Being elected National Captain last week, at my home club Copt Heath GC, provided an extra thrill to what was going to be an extraordinary occasion anyway. Whilst not unique, it is only the second time it has happened in recent times. The privilege afforded to me by Past Captains, the Board of Directors and you, the members, came out of the blue. I shall endeavour to fulfil the responsibilities the role demands, but leave others to judge whether I am successful.
One of the duties of the National Captain is being co-opted to the GCMA Board of Directors. I would like to assure members that these people are working hard to provide a strategic platform/direction for the Association for the furtherance and benefit of all concerned.Whilst I have only attended one meeting to date, I was impressed by the desire to deliver the realisation that change needs to occur and rapidly. I, in a small way, and Bob Williams, have been attempting to promote these strategic aims at regional meetings. These are to increase/retain members, provide more/better education, communicate information faster, for the benefit of all members. Some of these activities will come from the centre, such as the Friday enewsletters from Mike Hyde, but others will be driven by the regions with business meetings and you the members with your feedback and responses in surveys (when asked – please do respond).
What has been interesting is the willingness, occasionally with some initial apprehension, of the regions to embrace the restructuring of regional management to incorporate the above. Albeit that not ‘one size fits all’, but members need to have more information at their finger tips to enable them to be as effective as possible within their clubs. Indeed, it was at the Regional Secretaries meeting in Manchester in January when full support for the proposals was given, with the call from those present for Regional Secretaries to be re-titled Regional Managers.
I would also like to pose the following: Do we as members of the GCMA sell ourselves effectively, both within our organisation and to the golf industry as a whole? I do not believe that we do.
How can we promote the organisation among golf clubs where the secretary/manager is not a GCMA member and to golf club committees? Well, this has started with the last edition of the magazine going to 1,500 clubs where there is no GCMA member. Is there a club ‘down the road’ from you? If so with time permitting, are you able to give them a call to help drive recruitment? Some regions invite secretaries to bring along senior committee members to regional meetings. Where this has happened, and I have first-hand experience of this, support for the secretary/manager and the organisation has increased. Why not get your region to try it!
My year ‘in Office’ began before my election at the AGM, whereby I have already attended the Annual Sponsors and Guests Day at Swinley Forest GC, and regional spring meetings / AGMs in Norfolk at Royal Norwich GC, Wessex at Ashley Wood GC and Midland at Harborne GC. I would like to thank the Regional Secretaries (or should that be Managers) and their members for the most gracious welcomes and hospitality. Following the AGM, it was up early the next morning to drive to Cardiff for the Wales region AGM at Llanishen GC. So far, at these venues I have been blessed with fine weather, courses in good condition for the time of year and excellent food.
Returning to where I began, at the AGM, I was delighted to be able to praise the efforts of my predecessor, John Smith from the London and Home Counties region, who had a most wonderful year and feel that I cannot let this opportunity, in my first article, to put that into print. He will be a ‘hard act to follow’ but I would like to wish him a great ‘retirement’.
I shall be back ‘on the road’ for the remainder of April and most of May, attending more regional meetings where I hope to meet many of you. Please do make the effort to support your region.