Meet new GCMA Captain John Barnard

John Barnard was appointed GCMA Captain at the recent AGM. Here you can learn a little more about him…

As someone who decided to move away from farming to become a DJ on an Italian island, it’s fair to say assuming the role of GCMA Captain is unlikely to faze John Barnard.

His appointment was confirmed at the recent AGM and we caught up with John to get his thoughts on the role and find out more about him.

Congratulations on becoming GCMA Captain. How do you see the role and what are you looking forward to?

Thank you. It’s an honour to be appointed. I see my role as being a go-between for the Regions, the Regional Managers and the GCMA Board, because it’s important to have a strong connection across all of those. I want to help foster a common link and make sure everyone’s view is heard. Hopefully I can show the value that the role of Captain can bring to the GCMA. As for what I’m looking forward to, I think the international matches are certainly something to be excited about.

Can you tell us a little more about your career background?

I started off in a farming background before deciding I wanted to try other things, so I travelled a bit and spent some time in Africa, and then I became a DJ and ended up working on the island of Elba in Italy.

I decided at that point that farming probably wasn’t for me and an opportunity came up to help a small nine-hole golf club at Bawburgh develop into an 18-hole facility, and that’s now quite a major 27-hole venue with function rooms and an excellent reputation.

When I finally left managing the golf club, I wanted to stay in golf so I became the Regional Manager for Norfolk, now the East Anglia Region. I sold up on every business I had been involved and am basically retired now.

How would you summarise the importance of the GCMA?

It’s got huge importance because the role of Golf Club Manager can be very isolated. They are often alone in their office with lots of responsibility on their shoulders and it can be a very demanding role. The GCMA offers an opportunity to have that bond with other managers and others who are in the same position, and that’s really important. I know in the East Anglia Region there’s a very strong WhatsApp group where people can discuss all sorts of issues with other managers.

I know that education is an important part of what the GCMA offers but that sense of community is also valuable, especially for some of the more senior managers who feel they already have that education. Having that ability to speak with other managers, even just about day-to-day things, is very important.

You had strong relationship with past Captain Ian Symington – can you tell us a little more about that?

I put Ian forward as National Captain from the Norfolk Region when Bob Williams was still in office and he got chosen for the role. This was in 2019 and not long after he got chosen he started losing his eyesight, which was obviously a worry.

Bob asked me what we should do and I told him, ‘I tell you what, one thing is for sure about Ian – he will do the role come what may’. As his eyesight was leaving him, I travelled to some events with him and stood behind him lining him up for his shots.

I got to know Ian really well and he was well received everywhere he went. He could still see a little bit but it was very vague. He got through his year as Captain and then during lockdown he collapsed in his kitchen and died. He was a truly great ambassador for the GCMA.

Quick-fire questions…

Favourite sports team?

Norwich City. I’m a season-ticket holder.

Favourite film?

The Shawshank Redemption.

Favourite band or artist?

Pink Floyd.

Ideal weekend away?

A nice quiet trip up to Scotland – I love the Scottish islands.

By GCMA Content Team

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