Offered by GolfNow and Clubhouse Solutions, a division of the NBC Sports Group, not only can ClubBuy help golf facilities save money in different ways, from buying food to office supplies, but it’s got the perfect price tag: Free. No fees. No long-term commitments. No problems.
“That’s the nice thing about ClubBuy,” said Michael Manion, a national sales manager at ClubBuy. “There is no charge or contract. It is solely there to save your course some money to say ‘thanks’ for your business.” Josh Paris, the general manager of Old Town Club in Winston-Salem, N.C., was first introduced to ClubBuy while working at a Ritz-Carlton property. “Coming from a large environment of a club with 1,000 members to a club with 400 or 500 members, we didn’t have the same buying power,” he said. “Watching the impact to the bottom line, seeing every dollar saved … it turned into a no-brainer.”
How it works ClubBuy helps businesses stock up on products they already buy, as well as others they need, at significant cost savings. These savings come with access to the industry’s latest buying technology and preferred pricing on a wide variety of products and services. ClubBuy has grown exponentially since launching in 2015 when it offered buying power for food and agronomy purchases. Now, the service extends procurement for golf course equipment, communications technology, office supplies, financial services, and more.
Buoyed by a strong relationship with US Foods, ClubBuy currently boasts 1,200 active customers in its food buying program and another 1,600 using the food and non-food buying programs. Nick Barrington, Certified Executive Chef at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, was one of the early adopters of ClubBuy. His famous non-profit club was already using US Foods, so why not pay less for the same product? Despite the fact that East Lake doesn’t serve dinner, it still features a robust $2.5 million food-and-beverage operation. Barrington is responsible for hundreds of cocktail parties and corporate events where creative and tasty appetizers and drinks are expected. ClubBuy keeps his twice-a-week orders coming hassle-free.
“It’s a fantastic program,” he said. “Like most chefs, I don’t want to do the paperwork side of the job. When you become an executive chef, there’s finance and budgeting involved. There are other programs out there, but I won’t back them. They are cumbersome. For rebates and check balances, you had to jump through hoops. The ClubBuy program simplified everything. It saw the bumps and potholes and removed them.” Barrington shows the ClubBuy reports to his bosses to demonstrate the savings. “That money saved goes back into the operation for a new pizza oven, new fryers,” he said. “It recently saved me $36,000 in basic food purchases. I can save that in my budget and invest it in my sous chef and pastry chef for more training.”
Creative Solutions When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, forcing the closure of many clubhouse restaurants, the ClubBuy team worked tirelessly to find ways to help struggling clients, like partnering with Tyson Foods to develop a marketing plan for prepackaged goods. Hosting “Coffee Break” webinars introduced course operators to these products and other innovative alternatives to the traditional food-and-beverage operations that were being impacted by social distancing protocols. The ClubBuy team also used “optimization audits” as menus changed and clubs went to pick-up only or delivery meal options. These helped clubs during the transition to whatever model they chose, finding items that best suited each individual situation and maximized program savings. Another new partnership called the “Produce Alliance” allows clubs that firmly believe in the “farm to table” movement to purchase fresh produce from a local supplier. The average savings through more than 100 produce suppliers is roughly 15 percent with no minimum requirements for spending, volume, etc.
“The biggest change brought on by the pandemic is the ‘Produce Alliance’,” Manion said. “Now we can offer a produce program that’s separate with more flexibility, a more diverse line of choices and more deliveries per week. It gives you a lot of options. It’s a big plus for us.” ClubBuy Extra goes beyond the kitchen, focusing on other items clubs use every day. Additional savings can be found for purchases of office, janitorial and sanitation supplies and specialty products, such as Neutrafect, a disinfectant for golf carts developed by Synatek, and Entry Ice Melt, an environmentally friendly, sodium-free solution for sidewalks, driveways and parking lots.
Broad Purchasing Power Need a parking lot or cart path repaved? New driving range balls? A redesigned scorecard? ClubBuy can help with those, too. “We started out with food and, today, through this whole eight-year cycle, we have a full agronomy program with Synatek and so much more,” Manion said.
Lon Grundy, General Manager at the World Golf Village in Florida, said he leans on Melanie Roberts, part of ClubBuy’s Business Services team, whenever he needs to upgrade club amenities that require a bidding process. Roberts recently gathered information to purchase new desks and chairs for employees at both World Golf Village clubhouses. Grundy wanted to dispose of the bulky, outdated mahogany desks, replacing them with modern, moveable desks that allow standing or sitting. The tricky part was finding the style of desktop he wanted, a distressed wood meant to look like an old farmhouse. Roberts sent multiple samples in various price points that Grundy presented to ownership for final approval.
“Probably the most exhausting thing a manager taking on a capital improvement project faces is chasing down bids,” Grundy said. “It takes a lot of time and effort on the phone, on the internet, talking to people. We did the tabletop of the desk, the desk frame and the chairs all in one phone call to Melanie. She is worth her weight in gold.” Josh Paris at Old Town Club believes the service-first attitude and relationships from ClubBuy are just as important as the numbers on a spreadsheet.
“We are in the business of relationships,” he said. “Everything can’t be transactional. The relationship with Mike, Rick (Coffey) and their team … they understand our business and it helps that they see it on a wider scale. They have the best practices that fit your club. They don’t try to change you. They see what fits. Not everything fits all organizations. They give you offerings.”