Golf club managers from across the country are working with England Golf to help shape the business support it offers.
The new Club Managers’ Advisory Group provides an ear to the ground, offering feedback and opinions on the programmes and resources offered by England Golf.
Abbie Lench, England Golf’s Head of Club Support, commented: “Our aim is to create stronger clubs which are thriving, healthy businesses and to do that successfully we need to know the views and needs of club managers.
“This group is a great sounding board and it helps us shape what we do and how we do it.”
The group is chaired by Alistair Booth, an England Golf Board member and chairman of Frilford Heath Golf Club, Oxfordshire, and its 12 members represent the full range of clubs.
For example Jenny Holmes is a director of Fynn Valley Golf Club in Suffolk, a rural, family-run business which won England Golf’s Most Welcoming Club of the Year Award for 2017.
Emma Clifford is the General Manager of Aldwickbury Park, a proprietary club in Hertfordshire, while Gary Pearce is the General Manager/Secretary of Fulford Golf Club, a private members’ club in York. Both Emma and Gary are past winners of the Golf Club Manager of the Year Award.
“I felt we had a responsibility, as part of the golf community, to join the group,” said Gary. “We network with other clubs and hear what their problems and needs are and I can feed that back, I’m not there just for Fulford Golf Club.” In particular, he’s aware of the number of clubs which seek support with business planning.
Both Emma and Jenny like getting a behind-the-scenes look at England Golf. “It is lovely to be able to advise golf club members and fellow golfers of what their subscriptions and Sport England funding supports,” said Emma.
“Members and the management team at the club will gain a huge benefit, a good understanding of where golf in England is now, what is coming next, and the goal. The great thing is we can all do something to help make it happen.”
She added: “It is also lovely to be able to give a little something back to golf after everything it has given to me.” Emma played for England before turning professional, competing on the Ladies European Tour, gaining her PGA qualification, then moving in to club management.
Jenny highlights the benefit of the varied views represented by the cross section of group members and commented: “We are a diverse industry and this group is giving a voice to the industry and, more to the point, the governing body is listening.”
She added: “It’s also valuable for England Golf because we have become ambassadors in our local community and can say what’s being done. That’s important, before I joined the group I wasn’t sure about the vast majority of what they did.”
The other group members are: Niki Hunter, Golf Club Managers’ Association; Stephen Boustead, Manchester Golf Club; Scott Morley, Sandilands Golf Club, Lincolnshire; Richard Penley-Martin, Ganton Golf Club, Yorkshire; Michael Robinson, Bamburgh Castle Golf Club, Northumberland; Lindsay Salvini, Crosland Heath Golf Club, Yorkshire; Michael Thorpe, Scarcroft Golf Club, Yorkshire; and Richard Weeks, Hunley Golf Club, Yorkshire.
England Golf also consults with multi-course operators, listening to their commercial considerations and the issues involved in running businesses from more than one site.
England Golf has a nationwide network of Club Support Officers who work directly with golf clubs and centres, and a range of resources, from mapping tools to identify potential customers to advice on retention and recruitment. This, together with input from regional and national officers, provides extensive business support to clubs.
To contact your local Club Support Officer click here