When someone said to me on my appointment as national captain, ‘enjoy your year, it will be over before you know it!’ I did not realise how true these words would be.
This busy and fulfilling year has included: 15,750 miles by road, rail and air, 25 new golf courses played, 16 regional visits, 12 GCMA magazine articles, 12 flights, eight countries visited, five board meetings, five international matches, the national conference, the Open Championship plus many seminars and planning meetings.
It has been a great honour to be national captain and I would like to express my appreciation to the past captains for my nomination and their guidance through the year. I have received wonderful hospitality and been treated like royalty. My thanks go to the board of directors, Bob Williams, and the HQ team together with all the regions for their support and kindness. It has been a great period for the association which has seen the launch of the Diploma with our colleagues in BIGGA and the PGA. The magazine has been very well received and the editorial team should be congratulated on the award for best membership engagement presented by the Association of Association Executives. In addition to these excellent aspects of the GCMA, national conference was a great success at Mercedes-Benz World last November.
I couldn’t have imagined when I first starting playing golf in my early 20s it would culminate in my tenure as captain of a national association. At that time my employer in the insurance industry was the Sun Alliance Group, who sponsored the PGA Championship and the 1981 Ryder Cup when it was really difficult to create public interest in the events.How different it will be this year when Le Golf National hosts the sell-out Ryder Cup with worldwide coverage! My best wishes to Paul Armitage and his team in Paris.
Clearly the industry faces many challenges with falling participation, a lack of coverage on terrestrial television and the competing demands of 21st century life. However, the national and international custodians of golf, including the GCMA, and indeed all of us as individuals, have a responsibility to ensure the game continues to develop, becoming more flexible and more inclusive.
My initial involvement with golf gave me a great love of the game and a keen interest in its governance. This led to my role as a club manager, North West regional manager for the association and finally national captain. All of this has been a unique and unforgettable experience and ends my involvement in golf club management. Now, as I ride off into the sunset, I can truly say ‘thanks for the memories.’