The Operations Manager at the Norfolk course reveals all about the opportunity that he just ‘couldn’t turn down’... How did you come to be in golf operations? I was previously Golf Manager at Bawburgh and was then offered the opportunity to come to Royal Norwich as Operations Manager three years ago before the new site opened. It was basically myself, Neil Lythgoe, and Phil Grice. There was the chance to create a new golf club and almost a completely different structure for the industry – with the likes of TrackMan on the range, five sets of tees, and getting that in place operationally with scorecards and yardage books, getting the pro shop ready, and the branding. It was quite an exciting opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. So the project was the key? Definitely, and to work with people – like Peter Todd – who are well established in the industry and to further my career and my network. Talk to us a little bit about the development. It’s a bit different to your traditional private members’ club... The criteria for Kim Patridge, who was the interior designer, was to make it a non-golf environment. It’s definitely achieving that because that’s what we are seeing in our membership. We have a points membership [as one of our options] and what we are finding is that a Braid member is coming up, using the facility, having a practice on the range, and the short game area, maybe going out onto the six-hole course for an hour and coming in and having lunch with their wives or partners who have come up to meet them. So they’re not actually stepping out onto the main golf course and using their biggest value of points. We definitely seeing a different way in the golf industry of going towards the points scheme and using it more as a destination rather than just coming to play 18 holes and going home. What does your role as Operations Manager involve? Neil is Director of Golf and we work closely together with regards to membership, corporate and retail. Working in the retail side, operationally, I’m making sure everything is coming in, the branding and stock order and working with a retail manager. I’m also overseeing the operations side of the competitions and working with the competition secretary and looking at competition handicaps. It’s quite a big role. I look after social media as well and work with our marketing company too. That will keep you busy. There’s obviously been a bump in the road with the pandemic, in the sense that hospitality is clearly a huge part of this business. Are you excited about what the future brings as we emerge from coronavirus? We’re still in a participation boom... I think that will still go forward next year. But the one thing that we’ve really focused on as a club is gaining the network and information from visitors so we can forward book for next year. Once they’ve...
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