Golf at Goodwood
Meet Chris McDonnell, academy manager at the Golf at Goodwood estate. Managing the academy of a golf club with around 2500 members presents daily challenges. To serve its members, the academy employs three golf professionals, a fitness and condition expert, and a golf psychologist. Chris was introduced to ProAgenda.com in 2017 by the company’s ambassador Guy Woodman. Four years later, Chris still uses the system with three professionals as a complement to the academy’s teaching experience.
Before joining Goodwood as academy manager, Chris had an active playing career. Once he turned professional at the age of 25, he immediately began with the PGA training program.
“It didn’t feel right to have all my eggs in the basket of my playing career. It was a considered decision as I also knew I wanted to continue working in the golf industry.”
After playing two years on the EuroPro Tour and the Alps Tour, Chris had the opportunity to begin his teaching career with Troon Golf in the Middle East. In Bahrain, he honed his skills by coaching 6 days a week to students from all walks of life, cultures, and abilities. Skills that he still utilizes in his current position.
After two years of teaching, Chris returned to England and played for two more years on Tour, including one year on the Challenge Tour, before becoming the academy manager at Goodwood. In his role, Chris manages his own schedule along with his team of golf professionals. On working at Goodwood, Chris says: “Goodwood is a unique place, it is very spread out across a large estate, which is great but it also makes it difficult to create a club atmosphere day-to-day. I would say that communication between professionals and members is therefore key.”
Before adopting ProAgenda.com, the team members were all using different agendas and coaching tools. The problem was that they didn’t have good collaboration with each other, no togetherness. They were looking for a solution to enhance and simplify the booking experience. The booking module of their club management software wasn’t the solution either, according to Chris: “It had a professional diary feature, but it had no confirmations, no video analysis, no client feedback, etc.”
Next to that, he appreciates the structure ProAgenda.com provides: “ProAgenda.com keeps the booking and coaching content from all professionals together. A good example is that a lot of our clients book lessons with different professionals; ProAgenda.com allows our clients to use the same package to book lessons with any of us.”
Serving a venue that is very spread out, with multiple contact points across the estate, the staff also benefit from using the academy management tool at all reception areas. The general and member managers can then use this tool to see the availability of the golf professionals and instantly book lessons for their members.
Chris was one of the early adaptors in the UK, fighting the human urge to be suspicious of a new way of doing things. At Goodwood, they quickly became familiarized with the system and recognised its positive impact, immediately receiving excellent feedback from their clients. Chris relays the direct impact of the booking platform: “The simplest features from the booking platform bring so much benefit to the academy. Features like sending automatic booking confirmations and reminders reduced the number of no-shows drastically. Getting that e-mail before the lesson is key to following through.”