When Chris Ivess-Mash and Mathew Patton first identified a gap in the UK golf buggy market over a decade ago, expansion and growth were something of a dream, one that is something shared by all entrepreneur’s and one that has remained to this present day. And, it is in the cold light of this present day, amongst the turmoil of recent global events, that within the Golf Car UK Ltd business, an evolution is taking place.
As this editorial is being written, the paint is still drying, and the grounds are undergoing a final planting with lush herbaceous borders on a purpose-built GCUK Headquarters, nestled in the heart of Andover in Hampshire. Managing Director, Chris Ivess-Mash explains, “The uptake of our services from an ever expanding and loyal customer base has happily necessitated our need to rethink our current operating conditions.”
“Our current crop of talented and highly dedicated staff holds our current, extremely modest offices in Amesbury in high affection, but the reality is, we have outgrown them.”
Workshops, logistics, storage space and communication have all been tested to breaking point with the current multi-site operation that GCUK employs, and something had to give.
Sales Director, Matt Patton is keen to point out, “The need to centralise our daily operation was glaringly apparent. We rented several large buildings across Wiltshire to house the buggy fleets, but this was proving to be costly and unwieldy as the demand for our products continues to grow. Chris and I are also very sensitive to the burden of the carbon footprint of the business, and we needed to arrest the issue and start to find ways to streamline our day-to-day activities.
With a definite eye on greener, more efficient practices, the Headquarters were commissioned in Q4 of 2021 with a completion date of Q2 2022 and to be fully operational by the summer.
Chris Ivess-Mash continues, “We have installed a water recycling plant to wash vehicles, electric charge points to encourage the staff uptake of electric transportation, an in-house graphics and marketing department along with a vehicle photo booth and highly efficient offices, but most importantly, a bespoke workshop facility that will streamline the vehicle output whilst at the same time reduce power consumption.” He continues, “Centralising everything under one roof has many benefits for both the business and our customers and we are keen to pass the benefits on.”
The efficiency drive doesn’t end there. GCUK serve customer breakdowns and repairs employing its in-house mobile engineers. All vehicle warranty and spares claims are handled by a highly skilled team of staff that aim to satisfy customer queries and issues within one visit to site. Karen Braund, Service Manager explains, “We are continuing to invest in bespoke computer systems with a blend of the latest technologies and a dedicated parts and service department within the new building. With the new IT investment, we can improve our planning for our engineer site visits using the most cost effective and environmentally friendly routes throughout the UK.”
Matt Patton is first to highlight that attracting more local people who would like to work in the golf and leisure industry is a big plus. “People are looking for a comfortable, modern environment in which to work and we will be able to provide this to future staff from around the surrounding towns and villages, we plan to be a very real option for people looking to learn new skills and to develop long term careers.”
Whilst the prospect of introducing more high-quality staff to be part of the evolution of GCUK, the continued growth can be attributed not only to the vision of the two founder Directors but also to the talented Regional Sales Managers in the shape of Rob Purvey and Marc McCracken.
Rob is himself a former Golf Professional and has been involved with game for all his teenage and adult life. A similar story for Marc, once operating as a Director of Golf and a Golf Professional. In the past two years, Marc has established himself as a formidable promoter of all that is good about the game.
Marc explains, “When I first joined GCUK over two years ago, my skill set was in playing the game, but I have the advantage of knowing many people from within the industry and that has helped to transfer my knowledge to developing golf club profit and to get the most from buggy fleets and utility vehicles. Rob and I work closely together daily to make certain we get the best deals for Managers and Clubs alike in all scenarios.”
Rob has a deeper experience in terms of account management compared to Marc and remains passionate for the game and has a genuine desire to see clubs succeed. “I have seen first-hand what it takes to run a successful golf club and as well as supplying golf buggies, any knowledge or advice I can pass on or the sharing of ideas is what Marc and I are all about.”
Along with Sales Director Matt Patton, Marc and Rob spearhead the drive for UK wide golf club success using revenue generation from buggy rentals. Still, GCUK is continuing to deepen their portfolio with an expanding sales team, to promote and sell the exciting range of Cushman Utility Vehicles, throughout the UK.
Matt explains, “Rob and Marc will help establish our market share in the Utility Vehicle market but ultimately we want the brand to stand on its own and in the short term, we aim to have a dedicated team of Utility Vehicle Regional Sales Managers.
“We will be shortly launching the new Utility Vehicle brand online and it will be operated with the same model that has driven golf buggy sales.”
“It’s something that the new building will allow us to focus on as well as strengthening our share in the golf buggy purchase and rental market.”
GCUK have built their enviable reputation on the back of becoming the biggest importer of E-Z-GO golf buggies into the UK and more recently, in Europe whilst enjoying the benefits that an Authorised UK Dealership brings.
Rob explains, “E-Z-GO golf buggies are a class above anything else. Safe to drive, have a high-quality finish and easy to maintain whilst being cheaper to operate. Removing the headache from the General Managers! The game changing E-Z-GO Elite RXV incorporates the Samsung Lithium battery, it has a proven track record in the region of over 50 million rounds worldwide, but above all, golfers love them as well!”
Golf Car UK supply vehicles to many of the premier golf clubs throughout the UK and is working closely with more and more local municipal golf courses to see the benefit from fleet buggy rentals, club growth, and golfer retention.
Despite the recent challenges that all businesses have faced, optimism is high at the new GCUK Headquarters.
Matt points out, “The golf industry has seen growth with record numbers of new players taking up the game at various levels up and down the country. Now more than ever, I believe that clubs should be offering golfers the very best experience they can, to anchor for future memberships and to take advantage of the heightened interest in the game.”
“Obviously, buggies are a big factor in the golfer experience, and we anticipate this trend to continue.”
Chris summarises the outlook ahead. “Getting our infrastructure right is vital for us to best service existing and new customers and it is something we are committed to. Our business needs to be agile enough to react to the many different market and global forces that all businesses face, coupled with the ever-shifting challenges of the economic situation within the UK and Europe.”
“With our business firmly established in the golf and leisure industries, our new premises will galvanise our team and enable us to offer a more relaxed but very efficient service to our important customers in a modern and forward-thinking environment.”