Getting to know… Chris Fitt

Foxhills Club & Resort’s Director of Golf & Leisure talks about his role as a GCMA Mentor, the shape of the Future Leaders Group, and his tenure at one of the country’s most successful clubs... Chris Fitt is a busy man. As Director of Golf & Leisure at Foxhills Club & Resort, he’s in charge of a huge operation catering to the needs of close on 5,000 members. He’s overseen more than £10 million in capital expenditure projects, including the recent £7 million redevelopment of The Pavilion. A key part of the GCMA’s Future Leaders Group, he has also been named as one of the association’s inaugural six GCMA Mentors – and has recently been assigned his first group of mentees for the industry leading project. So with all this going on, we asked Chris to discuss his role at Foxhills, why he applied to become a GCMA Mentor, and how he’ll help shape the next generation of golf club manager... There’s been a lot happening at Foxhills. Tell us about the resort and how it’s shaping up... We opened The Pavilion last May, which was a two-year project in terms of planning and build, and we’ve now come through our honeymoon period of opening and embedding the new building within the rest of the business. We had plans in place to hit a certain number of new members over the course of the next few years to see a return on that investment, and we surpassed those targets after just six months so it’s been a crazy time. We’re now taking stock – judging how much the pandemic golf boom had on that success – and we’re putting together a three-year capital expenditure investment plan for golf, and considering the requirements for all others areas of the business. We had a masterplan, of which The Pavilion was part, but now, because of the position that we find ourselves in, we’re having to change and we’re adapting. We are continuing to push forward and the club is in a good spot. Membership is healthy, so our focus is trying to keep as many of those new members as possible. That’s the big question in golf. What are you doing to try and retain that boom? We created a new Member Relations Manager role last autumn – someone who sits between the membership sales team and our department heads – and that role’s sole responsibility is to ensure the smooth integration of every member into the club and into their desired social group. Within golf, it’s been about making sure we’ve a great new member roll up, that we’ve active WhatsApp groups for them to get connected with new members straightaway, and that they are meeting all the relevant staff members immediately – rather than leaving it three, six, or nine months down the line before they know who anyone is. We’re introducing our committee members too, so they know who to go to if they’ve got a problem. We did those things before,...
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