York Golf Club’s Managing Secretary has helped shepherd a quite remarkable transformation of the club and course over the last two decades... How did you get into golf club management? I moved up to York in 1989 and, living in Strensall, looked to join York but it had a 19 year waiting list at the time. Instead, I joined the recently opened Forest Park, which is a proprietary club. I soon got involved on the committee, being committee secretary for eight or nine years, club Captain twice (as I stayed on for two years), and so got a good understanding of what a golf club is all about. I’d been a bank manager and moved into insurance in the 90s. When I left on a redundancy basis, I decided I wanted to get out of the finance industry completely and so looked for something different to do Someone suggested running a golf club given my work at Forest Park and thankfully the role at York came up, so I applied hoping my experience of working with a committee and my background in finance would stand me in good stead. The committee [at York] decided it was time to move away from a history of ex-military secretaries and offered me the position. That was September 2004 and I have just started my 18th year in the role at the start of October. BOOK NOW FOR GCMA 2021 CONFERENCE Tell me about York Golf Club? York is what you would very much call a traditional members’ club but it is one that is progressive. It was set up on Knavesmire in 1890 and moved to Strensall in 1904 on a course designed by JH Taylor. It’s a very good quality golf course and it’s constantly improving from that point of view. We’ve been a limited company since 2017, however we remain very much a members’ golf club; the board are all members of the golf club and it’s run on behalf of the members. We still have all of our standards, including traditional dress codes, though we’re not totally over the top with these things. We bought the golf course in 1997 and paid that off over 20 years and it’s our golf course, we own it outright. Since then, aside from purchasing the property we’ve also invested in it, especially via the course development plan and new bunkering, and replacing gorse in areas to take it back to its heathland/parkland ways. Your whole tenure here has essentially been one of change – the golf course, the developments, a £300,000 clubhouse refurbishment. You’ve just finished some work on the practice ground. Tell me about the reasons for it all... The Board have been looking at ‘how do we improve the club?’ throughout my entire time here. When I first arrived, we were seven years into paying off the property purchase mortgage so there was obviously a period when a lot of our money was being committed to loan payments, albeit we had...
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