How did you get into golf club management?
I was a county golfer for a number of years and, towards the end of that career, wanted
to put something back in so I got involved with my local area on the executive and became championship secretary and, subsequently, secretary. I’d always had a hankering to get into golf club management and my predecessor at Stranraer retired in
2007. I applied for the role and was fortunate to get it.
I’ve been a member here since 1968. My role has evolved. I originally started as starter/secretary and, in 2011, I took on the treasurer’s role as well.
What do you like most about your role?
I enjoy the face-to-face customer contact, building relationships and interacting with members. In this role, people are here to enjoy their leisure time and it’s incumbent on us to make sure that journey is enjoyable.
That’s one of the great rewards – hearing their tale, their trials and tribulations. Being able to help them on that journey is one of the good things about this industry.
Of course, there are challenges as well…
The demographics in our location are a big challenge these days.
We are becoming more isolated because peoples’ horizons are getting bigger. In days gone by,going to Stranraer was a nice break. Now people will jump on a plane for a two-hour flight – and that’s probably easier than a two-hour journey from Glasgow or Manchester.
Tourism is the main industry here and, in the last 20 years, there has been quite a
reduction in the number of people employed locally. These are factors we can’t control – unless someone brings more industry to the area.
What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?
Try to be your own man and be as honest as you can.
How do you see the state of golf at the moment?
From a membership point of view it is precarious. I had someone come here from Leicester at Easter. He’s not a member of a golf club and decided to drive to the west of
Scotland as it had good weather. He played here and two other courses. He said to me that he was coming back in the summer and had his summer planned –Scotscraig,Cruden Bay, Reay, Prestwick and East Kilbride. He said he’d rather do that with his £700 than be tied to one golf club.
That’s where the challenge is. It is adding that value to get that member’s discretionary income on a regular basis.
If the modern golfer wants to play lots of different courses, then traditional membership is going to suffer, isn’t it?
That’s the difficulty golf clubs have – trying to retain the membership base but still grow the game.
What is your proudest moment in golf?
Being President of SGL was the pinnacle. I was elected as the first for the new amalgamated Scottish Golf Limited and privileged to undertake the role, which lasted 18
months. I visited many clubs across the country along with attending various amateur championships and was very lucky to attend the Masters, The US Open, our own Open and the Curtis Cup.
It was essentially an ambassadorial role. I was the sounding board for many
a club official with a question or two. Listening to the members’ issues and experiences allowed them to have a link with the governing body. I don’t have the answers. I don’t come from a big club with thousands of members but to see that we were not alone on this troubled journey that we are all on is heartening but also concerning. It was a year and a half and it was a super time.