Having had the good fortune to receive an invite from the PGA to attend the Ryder Cup on the Friday, I was able to witness the atmosphere first hand that was generated by the forty or fifty thousand plus spectators who certainly play their part in creating such an occasion. Having taken in the initial excitement of the first tee on the first day, I made my way to a vantage point where I was able to witness the morning four-balls make their way through.
Taking my place amongst languages from all over the globe, I am continually intrigued by conversations that spring up between the golfing public – and how there seems to be almost no barriers between golfing spectators wherever you are in the world. The colourful array of costumes and flags were enhanced by a medley of golfing sweaters that boast a variance of golf club crests from all around the world – I was intrigued as to which continent the gentleman to my left was supporting as he proudly displayed his Royal Melbourne sweater! And the family behind me were obviously from a country club that was extremely vociferous in supporting the USA. As I continued my observations of the spectators, it is intriguing to overhear the conversations from the golfing public: there are those who are most definitely golfers, trying to explain to non-golfers the intricacies of the game – very reminiscent of trying to explain the off-side rule!
As the last of the four-balls passed from my vantage point, it was time to make my way to the hill alongside the 18th green, another great viewing area – unfortunately only to see Europe lose in that match with the last putt. However, my overriding thought was ‘How many people were here from all around the world, all talking the same (golfing) language, all enjoying the rivalry and certainly enjoying the atmosphere?’. It then crossed my mind ‘So where has golf gone wrong? How come it has lost its popularity?’ I have no idea how many people watched the Ryder Cup on television and how many people were gripped by events as they unfolded on the final day. My overriding view as I stood on that hill is that I don’t believe golf has lost its popularity. I am of the opinion that for those of us involved in administering this game we have to embrace these occasions and use them to our advantage when encouraging people to play this game. It is these events which provide the springboard to attract newcomers to the game – and get those golfers who have left the game to come back.
As I signed off from last month’s article, all of us at HQ were in the middle of emptying boxes, deciding where desks were going to reside and how cabinets were going to be arranged. One month further down the line and I think that after the usual problems associated with moving we now have a fully functional office and are gradually settling in to our new surroundings.
Last month I reported that Julie Holder had unfortunately decided to leave the GCMA; however as we now move on I am pleased to announce that Ann Jones will be taking on the roll of Membership Secretary.
Having announced that we have appointed Mike Hyde as the Digital Communications Manager, Mike has now commenced his employment and is available for members to contact him who require any information regarding social media or any aspect of communicating. Mike will also be in attendance at some of the autumn and spring regional meetings, so hopefully you will get an opportunity to meet with him.
Whilst on the subject of communications, the development and creation of the new website is progressing steadily. With Mike’s expertise and the introduction of GCMAtv, it is programmed to launch the new website at the beginning of 2015. Watch this space!
Fairway Credit Golf Day:
Once again our main educational sponsor Fairway Credit hosted an excellent day at the very impressive Marriot Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club in Warwickshire. As I am sure many of you are aware, the GCMA have enjoyed a working relationship with Fairway Credit for a number of years and, as reported separately in last month’s magazine, we jointly hosted an Open Forum with a number of golf club managers from around the London area to discuss how their service can be developed. Both of these occasions have once again enhanced the relationship that the GCMA and Fairway Credit enjoy.
National Committee Membership Forum:
In line with the membership problems that some golf clubs are experiencing, members of the National Committee were invited to discuss the way forward for the membership structure, how we can develop and improve our own product and increase the number of members who wish to join the GCMA.
Whilst we are continuing to improve our communications, education process and the information provided via the library, the following suggestions were made:
- Remove the requirement for a new member to be proposed and seconded
- Consolidate Unattached and Retired into a single category, ie the ‘member’ having served four years in post. A serving manager or secretary will retain the title ‘Full Member’.
- Review and introduce a membership benefits package for full members.
- Active membership drive in 2015.
- Encourage proprietary and corporate bodies, ie Marriott, De Vere, Burhill, etc.
Whilst I am actively encouraging membership involvement and suggestions at the regional meetings, I realise that not all members will be able to get to those meetings. If you have any thoughts or views regarding either the listed bullet points, or indeed any further suggestions, please feel free to either give me a call or drop me an email.
At the time of writing this article I have visited four separate regions and, in the main, these points have been well received. We have also received some very encouraging points of view. All will be considered before any definite recommendations are put forward.
It is your Association, please let me have your thoughts.
By Bob Williams