Back in (2005) Ross Marshall and Andrew Harding met at university and shared a love for golf. They wanted to head to the fairways to play the best courses and were always the guys to organise their group society matches. This sparked the idea of Your Golf Travel.
Fast forward to today and we are now proudly the world's largest golf travel business, offering golf breaks and golf holidays to over 3,000 destinations in 22 countries throughout the UK, Ireland, Europe and the Rest of the World.
A one-stop-shop probably understates our programme, but it’s true that we aim to facilitate golf travel experiences from the basic, cheaper price point packages, through to real bucket list itineraries ticking off the world’s top-ranked courses.
Ross Marshall Co-Founder & Group CEO
12 Handicap | St George's Hill Golf Club
I hope you and your family are safe and well.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has had a profound impact on all of our lives, and has radically changed the way we work, consume and behave. It has been a challenging time for so many of us, and pressures will remain for some time yet. My family has suffered bereavements as a direct consequence of Covid-19, as have the families of some of our YGT employees.
As a Founder of Your Golf Travel, I am deeply sorry that your golfing holidays were disrupted by Covid-19. We hope to get you back on the fairways soon and I really appreciate all of you who have reached out to me personally during these unprecedented times. Thank you to all those who have been able to rebook your holidays now we are able to travel again.
There is no doubt that this has been the most challenging period endured by Your Golf Travel since it was founded by Andrew Harding and me 15 years ago. We have had to adapt quickly to a new normal, setting up all our team remotely, repatriating hundreds of customers from many different countries abroad with an ever-growing list of closed borders, travel bans and grounded flights and managing the disrupted future bookings of over 80,000 affected golfers, all with a reduced team.
During this period, there have been tireless efforts made by our amazing customer service team, but we must recognise that due to the sheer volume of travel disruption outside of our control, in some instances we have struggled to maintain an award-winning level of service. Some of you, our loyal customers, have not been responded to quickly or concisely enough, which I must personally apologise. Whilst processes are still not perfect, we are improving them on a weekly basis so we are better prepared for any further disruption. Please recognise that we have been with you every step of the way through the biggest challenge to ever face our industry.
Under normal trading conditions we refund eligible customers within a standard 28 days. However, given current circumstances, we have had to extend this time frame to an average of 12 weeks from your requests and wanted to share the reasons for this with you:
• Refunds must all be processed manually and we have a very high volume of them to process with a smaller team than usual; there are only so many that can be completed each week and we have had a 3000% increase in refund requests year on year. Every payment must be returned to the individual card it was paid on or by the means in which it was received by us. This has created huge volumes of additional administration for our team to operate inside the law.
• In a high number of cases, we are still waiting to receive clients’ funds back from our suppliers - with over 3,500 partner venues, courses, and airlines, managing this in itself is a huge job. Some of the timescales for us receiving deposits back, which we have lodged on your behalf, are up to 6 months and even we have been told ‘after the pandemic subsides’ with the likes of many high profile low cost carriers, scheduled airlines and many others. This has been very frustrating but we realise that many of our suppliers now find themselves in challenging situations across Europe.
We know that this has been a frustrating wait for many groups but please know that refunds will be processed by our team, and one of our customer service agents will be in touch around 12 weeks from your initial request to confirm the exact date and amount of the refund being processed. Continual incoming enquiries from customers already in the refund queue can only slow down this process so we kindly ask that you do not repeatedly contact your agent for further updates as this will not expedite this process. Furthermore, don't be surprised if you receive a call from our customer loyalty team, who are trying to speak to all our valuable customers with a series of 'back to golf happy' initiatives to help keep you playing and travelling this year.
The removal of blanket FCO advice against all non-essential travel at the weekend, coupled with the relaxation of quarantine rules, means we are hopeful we can put this phase behind us, and rebuild our much-loved industry without further disruption. Many of our golfers are desperate to get back out on the fairways and we have been working with our hotels and golf courses to ensure that when you are ready to travel again, you will be as "Covid-Safe" as possible with the very best offers available. We want to assure you that, you, our loyal customers, remain our single biggest business priority.
During this period, our team have shed plenty of tears over home-schooling, been frustrated beyond belief by intermittent home wifi, but we have become more adept at using Hangouts, Teams and Zoom and I am incredibly proud of our team's efforts. I would like to mention a special thanks to YGT's Coronavirus task force and all our supplier partners, especially the ones that supported our successful NHS200 scheme for care workers.
In the midst of all of the ongoing uncertainty, I would like to reiterate that we're here for you as we always have been, now and for a long time into the future. Whenever you are ready to travel again, we can't wait to serve you and welcome you back out onto the fairways.
Founder and CEO