After the formal reports, JR Jones was elected as national president for a 12th term, while Cameron Dawson, from Yorkshire region, was elected national captain, with Ian Symington confirmed as national captain elect.
Past captains Howard Williams, David O’Sullivan and Clive Hadley, who served from 2015 to 2017, were elected as GCMA life members. Proposed changes to membership rules were discussed and voted upon with affiliate members now to be welcomed into the association’s ranks.
Katie Laud, of North Hants, was presented with her Diploma in Golf Club Management and Tim Coombes, of Puttenham, was presented with a Certificate in Golf Club Management.
East Midland region reigned supreme at the Captain’s Cup. Ron Beckett and David Dalby teamed up to score 42 points in the pairs competition, pipping John Cox and Jonathan Dove. Richard Green scooped the nearest the pin prize, sponsored by Love Golf Memberships
Looking back over the last two years, Bob Williams said the organisation had come a long way. The Diploma in Golf Club Management was fully up and running, with over 60 people undertaking the course, three of whom had graduated. Another key achievement of the last year was the launch of The Golf Club Manager magazine, which had been very well received and critically acclaimed – winning a prestigious UK association award for Best Membership Engagement.
Two regions piloted Assistants Meetings – dedicated gatherings for assistant managers to network and share their experiences – which were very positively received, and will be rolled out nationally over the next 12 months.
The association broke new ground when 40 leading golf industry figures gathered for the inaugural meeting of the GCMA Women’s Golf Leadership Group – another dedicated networking group – in March. Bringing influential female leaders from across the industry together, the group places the association at the heart of the industry’s drive to develop female participation and representation, led by The R&A’s Women’s Charter which launches this month.
Looking to the future, Bob explained the Strategic Review was now being implemented throughout the organisation. A main recommendation was the introduction of Affiliate Membership. The category, which was unanimously voted in during the meeting, will create a pathway for those employed in golf club management in a golf facility to progress their careers.
Michael Hoare noted the new magazine had been very well received by members and industry and had won the Association of Association Executives’ Best Membership Engagement category at their 2017 awards evening in Manchester. He also talked about the work with Nick Watkins, of Q4 Management Ltd, on the development of a formal strategy document for the association. The agreed strategy was introduced to the members at Conference, last November, and will now form the basis upon which the board, regional managers and staff will operate in the coming months and years. The document will be open for review and change as the association progresses and develops in the future.
The third major project was the National Conference at Mercedes-Benz World, in Weybridge. Two years of hard work by the conference planning team ensured a first-class, thought-provoking and educational event was enjoyed by all the members who attended. One important topic has been a desire to increase the size of the membership database. A proposal was put before the members at the AGM. The board felt it was right that golf professionals, course managers and clubhouse managers should now be able to have a form of membership of our association. Plans are being discussed to hold a two-day introduction course which will be precursor to the more detailed five day Principles course and the Women’s Golf Leadership Group has also been created.
Howard Williams noted that time had flown from his appointment at Chesterfield 12 months ago to its conclusion at this annual general meeting at Moor Park. He said that as national captain, he had undertaken to serve the association to the best of his ability and uphold its traditions and practices.
He added he had visited all 16 GCMA regions, his final call coming at the recent Wales AGM at Pyle & Kenfig – where the team had won the Team of the Year prize at the Golf Club Management Awards at last year’s national conference. Williams confirmed that his year had been full of highlights and opportunities that could never be repeated and counted himself grateful for the kindness and generosity afforded to him on so many occasions.
Particular highlights included the week at the Open Championship, at Royal Birkdale, where North West member Adam Moule is the managing secretary, as well as the match against the association’s GAF colleagues at the superb Ekerum Golf Resort in Öland.
Williams noted that he had spent 15 years in golf management and that it was now time for him to say goodbye. He trusted that he had served and represented the association in a professional manner during that time.
Concluding before handing over to Cameron Dawson, he also added that he had played golf for more than 45 years and could only look back and be grateful for all the enjoyment and camaraderie he had experienced from this great and wonderful game.