A mixed bag!

This month’s report is a real mixed bag, which provides a medley of headings that portray the variance of tasks that many of us undertake in our working lives. Having reported on the first Board meeting of the newly formed company, I now have the task of reporting on the first National Committee under the new regime. Not that a great deal has changed on this front, albeit there was a real emphasis from all on understanding on how the regions can collectively deliver a coordinated approach to delivering up-to-date information and an educational network within the individual regions.

Overall it was extremely heartening that there was a very positive response from all concerned, and a number of good ideas were brought to the table, which in essence will now provide the springboard from which the National Committee can move forward.

CE-Dr-Steve-OttoRegional Meetings

My visits around the regions will now take a break until the autumn, the final visits for the spring meetings were at either end of the country: Parklands GC in Newcastle followed by a trip to Tyrrells Wood GC for the London & Home Counties meeting. The visit to Newcastle provided an opportunity to meet up with Lee Hartley from Moneygate Group and Fairstone Financial Investment that provided a most informative insight into the ever changing world of pensions and investments. At the other end of the scale it is always interesting to listen to Dr Steve Otto (left) from the R&A. For those fortunate enough to see Steve’s presentation at last year’s conference, you will know how informative and deeply significant his work is on the way in which we, as golf administrators, deliver the game to the customer of today and the future.

If any region or clubs wish to speak to or ask Dr Otto to speak at their meeting, for the cost of his travel he is always willing to spread the word of his research and findings that he is presently working on.


In between the visits to the regional meetings I attended a meeting held at the Roehampton Club between the educational personnel of the two associations. The aim of the meeting was to discuss the delivery of the recently held joint residential training course (MDP level 1) at Warwick University – and the possible development of a collaborated educational pathway between GCMA and the CMAE. Again a most fruitful meeting providing a platform from which we strive to progress the possibility of developing this joint learning opportunity for golf club managers of all levels. Whilst we are all eager to move this opportunity forward, we need to ensure that all areas have been covered and that the Board of Directors for both associations are completely behind the proposals. Further information will be for thcoming.

An invitation to meet the Earl and Countess of Wessex

Whilst we all deal with many aspects of running golf clubs, every now and again you get an opportunity that you didn’t expect. On this occasion the Sports and Recreation Alliance were requested to provide a limited number of sporting organisations to be presented to Prince Edward and the Countess for their visit to the Pump Rooms in Bath. Ironically it was just over 25 years ago when I had the honour of meeting his sister Princess Anne when opening a sporting venue, however this was a much less formal occasion and provided a good opportunity for me to discuss his views on the game of golf and the obvious question of whether he played or not? Overall a most interesting afternoon and a good opportunity to fly the flag for the GCMA!

(Photograph of Bob speaking to the Earl of Wessex supplied by Freia Turland Photography)

7a Beaconsfield Road

Having only recently reported on the decision at the AGM to sell the HQ premises in Beaconsfield Road, Weston-super-Mare, we have now received an offer which is most acceptable and have agreed to accept. This has obviously happened much sooner than we had expected, which has meant that we have had to concentrate our efforts on finding a new home. With a number of irons presently in the fire we will no doubt be making an announcement in the not too distant future.

GCMA Residential Training Courses

Many of you will have either attended or sent a member of staff on one of the residential training courses at Weston-super-Mare in the past, which in the main have provided an extremely sound grounding from which golf club managers or secretaries have flourished and developed. Whilst these training courses constantly receive regular accolades from the delegates, we are now looking at the possibility of providing them in other locations around the country. In the first instance we are having initial discussions regarding the possibility of providing a course at BTME in Harrogate 2015. Further opportunities in different parts of the country will be announced shortly.

CE-BlindBy the time you have read this the National Golf Meeting at Royal Blackheath GC will have been held and the winners announced. If you were one of those taking part I do hope you enjoyed the day and supported the On-Course Foundation who were in attendance and administered the event. Another charity that has just reaped the rewards of your efforts is the England & Wales Blind Golf Association. Formed in 1982, with the principle aim of providing registered blind people with the opportunity to participate and compete in the great game of golf. Blind golf is played strictly to the Royal & Ancient Rules of Golf with the exception that players are allowed to ground their club in a hazard. They also require the assistance of a sighted caddie or guide. For those who were at the conference last year you will recall that I had to take on another role for the evening – that of an auctioneer – on this occasion I obviously didn’t do too bad, and we managed to raise £4,000, which was presented to the Blind Golf Association at their Matchplay Finals Day at Gaudet Luce GC at the beginning of June.

May I take this opportunity to thank the golf clubs, England Golf, Rijo42 and Majestic Crystal for donating the auction and raffle prizes on this occasion, I am sure the funds will be greatly appreciated. Finally may I add my congratulations to the National Captain John Smith and the English team, who for the first time since 2008 managed to defeat the Irish team, especially recovering from such a deficit on the first day. Well done to both teams!

By Bob Williams

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