The Interview… David Holmes and Neil Wallace

Prestbury’s dynamic duo are ensuring this Macclesfield-based private members’ club has plenty to celebrate…  Successful golf clubs are often run in tandem – we’re always told there’s ‘No I in team’. At Prestbury, on the outskirts of Macclesfield, there’s a duo in place that are pushing this traditional members’ club to new heights.  In General Manager David Holmes, and Club Operations Manager Neil Wallace, the pair are embracing the opportunities provided by pandemic golf.  Meeting the two in a busy clubhouse, looking out to a full terrace of members and busy tee times, speaks volumes to the work they’ve done. There’s a clear friendship in place too that’s creating a positive vibe at an establishment that is moving with the times while still staying true to its heritage and traditions.  We talked with David and Neil about the club and how it is flourishing in the golf boom…  Tell us about your backgrounds in golf club management and how you came to be at Prestbury?  David Holmes: I started working at a golf club straight out of university. I was 21, behind the bar at Royal Ashdown Forest, in Sussex, and really enjoyed it. An opportunity came up to work in the office, initially as trainee bookkeeper. Within about a year, I’d pestered the then secretary to give me more things to do. I got involved in competitions, running the website, and was given the title of Assistant Secretary. That was 2005 and then in 2011, the Secretary decided he was going to retire and I was fortunate enough to get the job. I was 28 at the time. I started at Prestbury in March 2016 and it’s been five and a half years now. I’ve been working in golf club management for 16 years and I’ve been a member of the GCMA for pretty much that entire time. I remember going to my first GCMA meeting at Littlestone and walking away with a bit of engraved glassware. I think that was probably the first and the last time I've won a prize!  Neil Wallace: It was purely luck. I ran a 5-a-side football centre for nine years and on the way back from a golfing holiday with my dad, he had a phone call from one of his friends saying, ‘our steward has resigned from our golf club’. He said, ‘Neil quite fancies getting into golf’ and it’s gone from there. I started off as Steward at Breightmet Golf Club in 2006 and moved to Bolton Golf Club as House Manager before coming here as House Manager in 2011. I was progressing, moving up the standard of golf club each time. I’d been here about a year and did the GCMA’s Certificate in Golf Club Management with a view to moving into management and then I started a family. I live onsite, it’s a very nice place to be and the golf club is good.   Then I had a knee operation in September 2020 during Covid where, rather than just have some time off, I agreed with David to come and help in the office.  We got locked down again, and it was ‘come and do some more in the office’. It progressed from there. I joined the GCMA in April and I am now the Club Operations Manager.   BOOK NOW FOR GCMA 2021 CONFERENCE What kind of club is Prestbury?  David: It's a traditional private members’ golf club. We would consider it to be the...
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