facility to remain in the owner’s hands. The company’s menu ranges from one-time advisory services (via the True Club Solutions division), to specialty services such as tennis or caddie program management, to an ongoing comprehensive partnership via management brands including Troon Golf, Troon Privé, OB Sports, Honours Golf and now Indigo Golf Partners.
While the challenges of 2020 were especially magnified for a company with the size and reach of Troon, those characteristics were also quickly seen as attributes that would help it fashion effective responses for the properties in its portfolio.
“From the beginning of the pandemic, our focus has been making sure we did all we could do to make sure all of our clients could weather this storm,” says Tim Schantz, Troon’s President and CEO. “Thanks in part to our size and reach, we delivered a wealth of resources to help our clients and the industry. Our corporate operations, food and beverage, HR, IT and legal teams have worked diligently with on-site management teams to respond to the ever-changing environment.”
The Troon corporate team assisted club leaders and associates in dealing with an ever-changing and complex COVID landscape by creating and maintaining an online resource guide that includes up-to-the-minute health and legislative directives, best practices and messaging templates. The company has made this an open resource (https://www.troon.com/moments) that is available publicly and not just to Troon clients.
“The online ‘open source’ resource center was developed early on, and continues today, as a way of communicating throughout the company, and to the industry as a whole, about state-by-state public health protocols and guidance, reopening strategies, and messaging,” Schantz says.
Troon professionals also quickly pivoted to ramp up delivery of virtual golf lessons, fitness classes, tennis tips (via Cliff Drysdale Tennis) and cooking advice (through Troon leaders and via Real Food Hospitality) that kept members engaged and their clubs and the Troon brand front-of-mind, even while properties were completely closed because of mandated shutdowns.
And while the year presented massive challenges to a large organization like Troon, it also brought new levels of inspiring response. Amid the pandemic, Troon reported acts of kindness, innovation, creativity and leadership across the company’s portfolio, as its associates around the world helped guests, members and communities through initiatives that included delivering groceries to those in need, making face masks for healthcare workers, and leading local food drives.
“I remain amazed at, and humbled by, the collective effort the organization continues to put forth every day, in the field and as a corporate team,” says Schantz.Pronghorn in Bend, Ore., a private resort with 340 members and 26,000 annual rounds played, stands as an example of a Troon-managed property that managed to enjoy success in 2020 despite the pandemic. Even with early closures of its restaurants and a restriction of room nights to “essential travelers” only, its two 18-hole golf courses stayed open, and Pronghorn saw an increase in rounds played versus 2019.
“At Pronghorn, we have a team that not only understands world-class service, but one that also embraces the unique qualities of their surroundings,” says Bruce Glasco, Troon’s Chief Operating Officer. “Bend, Oregon has long been known to locals and niche travelers as a hidden gem. But this year, we saw the popularity of remote destinations skyrocket, as people looked to escape city life and reacquaint themselves with nature.
“Pronghorn has always achieved this work-life balance like few can, and now with enhanced facilities and award-winning service, the club stands ready to capitalize on a bright future accelerated by the events of 2020,” Glasco adds.
One of the biggest benefits of being a Troon-managed property is being able to lean on its resources and channels for best practices, and to understand what other clubs in the company are dealing with and what they are doing in response, notes Jerrel Grow, Pronghorn’s Director of Golf. This sharing of information proved invaluable as Pronghorn learned about state and local government protocols that were being put in place, and of how management teams needed to implement appropriate responses.
“A familiar phrase of 2020 has been, ‘We learned to be more efficient,’” says Grow. “Nowhere has that been more exemplified than our relationship with Troon, because it stays on the cutting edge of technologies, human resources, guest services and agronomic practices. Having a network of support team members that you can call on helps Pronghorn deliver the very best product to our members and guests.”
Going through what Pronghorn did in March and April taught the property a lot of valuable lessons, including what is truly important to members and guests, Grow notes. And as senior managers stepped in to do every job because of pandemic-induced staff shortages, that helped them gain first-hand experience of where inefficiencies existed, and the lessons learned and corrections made will be put in place for 2021 and beyond.
“We feel very positive moving forward [with all Troon properties], especially with the growth we’re seeing in new players taking up golf and tennis,” Schantz notes. “Participation levels, as well as interest levels, are increasing at a rapid pace.
“It is our responsibility, collectively as an industry, to keep these new participants, and all who already enjoy participating, engaged and interested in their sport of choice, enjoying all that their clubs and home courses have to offer,” Schantz adds.