News Roundup


• BGL scoops host of accolades in 2019 Member Experience Awards

Burhill Golf and Leisure (BGL) has been awarded several honours in the 2019 Member Experience Awards, run by TRP (The Retention People).

Now in its second year (previously known as the Customer Engagement Academy Customer Experience Awards), the Member Experience Awards has been created to recognise and reward leisure, health and fitness club operators consistently delivering a high standard of member experience in their facilities. 

Based on their overall Net Promoter Score (NPS), calculated from member feedback received via TRP’s Insight software for the 12-month assessment period, Medals and Awards are given on an operator and site basis.

BGL was awarded the Most Improved Member Experience - Golf Club Group title in addition to being recognised as providing the overall Best Member Experience - Golf Club Group, recording the highest NPS score for the sector in 2019.

Across its 10-venue portfolio, BGL Golf venues earned a Silver Medal Award meaning they consistently achieved above the industry average performance in member experience, based on NPS over the past 12 months.

Individually, both Wycombe Heights Golf Centre and Ramsdale Park Golf Centre were awarded the Platinum Medal Award, which requires the highest NPS score, while two other BGL Golf venues earned a Gold Medal Award and a further four qualified for a Silver Medal Award.

BGL Golf venue, Thornbury Golf Centre, won the title of Most Improved Golf Club Member Experience, earning the greatest points increase in its NPS score between the 2018 awards assessment period and the 2019 awards assessment period for the sector.

“I’d like to congratulate all our venues for maintaining the highest standards of customer service; in particular, Tim Good and his team at Thornbury,” commented BGL Operations Director, Guy Riggott.

“Ensuring our members and guests receive a great experience is always a top priority and being recognised with these awards is a great indication of our performance across the board.”

For more information on Burhill Golf and Leisure Ltd visit or follow @BGLGolf on LinkedIn.

Image: Thornbury Golf Centre


•  PING Announces Signing of Eddie Pepperell

PING has announced the signing of European Tour player Eddie Pepperell on a multi-year agreement.

As part of the deal, the 28-year-old Englishman will compete wearing a PING hat and carry a PING staff bag. He is currently playing 14 PING clubs, including a G410 Plus driver (9°), G410 5-wood (17.5° at 16°), i210 irons (3-PW), Glide Forged wedges (52°, 56°, 60°) and Custom PLD PrimeTyne putter.

Pepperell is a two-time European Tour winner, having claimed victories at the Qatar Masters and British Masters in 2018, while also finishing T6 at the Open Championship in the same year. Last season, he finished T3 at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

He will make his debut as a PING staff player at the South African Open at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg this week.

“Eddie is one of the most popular players on the European Tour and we are very pleased that he has chosen to represent PING,” said PING President, John K. Solheim. “With two European Tour victories already to his name, we look forward to supporting him going forward and wish him continued success. I enjoy his humour on social media. He’s fun to follow and always keeps things interesting.”


• La Cala Resort Provides Dramatic Challenge For Rising Stars In Alps Tour Qualifying School

For an eighth consecutive year, Europe’s rising starts took on La Cala’s internationally-renowned championship courses at Alps Tour Qualifying School. Britain’s Bradley Bawden clinched victory on December 22nd by a shot, holing the winning putt in warm winter sun that belied torrential conditions earlier in the week. 

Nestled between the arresting beauty of the Sierra de Mijas Natural Park and the shimmering Mediterranean Sea, La Cala was the perfect stage for the high-pressure tournament. However, two-days of severe rain forced organisers to reduce the tournament to 36-holes.

Bawden’s performance included an opening round 63 on the America course, setting up victory over Portugal’s Tomás Bessa on -8. English amateur Laurie Owen clinched an impressive third place (tied) on -6. The final qualifying score was level par with 41 players claiming full membership for the 2020 Alps Tour – one of the main feeders into the upper echelons of European golf.

“We were once again delighted to welcome the Alps Tour Qualifying School to La Cala,” said Robert Mitchell, Director of Golf. “The standard of golf was exceptional and it was extremely satisfying to hear how La Cala’s courses presented a fair and dramatic challenge for such elite players.

“The rain made it a particularly demanding week but our talented greens-keeping team did a phenomenal job. We also know La Cala drains better than any other course in the Costa del Sol after years of extensive investment.”

Among those making the grade at La Cala were players from Europe, Africa, North America and as far afield as South America. No fewer than 249 players contested the Alps Tour qualifying at La Cala Resort with 144 making it to the Final Stage. 41 players gained full playing rights on the 2020 Alps Tour with a further 103 golfers gaining partial playing rights.

The Alps Tour is a third level circuit for both professional and amateur players, a fantastic field of training for those aiming to the highest levels of tournament golf – Challenge Tour, European Tour and beyond. 

Situated in the foothills of the beautiful Mijas Mountains with breath-taking views of the stunning Andalusian countryside, La Cala Resort offers an idyllic rural retreat. Although just 20 minutes from Marbella and only 30 minutes from Malaga airport, La Cala feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the coast. 

Three superb championship courses, Campo America, Campo Asia and Campo Europa each present unique challenges and slot seamlessly into a natural, undulating backdrop of trees and flowers, rich with birds and wildlife. Designed by famous golf course architect Cabell Robinson, each 18-hole layout has been created to ensure a truly exhilarating experience. An additional 6-hole, par-3 course and world-class golf academy completes La Cala’s golfing experience. 

In recent years, La Cala Resort has embarked on a major improvement programme to enhance its courses’ reputations yet further. This has seen the installation of Bermuda grass greens on the Asia Course, extensive remodelling of holes on the America Course and ongoing work to refurbish every bunker on the resort, due for completion in 2020.

La Cala resort boasts accommodation of the highest standard, including a newly renovated 107-bedroom hotel, a selection of on-site properties for sale and rental; from attractive 2-bedroom apartments to opulent 5-bedroom villas spread throughout the estate of approximately four million square metres.  Residents can enjoy the luxurious spa and a selection of excellent restaurants and bars. There are also further leisure opportunities with FIFA standard football pitch, running circuit, gym, tennis and squash courts.

For further information on La Cala Resort please visit 

• Toptracer celebrates 100th European installation as Pine Ridge Golf Club in UK joins revolution

Pine Ridge Golf Club in Surrey has become the 100th golf facility in Europe to join the Toptracer Range revolution. This landmark installation also brings the total number of Toptracer Range hitting bays to 1,700 - each with the capability of hosting up to four guests at any one time. 

Located in the heart of Surrey,  Pine Ridge Golf Club boasts an 18-hole course that winds through 6,458 yards of stunning pine forest. The club’s 36-bay, floodlit driving range is set to be the go-to practice destination in the region with the addition of Toptracer Range technology. 

Toptracer Range perfectly encapsulates technology and fun to transform golf driving ranges into ultimate entertainment destinations. Industry-leading ball tracing technology allows Toptracer to provide accurate, live shot data that can be used for practice purposes or to compete in games and challenges with friends.

Using cameras mounted around the facility and 21-inch monitors found in each hitting bay, Toptracer Range technology produces an array of details relating to each shot struck – including distance, speed, launch angle, shape and more. Data is instantly recorded and displayed on the screen through a player profile that can be accessed via the Toptracer Range community application.

Toptracer Range (then, Protracer) was first installed at New Malden (World of Golf) in 2012. Following TopGolf’s purchase of Protracer, the company’s new Toptracer Range technology was then developed and distributed to facilities across the globe. 

More recently, Toptracer Range installed its largest driving range facility, ToppGolf AS, in Norway. With 78 bays, the facility is now the largest and most technologically advanced practice destination in Scandinavia. 

Commenting on reaching the recent milestones, Toptracer’s European General Manager, Paul Williams, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have reached the landmark of installing our 100th Toptracer Range facility in Europe. 

“There are no signs whatsoever of the Toptracer Range revolution slowing down, and we’ve also now reached a staggering 1,700 total bays across Europe. This is a great achievement, but we won’t be slowing up as we’re fully committed to providing golf facilities globally with the most exciting product in golf.”

Toptracer Range represents an unmissable opportunity for golf facilities to dramatically increase their business revenue and create more engagement with members and customers. This new technology has the power to attract an entirely new demographic to a golf course or facility, by providing a social experience unlike any other. 

Players can compete in various game modes that are suited to all ages and skill levels, including: long-drive competitions, Closest to the Pin or even teeing it up virtually on one of the world’s best courses.

Toptracer Range has already been introduced at over 200 venues worldwide. These include leading clubs in the USA and Europe as well as facilities in Australia, Canada, Central America, Asia and the Middle East.

For further information on Toptracer Range locations visit

• Zen Green Stage to make PGA Show debut

The Zen Green Stage will make its first PGA Merchandise Show appearance next week in Orlando.

A 16-foot model has been custom-built for the exhibition, and will appear on the Smart2Move booth #1273, accompanied by Nick Middleton and George Stubbs from Zen.

Zen Green Stage, which regularly appears on Sky Sports Golf as the centrepiece of its TV coverage of Major tournaments, is the world’s leading digitally-adjustable putting and full swing platform.

It is referred to as “the final piece of the jigsaw for your golf academy” by world-renowned putting coach Phil Kenyon, who teaches many Major winners and Tour superstars.

Smart2Move, which represents the gold-standard of force plates as used in golf, is the only such technology which works on a slope – and Zen provides the slopes.

“Zen Green Stage plus Smart2Move is the marriage of two exclusive technologies which, when used together, enables you to see how golf coaching will be in the future” said Zen founder Nick Middleton.

“At last, it’s now possible to capture crucial data which has simply never been seen before. Together with Trackman, this exclusive composite of Zen & Smart 2 Move technology will unveil new and exciting opportunities to enhance coaching performance and new revenue streams.”

Zen USA’s Tim Cutshall, the USA’s leading golf studio designer and systems integrator for country clubs, golf clubs, golf schools and university golf programs, will also be on hand to explain why he now recommends the Green Stage to his customers.

He said: “Nowadays you should be designing your golf studio around the Zen Green Stage. No-one else out there has a product that can do this.”

“The world isn’t flat,” said Nick Middleton, “so why is your golf school?

“We can’t wait to show off the Zen Green Stage at this year’s PGA Show – most people who stand on it are simply flabbergasted.”

Visit booth #1273 at this year’s PGA Show to conquer the sloping lies in your life.

• The Almenara Hotel, Sotogrande - currently under renovation - set to reopen Spring 2021 under the SO/HOTELS & RESORTS brand and renamed ‘SO/Sotogrande’

Expected to officially debut in 2021, the luxury hotel will present an exhilarating combination of social spaces, exclusive experiences and distinctive “Just Say SO” services that celebrate Mediterranean culture

Accor’s luxury, lifestyle brand SO/Hotels & Resorts, together with Sotogrande SA, the renowned developer and creator of the namesake destination, have signed a management agreement to open the first SO/ property in Spain. SO/Sotogrande Resort & Spa will reflect the brand’s rebellious luxury in this idyllic setting within the Costa del Sol, blending exclusivity with the brand’s commitment to dynamic gastronomy and upbeat vibrant well-being. Upon completion of an extensive renovation and repositioning programme of the historical Almenara Hotel, SO/Sotogrande is expected to open in Spring 2021.

Sotogrande is a prestigious destination located on the southern tip of Spain that is known for its residential sports and leisure offerings. Nestled on the Mediterranean coast between Marbella and Gibraltar, SO/Sotogrande will be the perfect starting point for visitors to explore Andalusia. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy Tarifa and its “boho” spirit, stroll through the wine region of Jerez, or enjoy authentic and picturesque villages like Ronda and its rich Moorish history.  

“We are thrilled that Accor has placed its trust in Sotogrande as a destination. The opening of The SO/Sotogrande Resort & Spa, will mark an exciting new phase in our consistent efforts to present all the attributes expected of a high-end destination like ours,” said Marc Topiol, Chairman of Sotogrande SA. 

SO/Sotogrande will bring a fascinating blend of social spaces, sophisticated experiences and distinctive “Just Say SO” services that celebrate Mediterranean culture. Overlooking all of Sotogrande, the new luxury hotel will feature 151 stylish rooms with 24 suites, setting new standards for true luxury hospitality within the destination. 

SO/Sotogrande will also feature extensive landscaped gardens with breathtaking views of the sea, Gibraltar and the Andalusian countryside, and will enjoy an enviable location in close proximity to some of the most exceptional golf and polo fields in Europe. This authentic oasis will capture the essence of Sotogrande’s originality. Sotogrande is located conveniently near the international airports of Malaga, Gibraltar and Jerez, and is a half an hour away from Marbella and Puerto Banús. 

Sotogrande is set apart from other elite destinations in Europe by the breadth and variety of its world-class sports and leisure offering. Three of Europe’s best golf courses (Real Club Valderrama, La Reserva Club, Real Club de Golf Sotogrande) can be found within a four kilometres radius. 

Moreover, an expanded equine infrastructure, including three polo clubs, is a celebration of the Andalucían equestrian culture, while the Mediterranean shore provides the perfect setting for watersports.

The region’s 1,300 sqm nature reserve also provides the perfect space to either lose yourself in the most tranquil of environments or invite colleagues along for team building adventures. 

Redefining the traditional codes of hospitality through the lens of an unconventional savoir-faire, SO/Sotogrande is destined to become one of the most exclusive holiday and leisure destinations in southern Europe. Whether there to relax or work, guests will be spoiled for choice with five swimming pools, nine dining spaces, more than 2,000 sqm of spa and fitness facilities, and nearly 1000 sqm of conference and meeting space, including an outdoor auditorium. 

“SO/ is the most avant-garde brand in Accor’s luxury portfolio, which combines vibrant local energy with creative gastronomic experiences and modern luxury service. The opening of SO/Sotogrande Resort & Spa represents an excellent opportunity to introduce the brand in Spain and operate an emblematic property within our network, which is currently experiencing rapid growth,” said Marc Dardenne, CEO, Luxury Brands, Europe, Accor. 

SO/Sotogrande is an exciting new hotel for the SO/ portfolio, which includes recent additions such as SO/Paseo del Prado Havana, SO/Auckland, SO/Berlin Das Stue, SO/Vienna and SO/St. Petersburg. Each SO/ hotel is an avant-garde masterpiece with a character all its own, the result of an artistic vision brought to life by the touch of renowned designers. With an ambitious plan to expand its global presence in the coming years, SO/ plans to open new hotels in Kuala Lumpur, Koh Samui, Dubai, Paris, Melbourne, and Los Cabos.