July 2016: All Change Please

It is amazing how the world can change in just one short month! At the time of writing my last article, we were part of the EU and the England, Wales and Irish footballers were all looking forward to the forthcoming European championships.

Now four weeks on and we are all still not sure what impact ‘Brexit’ will have on country – and the golf industry! The country is looking for a new leader, the England and Irish teams commenced their summer holidays a little earlier than they would have liked and Wales have exceeded everybody’s expectations (at the time of writing they are looking forward to their semi-final versus Portugal). We have had a number of telephone calls and emails regarding the outstanding VAT issues and what impact the decision to leave the EU will have? In conjunction with the other industry bodies, please be assured that as soon as we have information we will be passing it on to you.

At the time of writing I am preparing to travel to the venue of this year’s Open – Royal Troon GC. This will be my first ever visit to Troon, but one I am looking forward to immensely. With the majority of the golfing industries represented, it is the ideal venue to meet up with our neighbouring associations as well as the home golf unions. After passing on my congratulations to Chris Wood – a local lad for the GCMA – last month for his BMW-PGA success, you never know it may be his time for the big one!

Looking back over the last month I have travelled up and down the country – and have had the opportunity to play a game of golf or two on the way – most unusual. At the end of June in conjunction with the National Captain David O’Sullivan and Jim Cunning we visited Chesterfield GC in Derbyshire, who have agreed to host the 2017 Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, April 25. Sincere thanks to the club, their members and the Club Manager Trevor Glover for offering the use of the golf course and the facilities. Having taken the opportunity to play the course, it is certainly a course that I am sure you will enjoy.

The trip to Chesterfield was extended to take in the National Golf Day at Alwoodley GC in Leeds the following day. Having never had the opportunity to either visit or play Alwoodley GC, I can honestly say this has to be one of the most demanding but thoroughly enjoyable courses that I have visited. As there is a full report of the event elsewhere in the magazine I will not stray into that area. Only to say thank you to Julie Slater and the staff for looking after us on the day. I know this part of the world has an abundance of excellent golf courses but if you are looking for somewhere new to play in this area, I can certainly recommend Alwoodley GC.

From Leeds all the way down to Saunton GC in Devon for the 60th Anniversary of the South West region. Joining just over 40 members from today and yesterday, including ex‑Chief Executive Ray Burniston, an excellent day was hosted by Karen Drake and her Regional Committee. Following the presentation dinner, the audience were treated to a trip down memory lane for a look through the archives of the South West region, which is the fourth oldest region having been formed at Weston-super-Mare GC in 1956. Once again many thanks to all involved as well as the Club Manager Russell Mayne and members of Saunton GC.

My final trip of the month was back up the M6 to accept an invitation to the Arnold Palmer Cup at Formby GC. This Ryder Cup style event is contested by the college students of the USA and those from Europe. With the competition entering its twentieth year the event has in the past been blessed with the likes of Ricky Fowler and Dustin Johnson. However, this year’s event was won by the Europeans. Sincere thanks to Stuart Leech, Club Manager at Formby GC for the invitation – it was very much appreciated.

Hopefully the next month won’t present so many changes!

Bob Williams
Chief Executive | [email protected]

By Bob Williams

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