– General thoughts of the 6th Season, if you had to put a grade to it from 1 to 10? What would it be?
“It is difficult to put a simple grade on the season because there were so many aspects to it. For some elements it would be a big fat zero!!!! Yet for others an 8, 9, or 10. Yet the overriding feeling is one of great pride that we have managed to continue this amazing odyssey and to lay the foundations for yet more improvement to our product and brand.”
– What are you satisfied the most about this season?
“To bring a new team together that is greater than the sum of its parts and collectively produce a revised format that largely worked better for our players. The team instilled a very welcoming feeling for our host clubs and players alike. It is vitally important to convey this “family feeling” as many of these young elite amateurs and professionals are traveling to play for the first time and it’s part of the learning process for them. For us to make them feel wanted is essential customer care.”
– What would you NOT do again?
“We ambitiously had two number two day events each week, this worked very well for the traveling player who wished to stay for a couple of weeks, fly home then, return for another short period. However, for the local player or those traveling and staying with us for an extended period two events each week can be difficult. The essence of a developmental golf Tour is to prepare our players for the challenges ahead in their careers. In the winter months they have to find the balance of playing as much competitive golf as possible, but also find the time to work on their game. With two events each week that time was difficult to come by.”
Additionally and importantly, the Gecko team needed a break, after all two events per week means that we are all on the golf course for 6 days in the week. Which meant the 7th day was dealing with administration etc etc. This was tough for all and it was only the fact that we all love what we do and that saw us through. For me personally, it is vital to find time for business development and that time in the last season was just not there.
Therefore, as we begin to plan for next season we will be adjusting our format to find the right balance for all.
– What were the opinions of the players and the golf courses?
We asked our players to complete a questionnaire to give us as much feedback as possible. Their feedback was positive and if there was criticism it was positive and constructive. I am very “hands on” with the Tour, from the course set up, starter, scorer, presenter etc etc., so I am interacting with the players all the time. They all know I’m approachable, transparent and honest and will listen to their views, thoughts and ideas. The Gecko Tour is a tour for the players and I will always try to implement, include and act upon our clients wishes and thoughts.
– What changes are you working on for next season?
Yes we will make adjustments to our format, but our primary focus is to find a sponsor or sponsors, in an ideal world an umbrella sponsor for the whole tour.
The Gecko Tour is a proven, viable product with a successful brand image. We have been providing a platform for elite amateurs and young professionals to launch their careers for the last six winter seasons. Our market nichė and unique selling point should be marketing gold. Our events are televised, we are active on radio stations and our website gets in excess of 40,000 hits per month during our winter season. We have in excess of 150 different golfers each season traveling to La Costa del Sol, they hire cars, rent apartments, stay in hotels, spend money in bars and restaurants. We bring corporate guests to our events and pro/ams. We provide excellent media exposure to our wonderful host Clubs and courses. Yet amazingly we have have had difficulty in partnering with like minded sponsors.
To be truly successful The Gecko Tour simply must find a sponsor. There are other developmental Tours that historically operate in other parts of Europe and the Middle East that have seen what The Gecko Tour has achieved and are slowly but surely taking a slice of our winter market share. It would be a travesty for our wonderful region of Spain with such a reliance upon the business of golf to allow such a great enterprise as The Gecko Tour to fail. I want to see full fields in amazing tournaments of wonderful young talent from all over Europe but also and importantly from Andalucia, Spain, the region and country that I have adopted and made my home.