Director of Operations Update
15 NOV 2022
The 2022 season at RattleSnake was a learning experience for all. The year started with lots of uncertainty with respect to what was normal from an operating standpoint. At times it felt like we were relearning how to run our Club. We also struggled with some winter damage to the greens. This was the first time we experienced winter damage like this, which had a negative effect on the on course Member Experience. We want to thank the membership for being patient as we worked through this challenge.
As the year progressed, greens returned to their normal playing condition and the bunker project started on Copperhead. The excitement was evident from the membership once we had completed Copperhead 2. The major changes on Copperhead 5 and 6 have really improved both holes for the better. We are excited for the project to continue next season with our early season focus to be on Copperhead 17 and 18, followed by 14, 15 and 16, then finishing on 10, 11 and 12. We hope to have Copperhead done in August of 2023 and then move to Sidewinder in September. Thank you for being exceptionally supportive during this project.
Our Member events were extremely well attended, and we certainly received numerous compliments from our Members which motivates us as we begin to plan for our 2023 events. We have started the planning process with the Advisory Committee and feel that the team in place is here to provide an improved experience for all leagues and Member Events.
I would like to say that the team at RattleSnake Point is second to none. With all the staffing and operational challenges experienced across the province the team at RattleSnake Point stepped up and stayed focused on providing the best experience possible. The Management Team takes great pride in their roles and understands the effect we have on our members, family, and guests everyday throughout our season. With most of the team returning for next season I expect for things to only be better.
In this newsletter there are a few operational areas that we would like to review and further communicate to our Members. The following topics will be addressed:
1. Tee Time Access
2. Booking Tee Times
3. Pace of Play
4. Beverage Carts
5. Water Coolers
Tee Time Access
Demand for tee times during the pandemic were and continue to be exceptional. It’s not something that we or the rest of the industry could have reasonably predicted. However, we did take several steps to ensure that you would have the best possible access to tee times at your home club including prioritizing access to home club tee times at peak demand times, reducing external event rounds by 60% and opening up tee times earlier each day to accommodate the demand. In addition, we have limited the use of Corporate Event certificates over the last 3 years and moving forward we have discontinued issuing certificates to 95% of events. We have limited membership at more than 90% of Clubs to provide more access to the tee sheet. In the GTA the average Member counts at private clubs is 538. Our average is just over 440. This has been by design to make sure home club access is available, especially on weekend and holiday mornings. On a daily basis, and often multiple times per day, we review the tee sheets at each Club and, based on demand for the next 48 hours, will adjust the tee sheet to ensure that you have the greatest access possible to both your home club and to associate clubs. As always, if you are having trouble booking a tee time at either your home club or an associate club, please reach out to the golf staff or contact Member Services.
Booking Tee Times
We acknowledge that your recent experience booking tee times has not been optimal. We’re sorry for this. This is partly a function of demand over the past few years and also due, in part, to some of the limitations with our existing tee time booking system. We’re happy to report that for 2023, we will be launching a new tee time reservation platform that we believe will significantly improve your online booking experience. We will make further announcements about this new platform soon but briefly, some of the benefits of this new booking system include the option to select ‘close to’ or ‘after’ a requested time, pre-population of playing partners to speed up the booking process, saving of ‘favourite’ foursomes and the ability to review other available times within five hours of an existing reservation time if you are looking to improve your time. There will be some other features including point-of-sale enhancements that we believe you will find very convenient and beneficial to your experience which we will be communicating in the weeks ahead.
Pace of Play
One of the most common comments we received prior to the pandemic, and is generalized across the industry, is concerns about pace of play. COVID required that we take certain safety measures so that we could remain open, but which also brought several pace of play benefits. We expanded tee time intervals, we removed rakes from bunkers and implemented a lift, clean and place rule, we eliminated beverage carts, and we operated carts with single riders. We have also been encouraging Members to leave the pin in to help improve pace of play. While all of these strategies may not continue indefinitely, we think that addressing your most pressing concern and preserving the benefits of the reduced time it takes for you to complete your round is important, so we will continue with some of these practices going forward.
Beverage carts are a relatively recent addition to golf course operations and are not widely adopted within the private club environment. We acknowledge that for some, removing them from our club operations may seem like a step backwards, but their presence on the golf course leads to a disruption to play and therefore negatively impacts on pace of play. They are also not entirely consistent in terms of service; you cannot reasonably predict when you will see one during your round. To address this, we have added coolers to all golf carts, which you can fill with ice and refreshments at the start or mid-way through your round and access whenever you wish.
We have for several years had concerns about water coolers on the course for several reasons, the primary reason being safety. There have been a number of incidents in both Canada and the US where inadvertent (and, on occasions, deliberate) contamination of water coolers on golf courses have led to significant adverse health consequences including death. To address these concerns, we have installed, at every golf course, a touchless water dispensing system as a more reliable and safer alternative to on course water coolers. The water filling station has an endless supply of clean, cool water at all times. We will be adding a second unit to the halfway house next season to help address concerns with wait times.
Thank you for another great season and we look forward to building on the successes we experienced in 2022.
Regional Director of Operations