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September 2020

Cleaning Procedures and Cart Policies Will outlast The Virus That Spawned Them

By Steve Eubanks

Sometimes you bang yourself on the head and say, “Why weren’t we doing this before?” Often the answer is something as simple as: “We always did it another way,” or “There wasn’t a reason before.” But COVID-19 changed all that. Every procedure, every touch point, every policy that had been in place longer than the tenure of most of the employees implementing it was revisited during the coronavirus era, put under a microscope to see if it made sense in the new reality.

In some cases, the changes that came about as a result of the reexamination not only made sense in a pandemic, they are procedures that should have been put into place long ago.

At the Landings Club, a Savannah, Georgia-based operation with six golf courses, some changes had such a positive effect on business that they might never go away.

“For starters, we instituted new cleaning and disinfecting practices for our golf carts,” said golf professional Chris Leake, a member of The Landings PGA team. “But we were smart about it. The cleaning solutions and procedures improved everywhere, but we spent a lot of time analyzing where the cart is touched most often and took special care to disinfect those areas even more.”

This makes perfect sense. Clean tires add value to the experience and life to the cart. But how many golfers touch the hubcaps? Paying attention to the areas where members and guests congregate, where they touch things, and where they might be at greater risk of infection, not just from this virus but the next, is a solid practice that will certainly continue long past the most recent outbreak.

“We also changed the fees for people who would normally ride in a privately-owned cart,” Leake said. “In our community, most people own their own golf carts and they drive them to the club. If another person rides in a private cart, the fees are lower than if they take one of the club carts. But since we’re asking everyone to take a single cart, we’re charging the same fee for our fleet as we would if that person were riding in a private cart with a member.”

That policy has done wonders for goodwill at all the The Landings Club facilities. According to Leake, “Rounds are up about 50 percent overall. We’re playing more golf out here than we have in a long time. A lot of it is people wanting to get out. But a lot of it is also people knowing the lengths we’ve gone to in order to keep them safe and the accommodations we’ve made to keep them happy. They appreciate it. And they’re showing their appreciation by supporting the club.”

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