Golfbreaks.com has unveiled a new-look team to improve the service for PGA pros keen to build golf travel into their revenue streams. Senior Media Executive for the PGA of Great Britain & Ireland, Nat Sylvester, spoke to the team to find out more about them.
Darren Bragg and Ben Foster have joined fellow PGA qualified pro Adam Ward to work exclusively with PGA Members across the UK and further afield.
Ward is the director of the Golf Pro Relations department, following in the footsteps of the late Jim Long, also a PGA pro who sadly passed away last Christmas.
The trio are aiming to build on the service Golfbreaks.com offers to PGA pros by greater direct engagement in addition to the growing dedicated pro team of 10-strong they have at their Windsor headquarters in the UK.
For Bragg, who has taken on the Business Development Manager position, the opportunity to join Golfbreaks.com was a natural move having regularly taken groups of members abroad.
“I’d been taking groups away for 15 years and it worked on both levels – members saw it as a good opportunity to get some sun and play some golf while for me it was a chance to get to know my clients,” said the former Camberley Heath pro who also played on the Challenge and Asian Tours before setting up his own golf academy in London.
“The real plus is that it’s an opportunity to spend more quality time with club members and develop your relationship with them, the knock on effect is the loyalty and support you get back in terms of lessons, custom fitting and in the pro shop.
“Taking groups away helps the pro develop a strong position with the membership. You become the ‘go to guy’ when it comes to golf travel – whether that’s pro-ams, group coaching trips or just a golfing holiday – and that’s the message we try to get over to fellow PGA pros.”
Ironically, Bragg met Ward on a golf inspection trip week which coincided with the latter’s bid to take the department forward in a new direction.
“We’ve made quite a few changes since the start of the year. With a change in personnel it was an opportunity to sit down and see if we could do things differently with PGA pros and on a bigger scale,” explained Ward.
“Jim had laid excellent foundations are we were dedicated to take his work forward.
“Previously we always used a lot of email to reach out to pros but we really wanted to get face to face and engage with as many as we could so we decided to invest in two people to do that which is Darren and Ben.”
Bragg, who looks after the south, said: “I had a reasonable profile and plenty of contacts from playing so it was an opportunity to sit down with pros and discuss the benefits of using Golfbreaks.com, namely raising the pro’s profile and increasing their revenue streams.”
Foster meanwhile has responsibility for the midlands and the north. He was at Trent Lock Golf Centre for eight years and then became an Area Sales Manager for Adams Golf where again his knowledge and contacts have proved useful.
“I already knew quite a few pros having been on the road and one of the things you find is that a lot of the guys have not taken a group away and actually don’t know how to do it or the process involved.
“The message we try to get over is that from our perspective we aim to make the experience as easy as possible for the pros and once they do get going it’s like ‘why haven’t I been doing this before?’.
“Ultimately it’s just another service the pro can offer and you not only earn more money but develop a stronger position within the club and with the membership.
Ward adds: “Golfbreaks.com has been in business for over 17 years so we have a great relationship with so many different venues and we know how to place pros in destinations and facilities that are right for the type of trip they are planning. Plus they will generally travel for free, earn a commission from us and be able to build tuition fees into the package they offer their customers.
“In total we’ve got a team of 10 in the office that look after golf pro related travel. One of the guys takes care of UK enquiries, we have three for European based trips, two for mid to long haul and one for America. All of which are specialists in their area.
“We are the only golf operator to have a specialised golf pro travel team which fits nicely with our commitment to The PGA and The PGAs of Europe.
“The most popular destinations are still Spain and Portugal because of the flight times but we are also seeing a few choose Turkey, Morocco, South Africa and Cyprus while some guys will just start with the UK.”
Bespoke trips to The Masters are beginning to grow in popularity with visits tailored to groups so they can soak up the famous Augusta National while adding extra days playing some great US courses at the likes of Hilton Head or Kiawah Island.
Golfbreaks.com also has two Spanish Pro-Ams for 2016: February 5-8 and February 19-22 plus a PGAs of Europe-Sanctioned pro-am at the legendary Pinehurst resort in North Carolina from March 17-23. Golfbreaks.com also support the PGAs of Europe Fourball Championship, details of which will be released soon.