GBN.com interviews Jon Schauder, Business Development Director, International Division, Troon
Story published at 12:42, Tuesday, October 13th, 2015
Page last updated at 1:59 pm, Tuesday, October 13th, 2015
Back in May GBN.com reported that Troon Golf had signed an agreement to help develop and manage the exciting new golf development at Rossington Hall in Yorkshire.
Under the guidance of the industry-leaders, the luxurious property will feature an 18-hole championship golf course with adjacent 9-hole academy course, each designed by Neil Coles.
As Jon Schauder, Business Development Director, International Division, Troon, explains, Rossington Hall has grand ambitions of joining Europe’s elite golfing destinations as a European Tour host venue.
Can you outline the objectives for Rossington Hall?
Rossington Hall Developments has set significant goals for the facility; first and foremost, the course will be developed to compete with the very best venues in the UK and further afield. They have assembled a prominent list of stakeholders, including local authorities, the tourism industry, the wider business community in Yorkshire as well as the European Tour and Troon, to put the golf facility on the right path to success.
Along with the European Tour, one of our main objectives is to create a facility befitting of the historical location and one at which the Tour can regularly host the world’s best players. The recent revival of the British Masters demonstrates there is still huge demand for large golf events in the UK, which has somewhat been lacking in recent years, despite such a rich heritage of high-profile golfing tournaments. Rossington Hall wants to recreate the glory years again, with an event and location players want to play and make a firm fixture in their playing schedule, ultimately getting golf back on the doorstep of the general public, to drive interest in our Sport and encourage the next generation of golfers in the country.
Why was Troon chosen to assist in the development of its golf offering?
I believe Troon was chosen due to our enviable track record when it comes to the leading Professional Tours and the hosting of some of their most prestigious events. We have facilities across the globe, in each and every climate, that regularly play host to the very best players on the PGA and European Tour. Abu Dhabi Golf Club, for example, celebrated the 10th hosting of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship this January; it has now become the ideal springboard for players trying to get their season off to a flier, often receiving unanimous praise for the tough, yet fair challenge created by the team on-site, backed by Troon’s international agronomy team.
We celebrate “Championship Troon” at each opportunity, just last year Troon venues hosted inaugural events such as The NH Collection Open on the European Tour at La Reserva de Sotogrande Club; The Azerbaijan Challenge Open, held at The National Azerbaijan Golf Club and Lumine Golf Club presented the Challenge De Catalunya – both on The Challenge Tour calendar. It is a similar story for Troon in other parts of the world including the Americas, with the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour making regular stops at our venues, including Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii (The Hyundai Tournament of Champions); The Ocean Club, Bahamas (Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic); Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club, New Jersey (Shoprite LPGA Classic); and Silverado Resort, Napa, CA (The Frys.com Open).
This first-hand experience has enabled Troon to direct each facility, their team and the venues’ operational staff at all-new tournament destinations to create the ideal platform for the biggest names in the sport to prevail. This collective knowledge will be passed to Rossington Hall, to ensure the venue provides an experience of Tournament Ready service from the very first golfer.
How will Troon assist Rossington Hall in its pre-opening period?
Troon is experienced at every level of the golf business and we will lean on our team of specialists in the European region for Business Development, Sales & Marketing, Golf Operations and Agronomy, with each associate called to assist in the initial stages of development.
As with all Troon facilities, Rossington Hall will be welcomed to Troon’s long list of vendor partners, providing infrastructure of the highest quality, procurement benefits, golf course machinery, golf merchandise and golf rentals. Thanks to these benefits, along with the training and support given to the new operational team, the venue will be ready to welcome golfers from the day it opens. This is also the very reason Troon’s Business Development team will be called, to work alongside the leadership team to engage with our commercial distribution channels, through our vast tour operator contacts, travel partnerships, corporate and Professional connections to ensure the golf course starts with a relatively full tee sheet.
Whilst we aren’t going to see our first players for a while, the leadership team will be employed almost straightaway to build a collective of associates who will be responsible for the experience received from the outset. Leaders, Professional staff, food & beverage teams, outside services and the green keeping staff will be sourced from the local area, local colleges and local placements as well as Troon’s 10,000-strong associate team. Education, whether with the team actively representing a venue of this stature, or outward to the local community will be a major factor in the new Golf Director’s role, as will encouraging participation and ensuring consistency in keeping with Troon’s standards.
Rossington Hall has an enviable list of key stakeholders, how will Troon work with them to shape the venue’s future?
We are fortunate to be working with a Neil Coles design which gives a great canvas to build on. We will work closely with him to assist in bringing his vision to a reality, with course conditioning that ensures the design gets the treatment it deserves.
The overall aim of becoming a European Tour Destination will be steadfast during all of this activity, ensuring each element meets with the common goal – to be a central facility in the UK for hosting high-profile golfing events. Troon will work with the European Tour and other stakeholders, to ensure timelines are created and kept to, infrastructure is in place for tournament and everyday golfing events, as well as putting in place action plans to deal with potential challenges faced along the way.
What are those challenges for Rossington Hall?
Rossington Hall Developments is still very much in its infancy, but Troon is already working hard to provide the facility with suitable validation of the project for its local authorities. Using our Business Development team, Troon is able to accurately represent the financial sustainability of the development, thanks to our experience in the creation of all-new venues and destinations, demonstrated in all corners of the globe. The benefit to the surrounding region is clear; with additional jobs, community outreach programs as well as local trades and suppliers benefitting from a venue of this stature and its sourcing demands.
Doncaster, and Yorkshire in particular, is surrounded by establish golfing regions – our main focus for the coming period will be to reintroduce the area as a venerable golfing destination, with Rossington Hall very much at the forefront of this drive. The venue will provide a premium experience, with its historical accommodation and fine dining complementing the golf course perfectly, in keeping with Troon’s exacting standards for pristine playing surfaces.
And how will Troon guide them to reach its potential as a European Tour Destination?
The project and promotion of Rossington Hall is already well under way for Troon, relying on our distribution channels to best-place the facility in the correct golfing realms. Troon’s Sales and Marketing team will actively work within the golfing landscape to ensure Rossington Hall starts its life as a facility fitting of the very best, with the venue also benefitting from inclusion in Troon’s extensive marketing campaigns and travel partnerships.
As ever, golf course conditioning is imperative to the hosting of high-profile golfing events as well as playing a major part in the day-to-day success of the venue, providing a clear differentiator for local golfers in the competitive daily fee market. I believe the Troon brand still represents safety in investment for golfers, secure in the knowledge that the green fee spend they outlay will be returned with an enjoyable golf experience, which ultimately has seen Troon venues prosper even during lean years. This is the same case for the world’s leading tours, when booking events in their schedules; they will be creating a relationship and base for many tournament years to come.
Jon Schauder, thank you very much