GCMA Club Management Award Winners

The Director of Golf at Langland Bay Golf Club, Andrew Minty, has been named the Golf Club Managers’ Association’s (GCMA) Golf Club Manager of the Year. The most prestigious award in golf club management is part of the GCMA’s Club Management Awards, which took place at the sold out GCMA 2015 Conference at St George’s Park on Monday night.

Minty, 34, is both the youngest ever winner of the award and the first manager of a Welsh golf club to be crowned best golf club manager of the year in the UK. He received his award from 2014 winner Emma Clifford, and his prize includes a trip to Thailand.

The GCMA Club Management Awards are sponsored by Fairstone, HowDidiDo & Coco Golf , and the Manager of the Year prize is also supported by Thai Airways and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

GCMA Club Management Awards Winners:

Manager of the Year – Andrew Minty | Langland Bay GC

Newcomer of the Year – Alex Woodward | Boyce Hill GC

Team of the Year – High Post GC

Andrew Minty - Manager of the YearMinty took over the role at Langland Bay in 2010 and transformed the club’s marketing to the extent that in recent months Sky Sports, the BBC and Visit Wales have all showcased the venue. This has been credited as the main reason why the club’s membership has almost doubled during his tenure from 560 to 996, and green fee income nearly trebled from £34,000 per year to £81,000. There have also been projects at the club to introduce beginners to golf, which have led to 120 trying the game and 85 of them joining the club, and there has been a well received restructuring of the golf course in the last four years.

Bob Williams, GCMA CEO, said “The GCMA Club Management Awards reward our industry’s strongest performers, and Manager of the Year is the ultimate accolade. Picking a winner is never easy, but Andrew is a thoroughly deserving winner. His achievements at Langland Bay are certainly deserving of this recognition and the whole GCMA would like to congratulate Andrew, and his team, for the excellent work of the past year.”

Minty himself was the youngest person in the UK to gain the PGA’s director of golf qualification, which he achieved aged 28, and Langland Bay was named the Golf Union of Wales’ ‘Golf Club of the Year’ in 2013.

Andrew told us:

It’s an honour to win this award and to be both the youngest and first winner in Wales. Big thank you to the GCMA – I still can’t believe it and it will take a long time to sink in.

The GCMA received over 140 nominations for the Golf Club Manager of the Year, and Andrew was selected as one of four finalists, along with Phil Bonsall from Piltdown Golf Club, Tracy Rawlinson from Warrington Golf Club and Allison Malham from Seaton Carew Golf Club.

HowDidiDo Media’s managing director Barry Dyett said: “Andrew’s achievements speak for themselves. He is a worthy winner and a credit to the industry.”

Fairstone Group’s Verony Chalmers added: “We are delighted that Andrew has received the recognition for his outstanding achievements at Langland Bay. A truly exceptional manager.

Alex Woodward named ‘Newcomer Manager of the Year’

Alex Woodward - Newcomer of the YearThe secretary manager of Boyce Hill Golf Club in Essex, Alex Woodward, has been named the Newcomer Manager of the Year.

Woodward, 38, is the first winner of the newly-formed category, which was set up to give recognition to outstanding managers who have made a significant contribution to their clubs in a short timeframe. He was only named manager of Boyce Hill in 2014.

Since then, amongst numerous other achievements he has completely overhauled the communications of the facility, transformed the practice green, put in place new pitching and chipping practice areas, secured a grant from the Woodland Trust to plant more than 100 trees, and acquired funding from the Golf Foundation.

This led to more than 100 people joining the club – a third former members – in 20 months, and a significant increase in bar profits.

Woodward’s prize includes a trip to Rioja in Spain. He beat Formby Golf Club’s Stuart Leech in what the judges said was a “very close final”.

Fairstone Group’s Verony Chalmers said: “He turned both income generation and staff performance around – and did it in just a few months. This is exceptional leadership.

High Post Golf Club is the ‘Team of the Year’

The manager, head professional and head greenkeeper – Peter Hickling, Tony Isaacs and James Friend – of High Post Golf Club in Wiltshire have collectively been named the Team of the Year.

The trio have been rewarded – with a trip to the Open Championship – for the outstanding work each member has brought to the club and the way they have worked together.

High Post - Team of the YearGeneral manager Peter Hickling launched a flexible membership scheme in 2014 that led to the club gaining more than 150 members, including 20 former members, in a year, and resignations halved.

Several flexible members have also ‘upgraded’ to full members. At the same time, the club’s head professional, Tony Isaacs, led a successful Women into Golf (WiGs) campaign featuring coaching and on-course activity, that has led to 23 women joining the club. And thanks to head greenkeeper, James Friend, the greens, surrounds and tees at High Post have been transformed in the last two years. The club also has a successful bar and catering team that delivers healthy trading surpluses year on year and an assistant manager, Chris Mathew (Mrs), who provides a high level of administrative support to Peter and the rest of the team.

High Post pipped Royal Cromer Golf Club in to second place in the category.

HowDidiDo Media’s managing director Barry Dyett said: “It’s not hard to see why High Post is moving forward – committed staff, working together and making excellent decisions.

Manager of the Year Finalists
Andrew MintyLangland Bay GCWales
Allison MalhamSeaton Carew GCNorthern
Phil BonsallPiltdown GCSouthern
Tracy RawlinsonWarrington Golf ClubNorth West
Newcomer Manager of the Year Finalists
Stuart LeechFormby GCNorth West
Alex WoodwardBoyce Hill GCEast Anglia
Team of the Year Finalists
High Post GCWessex
Royal Cromer GCNorfolk

The nominations process for the 2016 Awards will open in early 2016.

By Mike Hyde

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