Meet the manager: Bramshaw’s Andy Rideout

The Hampshire club's general manager talks lifeguarding, crisis management and post-Covid optimism... Tell us how you became a golf club manager… I’ve always been a golfer. I’ve had a golf club in my hands since I was about two. I was playing off scratch by the time I was 16 and played county golf. I really wanted to turn professional, and worked in a pro shop for a winter, but decided it wasn’t for me. I went back to college, went to university, got a degree in sports science, and ended up spending seven years as a lifeguard. At that point, I thought ‘what are you doing with your life?’ I had a look around and eventually picked up a golf administration job at Dudsbury Golf Club, Hotel and Spa, in Ferndown, near Bournemouth. I spent a couple of years there and then I had an opportunity to apply for the general manager’s position at Bramshaw. I didn’t think I’d get it. I didn’t really think I had enough experience on the management side of things but the owner obviously saw something in me and decided to give it a shot. I’ve now been here for three and a half years. What did you learn from lifeguarding you could bring into golf club management? People skills. When you’re a lifeguard you deal with all sorts of people – probably very similar to a golf club, really. It’s nice to be able to judge people’s characters as well to know how you need to speak to them.  I imagine you’d have learned a lot about crisis management? Lifeguarding is all about being proactive rather than reactive and I think it’s actually very similar to the golf industry – if you can prevent things happening before they occur, it’s probably the best way to go about it. I never got in the water once. Apart from training, I never had to rescue anyone.  So I would like to think if you can be proactive in any walk of life it’s going to save you a lot of time down the road. Tell us about Bramshaw… We’ve got two courses in the New Forest. Our Forest Course is the oldest in Hampshire. The club was founded in 1880. The then owners decided to build another 18 holes, in land they owned, and the Manor Course was built in 1971.  We’ve got the best part of 1,200 members over the two courses so we’re probably doing something right. It’s a really nice place to work. The New Forest is a great place to work anyway but the members make it really special because they’re always so positive about it. They seem to keep coming back year after year. Tell us a little bit about your management style. How do you like to run Bramshaw? Do you empower teams? Are you hands on? Do you spend time with the members or are you more focused on admin and detail? I think a good manager has...
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