Sand Creek Station has won so many awards, it's getting tough to keep track of them all ó though that's a problem the golf course staff and Newton city officials are more than happy to have.
The National Golf Foundation announced that in its 11th annual "Customer Loyalty Awards," Sand Creek Station golf course in Newton earned the top honor for the fifth consecutive year. Based on NGF customer satisfaction research in 2012, Sand Creek Station was the top performer in overall customer satisfaction for facilities with green fees under $70.
"It's a successful case study for what the golf course means to the community," said Sand Creek Station golf course general manager Chris Tuohey. "... It's a shining star for the community."
"We're very proud of that course, but we're equally proud of what Chris and his team have done," said Tim Johnson, assistant city manager. "... They work exceptionally hard, and they work very, very smart."
Customer satisfaction awards are based on surveys fielded through NGFís customer satisfaction programs. Scoring for the program is based on customer responses to the courseís friendliness of staff, overall experience, value, condition of the course, amenities, scenery and aesthetics.
"It's a tool for facilities to use to listen literally to the voice of the customer," Tuohey said. "What are your strengths, your weaknesses?"
The surveys are based on a 10-point grading scale. A score of 9 or 10 signifies a "promoter," while a score of 6 or below signifies a "detractor." To determine a course's final score, "detractors" are subtracted from the "promoters." The "passive" scores ó a 7 or 8 ó aren't counted.
For 2012, Sand Creek Station scored 76.5 percent, well above the 27.5 percent national benchmark. Sand Creek Station achieved that high score despite a summer with drought and sweltering temperatures.
Tuohey said Sand Creek Station has developed a positive reputation in the region, and people come from out of town, out of state, and even out of the country to play a round of golf on the course.
Last summer, a group of four Australians came to Sand Creek Station. They were researching America's best courses and discovered information on Sand Creek Station, Tuohey said.
The course also was visited by 78-year-old golfer Harry Scott, who drew media attention for his quest to play 50 courses in 50 states in 50 days. He played a round of golf at Sand Creek Station on day 34 of his journey.
"To have a solid reputation that you give a good experience ... it really can leverage your reputation amongst your competition," Tuohey said.
That reputation has also lead to Sand Creek Station's selection as the host for several major tournaments. It hosted the 2012 NJCAA Menís Division I National Championship, the 2012 Kansas Golf Associationís Menís State Amateur event, and will host the 2014 USGA Menís Public Links Championship.
Tuohey said 85 to 90 percent of Sand Creek Station's golfers come from outside Harvey County, which brings extra tax dollars into the community that might otherwise go elsewhere.
"This facility is a major revenue generator for the city," Tuohey said.
Sand Creek Station is owned by the city of Newton and is managed by Kemper Sports. For more information about Sand Creek Station, visit www.sandcreekgolfclub.com.