Speaking with like minded people

Over the last month or so I have been heavily involved in preparing for the National AGM, which in turn has been followed by visits to a number of regional meetings and annual general meetings. As you will note from the AGM repor t within the magazine, the outcome of the AGM resulted in a number of changes to how the Association will be administered at the regional level. Prior to taking on this role I was a member of the South West region and aware of the difficulties that the Regional Secretaries and National Committee Representatives faced, especially in this geographical area that expands from North Gloucestershire to Lands End. This in itself makes it extremely difficult to organise business meetings and get working members to attend when in some cases it is a full day out of the office and something like a 200-300 mile round trip.

The train of thought behind the appointment of the Regional Managers is very much based on creating a group of 16 people who will not only become the focal point for their own region but will also work very closely with one another to create a team who will be able to exchange ideas, thoughts and experiences from one region to the next. Niki Hunter, the Association’s Education Co ordinator, will be instrumental in collating the data from each regional meeting and being the reference point for providing a log of presentations that have been promoted in various parts of the UK.

The title of my ar ticle this month ‘Speaking with like minded people’ came from the Young Managers Group meeting held in April when 14 of the up and coming managers met, courtesy of Golf Breaks .com in Windsor. With the average age of the gathering just 32, there was a real air of intensity as well as an extremely interesting cross section of views. However before reporting on that meeting, the theme ‘Speaking with like minded people’ brings me to the survey that was circulated to each and every member at the beginning of this month.

As we endeavour to move the Association forward and strive to deliver a service that you require, it is of the utmost importance that we get your views of how the Association is performing at present. In conjunction with Mike Hyde and Jim Cunning, we have tried to deliver a set of questions that cover most aspects of the Association’s services – yet can be completed within 10-15 minutes. If you have yet to complete the survey I would ask that you take a small chunk of your time and let us know your views. Once the survey is complete we will be sharing the information in a later edition of the magazine.

Continuing with the theme ‘Speaking with like minded people’ and the Young Managers Group, we received expressions of interest from 32 young managers (age guide line – 35ish) and arranged a full day’s get-together with 14 managers from a diversity of backgrounds and clubs.The mix of people stretched from PGA professionals to hotel and leisure backgrounds, and geographically from all parts of the country.

Whilst this was only the first meeting of this group with a second planned for the end of June/beginning of July, there was a real positive feeling to the group. I am sure they all took something away from the meeting, however the main point that I learnt was the comment that they enjoyed and learnt from ‘speaking with like minded people’.

If we are to build on that statement, then we need to understand the members’ views via the survey and in turn be able to deliver the education required at the regional meetings.

As I am making my way around the regions, I am spreading the message that we have sent out a personal invitation to the managers of 1,500 clubs in the UK who do not presently have a GCMA member. This has been sent out over the last two or three weeks, however if you are aware of any club or manager who you think would benefit from being a member of the Association please let us know at HQ and we will contact them ASAP.

No doubt you will have seen that the full details of the main keynote presenters that have been announced for the Conference in November, which we are all very excited about at HQ. However there is more still to come and over the next month the full conference programme will become available. This promises to be the one of the best conferences I think the GCMA will deliver – but only if it is supported by the membership. With numbers limited to 200, it would be wise to take advantage of the early-bird rate and book sooner rather than later.

One of the presentations that we are presently working on is to deliver an open debate with the Young Managers Group and chief executives. Following a short presentation by the managers, it will then be followed by a question and answer session with Chief Executives Sandy Jones of the PGA and Jim Croxton of BIGGA, as well as one or two others that we are trying to bring to the table. The session will be chaired throughout by Radio 5’s Peter Allen.

The benefits of attending a conference like this are not just listening and learning from the array of speakers that deliver their message, it is being involved with a network of colleagues who share the same problems and challenges that we all experience.There will be many managers who continually report back that an open discussion with a manager from another par t of the country helped them resolve their own issues. As I started off this month’s article, it is all about ‘speaking with like minded people.

By Bob Williams

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