Cave Castle Golf Club’s ‘high 5’

Teamwork helped this dedicated crew move from a two to a five-'star' rating

Jackie and Natalie from the Cave Castle Golf Club team


 The popular Cave Castle Golf Club, part of the popular hotel of the same name, had scored just two out of a possible five in a 2019 hygiene inspection carried out by East Riding Council Environmental Health Officers. Hygiene processes and equipment at the venue were found to be tired and in need of an overhaul, and the dedicated new team of staff team lacked the knowledge and training to be able to demonstrate they had a good enough handle on things to earn a higher score. So, when she took over in February 2020, new manager Jackie Dardis decided she simply wasn’t having that, and started working with the Elliott’s team, who were already involved in a review of the Cave Castle Hotel itself, on changes at the club.


The first thing we did was carry out a thorough audit of the whole golf club premises and its team’s daily routines, from their kitchen layout to cleaning schedules, chemicals and record-keeping. We have very good relationships with environmental health officers at East Riding Council and got in touch with them, too, to fully understand just what we were dealing with

On the back of these findings, we introduced new cleaning equipment; a segregated room for storing it away from food preparation areas; a fresh selection of fit-for-purpose, value-for-money cleaning chemicals; clear daily routines; robust monitoring and extensive staff training.

“This got us into much better shape for the next inspection and enabled us to ensure that there were no gaps in our hygiene management which could have the potential to damage our business in the future,” said Jackie.

“It formed part of a bigger piece of work the team were already doing with the hotel itself, and involved working with everyone from our cleaners to our chefs, groundsmen and housekeepers, to ensure we were all singing from the same hymn sheet. It was about remodelling the way things were done but also changing our culture so that everyone is totally bought into playing their part to get it right.”

The results

Brother and sister Steve Hogarth and Kate Nicholson have taken over the running of the hotel and golf club since their father, hotelier Melvyn who also owned well-known local building firm Hogarth Construction, sadly passed away in 2018. The siblings have big plans for the venue’s next era. It was important to them to lay the groundwork for these ambitious plans by getting the basics right, and good hygiene was pivotal.

“The hotel is awaiting a re-inspection after achieving a score of three – or ‘generally satisfactory’ – in 2018, and we’re cautiously optimistic that the news will be good and we’ll see them attain an even higher level,” said Elliott’s Co-owner and Finance Director Janette. When we started working with Jackie on the golf club, we were keen to manage her expectations and therefore set her sights on trying to improve their score to a four, believing that with the right mindset and high levels of positivity and proactivity, a five could be attainable – but also aware it might be a little too ambitious for a first go.

“However, the enthusiasm with which she and the team took on board our quite wide-ranging operational recommendations and made things happen, meant they achieved the top grade first time around, and we’re incredibly proud to have been part of that journey.”

About her experience of working with Janette and the rest of the Elliott’s team, Jackie added: “They were absolutely fantastic. They really got to the bottom of the detail around where our issues were and what needed to change. Janette was here twice a week, working closely with us to identify what needed to be done and helping us to make it happen.

“It’s thanks to her support, guidance and encouragement in particular that we are where we are today and we would recommend the Elliott’s team to any business facing similar challenges.”

You can read more about our experience with Jackie and her team at the Cave Castle Golf Club, in our recent blog. 

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