Case stories

Members’ influence shines through at Rugby Golf Club

Rugby Golf Club has felt the power of feedback throughout the past four years where they have surveyed their members using Players 1st. Response rates have improved compared to their use of previous survey tools, and members of the club can take credit for having a say in the new additions to the course.

Emil Riisberg
May 3, 2024

Established in 1891, Rugby Golf Club stands as one of the oldest courses in England. Over the years, it's seen plenty of changes, especially before and after the wars. Today, the private members club features a compact 18-hole parkland course, including three par 5 holes and no less than seven par 3 holes, all offering different challenges.

Situated just between the peaceful Oxford Canal and the London to Birmingham railway line, the course is also decorated by the Clifton Brook canal which runs through nine of its holes, offering golfers a lovely and aesthetically pleasing round of golf. The club’s location at the junction of main motorways and railways makes it easy for guests, tourists, and its 500 members to swing by for a round of golf.

Besides being part of the Board in various roles for the last 7 years, Andrew Leech currently is the Golf Director at Rugby Golf Club. Being deeply involved in the club throughout the years, Leech has followed the development of surveying members and optimizing the customer experience at Rugby Golf Club closely as he has a personal interest in this specific area stretching back from his career beyond golf.  

I used to work for both local and central government on developing a system for analyzing school performance information across the country, so I sort of knew something about this.
Andrew Leech, Golf Director at Rugby Golf Club. 

When joining the club back in 2017, Leech became the initiator of implementing surveying of golfers at Rugby Golf Club, starting with basic online survey systems and a limited number of questions. Back then, they had a response rate below 20%. Since introducing Players 1st, their response rate average for the past 4 years has been 50%. 

We have been working with Players 1st for 4 years. Prior to that, I constructed my own survey of members using something online, but it had nothing like the sophistication, calibration, and range of Players 1st Surveys.
Andrew Leech, Golf Director at Rugby Golf Club. 

Decisions based on the right reasons 

The integration of surveys from Players 1st has proven to bring other benefits than just a higher response rate for Rugby Golf Club. With the possibility of comparing results with the national benchmark, they have experienced a much more balanced view on progression and what members like.  

Leech likes to describe their club as evidence-based, because today, the decisions are based on facts instead of assumptions. Besides this, the club’s management department sees the use of surveying as a way to extend the democratic engagement of members at Rugby Golf Club. 

The directors, the Board members, and the professional golfers all have their own opinions, but when those are backed up by members in the survey, it is really powerful.
Andrew Leech, Golf Director at Rugby Golf Club. 

Impactful comments 

Over the past 4 years of surveying members at Rugby Golf Club, the club has improved in utilizing feedback, and when evaluating feedback from members, the board has found great success with taking a look into the comment section of different touchpoints that needed attention. Through this, the management has discovered patterns from members who had great suggestions for improvements, adding an extra edge and specific details to the graphs in the Players 1st dashboard. 

We are doing better and better with the comments that members leave when responding to the surveys. And every now and then, you get those comments that are just on the money.
Andrew Leech, Golf Director at Rugby Golf Club. 

At Rugby Golf Club, practice facilities have always come out as one of the clubs touchpoints with the lowest Net Promoter Score because of their limited footprint. Curious members wondered why the club hadn't turned an unused area next to the clubhouse into a much-needed warm-up area. Nobody thought of that until it was presented through the comments. That shows the beautiful combination and cooperation of the software. The dashboard made the club aware of the problem, and the comment section directly contributed to a solution. 

What happened next? Fast forward to today, and the club now offers its members a new practice and warm-up area with two state-of-the-art practice nets. And that is not just an isolated case.  

As Rugby Golf Club serves many elderly golfers, carrying distances can be an issue for club members. The dashboard made the club aware of the problem and comments from members suggested and specified which holes needed rearrangement of carry distance because they were too far from the tees. The management also consulted with some of the senior ladies who recognized the issue too. 

Figure 1: The development of the satisfaction score for the course at Rugby Golf Club's senior members aged 66 and older from 2021-2023. Source: Players 1st
Figure 1: The development of the satisfaction score for the course at Rugby Golf Club's senior members aged 66 and older from 2021-2023. Source: Players 1st

These examples not only underline a deep willingness to improve conditions for the club’s members but also show a responsiveness on another level at Rugby Golf Club. In other words, the management does not take long to turn thoughts into actions once presented with obvious areas for improvement. In the end, the members themselves contribute to developing the club in the desired direction.

Let us ping your mailbox

Boost your club’s member and guest experience to stay ahead of the game! Unlock expert insights, pro tips, inspiring club success stories, and more…