Members are the lifeblood of the GCMA and it is has been an exciting year for the association on that front. The launch of the affiliate members’ category was a key part of the strategic review, undertaken throughout last year with the support of business consultant Nick Watkins, and it has been well received. That area is seen as a key growth opportunity as other industry professionals look to gain skills and an understanding of golf club management.
The first few months since the launch have certainly brought in new recruits from all areas of the business into the GCMA family. But that review, which was a root and branch look at the association’s structures and practices, made another key recommendation:
‘To appoint someone to lead on Membership Services to support membership growth and the delivery of professional development services.’
Julie Knight is the result. She joined the GCMA team at Bristol headquarters in September, having spent 15 years working in golf conferencing and business coordination at The Kendleshire.
Her position was created in the summer, following an internal restructure at head office, and Julie’s work will aim to build on the success of the affiliate scheme while also pursuing new avenues to increase membership, and support current GCMA members.
“I’m the first point of contact for anyone wanting to make membership enquiries and answering calls to anyone who wants information,” she said. “I’m that first line of support.
“My role is to develop and look after membership, the members, and to try and increase recruitment. My first month has been different, but very enjoyable. I’m enjoying seeing this side of the business and looking after managers rather than working alongside those people.
“So I’m very much looking forward to getting into the role and bringing some new people on board.” Julie has been part of the golf club scene for more than a decade and a half and is a regular golfer, who plays off a handicap of 21
That knowledge of the club game, both inside and outside of the office, was key factor in her successful appointment, explained GCMA chief executive Bob Williams. “Whether members need some advice, support or just a second opinion – Julie will be the first port of call for all our members, and if she can’t help immediately, will know the best person for them to speak to,” he said.
“Her background in golf is a real bonus. She understands the business, and the challenges that our members are facing on a day-to-day basis. The restructure wasn’t a pleasant process, and it has been a difficult summer. But it was time for a change, and I’m confident Julie will help the association step up a gear in terms of membership service levels, and membership growth.
“Julie will be doing her best to get to as many events as possible over the next few months, so if you meet her in person, or speak to her on the phone, I hope you’ll make her feel welcome as part of the association.”