Viet Nam News
By Robert Bicknell
No Outside Food & Beverages Allowed…
If you play golf at almost any club in the world, you will find this simple phrase posted on their Rules & Regulations board or somewhere in the clubhouse. This is a simple rule, but for some reason people here in Vietnam regard it as an insult and a violation of their rights. “I pay my money to play golf and I can do what I want!”
Of course, they are wrong.
The problem is not the rule itself which is quite simple in content, but rather that many clubs selectively enforce it. Some do it strictly, while others don’t for fear of players will complain. Sadly, it’s the Board of Directors who make or approve the Club Rules, but then it gets undone by the staff.
Many club staff live in fear of players complaining because they think they will lose their jobs.
One other situation, which is actually more common than people want to believe, is that key staff will accept money to turn a blind eye. In fact, I can think of one club here in the north where the starters make more from bribes than they do from salaries. No, it isn’t my club and you can bet on that.
But, you ask, what is wrong with allowing players to bring in outside Food and Beverages?
First of all, let’s remember that golf clubs are a business. They are there to make money, show a profit to the shareholders and owners. If someone is not buying items from the kiosks or restaurant, the club loses money. The bottom line is actually the bottom line.
Players love to argue that food and beverages at the golf clubs costs too much and the prices are highly inflated. They feel ripped off because they are a captive audience. They have no choice.
Others feel that they have no food or beverage choices which appeal to them. This is slightly dien because almost all clubs have Coke and Pepsi, plus numerous assorted beer brands available.
In terms of food, most of the clubs spend a lot of money hiring experienced chefs who can prepare almost any type of food. Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Thai, Indonesian and Western dishes.
OK, sure, there will always be a few who complain that the Japanese food, or Korean food isn’t “real” because the chef is Vietnamese and cannot possibly cook as good as a “real” chef, but that’s just an excuse because the real reason is they don’t want to pay for it.
So we’re back to higher than average prices again.
If you compare the price of food and beverages of a golf club with any 4-5 star hotel, you’d realize golf club prices aren’t as high. In most cases its cheaper. Unfortunately, players don’t base it on the equivalent facility, such as a hotel, but rather a local noodle stand out on the road.
They reason, “why should I pay 15 – 20,000 vnd for a bottle of Aquafina when I can buy it at the store on the street for 8,500 vnd.”
Because the club has to pay for service staff, clean glasses, ice and coolers to keep people happy. And because this is a business.
I really have little sympathy for players who quack about the price of water. My club, for example, probably has the lowest F&B prices of any club in Vietnam, but there are always one or two players trying to bring in a cooler full of food and drinks.
Players who only care about cheap golf always threaten to never come back and there are a lot of clubs in Vietnam who would be willing to turn a blind eye to their smuggling, their abusive attitude towards staff and their bribing staff.
On the other hand, most players abide by the club rules, eat and drink in the restaurant and kiosks, have a great time and come back time and again.
These are the types of people you want as members and frequent quests. They don’t cause trouble for anyone. They have manners and are good businessmen themselves.
They understand it’s a business and as long as they are getting value for money, they are more than satisfied. VNS