18 September 2014, Written by Nick Nichols

ROBBIE Bennetts Enterprises is finally poised to reap rewards after taking a big swing at the lofty world of golf more than two years ago.

The diversified group, headed by financial services veteran Robbie Bennetts, has teamed up with the Qantas Frequent Flyer program to create the Qantas Golf Club which is set for launch in November.

Under the initiative, Bennetts’ company 3 Links Golf has joint-ventured with Qantas to target its 10 million Frequent Flyer members to join the “virtual golf club” to offer golfing adventures, discounts and casual membership of some of the best clubs around the world.

Bennetts says details have yet to be released, but he has already put a program together for 20 events as part of the Qantas Golf Club program for the next year.

Qantas research shows that 1.5 million of its Frequent Flyer have enjoyed a game of golf at some stage, with about 1.1 million of them classing themselves as frequent players.

The Qantas Golf Club – pitched to members as “one club, many courses” - has the backing of Golf Australia which sees the program drawing new players to the sport and providing clubs with new business.

Bennetts’ team is providing the resources to develop the Qantas Golf Club framework, including the engagement of clubs to join the program.

Membership of the club is understood to include both free and paid options for Qantas Frequent Flyer members.

“Once this launches in November people will have the ability to book their golf holiday through the Frequent Flyer program,” says Bennetts.

He says full details will be revealed once the program is launched.

Under the agreement, Qantas Frequent Flyer will acquire full control of the program from 3 Links Golf over the next five years.

The partners backing the 3 Links Golf venture comprise Bennetts, James Cooper and former Professional Investment Services (PIS) director Greg Whimp.

Bennetts says the idea germinated after Cooper came up with a plan to create a virtual golf club.

He says he approached Qantas with the proposal due to the size of its database, as well as the synergies between the travel sector and the golfing community.

However, the plan was not without its risks.

Bennetts says he carried the financial burden of getting the program off the ground until the agreement was signed in June.

“We effectively outlaid quite a large amount of money building it before it was signed off,” he says.

“It’s been quite an expensive exercise developing it, but it’s exciting times because we believe it’s a great benefit for Qantas Frequent Flyers.

“It’s also created an opportunity for a small Gold Coast company to become involved with a major corporation.”

Bennetts established Robbie Bennetts Enterprises in 2012, two years after the merger of PIS with ASX-listed Centrepoint Alliance (ASX: CAF).

Bennetts founded PIS in 1996, building it into Australia’s largest independently owned financial planning group.

Robbie Bennetts Enterprises is a broad-based organisation with investments in manufacturing, financial services and cloud data management services.

Bennetts’ cloud solutions provider On Platinum ICT has secured 200 clients in the past 18 months.

“On Platinum ICT is growing as quickly as we can have the right people working here,” he says.

The company has just secured an agreement to sell IT and related services to some Optus Business Centre customers.

Bennetts also is still maintaining an interest in the financial services industry through a partnership with the Sydney-based Beacon Group, in which Bennetts has a shareholding.

Author: Nick Nichols





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