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Here’s why Idrefjällens Golfklubb is every guest player’s paradise

5 min read
Apr 16, 2024

Last year, Idrefjällens Golfklubb excelled, ranking among Sweden's top clubs in guest satisfaction out of 144, leading with a mantra of providing guests with an experience just as good as that for its members. But how have they succeeded in creating such great satisfaction among guests without compromising on the club's members?

In the western part of Sweden lies a golf club that may stand out a bit from the rest. Idrefjällens Golfklubb has been serving thousands of golfers with great experiences for the past 30 years, and with the club's location in the heart of the country, golfers from all over Sweden have a great opportunity to stop by the small club in the northwestern part of the Dalarna region.

Idrefjällens Golfklubb was formed and registered with the Swedish Golf Federation in 1990. In the following years, the course was constructed, before the opening tee shot was struck on July 22, 1992.

Located in between the mountains of Idre the course at Idrefjallens Golfklubb brings both vast expanses and fresh mountain air to the game. Source_ Idrefjallens Golfklubb
Located in between the mountains of Idre, the course at Idrefjällens Golfklubb brings both vast expanses and fresh mountain air to the game. Source: Idrefjällens Golfklubb.
In 2007 Idrefjallens Golfklubb was named Golf Club of the Year by the Golf Journalists Association in Sweden. Source_ Idrefjallens Golfklubb
In 2007, Idrefjällens Golfklubb was named Golf Club of the Year by the Golf Journalists Association in Sweden. Source: Idrefjällens Golfklubb.
Idrefjallens beautiful and varied golf course is designed by Swedish course architect Bengt Lorichs. Source_ Idrefjallens Golfklubb
Idrefjällens beautiful and varied golf course is designed by Swedish course architect Bengt Lorichs. Source: Idrefjällens Golfklubb.
 
Anna Wickberg holds the role of Golf Club Manager at the club and has been doing so for the past 4 years. For her, it's important to give all golfers the greatest experience possible – not just the members. Since guests make up a big part of the club’s income and the total rounds played on the course, they need to be prioritized just as much as members. Today, 500 golfers are holding some sort of membership at Idrefjällens Golfklubb, and over 6000 green fee rounds were played last year.
Historically seen, not many people have been living in the Idre area, which has made it hard to attract huge numbers of members to the golf club.
Anna Wickberg, Golf Club Manager at Idrefjällens Golfklubb

Usually, members play a huge role for golf clubs in Sweden. Players 1st data indicates that members account for more than half of all rounds of golf played in the country, with guests only booking a quarter of all rounds. But this pattern is not the case for Idrefjällens Golfklubb, where guests grab the most rounds by far. For this reason, Wickberg also refers to the club as a guest players club.

That's not to say that the club doesn't focus on its members. It’s quite the opposite, actually. At Idrefjällens Golfklubb, the satisfaction of the members is also sky-high. In fact, last year, they were also among the most satisfied members in the whole of Sweden. Impressive, isn't it?

Figure 1_ The ranking of Idrefjallens Golfklubbs guest and member satisfaction score in 2023. Source_ Players 1st
Figure 1: The ranking of Idrefjällens Golfklubb's guest and member satisfaction score in 2023. Source: Players 1st

Best with the guests

According to Wickberg, several different factors have contributed to Idrefjällens Golfklubb being able to see itself at the top when it comes to guest satisfaction over the past year.

First and foremost, she experiences that in recent years, a special bond has formed between guests and staff. Idrefjällens Golfklubb has a lot of guests and groups coming back year after year.

Guests and staff always greet each other, and many are on a first-name basis because they come back time and time again. That's why many of our guests feel almost like members, precisely because of the atmosphere on the golf course.
Anna Wickberg, Golf Club Manager at Idrefjällens Golfklubb

The Golf Club Manager very recently talked to the clubs’ head pro, and he highlighted the welcoming atmosphere at the club even though there are mostly guests on the course.

As a pro, he visits a lot of clubs throughout all of Sweden and he told me that the vibe and atmosphere of our club is what really sets us apart from many others.
Anna Wickberg, Golf Club Manager at Idrefjällens Golfklubb

You'll notice this when you observe how guests feel about the welcome they receive at the club. Last year, Idrefjällens Golfklubb ranked fourth out of 144 clubs and achieved the highest response rate on the Players 1st Guest Survey in Sweden.


Figure 2_ The ranking of Idrefjallens Golfklubb benchmarked against other Players 1st clubs in Sweden. Touchpoint_ As a green fee player you feel welcome when you arrive at the f
Figure 2: The ranking of Idrefjällens Golfklubb benchmarked against other Players 1st clubs in Sweden. Touchpoint: As a green fee player, you feel welcome when you arrive at the facility. Source: Players 1st
 

Idrefjällens Golfklubb 2.0 – as flexible as ever

The golf club is located right next to the Idre Fjäll Ski Resort, and in 2019, the resort took over the operation of the golf club, making it part of the entire Idre Fjäll Organization. This has supplied the golf club with an economic injection, allowing them to improve and optimize conditions for their golfers.

The collaboration with the ski resort has also brought along other benefits. The golf club now receives assistance with staffing during the busy periods over Spring and Summer when the ski resort employees don't have much else to do anyway. These employees already work with guests and tourists, which makes them very service-minded by nature.

When looking into the Players 1st dashboard, the club also stands out as a top performer in Sweden when it comes to how guests experience contact with the club's staff.

Figure 3_ The ranking of Idrefjallens Golfklubb benchmarked against other Players 1st clubs in Sweden. Touchpoint_ Meeting the on course staff was a great experience. Source_ Pla
Figure 3: The ranking of Idrefjällens Golfklubb benchmarked against other Players 1st clubs in Sweden. Touchpoint: Meeting the on course staff was a great experience. Source: Players 1st
 
Putting the course above everything else

Besides staff floating around between the ski resort and the golf course, Anna Wickberg also underlines the power of utilizing the Players 1st Dashboard frequently to stay up-to-date. It allows the management to react promptly to feedback from golfers, especially when it comes to the course, which is their main focus area.

We are a very small golf club with no fancy clubhouse or anything posh, but our course is just very well kept, and we can feel that it matters for the ones visiting our club.
Anna Wickberg, Golf Club Manager at Idrefjällens Golfklubb

The opportunity to make changes quickly is also reflected when looking at the development of the course over the past year, where Idrefjällens Golfklubb consistently managed to increase satisfaction throughout the season and also scored above the national benchmark.


Figure 4_ The development of the satisfaction score for the course at Idrefjallens Golfklubb from June to September 2023. Source_ Players 1st
Figure 4: The development of the satisfaction score for the course at Idrefjällens Golfklubb from June to September, 2023. Source: Players 1st
 

The success from a helicopter view

While being a relatively small club, Idrefjällens Golfklubb has had great success in tackling tasks collectively. According to Wickberg, the ability to communicate the right things internally is a top priority. Also, the club strives to solve problems and challenges jointly, and they are always trying to make the most of each other's strengths and weaknesses.

What has worked out to be very valuable for us is great communication and respect between the management, course manager, greenkeepers, and pros.
Anna Wickberg, Golf Club Manager at Idrefjällens Golfklubb

Besides great teamwork, Wickberg underlines that the use of feedback has significantly eased her job as a Golf Club Manager. For her, it is essential to have supporting arguments based on data when proposing potential improvements to the golf course and presenting the ideas to the Board or other decision-makers at the club. With the results from the Players 1st Survey, they get black-and-white documentation about golfers’ likes and dislikes.

We are here for the golfers, and without them, there is no golf club. That is our main driver for using feedback.
Anna Wickberg, Golf Club Manager at Idrefjällens Golfklubb

 

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