GCMA Heaquarters to move away from Weston-super-Mare

I think my article in last month’s magazine appeared to suggest that there were a number of projects that were proceeding, albeit with very little substance to shout about. Well here we are one month later and at last I have a number of headings which I can now share with you. Probably the first port of call has to be the announcement that the GCMA headquarters will be moving from Weston‑super‑Mare to Bristol & Clifton GC (picture above) next month.

For those with long memories, the first paid Secretary of the Association, Ray Burniston moved into just one room of the present offices in 1990. Since then the Association made the decision to purchase the premises which have remained home over the last 24 years. However, as agreed at the AGM early this year, it was unanimously approved to move on and sell the HQ premises in Weston‑super‑Mare.  Over the last two or three months I have been negotiating the proposed move to Bristol & Clifton GC, which has now been finalised with the actual move taking place over the first week in September (1stto 5th). Whilst we will be sending a number of reminders and emails to you, the office will actually be closed for that period; albeit a skeleton operation will remain in place over that period.

In negotiating the move to Bristol & Clifton GC we have agreed to move into an existing set of offices that they presently have available, which will remain the situation for the first 12-18 months. The longer term proposal is that the club will redevelop the existing professional shop and steward’s bungalow with a purpose built office, new professional shop and club entrance, it is planned for us to move into the new office within the next two years.

In conjunction with the Board of Directors, I believe that this is most definitely an extremely positive move for the long term sustainability of the Association and one that will only enhance our standing within the golf management world. The Chairman of Bristol & Clifton GC, Peter Bell, is extremely excited that the GCMA will be joining them and believes that this can only be a ‘win win’ situation for both parties. Bristol & Clifton GC is a well established club that has enjoyed a long history of continued praise and respect since its beginning in 1891. They have hosted a number of men’s and women’s national tournaments and will commemorate their 125th anniversary in 2016 by staging the English Women’s Open Stroke Play Championship as part of their celebrations. It is ideally placed with regard to rail and air links and situated just four miles from Junction 19 of the M5, four miles from Bristol and a short drive from Brunel’s iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge.

We will be advising all members of the change of address and new telephone numbers by email very shortly. 

2015 Conference to be held at the FA Centre of Excellence, St George’s Park, Burton‑on‑Trent – November 15-17

Having been involved with the conference planning team for a number of years and certainly before I took on the role of CEO, I believe that we have found a facility that will provide a first-class venue for the 2015 Conference. Over the last six months we have been working very closely with the MD Julie Harrington and her management team at the FA Centre in trying to ensure we get the right package for our members and our commercial and trading partners.  Whilst there is a lot of planning work still to be done, we are aiming to launch the programme in October/November this year, including a number of delegate packages which will be aimed at providing all managers and secretaries the opportunity to attend – if only for one day. The conference is planned to commence on Sunday afternoon and finish approximately 4.00 pm on Tuesday. Further information will be released over the next couple of months.

On Course Foundation

I realise it seems as though the On Course Foundation appear to be getting a fair bit of coverage at the moment, but this is just an opportunity to thank them for inviting me to their fourth anniversary, which was held at the Royal Household GC in the grounds of Windsor Castle on July 10th. Although not many people may be aware of this club, I was extremely grateful to be invited, which was also attended by HRH The Duke of York and a number of GCMA members who have been instrumental in raising the awareness of the Foundation.

England Golf Strategic Plan Launch at Moor Park GC

Finally I would ask those members who are involved with golf clubs in England to take the time to have a look at the recently unveiled England Golf Strategic Plan. I was invited to Moor Park GC for the initial launch at the beginning of August and certainly believe that in conjunction with the other golfing organisations, including the GCMA, the clubs should endorse and assist with the delivery of the England Golf plan. In summary, the listed ambitions are:

  • to increase the number of people who play golf at least once a week from the baseline of 750,000 in 2014 to 910,000 by March 2017,
  • to reverse the decline in club membership, which has been occurring annually since 2005, and stabilise club membership at the July 2014 level of 675,000 members,
  • to strengthen the talent development pathway from club to national level, leading to even more international success for English players, and
  • to improve communications, governance and partnerships at all levels within England Golf.

By Bob Williams

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