Paul Gaylor – is regional manager for GCMA Southern region
How did you become involved with the GCMA?
Having had 16 years in supermarket management, I decided, at the age of 32, I didn’t want to be doing that for the rest of my life and wanted to see if there an opportunity to combine my business management skills with my relatively new-found golf hobby.
Hoebridge Golf Centre was my first management position. Back in those days, you had a qualifying period before you could join the GCMA but a past captain, Tony Acres, was my immediate line manager and he encouraged and sponsored me to join. I was under the GCMA wing and realised what a big advantage it could be in doing my job.
What led you to the position of regional manager?
I stayed with Burhill for eight years and went to my first members’ club, Hartley Wintney, in 2008. I stayed there for eight and a half years. Originally, I was a member of London & Home Counties region and Hartley Wintney was part of Southern region. So I’m a member of two regions and took over as Southern regional manager in January.
Last year, I was immediate past captain and Joan (Raffety) had indicated she was ready to step aside. I was sounded out. I had retired and I’m naturally a bit of an organiser anyway. The biggest single factor was I wanted to put something back in at regional level. I had been a captain but I valued the relationships I’d had down the years and it gives me a buzz to help colleagues do their jobs better.
So what have you enjoyed about the role so far?
A specific example would be that we provide an opportunity where any member can email in a question – technical, advice, whatever – and we circulate that among the region and they reply to that manager direct. It’s very satisfying to hear of some of the problems or issues being resolved using us as a third party to facilitate the solution. I enjoy running efficient business meetings and seeing the results of what we set out to do – getting the members interacting and newer members integrating.
What challenges and opportunities exist for the GCMA?
I think managers have so many education opportunities thrown at them from lots of different directions and it’s quite hard for them to determine which of those opportunities to take. England Golf are doing seminars, training and education, BIGGA, CMAE and GCMA are doing education. There’s an awful lot of seminars and choices and the manager has to determine which of those is going to add value to them and how many they can attend. I think it’s quite a minefield.
If I was new to the industry, I’d find that quite a challenge to plot my way through. The permanent opportunity is trying to grow the region and attract managers into our group that currently don’t engage with us. They are either not members of the association, or they are not members of the region. In addition, there are people who are members but just aren’t active. It’s trying to spark them into action.