Heralding from the fresh air and salty coastline of North East Tasmania, Biz Sattler was born with an entrepreneurial spirit. The daughter of hotelier come farmer who had embarked on a hugely challenging project of diversifying the family farm from sandy paddocks to smooth golfing greens, Biz lived and breathed the evolution of the now world-renowned Barnbougle Golf Course.
While Barnbougle first years of business saw Sattler completing school, at the first opportunity she had after completing her University studies she set out to market and PR Barnbougle across the globe. And here laid the foundations of her own agency, Sattler PR and now Sattler & Co.
In over 10 years in business Sattler & Co. possess an impressive network in the golfing, tourism and hospitality sector in not only Australia but overseas. From hotel launches to golf app’s, Sattler understands marketing and it’s functionality in driving consumer awareness.
With headquarters in Melbourne, Biz and the Sattler & Co team manage the PR and marketing for number of hospitality, golfing and lifestyle clients across Australia.
The Sattler Story
I was really propelled into the industry through a twist of fate – when Biz’s family developed Barnbougle Dunes and then Barnbougle Lost Farm on their family farm on the north east coast of Tasmania.
Prior to Barnbougle, I really knew nothing about golf. During the early planning and building stages of Barnbougle - when I was around 17 - mum, my sisters and I would be flabbergasted at the thought that people could sit around a dinner table and talk about golf for hours! Having said that, growing up on the farm - which is still a fully functioning 15,000 acre potato and grass fed beef production - we had always loved the outdoors. So during the construction phase we worked to help mow, water and care for the fairways, even as kids. When the facility first opened, dad would make us work in all the business outlets - from waitressing to housekeeping to greenkeeping, which provided amazing perspectives of the business as a whole and helped us to understand the golf space better.
While it wasn’t my first choice for my career path - I was thinking more like fashion - I love the golf industry and the community associated with it. It’s provided me the opportunity to meet some amazing people, travel the world and to be fair, I can now sit around a dinner table and also contribute to golf talk - who’d have thought?
You wake up in the morning - what’s the driving passion?
To have fun and make the most of every day!
The golf industry went through a major upheaval during The Great Recession that hit worldwide in ‘07-’09. What key lessons were learned?
People are extremely conscious of discretionary spend. It facilitated the ‘social golfer’ movement.
Besides those from Australia and New Zealand - where are your main visitors coming from and how are you developing them?
The US and China are our two largest markets.
You grew up as a young girl on a farm in Tasmania. For those who have never been, what was that like and what makes going there so compelling?
Tasmania is the best place in the world! The island is a place of pristine wilderness, from old growth forests to deserted white sandy beaches. The air and water is some of the cleanest in world (in fact at Cape Grim on the NW coast, the CSIRO measure and calibrate global air quality using the Cape Grim Station as a base line) and only 500k people live there permanently, so it’s never crowded. The pure nature of the island also means that the food is of extremely high quality and because the population is so small you still have the country feel: people are extremely welcome, hospitable and most importantly, fun!
You have been instrumental in the creation in the outreach effort - Great Golf Courses of Australia. When was that formed, how many courses are involved and what has been the success to date?
Great Golf Courses of Australia was formed in late 2011. We currently have 26 members in the group, broken down into three categories - Signature courses, Premier Courses and Unique Golf Experiences. We have see great growth and exposure of the golf offer in Australia through the programme, however I think the biggest success has been our ability to bridge the gap between golf and tourism to provide people with a new reason to visit Australia and offer the clubs an additional revenue source.
Both Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farms have quickly ascended in the world golf rankings. Given the competitive nature of Australian golf, what special qualities do both courses possess that make them stand apart?
The unique destination, the exceptional course layout - thanks to Tom Doak and Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw on that one - and the Tasmanian hospitality.
What’s the biggest challenge for you professionally - short and long term?
I am bit of a perfectionist, so learning where to draw the line is always a challenge and understanding that some things are out of your control.
The major golf organisations are all seeking ways to attract Millennials, women and minorities to play the game. If you were counselling them what would you advise be done?
I think to many women golf seems unapproachable. Going and playing with a group of guys when you are only learning is scary and no one wants to be the person holding the group up. So we need to focus on the fun, social side and also that it’s totally fine to just play 9 holes if you want to. For Millennials, certainly a shortened version of the game needs to be looked at - they don’t have the attention span and everyone is busy, it’s hard to justify a full day to play golf if you only have 1 or 2 days off per week. Also, golf is still a game - it should be fun and I think it’s very important we all remember that.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally - what would it be and why?
These are very hard questions to answer diplomatically! I am going to go with allowing people to wear jeans in the clubhouse. As long as they don’t have holes in them is it really such a big deal?
Best advice you ever received - what was it and who from?
Be kind to others - you have no idea what their story is. Never give up. Let go of things you can’t control. That’s three! But they are all important and great pieces of advice from my parents.
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