‘Why I’m really excited about getting into a classroom’

Driving our professional development forward are presenters who are educating and advancing the skills of GCMA members. We talked to Beaconsfield’s Stuart Langhorn about the expertise he’s passing on He talks about organic matter, about thatch and green speeds. He is quizzed about bunker maintenance and when a course should be closed. But surveying the squares of faces populating the Zoom call on his computer screen, Stuart Langhorn looks to impress a major point on the figures staring back at him. “When you are a little bit younger you don’t realise how many people are working within the network,” says the course director at Beaconsfield Golf Club in Buckinghamshire. “I use a rugby club as an example. You’ve got all the people who get up on a Sunday and do the juniors, the people who make the food, people who clean, the people who do the pitches and it’s the same at the golf club. “You don’t accidentally get a successful rugby team. Everybody’s pulling in the same direction and that’s something that I worked out early on. When I went to work for Burhill Group, they really put an emphasis on the heads of department as a group and really making sure that the exchange of knowledge was huge. They explained to us about the journey of a golfer. “From the moment they enter the club to the moment they leave, we have all got a part in that journey – whether it’s the person who makes the bacon roll or the person who cleans the locker room. “It was about putting us in position where we all wanted to impress in our own area, and none of us wanted to be the person that let the golfer down on their journey. “So that’s the message I’m trying to get across because, from a personal point of view, I’m finding the golf clubs that are failing – or underachieving – have a lack of continuity between each head of department and each manager.” It’s an important message that Langhorn is driving home – the importance of team – and it’s an important audience that is listening in. As one of the presenters on the GCMA’s Principles of Golf Club Management course, he is among a series of key speakers giving delegates the building blocks they need to be successful club managers. While he might ostensibly be talking about the role of the golf course manager, and how it fits into the wider golf club business, he also understands he has the opportunity to influence and change how various parts of the club can link together. The dynamic between the club and course manager is pivotal but can become strained if not handled correctly. Teams can be separated – one in the clubhouse and one in the shed – and misunderstandings can easily arise. “I (also) try to get across to them what I think will be the five or six main things they will come across within their role...
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