Clubs Away Clubs Away
Much more than a rather long walk?

Ok so it’s long but thats only if you’re brave enough to play off the tiger tees. Measuring in at a whopping 7,879 yards, you can easily find shorter courses but with five choices of tee boxes, you have the option to setup a fair game for all.

Set within 350 acres of established parkland, Rockliffe Hall is undoubtedly one of the UK’s top courses and a must play for anyone looking for a 5* facility in the North East. Situated just to the south of Darlington along the meandering curves of the River Tees it is in fact a young course, providing the backdrop to the beautifully restored 18th century Rockliffe Hall.

In fact golf isn’t the only round ball sport associated to this fabulous estate. Middlesbrough Football Club owner Steve Gibson who not only owns Rockliffe Hall, has his clubs training facilities discreetly over the wall so you’ll probably be bumping into your fair share of footballers.


Since opening in 2009, Rockliffe has been maturing into a real technical test of golf. Not only can it be long but the course setup does require good management due to the strategic positioning of traps and features.

With a generous sprinkling of bunkers, particularly around the greens, combined with lakes, wetlands and some tasty rough you’ll surely get punished if you bite off more than you can chew. Rockliffe is a great challenge, incredibly fun and interesting which is non more apparent than at the signature 5th where you play to an island green. You would like to think this is where the toughest test lies but you’ll know differently once you tee up on the par 3 15th for a 242 yard single shot. Let’s hope the wind isn’t into otherwise it might be a little too much even for most of our Sunday best, even if it does go straight.

With the course getting better every year and maturing wonderfully into one of the best new courses in the UK, Rockliffe Hall sits comfortably alongside The Grove, The London Club’s Heritage and Centurion making it a must visit. The off course facilities are already the finished article and as a combined package, the exciting course, beautifully restored hall and 5* facilities it does provide a brilliant corporate event venue for the money.

Brands looking for luxury golf events to intimate corporate away days, Rockliffe Hall should be on any businesses shortlist as a venue in the North. Just make sure you pack your long sticks and hope the rough isn’t up.

Images: Rockliffe Hall, Darlington

It’s just what corporate golf is looking fore?

Located just outside Watford and close to major motorway links, you’ll have to go a long way to find a better venue within the M25 belt. Comparing favourably with other courses in and around London, The Grove is perfectly setup for businesses and brands looking for a premium experience to host their guests.


From the moment you take in the extended driveway and approach the hotel, even the carpark is perfectly manicured. From the first hello at the door, the Grove’s staff go well beyond and you’re made to feel incredibly welcome by their friendly staff. With the hotel attached The Grove has a formidable and professional team to host variable sized events. From intimate group events where attention to detail and a one on one service is key, to large scale corporate days where you’ll want a slick oiled machine, The Grove’s team knows how to support your event.


Designed by Kyle Phillips The Grove sits among his impressive design portfolio, alongside International favourites, Scotland’s Kingsbarns and more recently, Yas Links in Abu Dhabi. The Grove certainly doesn’t let its self down, and since opening in 2003 it’s established itself as a top course known particularly for its impeccable condition. The land around Watford isn’t exactly spectacular but Kyle really has got the most out of the land and created what can still be regarded as a very interesting and enjoyable track. 


The round starts off with a comfortable wide fairway opening par 4 which helps settle the nerves on the tee box of those big corporate days. In fact, due to the layout and condition it is a great venue for large mixed events where all levels of golfer might attend. It’s not the sort of course to beat up particular player so allows for a relaxed round and perfect to build relationships with fellow players and to do business.


The whole experience at The Grove is first class. The course might not have the distinctive personality of the UK’s finest courses but as an overall experience it certainly ranks highly, especially if you’re looking for a resort within the M25. If there was a requirement for a venue ideal for corporate hosted events in and around London, then The Grove certainly has to be on the shortlist. 

Images: The Grove, Watford

Drive your event engagement further?

A question we get asked a lot by our clients at Clubs Away is how to create events or experiences that can open up conversations. We’ve probably all attended an exhibition, trade show or product launch and had experience of how a conversation can fizzle out pretty quickly, and the opportunity with it. If you’ve been the exhibitor you’ve probably been thinking why, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

So, why does this happen? Having seen this instance many times at the various events we deliver, it happens as a result of having nothing beyond your product or service to talk about. You believe in your brand and could talk about it all day but going in directly for the sales pitch can turn off your potential customer. If you are going to get someone interested in having a conversation about you or your brand, then that person first of all needs to engage with you on a level outside of what product or service you are offering.

We have always felt there are two essential elements to sales;

  1. The product or service you are providing and how it can solve the problems for your potential client
  2. The relationship between the sales/account person and potential client.

You can’t have one without the other, but there is evidence contrary to that rule but generally speaking it’s safe to say that to maximise on the success of your brand you need to have both those elements working flawlessly. Allow me to provide an example;

One of our clients is a top sportswear brand and it would be fair to say they are a dominant force in the market they operate in. Their sales would flourish just as a result of the sportspeople, endorsements and marketing alone. They could happily sit back and watch the online orders role into the company and without doubt would maintain a successful business as a result.

The reason they don’t is that a key part of their business focus surrounds their people, not just sales people. Their brand resonates throughout their business, from marketing to HR, its not just an outward facing approach, it starts from the core. They focus on people right the way through the business because they understand that having a relationship with their clients whether it be distributors, sales people, operational staff are all key to building their business to further success.

People, no matter who they are or where they come from are more likely to buy from a brand that they feel they have a relationship with. The better the people are within the business at creating and maintaining relationships the more successful the brand is likely to be – its that simple!

During 2018 we started researching ways we could make it easier for our clients to engage with their audience at a higher level. 2019 saw Clubs Away launch its Golf Simulator Hire service and 12 months on has seen huge results of engagement for our clients;

11 Exhibitions

3 Product Launches

22 Golf Days

6 Charity Engagements

4 Conferences

Golf Simulators have proved to be really helpful in unlocking those conversations for our clients and importantly given them the time to build a relationship with their potential customers. A big success has been the response of how a simulator can drive in all manor of customers, keen golfers and those who’ve never played, people just want to have a go. Due to this non intimidating setup it’s been a real hit for brands and provided considerably larger lead generation stats compared to when they’re not using it.

If a golf simulator sounds like a solution to you and your business or you just want to find out more, please get in touch hello@clubsaway.co.uk and look forward to helping you improve the engagement of your business.

Yas Links, business or pleasure??

Sitting 6 miles north west of Abu Dhabi International Airport, Yas Links is only a 10 minute drive which is need given the flight time is twice that compared with many popular golfing destinations in Europe from the UK. That said, once you’re here you’ll realise that this isn’t like European golf resorts, and all the wives tales you’ve herd about the UAE, its time to throw them out the window. Yas Island, home to the Links is also home to Yas Marina F1 circuit, Ferrari world with the worlds fastest rollercoaster, Warner Bros World, waterparks, huge shopping malls, bars and clubs, not to mention a host of luxury hotels.


Being in Abu Dhabi makes Yas Links a perfect location for the end of the year when most of Europe is falling into a freeze, Yas will still be seeing heat most Brits would call positively barmy! This makes it not only a superb holiday getaway but due to its local surroundings its a perfect destination for intimate corporate events. From one to one meetings or smaller team sales events, Yas Links has a fine tuned private and personal approach thats symbolised from the first moment when you collect the keys to your personally named changing locker.


Open in 2010 Yas is a first class golf facility boasting a world top 50 course designed by Kyle Philips and a floodlit 9 hole academy course and practice area. With beautiful view of the Arabian Gulf to one side, Yas Marina F1 circuit, Ferrari Wold and probably your hotel to the other, its an amazing setting for an equally amazing golf course. Playing up to almost 7,500 yards its got five tee positions for those looking to adjust the difficulty making it perfect if you’re out on business as you’ll not want to talk a deal if the course is giving you a beating. The front nine plays wider and probably easier to score compare to the back nine which slowly tightens up to offer some real risk and reward golf, particular the final stretch.


With such a quality course there are almost too many standout holes to mention but an early favourite is the dogleg 3rd which hugs the coast-line for 400 yards with your approach shot to the eight bunker guarded green. Bunkers are something that you’ll have to get used to seeing at Yas Links with game management of the upmost importance, particularly if the wind wants to blow, things can get tricky. The 4th is a great long par 3 with an amazingly undulating green making for some testing pin positions. Its the 9th where things start to change, and from the off your first tee shot is a tight one over the water calling for great accuracy otherwise you’ll give yourself a tricky second. 


The whole back nine slides down the strip of land besides Ferrari World and the Yas Marina circuit until turning back on its self, tightly hugging the waters edge. The 12th and 15th have a nice links double green touch so if you miss the serious bunkers guarding the green you could still be left with a lengthy put of some distance. It’s the closing holes that you’ll go home remembering, even if its because you left a few balls in the Arabian Gulf due to the typical head on wind. With small greens and thin fairways the 16th is a nervy test. The 17th is a majestic par three and with all the carry and a fair bit of wind it’s a good result to hold the green. Slightly right sided shots will end up in the dip leaving for a tricky piece of short play to get down for par. The the round is then topped off with an epic finish at the lengthy par 5 18th. You’ll be given a few questions on where to play before you even get to the green and will play really long especially if that wind comes in head on which it usually does. 


Yas Links is defiantly a venue worth traveling to, even if you’re visiting Dubai as its well within a two hour drive. At the end of the game you’ll need to freshen off in the rainfall shower even if you did take the cart guy up on a much need cool lolly and enjoy the Spanish style clubhouse. The food is superb and often supported by events, but if that not your thing then outdoor seating has a beautiful view across the back nine for a perfectly relaxing view with a beer. Just don’t forget your sun cream and plenty of water.

Uphold your brand values on the fairway?

As a PGA Professional who hosts Corporate Golf Events and Holidays I have seen first hand that not everyone is aware of basic etiquette most of us take for granted on the golf course. With this in mind I thought I would put together my top etiquette tips so you know next time your out on the course, you won’t annoy your playing partners or letting your company brand down. Especially with corporate events it’s important that you represent the values of your business both on and off the course.

Pace of play;

It’s always important for you and your playing partners on the course to keep up with the group ahead. If you find yourself in a position where your group has lost an entire hole of those players in front, please let the group behind through if you are holding them up.

Stand still and in silence when other people are taking their shot;

This one is an important one if you want to keep on friendly terms with your playing partners. From the moment your playing partner is choosing their club it is etiquette to stay silent until they hit their shot. No player wants to be put off halfway through their swing as it’s hard to pull out and almost always results in a poor shot. The last thing you want is to be blamed for them mishitting a shot even if your chatting wasn’t the reason, they’ll still blame you, even if they don’t say it.

Repair the golf course;

It’s our duty as golfers to make sure we repair the damage we create on the course. How would you like it if you’ve hit your Sunday best only to find yourself in an old fairway divot. Even if you take the fairway divot and bits fly all over the place, just make it look like you’ve tried to fix it. These are a few of the most common:

• Pitch marks on the green
• Divots – Just not on tee boxes
• Rake bunkers

When to play your shot;

The person who is farthest away from the hole plays first. To speed up play try to prepare for your shot whilst other people are playing. The player who had the lowest score on the previous hole tees off first.

Etiquette for when you are on the green;

This is where everyone has to be a little more aware of where their playing partners are. Thankfully fully spiked shoes aren’t really worn anymore so the damage you can make to a green and accidentally sabotage your partners chances of holing a putt are limited. Still there are ways players will expect you to respect their upcoming shot and stepping across and on their line before their putt isn’t one of them. Other ways you can respect your playing partners around the green are:

• Mark your ball with a coin so the other players aren’t distracted
• Don’t stand in eye view of anyone whilst they are taking their shot

Lend a hand;

Who’s happy after hitting a poor shot resulting in them stomping through the trees or thick grass looking for a ball. Chances is they’re not so happy so if your partner finds themselves not being able to find their ball, then be on hand to help them find it – its always handy to have the favour returned should you need it!

Keep your cool;

We all know golf is a very frustrating game, but you need to make every effort for your playing partners sake to manage any frustration in as silent way as possible. Particularly when playing a corporate event you’re not only representing yourself but the business brand you work for. Your company no doubt works hard to portray a brand image and a culture, so it’s your responsibility that you try and uphold the business values at all times. Not to mention, it’s not the most pleasant experience playing with someone who loses their temper but whilst you are vocalising your frustration your playing partner might be trying to concentrate on their shot routine.

8 tips on creating the perfect golf event?

Why are you organising a golf event

When I ask companies why they have decided to organise a golf event I’m past being surprised when they don’t have an answer, in fact over 90% of businesses don’t have a definitive answer as to why they have a golf event.  Some of the answers that we get are; “we thought I would be a nice thing to do”, “our competitors do one” and a common one “we have some budget to spend”.

Whilst these are all very nice, they are not reasons to run a golf event and before you do anything, you should clearly define why you are running an event. Only when this is done can you start to create an event that is tailored to the goals of what the company wants to achieve. This is central to good corporate hospitality and where a desired output is created to increase business performance.

 

Invitations

Ever organised a golf event and after having 100 people confirm they would be attending, when it comes to the day itself the drop out rate is huge?

Since we started Clubs Away one specific goal was to help our clients with this issue. We have seen significant results in this area of corporate event management, reducing the drop out rate for our clients by 11%.

Getting people to attend is more than just sending out an invitation and getting a confirmation whether they can attend or not, It’s a process in itself and is one that can make or break your golf event.

The invitation is the first point of contact where your potential guest gets to hear about your event, so its needs to appeal to your guest.

 

Choosing your venue

One of the most important factors of running your event is the venue and is sometimes overlooked in its importance.

It’s important when a company runs an event they ensure the whole experience is representative of their brand, and the venue is no exception. If you are a high-end brand that prides itself on quality then you should choose a 5-star golf resort. I can hear you now saying, “I don’t have the budget to that”.  There are of course ways around this;

Reduce your numbers

It’s better to deliver an event that shouts your brand values with a reduced number of guests. This again links to the drop out rate . If your guests don’t feel like your event doesn’t reflect your brand your drop out rates will be high.

Use us!

I know this sounds like a sales pitch, but I’m saying this because it’s true. We know how to negotiate along with buying power with venues to get the package you want. Our free venue finding service takes all the hassle away from you and guarantees that you will get the best price with all the little add-ons that make your day a truly bespoke golfing experience.

 

Branding

Its amazing how little attention companies give to exposing their brand on their events. We were recently invited to a corporate golf event of a potential client so we could advise what they could do better. The answer: Everything!!!!! The only exposure of their brand was by way of a banner on the 1st tee.

Brand exposure on an event has to come in many forms of presence and we recommend that 20%-30% of the total budget should be attributed to branding your event. I cannot stress enough how important this is and you should consider how you expose your brand in the following areas;

  • Welcoming your guest
  • Play your game
  • Dressing your venue
  • Reward your winners

When choosing how to do this you should always strive to expose your brand in the above areas as much as possible in a way that fits in with your brand guidelines.

If you need some inspiration, please see read our events page

 

Gifts for your guests

Giving a gift to your guests is probably one of the most important aspects of your golf day.

This should always be done at the first point of contact with your guest, having a registration desk with a company representative is the best way to do this. Giving a gift to your guest does two things;

It makes them feel welcome

Remember that they might not know anybody so its important that you make them feel welcome by this method and interacting with them for as long as possible.

Brand exposure

The gift should always expose your brand. There are so many things to choose from the list is truly endless, some companies even choose non golf themed related items which can work as long as the gift is synonymous with your brand or product. When choosing your gift you should always choose something they will get use out of and that will remind them of your brand, product and golf day.

 

Competition Format

Choosing a competition format for your golf event can be a large task in itself, do you choose, Medal, Stableford, Greensome’s, Foursome’s, team’s or individual???

This is a question that faces every golf event organiser and unless they fully understand the implications behind each format then this decision can have a massive impact on your golf day and what memories your guests leave with.

There are many factors to think about when making the final decision, time, administration, number of guests attending, to name a few. No matter what decision you make you should always consider both your guest and your ability to manage each format.

 

Electronic vs. Traditional Scoring

With electronic scoring such as VPAR are becoming ever popular we have been sampling both techniques to see what effect each has on a golf day. Whilst I agree that electronic scoring has its place in a competition environment I don’t think it has any place in a corporate golf day.

Having electronic scoring sends the message that day is centred on the competition itself. This is one of the mistakes that happens to frequently as its your company, brand and product that should be at the heart of any event. Making the day about competition can confuse the message that you are trying to send to your guests.

There is also another good reason not to go down the electronic scoring road. If the day is made about the competition itself, electronic scoring will ultimately tell people where they have finished in the field. There are always a small percentage of guests that will leave your day if they know they haven’t won or get a prize in the competition. The time after the round is your chance to network and talk to as many people as possible so don’t give them an excuse to leave, if they think that they might win a prize its pretty much guaranteed that they will stay to find out.

 

Why use a Golf Event Agency?

A question we are always asked at Clubs Away is why should we use you?
 
The biggest misconception we see in our industry is that event managers within companies think that they would get the best price by approaching the venues directly. But how do you know what a good price is? 
 
We do many proposals throughout the year, so we are constantly benchmarking where the price points are for each type of resort. This enables us to have a discussion with the venue about the best price for you. 
 
You may think at this point, ‘So what? I have a budget and as long as I don’t go over that budget then It doesn’t really matter’ As I’m sure you can imagine we have a slightly different opinion. Within golf events it’s the small things that turn a golf day where people gather to play golf, to a golf event where people drive away remembering it for the right reasons. 
 
The most important thing when hosting any type of event is that your guests go away feeling that they have a different relationship with you and your company. Little things matter and it is important to know that everything you do, from the venue you host your event at, to the gift you give them, down to the food you eat, is a reflection of your brand.
 
So, what is the catch to using our FREE venue finding service? There isn’t one! We get a commission directly from the venue which is why we can offer this service free of charge to all our clients. 

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