“This is about transforming the world of golf club management.” That was the declaration from chief executive Tom Brooke as he welcomed the first intake of mentees into the GCMA Mentor programme earlier this month.
As the scheme fully got under way in an induction day of personal development at Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club (pictured), 20 managers and golf club staff chosen from across the UK met their Mentors face-to-face for the first time at the Birmingham venue.
GCMA Mentor was launched last summer to support the professional and personal development of experienced golf club managers as they guide the next generation of leaders.
Following an extensive interview process, Golf at Goodwood’s Gary Beves, Denham’s Richard Penley-Martin, Boyce Hill’s Scott Clark, Chigwell’s Ben Driver, and Foxhills Club & Resort’s Chris Fitt were selected as the first GCMA Mentor group.
They went through an intensive workshop at the start of this year, as applications were opened to find the Mentees they would support.
And the 20 who successfully emerged from that process were welcomed by Tom, along with association professional development manager, Gavin Robinson, and Biddy Lloyd Jones, of business and people consultancy Progrezo, as they led them through an introduction to what they could expect over the next 12 months.
“We’re delighted to have such an incredible team of Mentors to be working with and we’re delighted to have you all here taking part in the programme as Mentees,” Tom said. “This is all about transforming the world of golf club management for the betterment of you as individuals, for the betterment of golf clubs, and for the betterment of the industry.
“We’re taking this from golf club management to leadership and our Mentors experienced a great three-day programme together in January, where we all really learned and developed, both as individuals and together, to really tune in on those mentoring skills and learn what it is all about.”
He added: “So, for the Mentors, it’s a development opportunity. For you as Mentees, it’s about giving you the opportunity to learn from and lean on some of the very best golf club managers in the country and develop your leadership skills, your communication skills, your EQ, and understand more about yourselves as individuals and build your decision-making abilities as well as providing you with great opportunities for the future.
“But this is a learning experience for us all. This is about getting to know each other and building relationships with Mentees and Mentors, and then about distinguishing what mentoring is and really understanding more about the programme and what you’re looking to get from it.”
As well as being introduced to their Mentor, the new recruits were invited to increase their self-awareness and an understanding of their impact using an Insights Discovery document.
They met their mentee buddies and were invited to form support groups, as well as receiving a code of ethics and goal setting ideas to use.
The aim was to give all in attendance inspiration and enthusiasm for mentoring and what it can achieve for both mentors and mentees.
From the mentors, Richard Penley-Martin said the programme was heading in a “great direction.”
“It’s been very good, and it’s very definitely challenging, and probably harder than any of the Mentors would have expected in terms of what it takes out of us to be looking after other people,” he explained.
“But the scheme itself is heading in a great direction. We’ve got a great bunch of Mentees that we’re working with and they’re all fully engaged and enthused to see what we can do together in this ground-breaking industry programme.”
Richard Palmer-Jones, of GCMA strategic partners Under Armour, was also a key part of proceedings and gave a presentation on the 15-year journey the clothing giant has taken to reach the summit of the apparel industry and how goal setting had been a key factor in achieving that.
Robinson, meanwhile, said it had been “absolutely brilliant” to meet the Mentees and see the GCMA Mentor project move from “concept to reality”.
“You can already see the impact it [the programme] is having on them as individuals,” he stressed. “From here, they’ll go away and arrange sessions now with their Mentors and that’s when we will really start to see the programme in its entirety and the results from it.
“It’s extremely exciting. We’ve got a good mix of Mentees, in terms of career pathways and where they are at in their careers.
“It’s absolutely brilliant to be involved with it, supporting wherever I can, and I’m really looking forward to seeing some of the outcomes and the comments of both Mentors and Mentees as it gets up and running.”
What is GCMA Mentor?
GCMA Mentor will support the professional and personal development of experienced and successful golf club managers, to develop leadership, communication and coaching skills as they take on the role of guiding the next generation of leaders.
GCMA Mentors will help up-and-coming golf club managers and those new to the industry looking to develop their careers and become golf club managers. They will be involved in group and 1-2-1 sessions as well as the GCMA education programme.