The work involved for the Marine Hotel, Troon in hosting the UK Open Golf Championships is nothing short of heroic. Our acquisition of the hotel completed in early December last year and our conversations with both The Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R & A) and Royal Troon Golf Club had started during the contractual negotiations.
Once we were in the driving seat the activity was methodical but constant and involved not only all the staff at the hotel but also those at our experienced management teams, Hetherley Capital and Interstate – no detail was left out so that the hotel presented well to its esteemed guests and the world’s media notwithstanding the enormous spectator grandstands that provided what turned out to be a useful wind break!
During the week of the golf the hotel had 34 golfers staying there together with members of the R & A and I had the pleasure of meeting a few when I went up for the second day of the championship.
It transpired that I had selected the worst day in weather terms for the visit and a lot of energy before the visit was spent hoping the BBC forecast was wrong. Thankfully it was, but only in small part, the gales and heavy rain forecast for 24 hours only lasted 20!
However, the day was both a revelation and a privilege. The culmination of so many people’s hard work at the hotel was rewarded with guests commenting and tweeting on the facilities on offer and how well the manager Adam and his staff were looking after everyone. To accommodate the needs of the golfers and their families with different meal times, providing exercise in the gym or periods of down time for so many people who were teeing off all day meant the activity inside was relentless but always done with a big smile as for many people working at the hotel this a once in a lifetime achievement.
We were privileged to watch some amazing golfers produce brilliant golf in horrendous conditions and secretly wanted Phil Mickelson to lift the claret jug again as he had the luck to be our guest but of course, Henrik Stenson was a deserving champion.
We left for our Glasgow hotel late in the evening (no owner benefits afforded) bedraggled and not necessarily of our own accord as we were taking up VIP dining space! However the week of fervent activity was well received by all involved and huge thanks to Adam and his team for keeping all the plates spinning.
We are looking forward to extending our relationship with the R & A and Royal Troon now that the hotel is firmly back on the golfing map. In addition, our investors can take pride in a job well done and extra money in the bank to help us improve the hotel for the return of the golf in a few years’ time.
I leave with Dustin Johnson’s cap and Jordan Spieth’s glove, if only I was a good enough golfer to merit them!