Club House Europe Issue 10

Page 1



26-28 November 2017, MARBELLA Benchmarking study. Calling all members – Page 32

CMAE European Conference – dates and venue announced Call for entries – enter the 2017 Club Awards Money spinners – 10 top revenue generators

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The Leader in Golf Gleneagles Resort, Scotland







Welcome to the Spring edition of Clubhouse Europe. For many of you in the club sector, Spring marks the true start of the season for many sports which play on grass: Golf, Tennis, and Croquet to name some at my Club. In the golfing world having The Masters come onto TV inspires many to dust off the clubs. Earlier this year we were fortunate enough to have Augusta National’s Director of Club Operations Jim James join us for our 50th MDP in Edinburgh. Jim delivered an inspirational speech and went into great detail to explain what goes on behind the scenes to make Augusta National and the Masters Tournament present such high standards. He relates everything back to the 3 Ps – People, Place, Process and it was really interesting for him to reflect back on any problem that he had to solve that one of the 3 Ps was always the issue. Process was always his starting point. I was very lucky to be Jim’s guest at the 2016 Masters for two days and what struck me was the frightening speed of the greens and undulations of the course, how small the Clubhouse was, how no operational detail was left to chance, and how strict the no phones or cameras rule is. If you have one on you when you were searched on entry then your ticket was torn up and you were sent away never to return! Benchmarking is a key issue for all of us and we’re delighted to say that we’ve just launched our first European Club benchmarking study with the help of GGA. I would urge you all to complete the survey to share valuable data and to secure your free copy of the resulting report. (Turn to page 32 in this issue for details). Co-operation is what it’s all about. On the subject of co-operation, in early May CMAE and the Golf Club Managers Association (GCMA) embark on a valuable joint activity, with the support of the R&A, going into Universities to present to students about ‘real’ club life to help them bridge the gap from University to working in a Club. I look forward to being part of our pilot programme at Bournemouth University; it will be great to see more graduates enter our profession just as I did 34 years ago! May is in fact a very busy month and I’ll be travelling to Dubai to support our two Management Development Programmes (1 and 2) being run in cooperation with Dubai Golf. Big thanks to Chris May CCM; last year we had 34 delegates from seven countries on our MDP 1. I hope with Chris’s help we can set up a Middle East region and am looking forward to meeting new ‘tribe’ members as well as visiting some iconic Dubai clubs. Networking and learning is at the heart of CMAE, so I hope you’ll enjoy this issue’s reflections on February’s CMAA World Conference on Club Management in Orlando. My own Reception Manager, Criscia Walker attended, and has been sharing what an amazing experience it was. An excellent forum of high quality education, the innovative ideas have all reinforced the need to travel, to visit more clubs and to network with our peers. This is where the magic happens she tells me- very Disney, very infectious, but very true. On the topic of travel and networking I’m delighted to announce that we will be resurrecting our CMAE European Conference this year. We have an excellent line up of presenters who will be in Marbella from 26th – 28th November to assist our continuous professional development and inspire us all. Many thanks to Board Member Javier Riveriego who is letting us sample the delights of his Valderrama Club as part of the Conference. Not to be missed, so turn straight to page 8 for more details.

Mike Sean Braidwood CCM Ferris

Kevin Fish CCM

David Foster

Jonathan Hardy

Rob Hill

Marc Newey CCM

Leigh Ann Ogilvie

Caroline Scoular

Bill Sanderson

Nick Sellens

Jill Slingsby

Editor Caroline Scoular Design David Foster Editorial Nick Sellens Sales and Marketing Manager Leigh-Ann Ogilvie Circulation Jonathan Hardy Administration Debbie Goddard Publishing Director Sean Ferris;

Clubhouse Europe is published by Alchemy Contract Publishing Ltd. ACP Gainsborough House 59/60 Thames Street Windsor Berkshire SL4 1TX United Kingdom t. +44 (0)1753 272022 f. +44 (0)1753 272021

CMAE The Club Managers Association of Europe Office 8 Rural Innovation Centre Unit 169 Avenue H Stoneleigh Park Warwickshire CV8 2LG United Kingdom t. +44 (0) 247 669 2359 f. +44 (0) 247 641 4990

The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers or the CMAE. Clubhouse Europe does not verify the claims made by advertisers regarding their products.

Marc Newey CCM President, Club Managers Association of Europe CLUBHOUSE EUROPE 3

Contents 17


6 News round-up News, views and events – Take part in the CMAE GGA Benchmarking initiative, Enter the Club Awards and latest dates for MDPs.

8 CMAE European Conference Not to be missed, this is the 9th CMAE European Conference. Back by popular demand the November Conference in Marbella includes an exclusive visit to the renowned Real Club Valderrama with their Chief Executive Javier Reviriego.


Calling all clubs... the 2017 Club Awards are open for entries.

32 Benchmarking study Why the CMAE wants members to participate in this innovative new initiative and how to get involved.

10 World Conference reflections Following the invigorating 90th CMAA World Conference on Club Management, CMAE delegates share their thoughts on how and why conferences can make a very real difference to club business.

13 Women golfers

29 Time to shine

34 When success comes in threes


A new report reveals a worldwide desire to try golf among females. So if women want to play golf, why aren’t they?

CMAE’s prestigious Certified Club Manager (CCM) accreditation was first launched in 2011 based on the 10 core competencies of the modern club manager. Now, three more CMAE members have swelled their ranks, bringing the total number of CCMs in Europe up to 39.

37 Maximise your website’s success 14 HQ Building the Business Want to cut club spend while increasing efficiencies? Well now you can. Introducing HQ Building the Business.

So, you have just had your fantastic new website designed and developed... but this is just the first step. Here Larrytech explains how to maximise success once it’s live.

17 On the road to success

42 Tribal Tuesday

Hardie Bates is Senior Banqueting & Events Manager at the Royal Automobile Club. So how has CMAE’s Management Development Programme helped him in his determination to give members the best possible experience?

26 MDP 1 & 2 open for registration The CMAE’s Management Development Programme returns to Dubai this May with an excellent line up of club industry presenters.

19 Pushing the boat out

27 Confidence – a reputation maker

Gearing up for her MDP 3, Datchet Water Sailing Club General Manager Gabrielle Boase explains the important part that CMAE is playing in her career.

Confidence is infectious. You will be judged on how much or how little you display, more than any talent, knowledge or skill set you have. So how confident a manager are you seen to be?

22 Revenue generation CMAE-style

28 The Brora story

While CMAE members are all adept at running their businesses to optimum efficiency, there is always room to examine previously unexplored revenue streams, says Mike Braidwood CCM.

Brora Golf Club may have recently celebrated its 125th Anniversary, but this celebrated club has its eyes fixed firmly on the future. Enter the club’s new integrated epos-system.


David Roy CCM, Manager of Crail Golfing Society and Vice-President of CMAE, hung up his happy-snappy camera and called in the experts. Here he explains the value of professional course photography. For more information on any of these articles or to contribute to our next issue, contact Editor Caroline Scoular. e. t. +44 (0)1753 272022 For more information on the CMAE, its events and/or courses contact Debbie Goddard. e. t. +44 (0) 247 669 2359

News from the frontline CMAE European Conference November dates announced Sunday 26th November to Tuesday 28th November H10 Andalucia Hotel, Marbella, Spain The Club Managers Association of Europe (CMAE) has announced that its 9th European Conference on Club Management will take place on Sunday 26 November to Tuesday 28 November at the H10 Andalucia Hotel in Marbella. Education sessions will be based around CMAE’s 10 core competencies of modern club management and high profile speakers will present on a range of topics affecting club managers. • Turn to page 8 for full details.

Club Awards – time to shine The Club Awards, now in their 26th year, are seeking out the best clubs in the land. All CMAE members are invited to enter their clubs and/or nominate other clubs which they believes excel in providing an excellent service and environment for members. • Turn to page 29 for details.

The 59 Club’s Award winners announced

CMAE golf clubs urged to join benchmarking study The CMAE has launched the European Club and Golf Benchmarking Study aimed at promoting best practices in club management across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Delivered by independent experts Global Golf Advisors (GGA), the study will generate performance metrics in order to provide an invaluable decision-making tool for club managers. “Your participation will contribute to the publication of an annual benchmarking report, and in recognition of your contribution, CMAE will present your club with a complimentary copy of the Annual Benchmark Survey Report, valued at €1,500,” said CMAE President Marc Newey. “National Reports will also be provided through participating Alliance Partner Associations.” All responses to the survey will be held in strict confidence by GGA. Individual data will not be viewed by CMAE or anyone outside the GGA analysis team. Data will then be presented in aggregated format. Enter your submission at: Or use this QR code.

The 59 Club’s Service Excellence Awards Ceremony, hosted at The Belfry Resort on 27 February, 2017, paid tribute to its top performing client clubs. Using the 59 Club Industry Benchmark, Gold, Silver and Bronze Flag Awards are awarded to member clubs and commercial venues that achieve the required standard of service. Gold Flags were presented to: Celtic Manor

Resort, Forest of Arden, Foxhills Resort, Gleneagles, Monte Rei, Rockliffe Hall, Son Muntaner, The Dukes – St Andrews’, The Grove and Yas Links within the Resort category. In the Members Club Category, Emirates Golf Club, Dubai Creek and Stoke Park also received ‘Gold Flag’ status. Silver Flag winners were announced as Alcanada, The Belfry and The Mere in the Resort category, and Gullane, Roehampton and Woodhall Spa achieved

Member Club Silver Flag status. Bronze Flag Awards were presented to Breadsall Priory, Carden Park and Castelconturbia in the Resort category and to Goodwood, Kingswood and The Royal Automobile Club in the Members Club category. • For an interview with RAC Senior Banqueting & Events Manager and CMAE member Hardie Bates, turn to page 19.

Special air fares for CMAE members

SNEAK PREVIEW FOR STOKE PARK MEMBERS Members at Stoke Park Country Club, Spa & Hotel in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, were given a sneak preview of the five-star venue’s renovated Alison Course (holes 10-18) on April 12. The course, laid out in 1908 by the legendary Harry Colt, famously hosted the golf match between Sean Connery’s James Bond and Auric Goldfinger, in the 1964 film, Goldfinger.

CMAE has teamed up with Your Travel to secure special flight rates for members. This includes reduced prices for travel to all MDP courses in Europe as well as to the European Conference in Marbella, 26-28 November and the CMAA World Conference in San Fransisco, March 2-6, 2018. Reduced rates for personal travel are also available. • For more information and quotes, visit CLUBHOUSE EUROPE 5

News Calling all clubs Entries are now open for the 2017 Hospitality Social Media Awards (HoSMA). Launched by Clubhouse Europe publisher Alchemy (ACP), the Awards recognise that social media is a dynamic and highly cost effective weapon in the Hospitality and Leisure industry’s armoury – from sports clubs and pubs to hotels and restaurants. To encourage and applaud this, now is the time for clubs and outlets of all sizes and type to enter. Whether you’re Facebook-friendly or an app-aficionado, these awards are waiting for your entry. Just use the entry form enclosed or

MDP course dates For more details on the following courses or to enroll, contact for more details. MDP Part 1

email your details to For full details and images from the 2016 Awards use this QR code.

Wychwood Park welcomes 100th flexible member De Vere’s Wychwood Park Golf Club in Cheshire has signed its 100th PlayMoreGolf flexible member. Steve Dacre, Group Golf Operations and Sales Manager at De Vere, said: “The success we have achieved at Wychwood Park Golf Club has been echoed across our other golf clubs – De Vere Wokefield Estate, Staverton Estate and Selsdon Estate; and with more than 2,000 new sales leads generated by PlayMoreGolf’s targeted

marketing techniques in the first 12 months, it is further evidence of the increasing importance of adopting a flexible membership programme.” Members of the PlayMoreGolf points system are given a minimum of 100 points – 80 to be used at their designated ‘home’ club and 20 reserved for rounds at other participating venues. •

Jacobsen provides noisy neighbour solution Upton-by-Chester Golf Club, Chester, has taken delivery of an all-electric Eclipse 322 ride-on greens mower and an AR522 rough mower to combat noise complaints from local residents. The 18-hole parkland course features USGA specification greens keeping it in play all year, but many of the greens are located close to residential housing meaning that Head Greenkeeper Simon Ashford has had to adapt the club’s mowing routine in consideration of the neighbours. “This has meant using more fuel to go back and forth between greens. On average 6 CLUBHOUSE EUROPE

Chipping in

28 May 2017 Dubai, UAE 17 July 2017 London, England 23 October 2017 Stirling, Scotland 06 November 2017 Cardiff, Wales 06 November 2017 Rome, Italy 29 January 2018 Warwick, England March 2018 Dublin, Ireland May 2018 Dubai, UAE

30 October 2017 Warwick, England 19 February 2018 Stirling, Scotland MDP Golf Management

04 December 2017 St Andrews, Scotland MDP Food & Beverage Management

21 November 2017 Marbella, Spain MDP 3 Strategy & Leadership

MDP Part 2

28 May 2017 Dubai, UAE

22 January 2018 Edinburgh, Scotland March 2018 Stockholm, Sweden

Jonas unveils new products Jonas Club Software exhibited new products at the CMAA World Conference in February including three new products – Club 311, Mobile Member Cards and Club Kiosk. •Club 311 allows members to alert the club to any issues discovered on club premises. Issues as small as a faulty light switch can be quickly captured and sent to the appropriate staff member. •Mobile Member Cards mean members can tap the app and scan their digital member card for access. Members get a streamlined experience and management can accurately track who has visited the club.

•Club Kiosk provides an easy way for members to schedule tee times, reserve a court, or register for an event instead of having to use their phone while at the club. The company’s new sister company MemberInsight was also unveiled. This new platform uses real-time member interactions at the club as delivery triggers for quick, one question surveys which are then analysed and acted upon with scores being created and used as benchmarks by the club. • e. •

Tolchards update we were using five litres of diesel per day (a cost of around £5 per day). Now, it costs us 17p of electricity per day to run the Eclipse 322, and it cuts all 20 of our greens on just one charge,” said Course Director Fred Hopley. •

Tolchards new-look Headlines magazine has been launched. The magazine covers news, brand insight, interviews, suggestions and latest offers. In addition (as previously reported) the company is introducing a new livery for its vans and lorries and is soon to launch a more dynamic website with a new quicker ordering system. “It is vital for us to combine our ability to source exceptional wines, beers, spirits and soft drinks and go beyond what is expected

in terms of customer service and delivery,” said Mark Tipton, Marketing Manager. “Tolchards’ experienced sales managers look to build long lasting relationships with each of our customers. We find this dedicated approach helps expand a business and allows working days to run that little bit smoother.” The company’s new 2017 wine brochure is also now available. To order your copy email your details to

Circle Golf, the UK’s premier Golf Club Insurance Facility, providing indemnity to over 700 Golf Clubs and Courses in the UK. Our market-leading contract Par Excellence insures many of the oldest and most prestigious golfing bodies in the world, offering unrivalled levels of cover and exclusive additional services.

Circle Ludus specialise in the insurance of sports clubs throughout the UK, formed on the same principles as Circle Golf, we bring expert advice and assistance to all types of sporting organisations. From ensuring the correct cover for your playable surfaces to providing the management with all necessary support and indemnity.

At Circle Club we understand the needs of Private Member Clubs, we recognise the management requirements and unique insurance needs, that’s why we specialise in the insurance of such organisations.

Circle Affinity, Circle Golf, Circle Ludus and Circle Club are all trading styles of Circle Insurance Services PLC, a chartered insurance broker, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Circle Affinity 71 Berkeley Street, Glasgow, G3 7DX Tel. 0141 242 4861 Proud Sponsors of the CMAE Educational Programme Throughout the United Kingdom


CMAE European Conference – book your place now The ninth CMAE European Conference on Club Management, brought back by popular demand, will be held at the H10 Andalucia Hotel in Marbella, Spain, from Sunday, 26 November to Tuesday, 28 November. Will you join us?


he CMAE European Conference will have a full schedule of education sessions based around CMAE’s 10 core competencies of modern club management and features speakers on demand-led subject matters pertinent to active club managers.

CMAE delegates are offered the chance to visit Javier Reviriego’s iconic Valderrama and play the back nine. Opening the Conference will be Spain’s Javier Reviriego, Director General of Real Club Valderrama, who will speak on how his team delivers club management excellence. Conference delegates will have the exclusive opportunity to visit his club for lunch and play nine holes on the famous Championship Course (Tuesday, 28 November). The key note speaker for Monday’s Gala Dinner and other high-profile speakers will be confirmed shortly, all designed to cover various topics crucial to improving operational and governance skills for Managers of city clubs, golf and sports clubs across Europe. CMAE’s President Marc Newey says: “Last year our Members asked us to revive the European Conference and there is nowhere better than Marbella to stage it. We wanted to build upon the tremendous success of our Management Development Programmes – 52 delivered to date – and to create more networking and social opportunities for our Membership to enjoy. The Andalucia Hotel is an excellent venue and to be able to play the back nine of the iconic Ryder Cup course at Valderrama will be a great way to conclude the Conference.”

The 9th CMAE European Conference will be held at the H10 Andalucia Hotel, Marbella.


Delegate fees for the conference start at €595 for a two night package. Additional nights and supplements will apply. To register your interest visit or use this QR code.




26.11.2017 - 28.11.2017 H10 ANDALUCIA HOTEL, MARBELLA


















STAY H10 ANDALUCIA HOTEL, MARBELLA Located in Puerto Banús, in one of Marbella's most exclusive areas, the H10 Andalucía Plaza is a hotel built in the traditional Andalusian style which has been refurbished with a cutting-edge contemporary design. This emblematic hotel has bright, spacious rooms, exceptional cuisine at a large variety of bars and restaurants, Despacio Spa Centre with a select range of treatments, two pools (one heated indoor pool in the Spa which forms part of the thermal spa area),



CMAA WORLD CONFERENCE Kevin Fish CCM with Roehampton Club’s Criscia Walker

World Conference reflections Following the 90th CMAA World Conference on Club Management we asked a number of CMAE delegates to share their thoughts on how and why conferences can make a very real difference to club business. Marcos Lería Couderc Manager, Club de Golf Escorpión Valencia, Spain The CMAA World Conference on Club Management was more than excellent. Summarizing my favourite sessions, two speakers in particular stood out for me – Cameron Herold’s General Education Session and Jodie Cunningham’s ‘Giving Employees feedback. It’s both an Art & Science’. Cameron Herold explained the importance of having the right vision of the club and how to lead the team in order to achieve the goals committed to. He also made it clear how important it is to achieve the right attitude in all team members, because when everything changes so quickly – and when the right skills for today won’t necessarily be the best ones for tomorrow – teams can only be successful when all are keen to learn what’s needed in the near future.


(Cameron believes that to retain people with the wrong attitude costs 15 times their wages in terms of opportunity cost.) In a similar team-focused vein, Jodie Cunningham explained the importance of feed back to employees. She reminded us that our main job is to ensure people know what to do, and to do it as well as possible, because this is what will allow the team to achieve the best performances with the best attitude – and the most happiness. Jodie provided examples of how to solve different situations using feedback practices, and explained that we need to do this regularly in order to ensure that everyone is aligned with the vision and mission of the club. The result? During the week of the Conference I developed an evaluation and feedback programme for the club, which is already being implemented! I’ve hired a coaching company to help us implement this in the best possible way, working with the

leaders of each team (Golf Course Maintenance, F&B, Golf Operations, Administration and the Youth Club). I’m sure we’re going to improve the happiness of our teams, the quality of the service provided and the satisfaction of the Board. As part of all this, we will probably improve the profit of the club - and that will be another good result! Patrik Skoog, Klubbchef, Partille Golf Club, Ojersjö, Sweden This was my third World Conference and it was probably the best so far. Overall the sessions were very high quality in terms of both content and speakers. One of the best sessions for me was Ben Lorenzen’s ‘Thinking outside the box’. Ben is the pool manager at Champions Run in Omaha, Nebraska

(, and runs a priceawarded youth program including summer swims, dive and swimming teams. By arranging youth activities not normally seen in a private club they’ve seen a huge growth in both golf and social memberships. This way of thinking, setting yourself apart from other clubs in the neighbourhood, can be applied to youth golf programmes as well. To attract kids and their parents in the future we really have to think outside the box.

Enjoyed the Conference? Or couldn’t make it to Orlando? Then be sure to sign up for CMAE’s European Conference in November. Full details on page 8.

Kevin Fish CCM, Contemporary Club Services World Conference always inspires me. There are always hard hitting messages delivered by world class presenters resonating inside me, and this year, as I focused on improving the service clubs provide to their members, I particularly liked this line – ‘You only have problems if you have standards’. This line is particularly pertinent for me as we always encourage CMAE’s Management Development Programme (MDP) managers to return to their clubs and take back control of the areas of the business that perhaps have been allowed to drift. Those managers we meet on MDP are often their own harshest critics, and this line sums up why they care deeply about the standards that they set, and are not happy if they are failing in some way. I will continue to help those managers to set and deliver standards that they ARE proud of being associated with. On the networking front, I also took great inspiration from the tribal behaviour on display during the Global Luncheon which saw a real willingness to help each other and have fun doing so. What a great industry when you are left feeling that all of the players are all on the same side. Roll on San Fran and roll on the CMAE European Conference in November!

New ideas and new ways of thinking proved an inspirational mix.

The CMAE tribe – new colleagues and new networks.

Michael Braidwood CCM, CMAE Director of Education Best afternoon ever! I have attended four World Conferences and on the Friday afternoon of this year’s World Conference I attended three really inspirational education sessions. The first one which I found truly inspirational – like Patrik (Skoog) –was Ben Lorenzen’s ‘Thinking outside the box’. Through some great innovation and use of social media he really engaged the young members resulting in triple digit growth in the swim team in year one. Some key principles applied such as appropriate use of the right social media, getting the kids involved in the decision-making, using video effectively and having fun. I loved his mantra too – ‘don’t take no for an answer. Don’t even take yes for an answer. In fact don’t even ask questions , just do whatever you want at all times!’. Following this session I attended Deborah Fine’s session on the art of conversation. She was funny and smart and gave some great tips on starting up and finishing a conversation without ever causing offense, such as, ‘so what’s new in your world since I last saw you’. The final session was by Dennis Snow a veteran of

Scots at Conference, taken at the Presidents reception. Left to right – David Gemmell CCM, Dean Nelson, Michael Braidwood CCM, David Roy CCM, Stephen Hubner (front), Paul Patterson (back), Robert Brewer. the Disney Corporation. His session, ‘Lessons from the Mouse’, provided a great insight into training the Disney way which has three core priciples: • Lesson one – look at everything through the lens of the customer. • Lesson two – pay attention to the detail. • Lesson three – Create moments of Wow. Simple advice, so excellently executed. He then proceeded to show a chart of customer relations, showing that if you can get to the partnership/advice stage then you are creating moments of wow that will bring the customer back time and time again.

Dean Nelson Director of Golf, PGA, CMDip Hong Kong Golf Club, Hong Kong I wish that I had attended the World Conference many years ago and it will now be on my agenda to attend in future. For this year, two seminars really stood out for me. One was ‘Thinking outside the box’ by Ben Lorenzen, also highlighted by many of my Conference colleagues. His ideas of challenging the norm has taken his swimming club from less than 100 kids to almost 400 in a short time. Another seminar that stood out was ‘Lessons in Leadership’, presented by the CEO of the Orlando Magic, Alex Martins. The emphasis from Alex focussed on what a



CMAA WORLD CONFERENCE leader is and how a good leader can produce positive change and success. He cited six leadership lessons from sports, as follows: 1. Leaders work harder than everyone else. 2. Leaders put others first. 3. Leaders provide a vision. 4. Leaders innovate. 5. Leaders are lifelong learners. 6. Leaders inspire teamwork. I have to say I’m kicking myself for not attending Conference sooner. I would encourage all club managers to attend if feasible as the learning opportunities and networking events are the best in our industry.

David Roy CCM, CMAE Vice-President at his 10th Conference.

David Roy CCM, CMAE Vice-President, Manager, Crail Golfing Society, Crail, Scotland Ten World Conferences seems to be a good period to reflect on some of the changes along with the benefits of attending for such a period. So what has changed? Prior to the crash, presenters were hired to explain how best to redevelop your golf course, to refurbish your clubhouse or add a gym and a spa. Then came the crunch and we learned how to add value, building reciprocal relationships and ‘orientating’ your members properly. The 2017 conference feels as if this has all settled down to deliver a consistent message of what the essential core of ‘club’ is. Leaders in the field of hospitality, strategy and marketing all now espouse the importance of understanding the ‘experience economy’ and all the benefits that mastery of this will bring. The post-materialist society has not experienced scarcity and consumers therefore require a different source of fulfilment which is delivered in terms of experience. The 2017 conference was filled with themes such as ‘storytelling’, ‘personal engagement’ and even ‘dream academies’. Happiness in itself is no longer the means to sustain the club business and we are now being mentored to provide a deeper connection and lasting experiences to our members. Those clubs that provide this will flourish and through the World Conference, we have been provided with the tools to help this happen. Criscia Walker, Reception Manager, Roehampton Club, London, England Having been on my first World conference in Orlando I’ve learnt so much that I just don’t know how to put it into words. What an experience! I met so many interesting people who I exchanged ideas with; I had the experience of my life. I was also introduced to the President of CMAA 2017 and we shared an interesting discussion; what a pleasure! It was an intensive five days but it was worth every


Dean Nelson, left, with presenter Alex Martins. minute. I cannot possibly choose one session above another, they were all inspirational. However there were some key moments including Ben Lorenzen’s session ‘Think outside the box’ – BUT there is no box! The Session with Sheila Johnson, ‘Salamander’, used the example of this animal that not only survives the flames, but extinguishes them and is able to survive. ‘Are you ready for that?’ was the question. In summary I’d like to quote Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of America: ‘Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.’ It was all very thought provoking and a great learning curve. Robert Brewer, Secretary, Royal Wimbledon Golf Club, Wimbledon, England The World Conference proved to be a very interesting, educational and inspiring week. Deciding what to attend and what to miss due to clashes was always going to be a bit of a gamble but I think I managed to attend everything that was relevant to my education pathway. The presentation by Steve Graves on day one was very thought provoking on a subject that we all just take for granted – food and beverage minimums, or as we would call it in the UK our Food and Beverage

levy. Although Steve’s presentation was geared to the North American market it was intriguing enough for me to do a short presentation to the Finance Committee on ‘Bad Profits’ and how we could better utilise the cash generated from levies to supporting capital improvement projects. The Opening Business Session which featured speaker Dan Thurman was very engaging and aside from his mastery of juggling, trapeze and unicycling showed what can be achieved if you put your mind and effort to something. Having a big goal or ambition becomes realistic if you set small achievable targets and work hard to reach them. On Friday I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Global Leadership Networking Lunch hosted by Global Golf Advisors which was chaired by Jeffrey Kreafle, CEO of Congressional Country Club. This was an excellent opportunity to network with club leaders from around the World but also to learn from someone who is clearly at the top of their game. Working in our small groups gave the opportunity to discuss universal issues in club management but also more importantly I now have a new network of colleagues from some quite amazing Golf Clubs! Initially I was quite cynical about having to attend the World Conference before sitting the CCM exam but having attended I found the whole experience very beneficial both to my education and my network and I would thoroughly recommend the experience to anyone else thinking of doing it. Ray Stopforth, General Manager, Muscat Hills Golf and Country Club, Oman Attending the Conference was a life-changing experience in many ways. The warm humanity and hospitality extended to all delegates attending the conference was outstanding and it felt like a homefrom-home experience. The Educational Sessions were all outstanding with such a broad variety of subjects to draw from and take back to our workplaces and make what we have a better environment for all those who we work with and our membership base children and adults. My most exciting session was also ‘Thinking outside the box’. My personal gain from this session was reassurance that if there is ‘No Risk, then there is no Gain’ and as managers to drive the business forward with sustainable growth, we need to focus on everyone. The youth of the club is as important as the adult members.



Why women golfers should be a focal point A new report reveals a worldwide desire to try golf among females – a potential with the power to revitalise an industry. So if women want to play golf, why aren’t they? And could a ground-breaking women-only coaching scheme be the solution? Case Study – Fynn Valley Golf Club


o an industry fed up with hearing stories of how golf is in a state of terminal decline, last December’s report into The Global Economic Value of Increased Female Participation in Golf represented a welcome spark of optimism. Commissioned by Syngenta, leaders in the turf control industry, the report opened up a new narrative of potential, progress and positivity. For while women today represent only 24% of the world’s golfers, surveys of 14,000 people in eight prominent golf markets revealed a massive latent demand to play the game among females. Some 29% of non-golfing or lapsed players indicated they wanted to take up the game within the next two years. Globally, that figure equates to just shy of 37 million prospective new female golfers – and with research identifying a current average spend of $949 per golfer, the value to the golf industry of converting these potential players into club members stands at $35 billion. Not only this, it was also discovered that female golfers are 38% more likely than males to bring their children to the club with them. This represents an intriguing opportunity for clubs to rejuvenate their membership demographic. Clearly, any club unlocking this demand could make great headway in its quest to run as a sustainable and profitable business. The question for the golf industry to address is why that demand remains dormant… and what can be done to wake it up. The Global Economic Value of Increased Female Participation in Golf also advises on why females are not acting on their desire to play golf. Many are lost to golf simply because they cannot find a suitable access point to the game. Surveys show females are routinely turned off by the ‘all-or-nothing’ nature of club membership; the cost and time commitments involved are at odds with entering a game and environment they are not sure they’ll enjoy. driving female participation When non-playing females were asked what would encourage them to try the game, a clear picture emerged of easily accessible, pressure-free and affordable female-focussed sessions. The great news for golf clubs is that such sessions are already available... and that they are delivering superb retention results. Supported by Syngenta as part of the company’s mission to Unlock Golf’s True

Pictured at the launch of Syngenta’s report, The Global Economic Value of Increased Female Participation in Golf, are former Solheim Cup captain Carin Koch and Sygenta’s Jeff Cox. Potential, was launched in 2015 to offer a more attractive entry point into the game for females. Though its conception predated the The Global Economic Value of Increased Female Participation in Golf by almost two years,’s theories and practices perfectly address the needs and concerns expressed by potential female golfers in the report. Syngenta support Any golf facility wishing to become will benefit from Syngenta’s comprehensive support structure, tailored to help club and coach reach this latent demand. Full training and education in is provided, supplemented by workshops and monthly webinars, covering topics from coaching methods to advice on how to use social media to market yourself and the scheme to the local community.’s first Coaching Conference, staged last December, represents another layer of the support system. Led by Spink and attended by Syngenta ambassador and former Solheim Cup captain Carin Koch, the conference brought coaches together for the first time, allowing them to share knowledge and best practice. “The idea was to show coaches how to increase revenue and add value to the club, but also to show them they are not working alone but as part of a mutually supportive community,” Spink explains. “These coaches were individuals when they arrived but they went home part of a team. It allows them to grow with the project, which is great for the strength of moving forward.” “ is such a good opportunity to get more women into golf, and it’s great to see how it’s taking off,” says Carin Koch. “Being a golf coach can be’s Head Coach Alastair Spink has introduced more than 350 women to his golf club, Fynn Valley in Suffolk, through the coaching. With Syngenta’s support, this groundbreaking programme was rolled out to 25 UK and five Swedish golf clubs in 2016, where an incredible 90% of participants signed up for further coaching. “Through experience, we were aware that many women felt uncomfortable with the traditional one-on-one lesson with the club pro,” says’s head coach Alastair Spink. “Also, they typically found technical coaching on the range to be ineffective and unenjoyable. “ takes a different approach. We assemble female-only groups of similar ability and get out on the golf course at the earliest opportunity, and through playing the game, the emphasis shifts from teaching to learning. There are no dress codes or formalities, just a group of women who support each other. The coach is repositioned as a facilitator and it’s been incredible to see the difference this relaxed and social environment makes.”

quite lonely – you are coaching in your own little world – but the scheme’s support structure allows a whole community of coaches to come together and learn from each other’s experiences. Advice on aspects like social media and marketing are important as it helps the coach set up communities on Facebook or Instagram, allowing their group to keep interacting and to get new people involved.”

FURTHER INFORMATION • To watch a video of the first coaching conference, see • For more information about or to find out about introducing at your club, visit or contact Alastair Spink at or call 07748 653002. • To download a free copy of Syngenta’s market report ‘The Global Economic Value of Increased Female Participation in Golf’, visit:




Want to cut club spend while increasing efficiencies? Well now you can. Introducing HQ Building the Business. Completely free to clubs this new service involves no contracts and no costs, just better buying and better club business.

Welcome to HQ Building the Business F

rom utilities and energy savings to procurement and financial services, HQ Building the Business works with your club as a surrogate head office, helping you to boost club business. And by working with carefully selected club-supporting partners and suppliers, HQ Building the Business will save you valuable time and resources in the quest to save your club money, freeing up you and your committee to run an even more efficient club. You’re just three steps away from saving money.

Step 1 Free no-obligation audit – just call us or email us.

Step 2 Following our audit and discussions, if we believe we can help your club we will source the best deals available.

Step 3 Your club starts saving money. This is what we call a win win! So get in touch now and help us help you to make 2017 an even better year for your club and your members. You can call on 01753 272022, email or use the form overleaf.

Frequently Asked Questions

business, but if we can help we will.

Q. What do I get when I become a member? A: You get a free and confidential audit of your club in those areas where you would like to find savings and efficiencies. This could be anything from utilities to phone bills and from food to club equipment.

Q. What are your club credentials? A. We’ve been working in the club sector for over 30 years in various roles. The launch of HQ Building the Business is the culmination of many years working with clubs and suppliers, from brewers and telecoms suppliers, to energy and water companies.

Q. What are the costs? A. There are no costs. HQ is free to join. Q. If I become a member, what are my obligations? A. There are no obligations for you or your club and no contracts. All we ask is that when we work with you, you are open about your current supplier situation. Q. Does the club need to have a minimum turnover? A. Our services are most suited to clubs with a minimum turnover of £100,000. This is because to secure the HQ Building the Business deals with suppliers we need to prove the value of a club to their


Q. Do I need a face to face meeting? A. Not necessarily. A lot of the ground work can be done over the phone/email. Q. How do I become a member? A. Just email, call 01753 272022 or or turn the page to use the form.

MEMBERSHIP FORM Yes I am interested in joining the no-cost, no-contract, no obligation HQ Building the Business club. Your name: _____________________________________


Role in club: _____________________________________ Club name and address: _____________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ Tel no: ________________________________________ Email: _________________________________________ Number of members: ______________________________ Turnover*:______________________________________

n All n Other (please list): _____________________________

Particular areas you are interested in?


*Turnover - this information is entirely confidential and is not shared with any other companies/agencies etc. It is HQ Building the Business’s measure as to how we can help you save money.



Unlocking Golf’s True Potential


Syngenta is a global agriculture company, employing more than 28,000 people in 90 countries.

Enhancing the environment, increasing biodiversity, and engaging with customers and stakeholders

As an industry leader, we care not only for the health, quality and consistency of your fairways and greens, we care about the health of the game itself and the industry’s For more than 30 years we have also been long-term business sustainability. a market leader in the global golf industry creating innovative turf management That’s why Syngenta is investing in solutions for golf courses in 43 countries. golf from the ground up with the aim of Unlocking Golf’s True Potential. However, Syngenta is much more than turf Our objectives are focused on: management products and services.

Productivity Supporting our customers and stakeholders with new knowledge, skills and tools to create strong, dynamic, customer-centric golf businesses

Playability Working with golf course superintendents around the world to deliver the best playing conditions for their customers

Working together, we can Unlock Golf’s True Potential To find out more, join Syngenta Golf Ambassador Carin Koch for a special on-course video presentation at:

Syngenta UK Ltd. Registered in England No. 849037. CPC4 Capital Park, Fulbourn, Cambridge CB21 5XE.


On the road to success Hardie Bates, Senior Banqueting & Events Manager at the Royal Automobile Club, is in charge of a team of 26 who deliver around 90,000 covers and 200 events across two sites. So how has CMAE’s Management Development Programme helped him in this challenging role?


first got involved with the CMAE about seven years ago before the Management Development Programme (MDP) pathway began. I’d made a transition to the club arena from a background of five-star hotels, joining the Royal Automobile Club in 2002, so I wanted to learn more about clubs and going to CMAE events was a

great way of expanding my knowledge of the sector as well as networking with people from other clubs. I attended some seminars and went to a CMAA World Conference and then the CMAE introduced the formally structured MDP. I’ve now completed Parts 2 and 3 and will pick up Part 1 this year to finish off the programme.

The MDP Level 3 – which I finished a few months ago – utilises the ‘Lumina Spark’ assessment of leadership and it really makes you examine your management style and how you’re seen by others. It was really enlightening and I would encourage anyone to do it. I found it particularly useful as we’ve just started doing 360 degree




A DAY IN THE LIFE I work between our two clubhouses which generally means three to four days in Pall Mall and one or two days in Epsom, all depending on where I’m needed for meetings. The Club has a large management structure in place. We have our Main Board, headed by the Chairman. Our Club Secretary, Miles Wade CBE, sits on the Board and under him is the CEO who has 12 Executive Managers – including me reporting to him. The Executive Managers each have a Department Head and Supervisors. We also have a number of Committees – a Committee for each clubhouse, five Standing Committees including the Main Board, the Motoring Committee and the Elections Committee. There are also separate Committees for each of the 22 activities (Bridge, Backgammon, Chess, etc.) that take place at the Club. Executive Managers will sit on several of these Activity Committees in order to assist the members in their day-to-day operations. When I’m in London, I’ll start work at 8.30am. We have a Management Meeting every morning where we discuss the previous day’s business and look ahead to what’s going on that day. I’ll then spend some time catching up on emails, answering any member requests which have come through, doing any forecasting/budgeting which is required during the week. I normally have several meetings with members and clients to discuss events and will also often have Working Party meetings to attend when we have refurbishment work going on. I’ll also spend some time on the phone with the team at Woodcote Park to check how the previous night’s event went. I’ll also have meetings with the Operations team at Pall Mall. The London clubhouse is particularly busy in the evening, so I tend to walk the floor in the early evening to ensure that the rooms are set for those night’s events. I usually leave the club between 7 and 8pm.

appraisals at the Club and it’s a similar concept. The skills I’ve already learned have proved very useful, working across two very different clubhouses as I do –Pall Mall, London, our city Club and Woodcote Park, Epsom, our country Club. We’re constantly refurbishing the facilities and have a 10year plan in place so that the members know exactly where their funds are going. We have major redevelopment work going on at Woodcote Park over the next 10-15 years to develop it further as a destination country club and one that will appeal more to families. It’s a very forward thinking club and we’re always looking for the next opportunity, as well as future-proofing the buildings for our membership. In London, we’ve leased a floor of a neighbouring building and have put in a very modern Business Centre that is quite different in feel to the club as we wanted to cater for members who are doing business while in London. They can hold meetings in the Business Centre and then will hopefully come into the club for lunch or dinner. We also encourage new members to sign up one or two further members during their first year of membership so that it’s a self-perpetuating membership. We have over 17,000 members with a 96 per cent renewal rate so we still have space for new members each year. In terms of accommodation, we have 106 rooms in Pall Mall and have 100 per cent occupancy rates Monday to Thursday. Occupancy is not far off 90 per cent across the year. We added a further 20 rooms to the Pall Mall clubhouse seven years ago


Woodcote Park

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL Where were you born? In Portsmouth, just outside HMS Collingwood where my father was stationed with the services. Education Grammar School in the Wirral, Catering College in Cheshire and Croydon Technical College. Your biggest strength? Very calm under pressure. And weakness? Too calm under pressure – people think I should be more wound up in certain situation! Favourite book Anything by Bernard Cornwell. Favourite film The Shawshank Reception. Favourite holiday destination California – a wonderful place to go with the family.

Cedar Room

and we were full within a month of opening them. We have three restaurants which are open throughout the week. It really is a fantastic place to work. We have two major weeks in the Club – one at Woodcote Park and one at Pall Mall. In June, Derby Week is the highlight of the events calendar for the Woodcote Park clubhouse which is just a mile away from Epsom Downs Racecourse. We put a large marquee on our lawns for a week and we host a Derby Ball for around 400 members on the Wednesday evening, a Ladies’ Lunch ahead of Derby Ladies’ Day on the Friday for about 600 members and an event for 800 members for Derby Day itself on the Saturday. It’s always a great atmosphere and all the departments pull together to deliver a firstclass service across the whole clubhouse.

How do you relax? Trying to play golf and socialising with family and friends.

Then, in the first week of November we host London Motor Week, a series of motoring events, including speaker functions, dinners and awards which culminates with a big reception for the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. The cars set off from Hyde Park early on the Sunday morning and it’s a fantastic spectacle. All of these events demand a great deal of planning and preparation and that’s where training really comes into its own. Would I recommend MDPs to others? Absolutely! We’ve already got three other managers at the Club doing the MDP and the Club’s Training Manager has been in contact with the CMAE to give our other managers the opportunity to get involved. The structured pathway of the MDP is a great way for people to go forward through this industry. If you want to sit the exam at the end to gain the CCM you can, but just going through the process means you’re learning all the time.



Pushing the boat out Gabrielle Boase CMD is General Manager at Datchet Water Sailing Club in Berkshire. She’s already completed her MDP Parts 1 and 2 and Food & Beverage Management Course and is raring to get started on Level 3. Here she takes time out to share her experiences with Clubhouse Europe.


’ve been running Datchet Water Sailing Club since 2003. I have two full-time members of staff and an admin person who works 20 hours a week. I’m also the Club Principal at the club which means I’m in charge of anything related to training on Health & Safety and Child Protection, as well as ensuring that the boats are all up to standard. At the very top of the club structure we have the Commodore, a Vice-Commodore, two Rear Commodores and a Treasurer. They make up the

Flag Officers. Then we have up to nine Council Members on the board who support the Officers. Two of the Council Members are on the Management Team with me and we implement the club strategy. The other Council Members take on specific responsibilities such as Communications and Publicity. We also have 480 members who are rosterable for duties, which can be a Club Race Officer, Race Team and Safety Coxswains who run on-water activities or the Officer Of the Day who is officebased at weekends who will meet new members and assist where required. We hold major events here throughout the season where we’ll have over 300 boats coming into the club and it would all be impossible without the time and effort put in by our volunteer members. They’re at the club all day doing things like organising parking and the on-water team of the Race Officer, Race Team and Safety Coxswains ensure good,fair, safe racing. It’s a real family club and you’ll see several generations of the same family coming down here regularly – from grandparents to grandchildren all delighted to be part of such a thriving club. We’re a Training Centre affiliated to the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) so part of the duties of our professional staff members is to train the volunteers in key aspects of sailing, most notably Water Safety, and help them get their qualifications. Of the 600 members, 120 are juniors who are working their way through the qualifications, and in

September we’re running the Zone Squad Championships where the GB junior squads will be selected. We’re very proud of the club which celebrated its 40th birthday last year. We marked this by running various activities including a ‘This Girl Can’ campaign with Sport England and Berkshire Council where we encouraged 40 female sailors – including me! – to learn to sail. It was a great success and was fantastic to see so many women getting involved in the sport for the first time. We also have an Open Weekend in May when anyone can come along and try out sailing in various boats or use the indoor simulator; that’s always a very popular event. I’m actually an accountant by training. In 2000, I decided to take a career break for a couple of years to start a family and was heavily involved in the community as a volunteer, including being on the management board of the local youth and community centre. At the time I decided to go back to work the sailing club was looking for a Club Manager. Up until that point the club was completely run by volunteers and they realised that it wasn’t really working and that they needed someone with business skills. I had no sailing experience or particular interest in the sport but had the accountancy experience that they were seeking, so took over the role in 2003. I first got involved with the CMAE when I attended MDP Level 1 in Bournemouth. At the time I was trying to decide whether to go in-house




UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL Where were you born? Wexford, Republic of Ireland.

A DAY IN THE LIFE If we take a typical Wednesday, I’ll arrive at the club early in the morning and sit down with our part-time accounts person who works five hours a week. We’ll look at any invoicing problems or payroll issues. At 10am the volunteers will start arriving. I meet with them to discuss whatever projects they’re working on that day. I will then meet the Club Bosun who is charge of ensuring our powerboats and trailers are in good working order and discuss any problems with him. I’ll then spend a couple of hours at my desk going through emails and other general admin. After lunch, the Brunel University students who are affiliated to our club will arrive. They do a lot of training. Some of them are learning to sail and some of them help to run events so if we’ve had an event the week before, I will discuss that with them. In mid-afternoon, I meet with the two permanent members of staff for a catch-up about the weekend just gone and what’s coming up the next weekend, as well as doing a bit more admin. In the summer, we have Wednesday night racing so I’ll discuss the post-racing menu with the caterers. The racing takes place from about 6pm to 9pm. Then we all have supper together and go home.


with catering or keep the franchise arrangement. It was a week-long course and gave some great insights into the subject. At the course in Dublin they even put us in a professional kitchen for a day which gave me a new respect for caterers as up until then I hadn’t realised the timescales of producing food in a commercial environment and the pressures they were under. I’ve now completed Parts 1 and 2 in MDP and the food and beverage course, plus the Club Management Diploma (CMD). It has been very interesting to see that different types of club still have plenty of common ground. A sailing club’s fee structure is totally different to that of a golf club yet all types of clubs need to deal with governance, health and safety, staff issues, service issues and so on. My experience of the MDP has been massively positive. It’s wonderful to be part of a group of people who understand what it takes to run a club. Suddenly I was ‘amongst my own’ and sharing knowledge specific to the club sector. Working with members is a totally unique experience as you’re reporting to people who are part of the club because of their passion for sailing, golf or whatever the club’s main focus happens to be. It’s all about working with your members as a professional and channelling their passion in a way that benefits the club. I have learned to so much from going to other clubs and seeing how they operate. I’ve then brought that knowledge back to my club for the benefit of our members, for example, by raising the standards of service and the facilities. A lot of

Education Business degree from Limerick University, Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate (TEFL), Chartered Management Qualification, CMAE Club Managers Diploma. Your biggest strength? Communication – being a good negotiator. And weakness? I talk too much! Favourite book I Am David by Anne Holme. Favourite holiday destination Lake Garda.

How do you relax? Cycling down the Jubilee river path. the emphasis is on managing performance which is incredibly useful and I also really enjoyed learning presentation skills. One thing which has surprised me about doing the courses is how delighted and proud my members are about my involvement with the CMAE. They can see that it’s benefiting the club hugely and that it’s helping to improve the club across the board. For example, over the past few years I’ve secured a £50,000 grant for a facilities upgrade plus £75,000 for our sustainable clubhouse project. We now have a solar panel system on the roof, we’ve insulated the whole of the building and installed a water-sourced heat pump system. It has resulted in a 40 per cent saving on our utilities costs. It’s great to have such a gold standard for people working across the club sector as it means your members can be satisfied that you have attained a high level of professional accreditation. Plus, if you have a manager who’s weak in certain areas, you can send them on a course with the CMAE and you know that the level of the course is going to be superb. I will definitely be doing the Part 3 MDP!



Revenue generation CMAE-style While CMAE members are all adept at running their businesses to optimum efficiency, there is always room to examine previously unexplored revenue streams, says Mike Braidwood CCM.


hen did you last sit down to brainstorm alternative revenue opportunities? Because believe me there are lots of them out there. Here are just 10 ideas to get your started. 1. Sales culture Make sure you have a dedicated sales person and a sales culture within your organisation. This one might not be quick, but it needs serious consideration in these challenging economic times. If you do not have anyone dedicated to sales, then get one now. Also make sure that you have a sales culture within your organisation. Possibly the hardest thing of all is to build a salesfocused culture at your facility. It really is a challenge to get every team member to understand that it is not only the Sales and Marketing department’s responsibility to sell, it’s EVERYONE’S! Now if you don’t have a sales and marketing department/person or someone focused on this critical part of your business then you really are doomed. So how do you build up a sales focused culture? First of all you need to write into everyone’s job description that they have some responsibility to sell and promote the facility they work at. This includes everyone, even the maintenance crew; they should have a responsibility to pass on referrals, tell their friends about the great F&B offering, introduce people they know to the Golf Pro or Tennis Pro for lessons etc. Then have regular team meetings and briefings on sales and marketing and include as many people in the team as possible (preferably all). Your team needs to know the task in hand (targets), have a full understanding of the products on offer and be conversant with the marketing message and your current campaigns. There are many more initiatives to get your team developed into a sales culture, but even if you just create the awareness amongst them that they are all responsible, then that’s a good start. Soon you will hear the bar staff up-selling lessons to the member who’s complaining about a bad game over a pint and witness the tennis pros making pupils aware of membership products and benefits. In today’s tough business environment you really


do need to have an extended sales force; everyone’s jobs depend on it. 2. Broaden your sales offering Too often we limit ourselves by not offering a wide enough range of products and services. The traditional club tends to sell the following: • Memberships. • Food and beverage. • Merchandise. • Instruction. • Some offer some form of daily fee e.g. a green fee for a golf club for example.

few events to make sure you get it right. Like everything, there is a formula for successful weddings. • Branding and advertising. Don’t under-estimate what corporate companies will spend to get their brand out there. Spend time looking at all of the available space you have to advertise, then make up a presentation and get selling. For example: • Naming rights to meeting rooms. • Staff uniforms. • Flag poles. • Products placements (cars). • Menus (drinks, food).

By thinking outside the box and branching out, there are extra funds to be had. For example: • Meetings. I’m sure your club has plenty of underutilised space. Start to promote it and use it. I am sure your members would love to be at the club for business as well as leisure. • Weddings and Anniversaries. Clubs are recognised as excellent event venues. If such events are not yet within your field of expertise – it has to be a great experience for word to get round – then partner up with a wedding organiser for the first

Some companies are just interested in brand association and the partnership can be promoted on the web site, some classy branding on the club house wall and recognition on club collateral. For golf clubs this could include tee signage, score cards, course guides, driving range signage/bay dividers, golf carts and pull trolleys. • Landscaping services. You have the crew, you have the tools and you have the expertise. Why not get your maintenance crew to branch out into some off-site landscaping services?

3. Member/guest surveys These are easy to do and really effective. Set up a survey on a system like Survey Monkey and ask you members what they want - then give it to them. Also use the survey to make them aware of some of your less known products and services, such as: • Did you know that we have meeting facilities? • Did you know that we can order in corporate gifts and uniforms for your company? 4. Staff with a ‘yes’ attitude Train your staff to never say no. It’s all too easy for staff, new and old, to simply say, ‘sorry we’re out of stock of that product’, ‘Sorry the course is full today’, ‘Sorry we don’t provide that service’ – and so on. Train your staff to always offer an alternate solution. Always look to ‘squeeze’ someone out on the course, always ask internally if something is available, always ask ‘when do you need this for’. They might not even need it to today, so there is a chance you can get it for them.

ties (tee times, meeting rooms, bedrooms) in exchange for their goods and services? It reduces your costs and it gets them starting to use your products.

5. Become a Tour Operator How much business do you send to the local hotel, restaurant, guest house and neighbouring courses? Lots I’m sure. So set up a Tour Operator agreement and make something out of these referrals. You don’t necessarily have to earn cash from them. You could potentially earn credit which can come in useful to lowering your costs – for example, for every 10 rooms of theirs you sell you get one free. 6. Sell corporate ranges Through your buying channels it might be easier and more convenient for your corporate members to buy through you. Why not develop a flyer/e-flyer to promote to your membership – corporate logoed balls, uniform shirts, corporate gifts, company ties and so on. 7. Calendar of offers Nowadays we don’t seem to be able to buy anything unless it is on offer. So make sure you have a seasonlong list of promotions and offers to keep your mem-

bers and guests engaged in your product. Mix the offers up and keep them interesting and fun. Work around the obvious ones first and build out from there – Valentines Day, Mothers Day, Easter, Fathers Day, National holidays, Christmas – then branch out seasonally. Build offers around other global events – The World Cup, the Olympics etc. 8. Barter when all else fails There are most likely some good businesses in close proximity to your club who have products you want or need, but who are never going to be customers of yours. Why not trade off some of your unused facili-

9. Self generating events Create desirable events at your clubs that will entice people to particpate. By running events you manage your utilisation better. In areas where you have a diverse population run a ‘World Cup of Golf/Tennis/Football’ etc, and ask people to enter in teams to represent their country – people love it in my experience. If you’re close to a business community set up a Corporate League in various sports to get the competitive juices flowing between different local businesses. 10. Build up a partners program Work on the old adage that it is significantly cheaper to get your existing customers to spend more, than it is to find new customers. Take time to research who your highest spending customers are and try to build a tailor-made corporate partners programme for them. By getting them more involved and offering them a broader range of services and added value you will soon see spend increasing.




MDP1 and 2 open for registration The CMAE’s Management Development Programme returns to Dubai this May with an excellent line up of club industry presenters.


he first two courses on the MDP pathway, MDP part 1 and part 2, will both take place from 28 May - 1 June, 2017 at the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club and the Park Hyatt Hotel providing a first class five days of education hosted by Dubai Golf. Course Facilitator and CMAE Director of Education Michael Braidwood CCM says: “We are excited about the MDPs in Dubai this year. Last year we had a record 34 delegates on our Part 1 programme and this year we are breaking new ground by running MDP 1 and MDP 2 at the same time. This year we have a great presenter line up and have world renowned club industry expert and motivational speaker Gregg Patterson joining us, as well two of our leading presenters Kevin Fish CCM and Bill Sanderson from the UK. To add in a regional flavour we have the excellent Darshan Singh from Bahrain. Supporting these great presenters are a host of local specialist subject experts. It looks set to be an excellent week of education at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club and Park Hyatt Hotel.” MDP part 1 focuses on Club Operations, aiming

Kevin Fish CCM

Bill Sanderson

Gregg Patterson

Darshan Singh

to enhance delegates’ knowledge and to provide an excellent grasp of the basics in every area of club business – from Leadership and Employee Engagement to Food & Beverage Management and Legislation. Part 2 of the MDP builds on the learnings of the Part 1 course and focuses on strategic and business planning, performance and service standards, and the professional and communicative skills to develop every aspect of both the individual’s performance and that of their club. For more information and to register visit upload/public/documents/webpage/brochures/ CMAE_MDP%20Prospectus%202017_Dubai_v3.pdf

The Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club and Hyatt Hotel, hosts for the May/June MDPs.

STOP PRESS Preferential rates on flights to any of CMAE’s MDP courses are available through official suppliers Your Travel. See the advertisement below for more details.





Confidence – a reputation maker Confidence is infectious. You will be judged on how much or how little you display, more than any talent, knowledge or skill set you have. So how confident a manager are you seen to be? CMAE MDP presenter Bill Sanderson explores how you can develop the certainty that is the bedrock of confidence.


ertainty can be defined as ‘being sincere in your beliefs and values’. Sincerity is that strength of belief that will stand the heat of dispute, disagreement or challenge. It will resist the tough times and negative people and carry you forward. Control – no control Managers often experience a loss of certainty when they feel at a loss to control events. But there is a simple mantra which will clarify exactly where you stand right now in the daily challenge of doing your job. It will ensure that whatever happens, whoever wants your attention, you remain in control and dictate the terms as to what will be done, when and by whom. You will be – and be seen to be – sincere in all that you do because you have certainty about why you are here and you are confident in the behaviour you have chosen to deliver the ideal outcome. The mantra that you will begin and end with every day is ‘The main thing is that THE MAIN THING is the main thing’. This philosophy has a process for delivering action to your purpose and creating the aura of a competent and confident manager. Here is the four step template: 1. The Heart of the Matter Every day most of your thoughts and actions are built around what fires need to be put out and what you usually do on this day at this time. Switch off the auto pilot. Take any day and list your actions with the time allocated. Do not wait for a typical day. There is no such thing. Repeat on two more days; put everything in without judgement . 2. ‘Why am I here?’ What is your purpose? Why has the Club employed you? Describe success in a ‘rich’ picture. (Clue: the answer should be a close match to your club’s business plan. If your purpose is not congruent with the club’s reason for being – why are you there?) 3. Check your activity Highlight only those tasks that had a clear and direct

impact on delivering your purpose. Are you acting on how things used to be when the job was first established? It may have little or no relevance to your purpose today. What percentage of your day is spent on other people’s ‘stuff’? Are you happy with the percentage? Would your boss be happy with the percentage? 4. Revisit the reason WHY you are here List the activities that you can do tomorrow that will contribute directly (in full or, more likely, in part) to that outcome. Now allocate a slot (maximum 50 minutes) in tomorrow’s diary. Congratulations you have identified The Main Thing in your business! Now you focus on that. Now you are in control, feel in control and are seen to be in control. By focussing on The Main Thing that will deliver your purpose with sincerity and consistency you will feel and act with much greater confidence.

Look in the mirror You need a reflection of your behaviour as it is, not as you think it is. This is where a balanced perspective that sees your situation objectively is so valuable. A mentor or coach is ideal but if that is not available to you find an experienced and knowledgeable listener. Someone who listens, is non judgemental and uses powerful questions to help you work your way to a positive outcome. Now you can be confident that you have chosen the right behaviour for today and decided on the right way to do it. You will be seen to be sincere and consistent in delivering what you believe to be the right way and this will gain you the respect of everyone. Whether they agree with you or not is irrelevant. They will respect that you are acting in accordance with sincerely held beliefs. Your reputation for knowing where you are headed and why, will generate respect. Respect will build your confidence. And High Confidence will build your Reputation.




The Brora story Brora Golf Club may have recently celebrated its 125th Anniversary, but this celebrated club has its eyes fixed firmly on the future. Enter the club’s new integrated epos-system. Tony Gill, former CMAE Treasurer and CMAE Scottish Regional President, explains.


rora Golf Club is widely recognised as one of James Braid’s finest pieces of work. An hour north of Inverness the club, described by five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson as ‘the best traditional links course in the world’, has breath-taking views of the championship course and ocean from the newly refurbished clubhouse. Tony Gill has been secretary of Brora Golf Club for 12 years. This is his first post as a club manager having previously worked as an accountant in the airline telecommunications industry. “I was very fortunate to be introduced to the CMAE in the very early stages of my new role within club management,” says Tony. “The education that the CMAE provides has benefitted me enormously in the job and I am tremendously fortunate to have met an incredible group of club managers who share my own passion for improvement through education.” When Tony first started at Brora, the club had just installed a new epos system which allowed for the introduction of loyalty cards. The system, however, was a stand-alone system without integration to membership or handicapping and competition data. This meant the club had four separate databases to maintain – a real headache – meaning every time the club signed up a new member or an existing member resigned, the records had to be changed across four systems. “It’s no surprise to me that this led to errors and


customer dissatisfaction when members didn’t receive the latest emails or couldn’t book a tee time!” says Tony. The four systems in question were perfectly good solutions on their own, but Tony was looking for a more joined up system that could alleviate the errors these disparate solutions were causing. After exploring four different providers, Tony chose ESP Leisure’s Elite system. “I’d heard good things about ESP from a number of managers that I knew through CMAE, and following demonstrations of a number of systems we felt that ESP Elite provided the best all round feature set and future proofing for the club,” says Tony. Planning and implementation “The implementation was surprisingly quick,” he says. “There was very little disruption to daily operations and the training provided ensured that the staff have coped very well with the changes. After only three months we are still learning about the capabilities of the system and refining its implementation.” So has the system made a difference? Even though it’s only been in place for a few months, it’s already having an impact, says Tony: “Having all our member and customer data in one place helps with administrative efficiency and accuracy of record keeping. Although, I think the real benefits will become even more apparent in future years as we build our database of visiting golfers, helping to cap-

ture information and provide a more personal experience to our customers.” Tony wants the ESP system to help him deliver a better service to his members and visitors, and he believes it will through improving efficiency and effective office administration. Another key area in which ESP will help is through online services, offering an integrated online booking system and members portal. “The online portal, Elite Live, will allow bookings and payments, and, if we introduce this option, will allow members to top up their levy cards online too. This will give us the opportunity to track the journey of our customers, even when our clubhouse doors are closed,” says Tony.

ESP Leisure has systems are in place at more than 250 clubs across the UK and Ireland, including private member clubs, golf clubs, sailing clubs and leisure clubs. t. 020 8251 5100 e.



Your industry NEEDS YOU Calling all clubs... the 2017 Club Awards are open for entries. The Club Awards recognise the commitment of clubs, committees and individuals who work to ensure a healthy future for their clubs. IT COULD BE YOU Do you think you could be a finalist? Do you have what it takes to beat the best and stand out from the rest? WHY ENTER? Clubs use their success to: • Raise the club’s profile • Gain coverage in the local press and media • Encourage new members • Thank existing members for their support • Demonstrate that the club is spending members’ money wisely

HOW TO ENTER ON LINE: BY POST: Club Awards, ACP, Gainsborough House, 59-60 Thames Street, Windsor SL4 1TX BY EMAIL: Email your details to BY FAX: Fax the entry form (opposite) to 01753 272021 OR USE THIS QR CODE

DEADLINE: JUNE 30, 2017 – Tel: 01753 272022 CLUB HOUSE EUROPE 29




THE CLUB AWARDS Are you proud of your teamwork?

THREE QUESTIONS AND YOU COULD BE ON YOUR WAY TO THE CLUB AWARDS 2017 1. Number of members: ___________________________________________

Are you proud of your bar team?

2. Year founded: _______________________________________________ 3. Club Turnover (if known / approximate) ___________________________________ (NB: This information is strictly confidential and for judging purposes only – not for publication.)

Just fill in your club details and we'll get in touch – simple as that Are you proud of your catering?

Your Name: ___________________________________________ Job title/role: __________________________________________ Club Name: ___________________________________________ Address: ____________________________________________

Are you proud of your club?

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Are you proud of your entertainment?

Mobile: _____________________________________________ Email address: _________________________________________

Are you proud of your management?

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Fax: 01753 272021; Email: 30 CLUB HOUSE EUROPE


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26-28 November 2017, MARBELLA Benchmarking study. Calling all members – Page 32

CMAE European Conference – dates and venue announced Call for entries – enter the 2017 Club Awards Money spinners – 10 top revenue generators

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Benchmarking –acrucial complementtostrategicplanning If a strategic plan provides you with a sensible path to a sound future, then benchmarking is the series of signposts you can follow to confirm that you’re on the right track. There is no point in hurrying up if you haven’t determined your destination, but you also need to measure your momentum, says GGA’s Rob Hill. Are you staying on the right track? 32 CLUBHOUSE EUROPE

We need all clubs to engage with the European Club benchmarking initiative. This data will be extremely valuable to all of us as we try to steer our clubs forward. Please do take time to participate.

Marc Newey, CMAE President


enchmarking is the tool which enables you to assess your progress, using real-world data rather than guesswork. Benchmarking lets you make a confident choice when you come to a fork in the road. But how do we establish trustworthy benchmarks? How can we anticipate unexpected perils and identify potential hazards along the way? Is your club’s membership attrition rate consistent with the market? Are your payroll costs as a percentage of club revenue in line with the competition? How does your yield per member per round compare with similar clubs in the region? Does achieving budget really mean that your club is performing to its capability? In March, 2017, The Club Managers Association of Europe (CMAE), in collaboration with Global Golf Advisors, launched the most comprehensive bench-

marking study ever undertaken in the European club industry. The aim is not only to provide benchmarking guidelines, which are closely aligned with best practices, but also to recognize trends whose impact may modify or influence a club’s goals and expectations. The CMAE initiative will measure vital operational performance metrics by gathering, analyzing, and reporting on data relating to the key issues faced by every club. Among the crucial areas of concern in our survey are: membership absorption and attrition levels; categories of membership and appropriate fees; and policies regarding staffing and remuneration, an especially vital matter in contemporary club management. In addition, we know from previous surveys that there are enduring concerns regarding food and beverage operations, asset utilization, capital controls and development, and golf course maintenance. We will gather and analyze data in these crucial operational arenas as well. Previous efforts to accumulate reliable date on industry-wide trends have confronted a cautious ambivalence among clubs over sharing information. In a shrinking market, especially, which the golf industry has experienced in recent years, a siege mentality arises, erecting barriers rather than seeking and sharing innovative solutions. The CMAE study will illuminate how participating clubs benefit from having solid knowledge about the real state of the industry. If all clubs operate efficiently, with a robust use of data, the overall performance of the industry will also improve. Clubs will know that their planning exercises, their staff evaluations, their expenditures, and their policies all either meet, exceed, or fall short of standards. So why should clubs embrace benchmarking? Benchmarking has evolved as a central feature in the evolution of club management and the rise of the class of professionally educated club managers. Their training leads them to ask, “how do you know what

you don’t know?” Analysing the collective experience of the most successful clubs provides the best metrics both for figuring out what’s missing and measuring future action. Benchmarking is a critical factor in driving success and supporting continuous improvement. Benchmarking helps management teams keep their focus on what matters most. As the complementary management tool to the indispensable guidance of a strategic plan, benchmarking provides a vital method for determining where exactly your club stands. To participate in CMAE’s benchmarking initiative, visit and make your contribution to a better informed European club and golf sector. Alternatively use the QR code in the box below.

ABOUT GGA Rob Hill is a partner at GGA, the largest professional advisory services firm in the world dedicated to clubs and golf-related businesses. From their offices in Dublin, Toronto and Phoenix, GGA has served more than 2,700 clients worldwide. They specialise in strategic planning; governance; market analysis; membership planning; and operational performance analysis.




When success comes in threes CMAE’s prestigious Certified Club Manager (CCM) accreditation was first launched in 2011 based on the10 core competencies of the modern club manager. Now, three more CMAE members have swelled their ranks, bringing the total number of CCMs in Europe up to 39. Debbie Pern


ebbie Pern CCM (General Manager at Scotland’s Deeside Golf Club), Silvia Serrano, (Executive Assistant and Membership Manager at Spain’s Real Club Valderrama) and Fernando Padrón (Director of Operations at Real Club Valderrama) are the latest CMAE members to gain CCM Accreditation. CMAE’s Education Policy Board Chairman, James Burns CCM, congratulated the three new CCMs. “I am delighted for Debbie, Silvia and Fernando. They have put education at the forefront of their career paths and were dedicated delegates at our Management Development Programmes. It is great to see the number of CCMs grow across Europe,” he said. Debbie Pern CCM Debbie is a great advocate of the MDP pathway which she says has been a fantastic learning. “The high standard of presenters and learning material has definitely helped me grow in confidence and knowl-


Fernando Padrón

edge in my employment at Deeside Golf Club,” she said. “I have met so many like-minded enthusiastic managers along the way and have built up a network of friends from all over the UK and Europe.” Her success has been received with excitement at the club. Club Captain at Deeside Golf Club Scott Kelman said: “ Becoming only one of thirty nine managers in Europe, and one of only two ladies, to achieve this qualification is a huge accolade for Debbie and for Deeside Golf Club. Debbie began the journey towards the CCM qualification four years ago, studying and sitting exams while at the same time continuing to run our club so efficiently on a daily basis. I am absolutely delighted her hard work has been rewarded and she can now proudly call herself a Certified Club Manager.” Fernando Padrón CCM Fernando highlights networking as another key benefit of the MDP journey. “Throughout the years I have been fortunate to have met many wonderful people and newfound friends through my work and study,” he says. “Networking has been a key concept to my success in this field. Sharing our experiences with other delegates has enriched me greatly.” After completing several MDP courses Fernando now feels equipped with extensive knowledge on all facets involved in Golf Management. “Obtaining the CCM gives me great personal satisfaction and acknowledgement of a job well done and will be of great benefit to my career and future,” he says. “My educational journey doesn’t stop here. I’m looking forward to learning more as well as completing more seminars and courses to further develop my skills.” Silvia Serrano CCM I received my designation as a Certified Club Manager with immense pride as well as appreciation for all those people that have made this amazing journey possible. This certification has come with the additional excitement – and responsibility – of being the first woman to achieve the CCM in Spain and, together with my peer and great friend Debbie Pern from Scotland, also in Europe. I am also honoured to be celebrating the designation together with my coworker, Fernando Padrón. Our General Manager, Javier Reviriego, was determined to provide me with the best education, thus enrolling me in the CMAE MDP journey. (Real Club Valderrama now has the largest number of CCMs in Europe.) Since then, and thanks to the drive and enthusiasm of our programme mentor in Spain, Daniel Asis CCM, I have had the opportunity to do all of the MDPs available; I wish there were more! Every year the first date I always mark in my calendar is when the next level takes place. The Management Development Programme has provided me with the tools, knowledge, and standards to at Management level from the very beginning. Moreover it has allowed me to access the unique networking experience of learning alongside managers from across the globe, gaining even deeper insights from my peers’ experiences and forging an amazing bond that will last forever. This is what

Silvia Serrano we call our ‘Tribe’. Since my very first Level 1, I have really grown as a Club Manager. I have built a very strong network and I have had some incredible experiences (like playing my first 18th holes course in The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews). I will never say that achieving the CCM certification has been easy but I can say that it is definitely worth it. At some points the sacrifices were beyond my expectations, but I was very lucky to have support around me, encouraging me to keep pushing the boundaries (and particular thanks go to MDP deliverer Kevin Fish CCM). I do wish I could have several pages to name all the people that have helped me through the process! I firmly believe the CCM will be a step forward in my career. I now want to keep working for the ultimate goal of the CMAE; improvement through lifelong learning. And at the same time, I would like to make myself available for any colleague that is going through the CCM pathway.

Thanks you to the CMAE for all your hard work and for delivering not only the highest level of education in our complex industry, but also building a great community of professionals that are linked and working together on a daily basis, breaking distances and cultural differences. At Real Club Valderrama the success of Fernando and Silvia has been well received. Director General Javier Reviriego said: “We are all delighted for both of them. They have worked very hard to obtain their CCM and I have no doubt that the entire certification process has made them better professionals. At Real Club Valderrama we believe that education together with passion are the keys to success; we will continue to invest in the development of our team.” For more details on gaining Certified Club Manager (CCM) accreditation contact or visit




Maximise your website’s success So, you have just had your fantastic new website designed and developed… but this is just the first step. Here Larrytech explains how to maximise success once it’s live.


he worst thing you can do with a new website is just sit back and expect the new leads and enquiries to flow through the club doors, unless of course you are employing an Agency to provide you with the digital marketing support you need. What you must do is keep your website updated. It’s incredibly important to drive your website forward, becuase if you don’t, no matter how great the site is, or how compelling an offer you have, people just won’t find you in the first place. Here are a few pointers that should help.

Content strategy – plan it! There’s no getting away from it, content is an incredibly useful tool in modern digital marketing – to an extent, as long as the quality is good, you can’t get enough of it! All this points towards the benefit of generating more content whether that be on your website, social channels or through the press. But we’re all busy people, and unless you have the luxury of hiring an external agency, the best way of ensuring you adhere to a structured content strategy is to plan one. Set time aside to think of blog titles for the next three months, set-up some social content via Hootsuite, plan your press releases prior to an

Content is an incredibly useful tool in modern digital marketing...

event. By doing all of this, and writing a structured plan for when your content needs to be both written and posted and sticking to it, you will be amazed at how much more successful your website is. Share share share Once you have created all this high quality content, it’s important to tell people about it! If your website is properly set-up, blog posts and articles should start being indexed for keywords you have targeted so you will start to gain some organic traffic from search engines. But to really maximise success,

sharing your content over your social media channels will vastly increase the number of people you can interact with, and if your content is engaging, your reach will be even greater. Sharing your content can be something as simple as creating a post on your business Facebook account and sharing this on your personal account, but to really engage people you want something a bit more exciting. Try a competition – give something away to everyone who shares your content, or even just if they like your page or follow you. If you have something compelling to offer, your chances of reaching a wider audience who may not have heard of you before becomes much, much greater. High quality, but fast loading images Modern websites are very visual, and the quality of your images can often make or break them. As with every other aspect of your website, updating pictures is important, whether you want to give the homepage a different feel or add a little more spice to your blog posts. When you are updating and adding new pictures, don’t forget to crop them to the correct size to ensure optimal load time. You can use stock photography, but nothing beats the quality of hiring a professional photogra-




pher for a couple of hours to come and take pictures of you, your office or even lifestyle shots around where you work – these can work really well on a website, and an experienced photographer should ensure your pictures are cropped to the right size, and the right balance of quality for optimal loading times. Try for easy cropping and resizing of images. SEO basics This is a biggie – so important in fact that there’s too much detail to go into in this one article! But to really maximise your websites success in search engines, make sure you do the following: • Good quality, keyword-rich website content. • Focus on your local listings – people will often be searching for a club locally.

• Measure results – add Analytics and Search Console and act on the results. • Optimise your website for mobile – this can be a key factor in driving search engine rankings. Interactive content – video? Content isn’t just about quantity – quality is even more important. One great piece of content that gets shared multiple times is far better than 10 poorly written, irrelevant pieces of content. One still perhaps slightly underused medium for content on websites is video. Although easy to embed via YouTube or Vimeo, creating video content can be trickier and expensive, but it may well be an investment worth making. Users tend to engage more with video content and there’s so many ways you can use video content

Nothing beats the quality of hiring a professional photographer for a couple of hours...

effectively. These include: • A corporate video introducing your club and people – great for showing website visitors what you’re all about. • Web adverts – is there a particularly compelling reason for people to choose your club over a competitor? If so, how about storyboarding this in a clever web advert and then promoting via Facebook ads? It’s a great way of highlighting why a visitor should choose you. • Facebook Live – got an event that people may want to view? Then why not showcase this live via Facebook? So there you have it, a simple guide to maximising success of your website once it goes live.

CONTACT DETAILS Want to talk through options in more detail? Or are you considering outsourcing some of this activity? Then get in contact with the team to see what they can offer. Larrytech Ltd, Calverley House, 55 Calverley Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 2TU • t. 01892 888 011 •



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When saying cheese just isn’t enough David Roy CCM, Manager of Crail Golfing Society and Vice-President of CMAE, hung up his happy-snappy camera and called in the experts. Here he explains the value of professional course photography.


uring my time as a greenkeeper I took many photos of golf courses and was often amazed at how a particularly lovely view of an inviting, challenging and picturesque golf hole looked more like a football field when I developed the film. The introduction of digital cameras came with the promise that if you take enough photos, eventually one will turn out well. Sad to say, I have yet to experience this good fortune! It is well known that good photography sells a club and I therefore submitted to the Crail Golf Society Marketing Committee that funds would be wisely invested by employing a professional golf course photographer. This was met by a distinct lack of enthusiasm at the thought that a few images of a specifically scenic golf course should cost more than £3,000; after all ‘how hard can it be?’, asked one member. Luckily, I was backed by another committee member who had experience in this area and consequently over the last 10 years about £10,000 has now been spent on building up a library of images. The following is a summary of points to note: • Being local is an advantage. The weather and height of the sun are the biggest factors in creating great images. Photographers use the phrase ‘The Golden Hour’, which refers to the time just as the sun rises or sets. A local photographer can make multiple visits to your course to capture the best light conditions, whereas a photographer that has to travel more than a couple of hours to your site is less likely to catch the correct conditions. • Write a tight brief. It is not enough to ask for ‘some nice photos’ and yet this is what most contracts comprise of. In extreme cases, the club may end up with 20 images of the one highly scenic golf hole on the course (and I have seen this done). What is more useful is to ask for something like six specific golf holes to be photographed from the perspective of the golfer, with each image illustrating the particular challenge of the hole. One photographer we have worked with only supplies six images, at a cost of £600 per photo. This works very well because it is easy to dictate which aspects of the course he has to cover. • Height can be good. Some golf holes will be better captured when taken from a height of more than


Before – home made effort

After – professional approach 2 metres. We once used a hydraulic lift (cherry picker) but a very tall step ladder can also be very effective. • Understand composition and what makes your course special. With the right lens, filter and exposure, a professional photographer can ensure that very dramatic shots can be captured. Utilise the backdrop of a stunning range of hills, whilst ensuring that the foreground is in perfect clarity. The availability of a stock of great images, available on cloud storage as very high resolution TIFF files has ensured that Crail is often used in magazine articles, or as a backdrop to a Visit Scotland stand as well as being showcased on any number of Golf Tour operator websites.

David Roy CCM David Roy took over as the Manager of Crail Golfing Society in 2005 having previously managed Shirley Park GC in Croydon (London) and Linlithgow GC in West Lothian (Scotland). His entry into golf club life was as a Greenkeeper in 1981, before the likes of ride-on mowers, metal woods and the Stimp meter transformed the game globally. Moving from the sheds to the clubhouse office as a Secretary before the turn of the century, David is now Vice-President of CMAE and has served the CMAE as an office bearer for almost 10 years. He gained his CCM in 2014 and was awarded the inaugural ‘Scottish Golf Club Manager of the Year’ in 2016.




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