Meet the Team: Tom Brooke

In the latest entry in a regular series, we introduce you to a member of the GCMA team and find out a little more about them — this week it’s the turn of CEO Tom Brooke.

Describe your current role

As CEO, I’m the strategic and day-to-day lead for the Association.

I work closely with our fantastic team at HQ, as well as our Board of Directors and our Regional Managers, to ensure we’re delivering on our objectives and focusing on continually evolving the Association and deliver on what our members are looking for from us.

It’s a hugely varied role which I enjoy. As a small team, it’s important for me to stay involved operationally across all areas of our organisation and the service delivery from a national and regional perspective.

A particularly important aspect of the role is getting out to regional meetings and member events as much as possible and engaging with members to make sure I stay in touch with the challenges in golf club management and understanding how we can be of support.

A big part of the role is representing the Association externally within the wider industry. We’re part of the GB&I Golf Industry Forum and I do a lot of work with fellow CEOs and senior leadership teams of the Governing Bodies, BIGGA and PGA to ensure that the GCMA and our members are suitably represented within the wider golf landscape.

Tell us about your career to date

I’ve been in and around Golf Club Management for 18 years. I started life with Crown Golf back in 2006 as a General Manager of a small 18-hole golf club in Surrey and progressed through two other clubs within the group, including three years at a 36-hole venue in Hampshire, Sherfield Oaks. I was then appointed as Managing Director of Glendale Golf in 2013, a group operator of seven public golf courses nationwide. My primary role there was to support and lead the General Managers of each of our venues in delivering upon their objectives in what was a very competitive and challenging environment. During that time I also spent three years on the Board of the UK Golf Federation.

I was then extremely proud to have been appointed as CEO at the GCMA in 2020 and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my three and a half years in post so far!

What are your key priorities for 2024 in your job?

It’s daunting to think that we’re already one third of the way through the year! I’m pleased with where we are within our current strategic plan and also recognise we’ve still got a long way to go, with some very important work to do this year.

Working with England Golf on the new Governance Guide was a big piece of work for us and particularly important to be representing the profession of Golf Club Management within that process. I spent February around the country delivering presentations as part of the Governance roadshow events and we’re already seeing some positive outcomes as a result, so it’s important we keep up that momentum and continue to positively influence golf clubs to evolve and modernise their governance structures.

We’ve just launched a number of new member benefits, including the new Personal Support package, the new Finance Helpline and the relaunch of the members Information Hub. It was great to see these initiatives launched in the early part of the year and the important thing now is to ensure that our members know what is available to them and that these services are being well used. We’re into Spring Regional Meeting season, so a lot of my time at the moment is being spent travelling around the country attending these meetings and engaging with members.

Our top priority for this year is our education programme, with a focus on three particular areas – working with our Regional Managers and committees to develop and improve educational content at regional meetings; working with our members to support more of you in achieving GCMA Accreditation; and then, most importantly, making progress on the next phase of our education programme which we’re looking forward to announcing very soon.

What does the GCMA mean to you?

Everything we do points back to our purpose, our reason for being, which is to support the professional and personal wellbeing of our members. Better supported Golf Club Managers, means better run Golf Clubs, and that leads to a better golf industry!

So our role in this is hugely important, whether that be providing training and development services, providing day-to day-technical support, networking opportunities or, increasingly so, support for personal wellbeing – it’s all designed to serve that purpose and that’s what the GCMA means to me.

What is your message to GCMA members?

Firstly, please come and talk to us – pick up the phone or speak to us in person when we see you. We need to get to know you and how we can be of support to you. If there’s something you need from us that we’re not currently offering, please tell us!

Secondly – come and get involved! Just like a golf club, there are so many opportunities to volunteer and support your fellow colleagues and the GCMA community. Whether that be at a regional level on your regional committee, or simply delivering a presentation at a regional meeting, or serving on the National Board. If you’d like to find out more, please give me a call.

Tell us one thing your colleagues don’t know about you

Whilst my golf is distinctly average, I’m a very good snowboarder. I was fortunate enough to start skiing at four years old and then started snowboarding in my late teens. After graduating from University and before embarking on my career, I spent three years living and working in ski resorts in Europe and the U.S. Snowboarding is something I still love doing now and I get a huge buzz from spending time in the mountains

Your favourite sports team and why

Harlequins! I’m a massive rugby fan. Harlequins play a really exciting brand of rugby, you never quite know what’s going to happen from game to game but it’s always going to be exciting with plenty of tries. The club has a really clear identity, loads of character and a great team culture throughout.  

Your favourite thing to do at the weekend

We have pretty busy weekends in our house!

I try and make a reasonably early start on Saturdays and go for a swim before the rest of the family spring into action. The rest of the weekend is then normally filled with family activities, sport and seeing friends.

My wife’s a decent golfer and my kids have both started playing as well, so the four of us can go and play together now which is great.

A big highlight of my weekend though, is coaching my sons under 10s rugby team at our local club which I do every Sunday morning, it’s great fun, always a learning experience and always something for me to take away and work on for the following week.

By GCMA Content Team

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