In the cycling paradise at Skeikampen, Morten Sæther and the family bought a cabin in 2001. The former top cyclist can boast NM gold, World Cup medal and a fourth place in the Olympics. Now, however, he spends far more time on a sport he was previously a bit skeptical of. Meet Morten Sæther - general manager of Skei Golf

As an old cyclist, I have always thought that sports should involve physical effort, sometimes high heart rate and real wear and tear. I was really skeptical of the whole idea of ​​golf as an activity. But we gave it a try - three out of four daughters, my wife and I took the green card in 2003. Since then, there have been an incredible number of trips; especially with the daughters, Morten says.

According to him, golf was initially an activity that involved great excitement about where this little ball would take the road, and it didn't take long for the daughters to beat him. They do so as far as we still understand. The youngest of 22 years has a respectable 11 in handicap and still plays some laps on the mountain when appropriate.

Among the world's best cyclists

Of course, it was not for a cyclist with a cabin in a bike mecca to end up on the golf course. Like many others who buy a cabin at Skei, it was nature and hiking opportunities that decided where they would invest in a cabin.

We started by renting a cabin in Fjellandsbyen for an Easter and a winter holiday. There and then we discovered how nice it is to have the opportunity to walk in the mountains when the weather is nice, but at the same time have nice hiking opportunities in the forest when the weather is not playing. At Skei you have both; both sheltered forest trails and snauf mountain trails in fantastic surroundings.

Bicycle, skiing and running

Although there is a lot of time with Skei Golf, Morten still stays in shape. Now there are shorter trips and about five hours of exercise per week on average. He still has daughters and sons-in-law behind him on bicycles and trips. However, it is not the most important thing anymore - now the joy of being out and staying in shape is the most important thing.

I like to hike up the Skeikampen or cycle short laps in the area. Training trips end in 5 - 6 hours. But getting out, getting fresh air and enjoying the mountain views is incredibly good. And skiing; to walk around the Skeikampen and over the Prestkampen, and then to take the trail down to Skardbua ... It is simply pure happiness.

Photo: Lasse Olsrud Evensen

Separate golf

Cycling career and tour interest despite - now most golf at Skei associates with Morten Sæther. What started with a green card in 2003 has come to work. As general manager of the club, there are far more hours in the pro shop and in golf work than it is with club and ball. The tasks are very varied - from washing the outside on hole 5 to meeting the customers in the pro shop to doing administrative things like invoicing, accounting, contact with sponsors and marketing. Experience with communication and as a sales coach comes in handy:

I started my own company in the fall of 1989 to do operational coaching for marketers and sellers. The goal has always been to make them better at communicating with customers and getting the order in port. As in sports, you need to train to be good. In business, there is too little training on sales, says Morten.

He has needed sales training for himself. When he took over as chairman of the board in 2013, he was clearly told that it was impossible to make Skei Golfklubb self-financing. He did not accept that premise. The goal was to be self-financing by 2020.

That goal has already been reached. We have previously written a lot about focus on recruitment, about the affordable introductory course "The Road to Golf" and other initiatives. Through this, the membership has increased somewhat, but here the potential is greater in the future. Both permanent residents and existing owners of leisure property are an important target group. In addition, there are constantly new cabin and apartment owners at Skei, and Sæther reports that the "settlers" say that the golf course was one of the reasons why the election became Skeikampen.

More activity = higher income

The revenue from green fees has increased more than the membership, and this is partly due to the number of guest players increasing sharply. From 2013 to 2019, green fee income has increased by over 120%.

It is difficult to say exactly what gives rise to such an increase, but it is probably due to a combination of more market activity on social and digital surfaces, and the fact that jungle telegraph works. The golf course has become a notch better for each season in recent years, and it is worth noting, Morten explains.

Path quality is highlighted as an important success factor. The feedback from both guest player and members is very good. Knut Erik Hagen was given responsibility for the track in the fall of 2014 and has had his hand on the steering wheel from the summer of 2015. Morten is full of praise for the effort.

There are good people - with Knut Erik Hagen at the forefront - who work with the quality of the track. I believe that the combination of good product, good marketing, short response time, good service and an informal and pleasant style are key factors for further growth.

Goals ahead

Good results do not mean resting on the laurels. Morten believes it is possible to get even more activity and even better results in the future.

In 2019 we had a green fee turnover of approx. 650 000 kr. I think this can be increased to NOK 1 million. We have good capacity, especially in the middle of the week. There is room for more, and we work purposefully for more members and more guest players. We expect more members as a result of major new construction of cabins and apartments. We have the motto of being a club for social community, excitement and good exercise in the high mountains, and it is just as good for cabin owners as for locals in the area, concludes Morten Sæther in Skei Golf.

See more news from Skeikampen here