HELLO 2021 & GOODBYE 2020!
By Verity Manners who is the director of Wrag Barn Golf Club near Highworth.
As the year turns – how are you feeling about 2021?
The start of a New Year is always an exciting time; the days are getting longer and the prospect of golfing activities promises more energy and income for the business. This time last year golf was in a decline but the change in working practices has increased the demand and we look forward to embracing this change in our business model.
What are your business goals for the coming year?
Our main goal is to improve the golfing member and visitor experience by improving facilities and presentation of the course.
Will you be introducing any new products or services?
In response to the increase in membership we are changing the menu in the Spike Bar at Wrag Barn. One of our directors, Chris Manners is co founder of Dodo Pubs based in Oxford and he has been working with his head chef and our Food and Beverage department towards a more contemporary offering. There are plans in the pipeline to refurbish the area, this is work in progress....
Will you be looking to employ any new staff during the new year?
We have unfortunately had to make people redundant during the year as so many functions were cancelled or postponed. Obviously we will have to look at the needs of the business when parties and functions can go ahead and anticipate that we’ll have to recruit more staff.
Will you be looking for any new local suppliers in 2021?
We’re always receptive to local suppliers who may be able to provide ingredients for our kitchen, or supplies for the golf course. We strive to shop local where we can.
Are you looking to invest in yourself as a business owner or company director in 2021 in any way?
As the owner of the business, I always have to reinvent myself. Nearly five years ago I graduated as a social media manager from an online education programme. Then three years ago I trained as a radio presenter with Local Radio Swindon 105.5 and presented a regular show on Thursday morning which I used to raise the profile of my business.
This year we have cut all non essential spending and I find myself redeveloping parts of the garden. Who knows what challenges will be presented this year, so far I have been writing blogs during lockdown to keep in touch with all our membership and the inspiration for this came from Fiona Scott and Total Guide to Swindon for their encouragement to keep visible on line.
Looking back across 2020 – name three highlights for you and your business?
1. Reopening for golf after lockdown.
2. Seeing how well the team pulled together when we reopened and new practices for covid compliance had to be adopted.
3. The huge increase in demand for golf meant that the business lost due to cancellation of functions was compensated for by the increase in golfing footfall.
Looking back across 2020 – were there any lowlights?
1. The second lockdown was difficult to accept as we had put in place so many practices for golf to be played safely and the main excuse given was that it encouraged people to drive their cars. We still have people visiting the club to walk the course and people can fish and visit garden centres, so it didn’t feel as though the decision making gave due consideration to the relative safety of golf.
2. Making some of our staff redundant is always difficult as we are such a small company and have a close relationship with all our staff.
Who, in your business community – have been the shining stars of 2020?
1. Tracey Lee
2. Our food and beverage team.
3. Our green keepers who have worked really hard during both lockdowns to ensure that the course is ready for play as soon the government says ‘go’.
Thank you to all our staff who adapted so quickly to all the different working practices and to our club members who have been so supportive during a very unusual year.
For more information visit https://www.wragbarn.com/