December 2016: Festive Greetings

This is the time of the year when one tends to reflect over the events of the last 12 months – and, of course, begin to look ahead to what the New Year will bring. For me I will just reflect over the last month, which was certainly an eventful period.

Commencing with my attendance at the last regional meeting of the year in Belfast, Northern Ireland with a visit to the delightful Lisburn GC and attended by nearly 30 members, Regional Manager Jim Cullen provided an array of presenters that ranged from how the VAT situation is evolving on that side of the water to how the Northern Ireland Federation of Clubs were in discussions with Sky TV over a potential arrangement for all clubs in Northern Ireland.

This was closely followed by a visit to St Andrews for the R&A Forum, which on this occasion provided an opportunity for Mike Hoare and I to squeeze in a game of golf at Ladybank GC. This in turn also provided the opportunity to meet up with the Secretary, Gordon Simpson, who earlier this year moved back to Scotland from Chigwell GC in the South East. Ladybank GC is an excellent venue that should be on all golfers bucket list.

From the delights of Scottish golf it was a complete change of scenery when I attended the SFEDI and IOEE awards in London. For most, this will have little meaning – however SFEDI are the organisation behind the development of the ‘Diploma in Golf Club Management’ which has meant that we have worked very closely with them over the last couple of years.

Their awards are made to individuals who have made considerable achievements in their own line of work. In general, the awards are made to reflect the contributions in enterprise and entrepreneurship. As we have been working alongside the organisations, I was only too pleased to be asked to attend, and with CEO Leigh Sear’s expertise on board I am sure the ‘Diploma’ qualification will go from strength to strength in the foreseeable future.

With one set of awards completed it was then up to Manchester to assist Club Mirror with their version of club awards. Club Mirror work very closely with clubs of all shapes and sizes and range from working men’s clubs to city clubs, with their showpiece for the year being the Club Awards evening and on this occasion I was asked to present the Golf Club of the Year award to Southport and Ainsdale GC – well done S&A!

The title of last month’s column was ‘Diploma D-Day’ – it could just as equally have been the same headline this month. Whilst the very first induction day provided us with a milestone, the second induction day has provided us with an array of delegates that come from greenkeeping, professional golfers, existing club managers and those aspiring to become golf club managers. The launch of the Diploma has certainly been very encouraging. Any member wishing to know more should contact GCMA Education Co‑ordinator Niki Hunter [email protected]

Looking ahead to next year, I would like to introduce our latest recruit to the team at Head Office Mrs Tash Johnson. Tash has joined the team as Business Development Manager and will be working alongside Mike Hyde with the objective of developing our commercial partnerships and sponsorship opportunities for the Association. We wish Tash well with a long and fruitful time at GCMA.

Finally, I am sure many of you will now be aware that we will be taking the 2017 National Conference to Mercedes Benz World from November 12-14 – put the date in your diary!

May I take this opportunity to wish you all Season’s Greetings as well as a successful New Year.

Bob Williams
[email protected]

By Bob Williams

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