This is takeaway with a difference. The members at Long Ashton aren’t giving the pizza shop or curry house a ring, they’re dialling straight into their club’s kitchen and getting food to go.
Like a lot of clubs, the Bristol course have a number of members over 70, or who have underlying health conditions, and have been asked to self-isolate from the coronavirus.
With the prospect of 12 weeks in their homes, far away from their friendly club environs, Long Ashton head chef Glenn McNaughton had the idea of taking a menu to them and offering a doorstep delivery service.
“We were at an awards ceremony and he said ‘it’s probably a stupid idea’,” said club manager Gareth Morgan.
“But as soon as he said it, I thought ‘that’s genius, actually’. I knew the staff in the clubhouse would all rally round it.
“That was the day of Boris’ (Johnson, prime minister) first press conference. On the Monday, the clubhouse was still open but it was absolutely dead.
“Glenn was at home putting it all together on his day off – menus and pricing and all that. On the Tuesday, the committee decided to close the clubhouse. We were ready to go on the Wednesday morning with the new service.
“We only launched it half way through the day – put it on the website and started tweeting and the orders started flying straight away.
“Our take doubled on the Thursday and on the Friday it was another 50 per cent on top of that. We maintained the same demand for it on Saturday.
“There’s clearly a demand for it but the one thing I am getting is a pile of emails from members saying how terrific it is that the team are doing it.”
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That’s not the only good idea the club are implementing. Formerly in charge of a club in South Wales, Morgan has followed the lead of Llanishen chief Martin Stevens and started a ring-round of any of his members who might fall into a vulnerable group.
“Martin was really interested in our home delivery scheme and they’ve made a great start of running one of those now,” he added.
“During the conversation, he told me about the ring rounds they are going to be doing. We got one good idea from each other.
“I’m on a little WhatsApp group with other South Wales managers – talking about whether to keep changing rooms open or to put in tee times where they’ve never been before.
“As a result of me telling that group about the home delivery service, I think three or four South Wales clubs are now doing the same thing.
“The golf industry is really coming together and sharing.”
What is your club doing to help keep their community going during the coronavirus pandemic? Let me know in the comments or tweet me.
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