His first act as Royal Worlington & Newmarket Secretary was to close the club because of the Covid pandemic. He tells Steve Carroll about his first 18 months in charge of the historic venue How were you appointed to Royal Worlington & Newmarket? I moved to Newmarket in 2019 after relocating from West London. My partner is originally from this area, we have 2 small children and so wanted to be closer to family. When we moved, I took a temporary job at The Jockey Club as Senior Event Manager at the Racecourse. Just as my year’s contract was coming to an end, I saw this job advertised and knew immediately I wanted to go for it. Although I had no direct experience, I had always wanted to become a golf club secretary so I applied. I had previously worked at Wentworth Club in Surrey for seven years and, before that, 10 years in the corporate golf market with NGL Golf Consultancy, travelling the length and breadth of the UK organising events for blue chip clients. Prior to this I had worked for the David Leadbetter Golf Academy at East Sussex National. So I had a good deal of experience in golf. I had organised big events. I had a little knowledge about greenkeeping having spent some time as a greenkeeper at Horam Park GC when I left school. I had very good admin skills and had worked with club members in my last three years at Wentworth. Worlington has an excellent reputation and after two sets of interviews I was lucky enough to be offered the job. I started in March 2020 but after two weeks in the role my first job was to close the course due to Covid! How has that time been? I suppose if you’re going to find out what being a secretary is all about you might as well go from the frying pan into the fire, so to speak… I basically had the course and clubhouse to myself for six months. During the first lockdown we had a skeleton staff on the greens, so I very rarely saw anybody. Actually, in hindsight, it worked to my advantage because it gave me time to go through old Council and Committee meeting minutes and to get my feet under the table. However, during this time I had regular meetings with the Captain via Zoom and with the sub-committee that was put together to discuss all things Covid and how the club was going to communicate with members. When we did reopen we had to put in place a tee sheet, something not seen at Worlington in its 125 year history. Soon after, we started welcoming back societies and club matches. Although many of these had been coming here for 20, 30 or even 40 years in some cases, they would ask for ‘the usual’. Of course I didn’t know what the usual was! That goes for any new manager at a club, I suppose. It...
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