The Mashie club is putting finishing touches to arrangements for a record number of venues in 2021 which is a triumph not only over Covid-19 but also, bizarrely, partly because of it.
For anybody unaware of the club’s existence, the most important of several factors contributing to its success is Mashie’s status as the UK’s ultimate high end and multi-choice golf society.
They make it easy for their members to cherry-pick outings to clubs such as Bearwood Lakes, Celtic Manor, Gleneagles, JCB Golf & Country Club, London Golf Club, Stoke Park, Swinley Forest, The K Club, The Grove and Woburn.
Mashie was a firmly established brand of golf clothing when managing director Nick Hovey added on the club with 20 founder members late in 2017. There are now over 950 members, massive progress for a club which never advertises.
Not all of them compete in events. Other services are on offer from the Mashie concierge team, and we’ll get back to that later on. But those who do now have more than 100 of the classic venues Mashie work with to choose from and on average each golfer will play in six or seven tournaments during the year in fields of around 40.
Said managing director Nick Hovey: “Most players will tell you they feel more comfortable in a golf society than a corporate day, they tend to know more of the other players. Of course you can’t force people to like each other or get on, but the big secret is we have grown organically, through word of mouth, referrals and introductions.
“This is the only way you can expand a club of like-minded people and our members feel comfortable inviting friends. We regard our events as a catalyst for that. I can’t begin to tell you the amount of pleasure everybody at Mashie has felt in making our club work as well as it has for our members.
“Belonging to Mashie enables them to play courses they might not ordinarily have access to, plus these events are managed highly professionally in a social yet competitive atmosphere.
Belonging to Mashie enables them to play courses they might not ordinarily have access to, plus these events are managed highly professionally in a social yet competitive atmosphere.”
NICK HOVEY – MANAGING DIRECTOR
“What keeps people coming back is the social side of it and we try to make our events relaxed and fun. In the past I have been to a lot of corporate days with, say, 80 players and you tend to stay in your own fourball and generally not mix that much with other groups.
“We actively encourage all our players to socialise and interact with each other as much as possible. That creates more of a society feel if you like.”
A non-golfer casually glancing in at the sport from outside would be excused for guessing 2020 has been a financial nightmare. In bare round figures, Mashie put on 60 events in 2019, dropping to 40 this year. So why the vast increase to three figures in 2021?
“Most golf clubs experienced a rush at the end of the first lockdown,” says Nick. “It is good our fields are smaller than corporate days which helps with coping with the demands and restrictions of Covid-19. It is all manageable. Less is more.
“The demand on golf clubs has been crazy at times and we have been working very hard in recent months to get everything organised in time for 2021. The appetite to play nice courses has become bigger than ever.
“Our concierge service has come into its own because of our arrangement with the clubs we work with. Mashie members, whether playing in events or not, can access some clubs when others may not be able to and enjoy preferential green fees.
“The events are the focal point of what we do because they are played in amazing locations and this is where is where our golfers socialise and network.”
A member of the Lilley Brook club in Cheltenham, Nick points out: “Around 80% of our members belong to golf clubs as well as Mashie and we do not see ourselves in any way as an alternative to traditional golf club membership. Mashie is far more often than not an addition for our members.”
Mashie use Golf Genius Software for their event management system, which is an example of their professionalism and credibility. GGS are the software supplier for England Golf’s calendar of championship events and worked closely with the United States Golf Association in their implementation of the World Handicap System.
The GGS link to the new system means that a member of any golf club who plays a Mashie event has their handicap updated automatically, immediately and accurately.
Nick added: “Being able to manage handicaps at our events is a big bonus. For the Mashie members who are not members of clubs there is the benefit of playing regularly in a competitive environment and establishing a handicap for our events.
“This is a true measure of their playing ability on a variety of excellent courses, which is very much in keeping with the ethos of the World Handicap System.
“It is highly likely our members who do not belong to clubs will have an accurate handicap. Mashie only golfers are always playing on different courses.”
As mentioned earlier Nick and his team do more for members than run events: “The key to our success is not only the high standard of courses we play also but the variety of ways you can choose to play them, for example whether in a competition or by us arranging a preferential rate for a member and some friends.
“If there is anything in golf you would like to have organised for you, then that is what we at Mashie do, whether you want to play the very best courses at home or abroad, whether that is in a competition, or just having a bit of fun (or both) . . . or a memorable corporate day for the movers and shakers of your business.
“We are filling a niche market by becoming popular with busy and successful people looking to relax and unwind by means of totally stress-free R&R.
“If you just want a game of golf and you do not want to be part of a bigger event, then through our concierge service we have organised access and preferential green fee rates for you and your guests with over 100 quality clubs in the UK plus more than 50 world wide
“We set ourselves apart from an online booking company by giving our members the personal touch. You can speak to a member of our experienced golf team who will fully understand what your requirements are.”
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