Woodcote Park GC

Woodcote Park’s fully integrated system ‘Still the best’

Manager rates his Open Solutions package as unrivalled in terms of its reporting, support and ability to link automatically with the club’s Croft accounting system, something that no other software can boast.

Woodcote Park Golf Club in Surrey has just had its best financial year ever. It has been using its fully integrated Open Solutions package, which combines two EPoS tills, three back office licences, Croft membership and accounts, HandicapMaster, the BRS Golf online tee time booking system, a CLUBView website and the Open Solutions’ web based members’ account information app, since 2005.

So if Adrian Dawson, Club Secretary Woodcote Park GC, has looked elsewhere at other business solution packages and still hasn’t seen anything to rival what he’s got, what’s the explanation? Charles de Haan asked the question of Adrian, and this is what he had to say.

Charles de Haan: “Adrian, you’ve had Open Solutions for 12 years now, and that’s a very long time for any golf club to run the same software, even with upgrades etc., so why is that?”

Adrian Dawson: “We originally needed a system that did ‘everything’, and that meant it had to be a fully integrated system where all the parts ‘talked’ to each other. That meant our membership administration programme, our website, our bar tills. But it also meant that it had to be one that worked with our Croft accounting system. This last aspect has always been vital to the efficient running of the club.”

“To put that last point into some sort of perspective, the Open Solutions EPoS tills automatically download overnight all the completed sales data, and then loads it all in to our Croft accounting system, so that in the morning we can see all the reports immediately for our daily sales. That also saves us a lot of book keeping time and resource too.”

“To date, we’ve not seen anything that matches this capability, and that’s got a lot to do with why we’ve kept OS for over 12 years. The simple fact is that everything works, is stable, and does what we want it to.”

CdeH: “Adrian, what about reliability?”

AD: “Yes it’s been very reliable, in fact our EPoS tills and the rest of the software applications have been very robust. We regard them as being the best of the best at what they do, and over the past 12 years we’ve found each of them and especially Open Solutions’ and Croft’s side of the things to be very well supported too.”

CdeH: “So tell me about the support you’ve had from Open Solutions, what sort of difference does that make?”

AD: “As a club secretary, once the hardware and software’s been installed and the training’s completed, the support is what you’re reliant on and it’s always critical for us.”

“If there’s any kind of an issue, all I have to do is pick up the phone and call Open Solutions. To be fair, sometimes if it’s not especially urgent I’ll just leave a message, and the response rate’s always been fine. Sometimes when things are needed ‘right now’ they’ll take over our PCs online and sort things out that way.”

CdeH: “OK, and as we all now know, Open Solutions has been acquired by investor Simon Kimble, and it’s taking on all the customers, support and s/w development resources of the former MHS Group. One of the major action points that CEO Ed Beale and Group Operations Director Tony Jones is implementing is aimed at enhancing the already good standard of support.”

“For example, when you call on the ‘phone, that it’s answered every time. That evenings and weekends are all covered early to late, emergencies identified immediately, and so on.”

“And…you’ll be getting a dedicated support engineer who calls you every month to check that everything’s OK and if there’s anything you need or want, or capabilities you want added to the development schedule.”

“And…two site visits a year. And an annual user group for your region. And in the future, they’re considering a Google forum group for OS customers to share all experiences, ask any questions, including those that aren’t software related.”

“How does that sound to you, Adrian”?

AD: “We’re really excited to learn about these plans, and it’ll really help the new Open Solutions to stay well ahead of the rest as far as I’m concerned.”

CdeH: “One last aspect, and that’s the development of new or better business solutions for club customers. The acquisition means that the club members’ app that MHS Group originally developed will be available early 2018.”

“That means that your members will be able to use their smartphones to see their bar and potentially, pro shop account balances down to their last receipt, do online top ups, check competition results, club news, latest handicaps, book tee times and lessons online…”

“How does that sound to you?”

AD: “That will be exactly what we’ve been waiting for. Our members can get a lot of personal information from our web services option via the website, and it’s responsive.

“But a native members’ app written for mobile devices means they can access loads of the information they want from their smartphones in two taps. High speed and plenty of information from their club is what they expect now, and so it’ll be another feather in Open Solutions’ cap from Woodcote Park’s perspective.”

CdeH: “So how would you summarise your take on Open Solutions, Adrian?”

AD: “Easy really. If a club manager asked me what software they should get, I’d show them mine and tell them that they will be surprised at how much better it is than rival systems, especially if they want it to link with Croft accounts.”

" Its additional detail such as the receipts feature is certainly reducing both calls to the office and the time it takes for us to give them the details they're after. The app lets them do that themselves and lets us get on with all the other things we're trying to do."

Jeremy Bohn, GM Hartsbourne G&CC