‘We’ve made some great strides, but we’ve still got a long way to go’

It’s been a year since Tom Brooke took on the role of GCMA chief executive. He assesses the last 12 months and looks ahead to the future for the association It’s been quite a year in the GCMA hot seat for chief executive Tom Brooke. It was challenging enough arriving at Bristol HQ during coronavirus, but that was to get even more difficult – for everyone working in the golf industry – when the shutters were pulled down at clubs again in England, Wales and Ireland at the turn of this year. But despite operating in a pandemic, it’s still been a time of change and progress for the association. We asked Tom to talk about his first 12 months in charge, what he thinks has been achieved, and what is yet to come for the GCMA and its members… You’ve had to manage the GCMA through this pandemic but that hasn’t stopped you trying to develop the association from the first day you walked in… I’ve tried to get the balance right in terms of focusing on the longer-term development of the association but, at the same time, needing to stay on top of current day-to-day operations and providing that all important service level to our members. We’ve needed to progress and develop the team at HQ and we’re really fortunate to have a great team in place now, with a huge amount of passion and energy for the GCMA and our direction of travel. I’ve also been really lucky to have the support of a great Board of Directors, and our Regional Managers. There has certainly been a lot to do in keeping up with the regular enforced changes to club operations that the pandemic has created for us, and at the same time the various issues that have arisen within the industry over the past 12 months – such as World Handicapping, the Independent Golfer and SafeGolf. We’ve also been working to build connections and making that representation we’ve needed with the Home Unions and Governing Body. There’s been a lot of progress with our Professional and Personal Development offerings, with the introduction of a number of new initiatives this year and continuing to work on some further additions to the programme that we plan to launch over the next couple of years. Our partnership network has also continued to grow and we’ve got some fantastic new benefits to offer our members through the newly expanded portfolio. Probably the thing that has been missing the most though, due to the pandemic, has been the ability to get out and meet our members in person. For me, that has to be a priority as we move forward. So, yes, overall it’s been an extremely busy but very enjoyable first 12 months! You arrived from Glendale Golf, where you were responsible for running a group of golf clubs. How have you found overseeing an association and have you had to change your management style? It’s been a big transition...
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