The Golf Club Managers’ Association recently held its 70th residential Training Course in Golf Club Management. This landmark achievement signifies the dedication of over 20 years of investment in both time and money, for the purpose of training 1,000+ individuals to be suitably prepared for the challenges and changes that Golf Club Management present.
From the first Training Course held at Moor Park in December 1991 (when Ray Burniston was National Secretary of the then AGCS), the programme has developed considerably. These early three-day events were held at various locations in England and Scotland but since the late 1990’s courses are based in a modern Hotel near to the GCMA offices in Weston-super-Mare. Delegates are fully immersed in a five-day residential experience with activities occupying all from early morning until well into the evenings.
Gill Bridle, Education and Development Officer, has continued to introduce many new ideas, including practical hands-on and role play sessions. One evening sees a Panel of ‘experts’ available, which enables the delegates to fire any questions at 4 or 5 experienced managers and/or course tutors – with the exception of questions on ‘dress rules’!! The major move from a four to a five-day event several years ago allows the delegates to sample the fresh air and delights of Weston-super-Mare Golf course while undertaking sample Risk Assessments of three holes and experiencing a number of greenkeeping techniques, under the guidance of Dave Weston, the former manager of Enmore Park GC in Somerset. The only complaint is that there is no time for playing golf!!
The 70th Course held from 16 to 20 May 2011 in Weston-super-Mare, included the latest IT initiative to have open access for delegates to a number of software packages. On this occasion Club Systems and BRS were demonstrating some of their latest developments and Topcity Solutions had Open Source software available for use. In particular, this evening session was deemed a very successful addition, as it allowed a number of delegates to have the individual attention of the experts and gain additional valuable insights into IT solutions for golf clubs.
With maximum delegate numbers pitched below 20 on each course, there is ample opportunity for both interaction with the tutors and group discussions throughout the week. Tutors are a mix of Golf Club Managers and experts from golf organisations such as The R&A, NGCAA, EGU and County Unions. A team of 12 to 15 tutors support these events which are run 3 or 4 times a year. The aim is simple: to provide training for new secretary/managers in the various aspects of the job. A number of potential candidates hoping to enter the profession gain a great insight into the industry, enabling them in many cases to secure their first position at a golf club. This Introduction to Golf Club Management course supports these individuals at what is often referred to as important time in their lives where a possible change of career is being considered.
GCMA website www.gcma.org.uk