Links Hope Island Golf Club manager David Hogben says the key to success for the club over the next six months is all about making the members happy. Hogben, who took over as manager of the club north of the Gold Coast in December last year when the club was doing its best to recover from the effects of Covid 19, has spent a lot of time listening – and chatting – to the club’s 580-plus members in his first six months in the job.
“At the moment I’d say our Links Hope Island members – on a happiness rating – would be sitting at 5 out of 10,” he says. “We need to work hard to regain the trust and confidence of our members. They want to see improvements in our food and beverage offering, on the course, and in the pro shop.”
After two disappointing attempts at sub-contracting out F&B, Hogben has employed Sarah McCartney from Royal Pines Resort as its café, bar and events manager. Chef Damon Howard has also joined the team after stints at Emerald Lakes Golf Club and Gold Coast Turf Club.
“We need to do good, tasty simple food consistently well,” Hogben says. “We are not open at night during winter and we are not pitching at the fine-dining market. We need to put good burgers and nice salads on the plate and they need to be reasonably well-priced.”
The club released its new menu this week which delivers on Hogben’s request.
Inspired by his grandfather, starting playing at 12 and is now PGA member, and has spent his career working in the industry, having worked at Pacific Harbour Golf Club and Troon Golf at its Newstead headquarters. Before joining Links Hope Island, he spent more than eight years as head of Golf, Sport and Leisure at another iconic Gold Coast golf venue, Royal Pines where he was heavily involved in running the Australian PGA and the Australian Ladies Masters.
“Covid changed the business at Hope Island,” Hogben says. “Our corporate and high-yield domestic tourism segments were hit hard. We need to raise the number of high-value corporate rounds to increase our revenue.”
The club has just released its 2022/23 membership offering with seven-day membership set to cost an additional 4.5 per cent. The big change, however, has come with the club’s midweek membership which has been reduced from five days to four days.