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also in this issue





t feels like we have only just had Christmas, and yet it is now June. The year is certainly flying past. Even though the conference is still approximately three months away, I would suggest that it will be upon us in no time. As you may have noticed in recent correspondence and also in this magazine, early bird registration is now open, so I would encourage you to get in and book quickly if you intend on attending and if you would like secure accommodation at the Intercontinental next to the conference facilities. The conference committee has done a fantastic job in arranging the program and the speaker line up is world class. For more information on the program, speakers, events etc., click here This publication is jam packed full of information for members and is designed to inform the membership of what is happening in the industry at state and National level, along with providing relevant informative articles from sponsors of GMA.

As this publication is specifically for your fellow golf club managers; if your club is doing something interesting, unique or exceptionally well, please send information through to me so that the successes can be shared amongst all GMA managers. I hope you find the e-magazine interesting and look forward to receiving any relevant articles in the future. If you have any feedback on the publication or have any ideas on how we can make it better and more informative, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

On behalf of the GMA National Board and Management, we look forward to seeing you at the GMA Conference in Adelaide where Queensland will defend the Jack Merrick trophy…just a little plug for Qld. Aaron Muirhead

About GMA Golf Management Australia is the professional organisation serving the needs of managers within Australian Golf. This e-magazine is now a major communications channel and deliverance of up-to-date information for managers involved in all areas of golf administration throughout Australia. Membership to GMA is open to all Golf Club Managers and administrators throughout Australia. We hope that the e-magazine will broaden the resources available to managers – aiding the fulfillment of their occupational objectives.

Publisher GOLF INDUSTRY CENTRAL Morlo Pty Ltd ACN 123 872 784 ABN 1812 3872 784 PO BOX 4743, Robina Town Centre Robina, QLD, Australia 4230

GMA Executive

Contents may not be reproduced without written permission. Views expressed in editorial contributions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this publication and it’s management.

Andrew Gay Director

Anthony Masters Director

Kathy Neagle Director

Aaron Muirhead Director

Brad Dawson Director

John Stamp Executive Officer

Paul Paterson Director




FROM THE PRESIDENT’S DESK BY STEWART FENTON Dear Members, As many of you may be aware, I have resigned as General Manager of Huntingdale Golf Club after nine years at the club. After almost 20 years in the golf industry I have accepted the role of CEO at Royal South Yarra Lawn Tennis Club (RSYLTC). RSYLTC is the largest tennis club (with a membership of approximately 4,500) in Australia with a turnover of over $8 million and over 80 staff. It is probably best described as Royal Sydney without the golf courses and offers members a variety of facilities including tennis (both grass and clay courts), gym, swimming pool, squash, bowls, croquet, billiards rooms, a crech, accommodation (both hotel style and apartments) and a large food and beverage offering. Whilst I am extremely sad to be leaving the golf industry, RSYLTC presents an amazing opportunity for me, which I am really excited about with some big plans for the future. My new email for those who wish to stay in touch is

PRESIDENCY This decision unfortunately has implications for GMA and I have resigned as President of GMA effective immediately. The current term finishes at the GMA conference in October so in the interim Andrew Gay, the General Manager of Royal Adelaide Golf Club, will take over as President. This position will then be open to election at the AGM, which will be held during the GMA conference. Andrew is the current SA President and has been on the GMA Board for many years and will do an outstanding job as Interim President.

CONFERENCE Speaking of the conference, the program has now been finalised and conference 4



registrations are now open. Once again proudly supported by our Major Sponsor, Schweppes, the 2017 National Conference will be held from Sunday 8th October to Thursday 12th October 2017 in Adelaide. Sponsor packages are now also available and we would encourage members to pass the information on to prospective sponsors where appropriate. Further information can be obtained from Executive Officer, John Stamp on This conference promises to deliver an outstanding array of high quality speakers in what is a wonderful venue. If you have attended past conferences you will find this one a little different with the format of the conference allowing for some short sharp presentations and a more interactive experience. We would encourage all members to speak to your Boards about attending the GMA biannual conference – it is sure to be the highlight of 2017!

VISION 2020 Your GMA Board continues to make great progress in relation to one of the key pillars of the GMA Strategic Plan - Vision 2020. In short, this process is about assessing the potential to consolidate the current structure into a single entity. If we can achieve this we see the following benefits of a single entity: • It will allow the organisation to develop further and provide a broader range of services that anyone working in golf management would require (similar to Chartered Accountants Association, Law Society, Engineers Australia, AICD etc.).


• It would work more closely with Golf Australia and the other peak bodies for the betterment of golf. • It would provide the financial means to employ a full-time CEO and staff to ensure policy and services delivery and support for the state’s local events and the wider membership. • It would remove the current conflicts in the sponsorship and membership models, and in doing so, it’d allow the industry to better negotiate and maintain major sponsorship arrangements and provide greater consistency and value for sponsors. • It would have a modern governance structure which would allow the national body to set policy and strategic objectives with responsibility and accountability resting with management rather than a board that all have full time and demanding jobs.

In order to continue to progress Vision 2020, the Board feels the time is now right to engage some independent professional assistance and as such have engaged the services of Tony Sernack. Tony is based in Sydney and is a management consultant who has worked previously with GMA on several projects including the strategic plan and the Green Book as well as having been a keynote speaker at conferences and GMA education road shows. Tony has had significant experience in working with NFP’s on these types of reviews and we look forward to his assistance and advice as we continue on this journey. I am very confident we will achieve some very positive outcomes for GMA and our wider membership well before 2020 with the ongoing support of the states and members. Stewart Fenton

A message to the golf industry from Stewart Fenton I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Board of GMA for their support over my past two years as President. We are indeed fortunate to have such a wonderful group of people that are so committed to serving the membership of GMA for the benefit of golf. I would also like to thank current Executive Officer John Stamp and former Executive Officer David Allen for their support and friendship over many years. I would also like to thank our sponsors (and in particular people like John Halliwell and Daniel Christie from Schweppes, Peter Maddison and the team from MiClub, Kevin Gates from Club Car, Arthur Antonellos and Steve Assimo from HostPlus, Nick Thornton and the team from MSL) and also Golf Australia (particularly Stephen Pitt, Cameron Wade and Paul Vardy) and the PGA (particularly Gavin Kirkman) for without your support GMA would not be in the strong position it is today and I am blessed to call all of you friends. To all of the members of GMA, I have very much appreciated your ongoing support. I have so many great friends in golf and for that I am very grateful. Whilst our jobs continue to be challenging I think as an industry we have come a long way in the past few years. Although I will no longer be working in golf, I certainly will be continuing my association with GMA and will maintain my membership through the former GMA category. I will look forward to catching up with you all in Adelaide at the GMA conference.

k n a h T You

t r a w e t S Fenton WWW.GMA.ORG.AU




FUNDING GRANTS FOR WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT Women & Leadership Australia (WLA) is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across Australia’s sports sector. The initiative is providing women with grants to enable participation in a range of leadership development programs. The leadership development programs are part-time and delivered nationally via WLA’s blended learning model. Scholarship funding is strictly limited and will be awarded based on a set of selection criteria being met.

EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form here prior to June 16, 2017: http://www.wla.




Scholarships are available across three key management levels: • Experienced senior and executive leaders are eligible to apply for an $8,000 partial scholarship to assist their participation in the Advanced Leadership Program (ALP) • Mid-level managers are eligible to apply for a $4,000 partial scholarship to assist their participation in the Executive Ready program (WER) • Early career managers are eligible to apply for a $3,000 partial scholarship to assist their participation in the Accelerated Leadership Performance Program (ALPP) Please note: All scholarships are partial scholarships which cover a percentage of the total program fee. For details on full program fees please see the relevant course brochure.



GMA BENCHMARKING REPORT THE FASTEST WAY TO UPLOAD YOUR FINANCIAL DATA? Forward the following two files to one of our GMA helpers who will upload your Clubs financial data into the GMA National Benchmarking system: 1) Annual report for financial year – PDF format preferred 2) Trial balance for the annual report 12-month period in Microsoft Excel format. (Please ensure P&L debits and credits balance to your annual report) Nice things to add to your trial balance Excel spread sheet: • Try to group rows by departments and add sub headings – Course, Admin, House, F&B etc… • If your Club groups wage replated costs such as LSL into one account, please try to redistribute to the appropriate department Course, Admin, House, F&B etc… • If your Club groups Chemical expenses (fertilizers, pesticides, wetting agents into a general account, try to estimate these expenses and separate them.

Providing these two files will help to ensure your Clubs data is uploaded as accurately as possible.

CHECK YOU DATA. It’s easy to make mistakes when entering data from many different areas and when units of measurements change. If you find your answer is very low (1% to 5%) or high (95% to 100%), read the question one more time and double check the data. The example below is where the person entering data has entered their fairway in square metres where the question was asking for hectares.

ENTER MORE THEN 60% OF DATA TO COMPARE After forwarding your Club’s financial data to one our GMA helpers your Data entered should be approximately 38%. It should only take another 30 minutes of your time to enter your Club’s statistical data to reach 60% so you can start comparing. Until data reaches 60% the system will not allow comparisons.

Example below - The normal range is 11 (25th%) 15 (50th%) and 21 (75th%) so 40,000 is a little high (98th%).





MPOWER MSL RENEWS PARTNERSHIP WITH GMA MPower MSL is pleased to announce that it has renewed its partnership with Golf Management Australia and will again be a major sponsor at the GMA national conference in October. This extends a partnership that has grown over the last 20 years. MPower MSL CEO Craig Kinross said it was an easy decision for us to commit to extending our partnership with GMA. “Our purpose at MPower MSL is to empower the golf club industry by delivering solutions that improve the clubs knowledge, understanding and engagement of the customer. Another key aim for us as a business is provide the golf community with the tools to improve their governance,” Mr Kinross said. “We are delighted to continue our long and successful association with Golf Management Australia and look forward to providing their members the right technology solutions to advance them and their clubs.” MPower MSL has consolidated its golf business under MPower Golf. The MPower Golf business unit, headed up by Nick Thornton, is devoted entirely to the golfing industry and is a one-stop-shop combining our market leading products from GOLF Link Partners, iSeekGolf, Golf Computer Systems (GCS), GolfBox and Micropower. “The consolidation of these technologies and expertise demonstrates our affinity with the culture of Australian golf which is reflected in our products, services and solutions – we believe in creating great products that golfers love”, Mr Thornton said. 8



As part of the new partnership MPower Golf will be providing several new initiatives to GMA members, which includes:

TWO GMA MEMBERS TO PLAY AT THE GENESIS GOLF LINK CUP NATIONAL FINAL TThe Genesis Golf Link Cup is Australia’s most popular golf competition. With the event approaching its 100,000th registered player, MPower Golf are pleased to partner with GMA to bring the two leading GMA members to the 2017 National Final at New South Wales Golf Club in November. We have created a dedicated GMA team so you can keep track of your performance, and other GMA members. Series Two tees off 24th July, with your competition rounds automatically scored.


INDUSTRY NEWS To be in the running for one of the two national final berths you need to play in a minimum of six competition rounds between the 24th July and the 5th November. The leaderboard will rank you on your total score

which is calculated from your best five scores and your one worst. If you have a bad round though, don’t worry, you get one chance to drop a round per series! The two leading players will then join 16 other finalists from around the country in Sydney and challenge yourself around the testing New South Wales Golf Club layout. You will receive an email from the Genesis Golf Link Cup shortly with further information. For any further information on these initiatives please contact Nick Thornton on

MPOWER TOURNAMENT The golf experience at the GMA National Conference in October will rise to a new level with the introduction of live scoring at both venues. The MPower Tournament (GolfBox) solution that is used for events by Golf Australia, the PGA of Australia (Holden Scramble) Golf NSW and Golf Victoria will be the platform that will provide the live scoring and live leaderboards. GMA members will be able to use the player live scoring system to enter their hole by hole scores as they play. The player live scoring and the overall platform is all web based to provide ease of use. The MPower Tournament solution was used across 80,000 tournaments worldwide in 2016. It is now available for clubs to take their events to the next level. Whether it be club championships, matchplay events, corporate days or major amateur events at the club the tournament solution will take the event experience to the next level.





2017 NATIONAL GOLF CLUB SALARY CENSUS An Important Benchmarking Tool for Golf Club Managers One of Golf Management Australia’s ongoing strategic focus areas is member education with this including provision of resources and materials to clubs not otherwise available. We are therefore pleased to make available to you the 2017 GMA National Golf Club Salary Census Survey, a follow up to our 2015 national report. GMA has engaged Jeff Blunden of Golf Business Advisory Services (GBAS) to administer the survey and draft the report on its behalf, which is to be released at the GMA National Conference in October this year. As a benefit of your GMA membership, the salary report is to be made available at no cost to all GMA members who contribute salary data. For those who don’t contribute sufficient data the report will be available for sale. To participate we ask that you enter the current salary data for up to 18 key employment positions and answer the other questions included in the staffing section of our GMA benchmark tool. 10


Consistent with prior reports this report will analyse data by club size (member numbers) annual fee levels (7-day), total revenues and region. Can you please ensure as a minimum that these questions are answered within the benchmark tool, if not all questions for the year’s identified below. • If your current year ends on or before 30th June 2017 and current salary levels aren’t to change in the coming year please enter your data into the 2016 year in the tool. • If your current year ends after 30th June or your current salary levels are to change for the coming financial year please enter your new data into the 2017 year in the tool. If you haven’t already done so, you may also like to enter prior year data to enable accurate industry growth calculations to be made. If you require any assistance in populating your data please email John Stamp on Please be assured that all data contributed will be treated I



in a confidential manner with all published data to be aggregated by various comparison mechanisms so that you can compare to ‘like clubs’. If you would like your salary data removed from the benchmarking tool once the survey and data collection period is complete please advise by email to support@ au. Please be advised that the data collection period will close at 5.00pm on Saturday, 1st July 2017. We look forward to your participation in this project. Kind Regards, The Board Golf Management Australia

ENVIRONMENT BECOMING KEY IN THE NATION OF GOLF Fife, in Scotland, has become the first local authority to have all of its council owned golf courses gain certification from the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO). A registered charity, Fife Golf Trust (FGT) manages and operates the seven public courses. To gain the certification the Trust has created habitat by bringing in rough management and creating ponds, naturalised its watercourses and drainage works and invited in schoolchildren form the local area to help plat wildflower meadows for pollinators. Steve Isaac, director of Sustainability at The R&A said, “Our congratulations to Fife Golf Trust in achieving GEO Certified® for all seven of the courses it is responsible for, setting a wonderful example that we hope many others will follow. Using OnCourse® to provide the evidence for certification also delivers a platform to turn sustainability theory into practice, making a positive difference to course condition and profitability.” For information on the environmental and financial benefits of becoming GEO Certified®, visit the Future of Golf website.

Why is sustainability important to golf, why do we need to consider the future? Why is golf seen by many as a negative use of land? Why don’t we talk more about our value to nature and communities, and why should we? Explore what golfs positives and negatives are and why we should all take action to safeguard our future.

How can we find out where we are and where we want to get to? How do we share our positive impacts and gain credible recognition for our actions? Discover golfs sustainability programme and internationally acclaimed eco-labels.

What does sustainable golf look like? what are the benefits, the opportunities and challenges? What are others doing? Discuss the practicalities and read through some real results and practical examples of sustainable golf in action.




GOLF AUSTRALIA – ONEGOLF COMMUNICATION Momentum is building around OneGolf as the administration of golf in Australia moves towards a more streamlined, cost-effective model. Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt confirmed that five of seven states (including the Northern Territory) had now made inprinciple commitments to a model that stands to benefit Australian golf by in excess of $3million annually. OneGolf will effectively bring all participating state and territory governing bodies under the Golf Australia umbrella, freeing up funding and resources to tackle the sport’s biggest grass-roots issues. Pitt has been travelling the length and breadth of the country for more than a year to personally explain the model to as many of his state counterparts as possible. And with the benefits of a system that will allow greater and more precise investment into golf’s future, Pitt is not surprised to see a wave of support growing around the country. “We’re delighted that to this point we have five states on board in principle, and that’s a really significant achievement,” Pitt said. “There’s obviously a lot more work to do with those states in terms of taking them from where they are to actually signing off on the agreement. “We need to work through the implementation details and make sure those boards are comfortable and then we need a consultation process with their members to make sure those members will support their state board in signing the service agreements. 12



“But their support to date confirms our belief that we’re building a model that has widespread appeal and benefits.” Pitt confirmed that OneGolf had reached a sufficient critical mass that it can and will operate without complete support from all corners of Australia. “We have decided that we will operate a hybrid system if need be, with five of seven states and Golf Australia operating under OneGolf. “To this point we don’t have support from either Western Australia or New South Wales, but we’ll continue to work with those states and look at how we can get to a position where we’ve got all seven states and GA operating as one body.” The advantages of OneGolf are stark, with increased pressure from governments and sponsors to deliver results on investments. Pitt said the proposal would help maintain golf’s strong position in a competitive marketplace against other sports. “One of the main advantages of OneGolf is that it will put more money into the game. Independent expert advice says that through its synergies, we can expect in the vicinity of $3-4million annually that we can invest into the sport,” he said.


“Beyond that, to have a system in which we’re all aligned, unified and have a common purpose and direction that we’ve jointly identified, it will give us a better result for more people in the sport. “So not only will we have more money to invest into the game, we’ll also have a better system to invest into. “Currently we have duplication with staff around the country and we realise we have gaps in certain areas – areas that we’d like to have more of a focus on such as female participation, facilities planning and helping clubs face their daily challenges. “So effectively we can have the same number of staff, but we’d have them better focused on more appropriate areas where they can have the greatest impact. We’d expect a better outcome from that facet alone.” Pitt is adamant that the time for action is upon the sport. “I feel the industry is looking for leadership and change in this area, from both GA and state bodies,” he said.“We’ve put a lot of work into this and had a lot of external support to ensure we have the best possible model for us to achieve the sport’s goals while alienating as few people as possible along the way.

“When you look at the Australian sporting landscape, at the very top end of the tree we’re working in the same space as sports that get a massive head start in terms of broadcast rights deals, sports such as the AFL, NRL, cricket and tennis. “The revenues their broadcast deals generate are huge and our challenge is to make sure we use the money we do have available as well as possible so that we can compete. “We need to increase revenues wherever we can and then unify and become efficient in how we deliver services to have any chance of competing against those better-resourced sports. “Golf sits at or near the top of all the `second-tier’ sports that don’t have the massive broadcast revenues, so we need to be more efficient in terms of how we spend our funding – that’s a key driver behind OneGolf. “It’s an exciting time for golf and a lot of people are committed to seeing through the change.” Pitt said there was no firm timeline for all states in agreement to align with OneGolf, but that he hoped most would be close by early in 2018.




MASTER PLANS – THEY CAN SAVE CLUBS MONEY – Benjamin Franklin is attributed with coining the adage ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’ and in regard to managing a golf course it is no more relevant than it is in todays’ golf business environment. Most managers and their facilities appreciate the value of a master plan in developing feasible and sustainable programmes for the development of the golf course, however these plans should also provide strategies for saving and making money. The Master Plan must recognise the needs and objectives of the facility and its users, including a core group of course users and managers to develop the Master Plan is imperative. However, utilising the expertise of a golf course architect or similar autonomous professional is critical to providing an independent and analytical eye to the issues and outcomes. All the parties then must work together to create a plan that is owned by the course users and course management to ensure its longevity and likelihood of long term implementation.

and its’ facilities, how can the document provide a positive economic return to the club?

MAKING THE COURSE MORE ATTRACTIVE TO CURRENT AND FUTURE GOLFERS Some Master Plans are focused on making the course “better” and often this “better” is having it rank higher in the latest course ratings. While for many courses this is important and may be a way of attracting new users, or increasing fees, is “better” the only reason for changing the course? With courses now looking to attract users from the smaller segments of the market is it time to ensure your master plan reflects the needs of these segments. Making sure that the course is playable by slow swing speed golfers, or golfers with mobility issues, or juniors, or people who are time poor maybe just as important as where the course ranks.


So apart from the Master Plan providing guidance for the future development and/or restoration of the golf course

The scope for the Master Plan to make positive changes in this area is virtually unlimited. The process of developing a plan should





look at the size of the various areas being maintained, water use, age of irrigation system, maintenance equipment, agronomic issues, environmental issues, current and possible construction methodologies, turf species being used, turf species available, current maintenance standards.

IDENTIFYING AND EVALUATING NEW IRRIGATION WATER SOURCES Water is now a much larger part of a golf courses budget that it used to be. Looking for alternative sources and evaluating the implications should be part of the master plan. With alternatives such as effluent, desalination, sewer mining, storm water harvesting and ground water recharging the options and implications to every golf course requires careful consideration on a total facility scale.

CREATES AN EFFICIENT PROGRAMME Ensuring developments and reconstructions happen in the right order can save substantial waste of funds. While replacing an aging irrigation system could save

water and operating costs, doing the work prior to significant course changes will likely see works being duplicated. Having a plan for 10 years of developments will help identify not only the cost implications but also where cost savings can occur.

AVOIDING ADHOC DECISIONS The short term decisions of well-meaning committees has provided many golf course designers and arborists with a regular stream of work, whereas having a plan and a definite programme can go a long way to avoiding these costly mistakes.

REDUCING RISKS The distance travelled by the modern golf ball has had many implications to golf course architecture, and the constant increase of course length is the most noticeable. But with this increase has come the problem posed by golf balls leaving the golf course property. Making well thought out changes in this area can not only improve the golf course but also lessen the liability and potential costs faced by errant golf balls.

NON-CORE GOLF ACTIVITIES Having a part of the Master Plan that addresses the non-core golf issues that are potential income streams can be a most important part of the plan to the ongoing success of the facility. While the importance of the golf course cannot be overlooked,


Paul is a Director of Pacific Coast Design and has carried out extensive Site Planning and Golf Course Design for Clients across Asia. He is a passionate golfer with a handicap of 5. Prior to joining PCD Paul was a Specialist Project Manager (Construction) for Golf courses and built projects for Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman as well as Pacific Coast Design. we are witnessing several alternative golf experiences become important in both income creation and introducing people to the game. Mini-golf, Foot-golf, Simulator golf, Driving Ranges and Video game golf are all now parts of the golfing mix that may have a place in a facilities’ golf opportunities. Then outside of golf there are other streams to be considered, wedding venues have now become part many golf clubs income streams and we also know of a club that has found a nice niche in facilitating funeral wakes given their proximity to a cemetery, while other facilities we know of rent fairway space for TV filming. The Master Plan should see the golf club as a hub for community activity and maybe letting the fairways become home for more than golf. Having a facilitator and club representatives that think outside the tree line of the fairways is vital to developing a Master Plan that can take the golf facility to its’ potential. Finding such a team is a process of the

facility developing a set of objectives for what they want the Master Plan to achieve then interviewing a variety of possible designers. Golf Course Architects come from a wide variety of backgrounds and their experiences expose them to clubs and facilities dealing with a broad variety of issues. It should also never be forgotten that the most important asset of a golf facility is the course and having an expert in this field should be the Master Plan’s starting point. Where issues or requirements take the architect outside their field of expertise they will utilise the skill of a suitable subconsultant. However created, a Master Plan represents the direction of a facility and is important to its longevity and economic sustainability. Once created the Master Plan must provide the direction for the facility, however like the golf course it represents, it too is living and evolving and will require review and adjustment but its’ core should provide much of the direction for the golf course, it’s amenities and its future. WWW.GMA.ORG.AU



SUPERINTENDENT CHALLENGES The life of a golf course superintendent or sports turf professional is made up of challenges that have different levels of importance or priority. Many of these are driven by climate, regulatory, staffing or budgetary issues, and are managed on as needed basis in conjunction with the relevant club manager and Board. Many other practices are driven by changes in technology, and by expectation of people who use or run a facility. Sometimes this technology that allows us to provide a certain option to stakeholders for a period is taken away from us by regulatory pressure or other pressures out of our direct control. The golf industry, indeed the entire professional turf sector, is facing one of these challenges now, both here in Australia and around the world. Around 20 years ago some of the world’s largest agricultural chemical companies targeted and developed products in an existing group of chemicals that would remove one of the turf industry’s significant ‘weeds’, Poa annua (not all people see poa as a weed!) from warm season grasses. As a bonus, these products often also removed some other problem grasses such as ryegrass and fescue from warm season grasses, which suddenly gave the option of over-seeding of these species in winter while the warm season grasses were dormant. The surface could be green and in great playing condition all year by seeding in winter then removing the ryegrass or fescue in spring to allow the warm season grass to thrive without weed competition.

other facilities literally weed free warm season surfaces to stakeholders as the norm. As these practices became commonplace it was accepted by all stakeholders that this will ever be the case. However, Mother Nature doesn’t always play by the rules. All herbicides are classified by their Mode Of Action, which is basically the method by how they kill plants selectively or in the case of some such as glyphosate, kill all plants. Scientists have always known that these Group B chemicals were relatively vulnerable to developing resistance by plants after a lot of use. Even with managed rotation strategies as recommended there has always been the risk of plants developing resistance over time as Mother Nature found a way to change the plants genetic structure to stop being harmed by these herbicides. The best comparison is to think of antibiotics such as penicillin and amoxycillin for human use. In the past, these amazing drugs controlled almost any infection, yet as time passed and use was increased (often needlessly) nature has changed or mutated many of these infections to the point where new super antibiotics do not control such strains of infection, and people’s health can be at risk from simple infections again.

This range of herbicides were absolute “game changers” and for the first time, turf professionals in sports facilities could offer golf clubs and

In the last few years it has been common to see turf professionals struggling to control grass weeds such as Poa and ryegrass using a vast range of chemical options, as clubs have increasingly demanded weed free surfaces. Aware that the results were very poor, in the last few months a group of progressive clubs and superintendents from NSW, Victoria and South Australia joined with the AGCSA to undertake trials to ascertain if indeed chemical resistance was the issue, or was there other reasons. Poa samples from many regions of Australia were sent to Dr. Peter Boutsalis of Plant Science Consulting who screened the most commonly used post-emergent herbicides. Unfortunately, he has confirmed that herbicide resistance to Group B’s (and indeed glyphosate) is the dominant issue. This has huge ramifications in our industry because at present there are no other chemical options



This group of chemicals that allowed this massive change is categorised as Group B Herbicides, commonly known as sulfonyl ureas or SU’s. This family of herbicides is also one of the most widely used group of products in agriculture, forestry and in industrial vegetation management, which are obviously markets significantly larger than that of our global turf chemical market.



to remove these problem grasses from the preferred grass. The very same issues are being experienced in the agricultural sector, a huge issue for grain growers particularly. R & D based chemical companies are spending billions of dollars looking for new chemicals to address these issues but it takes years of research and there is no guarantee of success. Our next step as an industry is to trial the existing range of pre-emergent herbicides available to check that resistance isn’t present with these other important tools in weed management, and then developing a strategy to protect their performance and ensure we maximize the longevity of these vital chemicals. Concurrently, we intend to run an education campaign alongside this work to educate facility Board’s, Managers, and all other stakeholders that the control of these weeds which we have taken for granted for decades may no longer be possible as we know it. We are seeking the assistance of a range of parties for funding and assistance to keep researching this situation, but we must make all stakeholders aware that their turf quality expectations must change until other options become available, if they ever do. As an industry, and this issue affects every member of the sports turf industry from golf courses to football grounds to hockey pitches, we will explore cultural and mechanical control options as well as chemicals but I would ask you to talk to your Board, Committee and members with your Superintendent and explain the situation. We need total industry support from individuals, clubs, associations and national bodies to lobby for funding and other assistance and this process will take time. We will continually keep you and your organisations aware of happenings in our research via newsletters, and social media, but if you need any information or assistance please call the AGCSA office on 03 9548 8600.


GMA National Conference 2017 in partnership with Schweppes Australia Pty Ltd

PORT MACQUARIE GOLF CLUB – A SUCCESSFUL SWING FIT AND FEMALE FRIENDLY CLUB Chantale McCallum, an energetic and active Swing Fit deliverer and PGA Member at Port Macquarie Golf Club has conducted a series of successful Swing Fit programs. After launching a ‘come-and-try’ Swing Fit session in November 2015, Port Macquarie GC has seen 65 women go through the program. Along with giving participants a fantastic Swing Fit experience, the Club has put in place a number of initiatives to create an environment welcoming to women so they feel a part of the northern New South Wales club.




To learn more about strategies to make your facility welcoming and inclusive for females, click here. Serrin Bertino is the Female Participation Coordinator at Golf Australia and is available to speak with any facility wanting to make their facility more appealing to relevant to women. Call 03 9626 5013 or email


FEMALE FRIENDLY CHECKLIST Female Friendly Checklist Female golfers, without doubt, represent the demographic with the most growth potential for golf venues. Most golf venues may have originally been set up for the male consumer. So, as golf venues adopt Swing Fit and have more women visiting, it is important we adapt our facilities, programs, course and also staff to the growth that is expected. Below is a simple checklist to help you create the right environment for your female customers and members.


Off-course facilities

WAYS TO IMPROVE • • • • • •

Pro shop equipment and apparel that appeal to women Women’s golf sets available for hire Buggies in good condition Toilets – in good condition and clean! (including sanitary facilities) Change rooms that are inviting (i.e. boxes of tissues, ornamental flower arrangement, box containing can of hair-spray, hairbrush, deodorant etc.) Website is user-friendly for beginners (easy to find information on Swing Fit and other beginner related products/programs)

Appropriate amenities

• • • •

Participants have a choice of food (sandwiches, cakes) and healthy eating options Beverages (tea, coffee, wine) A nice area to sit and socialise Clear signage (especially for women visiting for first time)

On-course facilities

• • • •

Women’s tees of various length to suit different abilities Tee times set aside for beginners Opportunities for competition play on weekdays and weekends Toilets – in good condition and clean

Inform your staff and members about Swing Fit so they can give a warm welcome to new faces at your venue Get your club thinking about women – an inclusive atmosphere for all females, both new and existing members, will benefit all Acknowledgment of new female members (i.e. knowing a new members name and using it) Friendly, personable coaches

Customer service

• • •

Swing Fit

Female inclusive programs

Promotion • Use imagery of females to promote golf programs (see centre resources page on for Swing Fit promotional resources) • Consider running Swing Fit simultaneously with MyGolf so children can learn to play at the same time • Programs run at times suitable to your target market. For example, if targeting young mothers, do not start a session before 10am or after 2pm on a weekday Welcoming • Participants receive a phone call in advance welcoming them to the program and with information on appropriate dress, what to bring, where to go/meet on their first day • Participants greeted on arrival. Invite your friendliest members to assist • If possible, run Swing Fit so participants enjoy a drink and debrief at the same time that female members are in the club-house (i.e. on competition day). This creates a ‘good vibe’ in the club-house and creates an opportunity for members to come and say hello. • Supply drink and/or refreshments for participant’s drink and debrief (not compulsory) • Mentor programs Clear participation pathway • Upon activating a program, you should already have planned the participants next steps following the program • Participants receive show-bag or participant pack (available to purchase via Swing Fit online shop) with information on future participation, special offers, ongoing clinics, female bring-a-friend events etc. • Membership/playing specials with affordable rates for nine holes for female beginners




GREG NORMAN As we continue to look for ways to grow the game of golf and attract new people to the sport, it is critical that we start thinking outside the box. Everyone from the PGA TOUR to the R&A to the Golf Management Association of Australia has a responsibility to the game and looking after its’ future.

has opened 23 new venues, more than half of them since the beginning of 2015. They are now targeting global expansion with news about a new facility on Australia’s Gold Coast.

The conversation surrounding what makes golf “fun” and where we can find it has increased significantly in the past five years. The explosion of TopGolf is a great example of this. The concept is a driving-rangemeets-sports-bar-meetsnightclub atmosphere that attracts clientele including kids with parents, couples on dates, and even a bachelorette parties. It has been reported that in the past five years, the company

Another model that seems to be working for those suffering from less time to play and looking for more fun is the resurgence of the Par 3, 12-Hole course. Ideal for developers, as it doesn’t require a lot land and is significantly more sustainable (20 acres vs. 120 acres), it also solves a lot of the issues plaguing the casual golfer. Our newest design at Camden Heritage is a great example of this. With plans to open by the end of the year, our Par-3, 9-Hole design located outside of Sydney will provide a wonderfully unique golfing experience in





a growth corridor of NSW. Perhaps this is a model for the direction in which golf should be headed long-term. The game of golf faces many difficult issues environmental and economic sustainability among them. This is something my firm dedicates a lot of time, attention and energy to, specifically through our redesign program. Our goal is to help courses assess their own situation and develop ways to improve – a trend we are seeing gain steam throughout the country. We recently completed an 18hole redesign of Brookwater Golf & Country Club in Queensland where we were able to improve not only the environmental and economic sustainability of the course, but also playability, which made both the managers and members very happy. We saw maintenance costs come down significantly after undergoing a progressive overhaul that included strategic design changes to the greens, fairways and bunkers. It’s always great to come back to one of my designs and have the opportunity to modernize it and restore it to its’ original form, so to be able to return to Brookwater was extremely rewarding.


Photo credit: Gary Lisbon

It’s also nice to see new life in golf as well. As a designer, there is nothing more gratifying than taking a beautiful piece of virgin land and building a course that blends seamlessly with its’ environment. We were able to do this with Cathedral Lodge – our 18-hole masterpiece located outside of Melbourne. This course may be the most spectacular we have every built and is fully capable of hosting a professional event in the nottoo-distant future.

One thing is for certain – golf participation is evolving and players are consuming the sport through new experiences, including playing shorter rounds, gamified-driving ranges, simulators and more. I am deeply passionate about developing and growing the game of golf in Australia and have committed myself and my company to find ways to provide the golfer with a better experience on the course, introduce new people to the game and help golf grow alongside the

technology innovations that are happening across other industries. I look forward to working with you on this journey. Sincerely, Greg Norman




GMA EDUCATIONAL Member Survey Results - May 2017

One of the key strategic pillars and objectives of Golf Management Australia (GMA) is the provision of Education and Manager Support.

to the industry, those with some experience and those who have held positions for over 10 years.

In February 2017, GMA sought data from its members on a range of questions relating to Education and Professional Development. 151 GMA members participated in the survey representing approximately 43% of the membership. We were delighted in the response and thank members for taking the time to complete the survey. Whilst the vast majority of respondents were General Managers or equivalents, the length of tenure was evenly spread between those new

The survey has provided the Executive with valuable information on what our members believe are their key requirements for supporting their future development. This information will assist the Executive to ensure that we invest in appropriate and relevant programs for the benefit of members. Click here to access the survey results.

Click here for Sponsorship Opportunities 22




INSIGHTS SURVEY List of survey questions: Current Position? How many years have you been in the Golf Industry? What professional memberships do you currently hold? What is the highest level of education you have completed? Did you attend the GMA National Conference in 2015 at the Gold Coast?

How likely are you to consider completing the PGA/IGI online program? Would you consider support staff at your Club completing the PGA/IGI program? Are you aware of the BMI program and certification system? Assuming a cost of approximately $2,000 how likely would you be to attending a BMI course if held in Australia?

How likely are you to attend the GMA National Conference in 2017 in Adelaide?

Would you consider support staff at your Club attending a BMI course if held in Australia?

Have you participated in any international conferences in the last 5 years?

Would or have you considered attending a BMI course in New Zealand?

Have you undertaken any professional development in the last 2 years? What have been the main area(s) of your professional development activities? What do you see as the main area(s) of your future professional development activities? In general, how supportive is your Board/Committee of your professional development? How important do you consider professional development to your career advancement? What barriers, if any, prevent you from attending professional development? Are you aware of the PGA/IGI Advanced Club Management Program?

To access the survey results, click here.




MYGOLF SMASHES FINAL BARRIER TO CLUB PARTICIPATION MyGolf, Australia’s national junior introductory program, has listened to feedback from PGA Professionals around the country and will fully subsidise the school kit rebate fee (previously $7) from July 1, which means that it is now effectively free for Australian golf clubs to become MyGolf centres. So, if your club is not part of the burgeoning program, which has Australia’s highest ranked male and female golfers – Jason Day and Minjee Lee – as its ambassadors, it’s time to speak to your PGA Professional and get them on board. The program has a

huge degree of flexibility, enabling PGA Professionals to deliver their programs under the national junior program brand. Since its relaunch in July 2014, MyGolf has made significant strides. Participant numbers are projected to increase by 46% on last financial year to in excess of 9,000, the number of registered MyGolf centres is up by 170, and 90% of programs are now delivered by PGA Professionals. Recent growth has been supported by a nationally coordinated content marketing campaign called ‘MyGolf Presents…’ that has already directly driven in excess of 18,000 people to the MyGolf website. The campaign, which geographically targets its marketing to support active MyGolf centres, is also enabling MyGolf centres across Australia to make use of the content to promote their own MyGolf programs. So far, it has featured MyGolf ambassador Jason Day, MyGolf at the ISPS Handa





World Super 6 Perth and young MyGolfers Isaac, Siobhan and Adam. Golf Australia Chief Executive Stephen Pitt and PGA of Australia Chief Executive Gavin Kirkman are confident that these initiatives will provide a significant boost to the program in its quest to attract 30,000 Australian children per annum to the MyGolf program by June 2021 and, along the way, attract a world class commercial partner. You can register your club as a MyGolf centre by visiting

BRINGING TEAM SPIRIT TO GOLF Golf Premier League is making a its way around Australia, bringing team spirit to golf as it goes, with 24 clubs and 40 leagues already in play this year. Mount Lawley Golf Club continues to be a huge champion of Golf Premier League, having seen the competition elevate club camaraderie and sportsmanship. Armadale Golf Club is also flying the Golf Premier League flag in Western Australia. 2017 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open host club Royal Adelaide has joined Sandy Creek Golf Club and fellow Adelaide sandbelt clubs Kooyonga and Glenelg in taking advantage of the Golf Premier League technology and administrative support to run a successful league. Muirfield Golf Club in New South Wales is a new addition to the Golf Premier League stable, while 17 clubs in Victoria, including Northern Golf Club and Huntingdale Golf Club, continue their participation having benefited from this fantastic initiative in previous years. In an exciting new development, a test competition is now available. This enables clubs to taste

the Golf Premier League experience first-hand for three weeks without any obligation to continue. The test competition gives players the chance to touch and feel all parts of the unique team experience, whilst the club can experience the simplicity and automation of the behind-the-scenes processes. It’s also a great chance to identify the Golf

Premier League advocates within the club, who will create the energy and momentum that have already transformed club life at so many clubs in Victoria. For further information on Golf Premier League and to put some team spirit into your club, check out this introductory video or visit





I recently got a call from the President of a fine club in Florida where, the year before, I had completed an operational overview. In his words, a few of the club’s “ornery and cheap members” were pressing him as to why the “General Manager” approach to private club management–where one person is vested with the complete authority and responsibility to successfully manage the club in a manner compatible with the club’s history, traditions, established policies, member expectations and available financial resources–was best. He wanted some “solid reasons” to defend an operating paradigm and business management model that, in his heart and his mind, he knew was right. The “General Manager question” is one that continues to resurface in the world of private clubs year after year, decade after decade. Part of this, I suspect, is the constantly changing make-up of a typical club the Board of Directors, and the resulting never-ending professional education and leadership training that is required. Part of this, sadly, is the not insignificant number of “business card” General 26


Managers–people in the private club business who, in name only, are “General Managers” but really don’t have the professional skills, relevant experience and personal attributes to be successful in the job. (My experience placing General Managers at the “right” club tells me that the number of such people seems to be decreasing–thankfully!) Looked at from a different perspective, maybe these “ornery and cheap members”– the President’s words, not mine!–somehow think they can “save some money” by not hiring a General Manager. Or maybe they fundamentally misunderstand the concept, erroneously deducing that an incoming General Manager will immediately and irrationally “clean house”. Perhaps they are afraid to give up “control” of their committee mini-fiefdoms where they essentially are free do what they want. Or maybe it is simply a matter of inertia, a basic unwillingness on their part to deal with the issue head on. While I think I’ve heard just about every reason there is not to hire a General Manager, the good news is that I have yet to hear a valid one. I


From one perspective, my professional club industry career, spanning significant time as a General Manager, executive recruiter, club consultant, and educator/ speaker can easily be viewed as an ongoing attempt to answer, by my actions, spoken words and written articles, this most important question. In summary, here’s the gist of what I told my inquisitive Club President friend: • With a true General Manager, the club will have a more satisfied and active membership. Why? Because the entire staff will be on the same page with regard to the mission of the club, its history, customs, traditions and values, and the genuine wants and needs of the membership. • With a true General Manager, the club will have better financial controls and more consistently applied policies, rules, regulations and procedures. Not only will the club have a reasonable chance of actually saving money because of increased operating efficiencies and better interdepartmental cooperation, but one

Norm Spitzig, Principal at Master Club Advisors, is internationally recognized as an eloquent, visionary speaker and private club industry expert. His talks have been well received by numerous professional associations, individual businesses, private club leaders, and civic groups on six continents. His groundbreaking book Perspectives on Club Management continues to inspire and challenge business leaders worldwide, and his newer books, Private Clubs in America and around the World, Murder and Mayhem at Old Bunbury, How Now, Norm’s Tao, and Soul on Nice offer insightful and humorous looks into the private club world from varying perspectives. They available at and For more information, please contact Norm at, 1-352-735-5693, or visit

department won’t be able to follow some independent and/or contradictory set of rules arbitrarily determined by the latest rogue committee chairman. • With a true General Manager, the club will have a more cohesive and effective leadership team. How can a club “run” by several committees, each with their own agenda, determine what is truly best for the entire club over the long run? • With a true General

Manager, the club will have a more talented and cooperative staff. An effective General Manager can and will locate and hire department heads whose professional skills and individual personalities better mesh with the established goals of the entire club and aggregate talents of the staff. • With a true General Manager, the club will have better communication within the entire membership community. The same, correct message will be sent to all club

members and staff at all times. Rumors will decrease and the facts will prevail. Now seems an especially opportune time to confirm my continuing optimism for and pride in the private club industry. Whether you are a Director, Owner or General Manager, I strongly encourage your club to adopt–and, when challenged, hold fast to–the operating paradigm and business model that virtually all successful industries the world over unwaveringly embrace–the General Manager concept. WWW.GMA.ORG.AU




The Management Journey: Whipping, Beating and Neutering The Mad Dogs of Clubdom By Gregg Patterson

“MAD DOGS”??? There are Mad Dogs in every clubhouse, members who run about, foaming at the mouth, yapping constantly, nipping at the heels of board members, committee members, management and staff. They can infect the body politic and trust, that most fragile of commodities and the most fundamental tool in successful club governance, can be compromised or destroyed. Mad Dogs are usually clever sorts with too much time on their hands and too little to do. The club has become their job. They see themselves as guard dogs of “the good” - and are rabid in their search of “the bad”. They slink about, lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce. Mad Dogs may be loners in that their madness, but Mad Dogs truly love to hunt in packs. The Pack of Mad Dogs---their “bitcher and moaner” buddies---inspires their madness. The Pack provides moral and psychological support, makes them the Alpha Pooh, become enablers of their madness. The Mad Dogs always say “the pack agrees”, that the pack is ready to bite, whether the pack is so inclined or not.

They’ve no agenda. They live in their own warped imaginings where they’re Club President one moment and General Manager the next. In their mind, what they think and then say---true or not--is THEIR reality. They live on a different astral plane. The Truly Deranged Mad Dogs are so mad that most members see them as such and are ignored. They blather on, heard by many but harmless. But the truly dangerous Deranged Mad Dog is the one who’s on the Board of Directors, has some type of moral authority because of it are perceived to reflect “The Board” when they speak. These characters are considered to be authority figures with the inside scoop. This is the Truly Deranged Stealth Mad Dog. But when you put a Truly Deranged Mad Dog in this position, watch out---they don’t have the facts so they make them up.

Then there is another type of Mad Dog called the Truly Deranged Mad Dog. This character is the one who thinks a thought, imagines a story and believes it to be true whether it is or not.

They want to get out of confrontations over Board decisions and they contrive stories to deflect the blame for those choices from themselves to others. They disparage members and truly believe what they’re saying. Their confidence, their style and their delivery are such that people actually believe them! They may be the blonde haired, blue eyed boy from the prominent family, long time member, alumni of all the right schools, approachable and pleasant. But they have a complete disconnect





from reality and lack a clear understanding between what they’ve so casually said and the damage they can do both to others and to that most precious of governing tools, trust. These Truly Deranged Stealth Mad Dogs can really bruise you since the world listens to them and believes! It’s scary knowing that the Truly Deranged Stealth Mad Dog doesn’t even know they’re mad. Mad Dogs are social creatures. In order to bite they need an audience to witness the biting. These animals tend not to write letters---too easy to refute---but slink about in search of receptive ears. They have stories to tell about things they’ve seen and they are compelling, persistent and sometimes even convincing in their delivery. Every club has these characters--Mad Dogs, Truly Deranged Mad Dogs and Truly Deranged Stealth Mad Dogs.

MUZZLE, NEUTER AND PUT ‘EM IN CAGES When you approach a Mad Dog you need to acknowledge some of the ground rules of containment. Understand that with Mad Dogs there are no private conversations. You need to acknowledge that a Mad Dog, when sworn to secrecy, will race from your office to bite and infect others with whatever juicy tidbits

Gregg Patterson, President and CEO, “Tribal Magic!” Gregg Patterson became the General Manager of The Beach Club in 1982. Since that time, he has worked with his members, Boards, and committees to enhance the value and reputation of The Beach Club in the Los Angeles community. Prior to becoming the General Manager of the Beach Club, he was the Assistant Manager of the Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles and also worked as a Systems Analyst for the U.S. Army Club System. In addition to his ongoing responsibilities at The Beach Club, Gregg is a Senior Associate with Kapoor and Kapoor Hospitality Consultants, where he teaches certification courses in leadership and marketing for the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), an organization consisting of owners/franchisees of limited service hotels in the U.S. under such brands as Clarion, Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn, Best Western and others. Building on his experience as a club manager, Gregg has been a featured presenter at various club management seminars, assistant manager conferences and hospitality forums around the world.

they got from you during their encounter. Accept that with Mad Dogs there are no casual conversations. Anything you say, no matter how inconsequent or innocent, will be held against you and will be spun to suit the purposes of the Mad Dog in question.

budgeted because you made more than you expected on private functions and wanted to give something back to the members? Then you’ve thrown away member dues like drunken sailors. You can’t win.

Bad things happen frequently, but truly big, bad things happen less often. Mad Dogs love bad things when they happen since truly big, bad things are remembered forever. Mad Dogs will use the uproar over admitting woman as full members a decade ago to show how radical and extreme the board was, is and will forever be.

Because Mad Dogs are truly wild and rabid creatures, their reaction to your comments will be will be a zillion times bigger than the comment made. You mention, during the debate over hors d’oeuvres, that the more reasoned members object to certain members making dinner for their families from the free hors d’oeuvres. Bingo---the Mad Dog spreads the word that the board and management team has called all members cheapo members, that they’re about to cut out all hors d’oeuvres and that they’re considering disciplinary hearings for the Smiths, the Cooks and the Youngbloods for excess consumption of hot hors d’oeuvres in public.

No matter how proud you are of “good deeds done,” Mad Dogs will always find sinister motives behind good deeds. Beat the budget last year? You must have screwed the members by not giving the right hors d’oeuvres at the right time in the right place with the right frequency. Spent more on hors d’oeuvres than

Mad dogs snarl less frequently, bite less harshly when they and those in the pack see that the decision making process is fair. If you dramatize that members are enfranchised; that they can be heard and that their voices are being solicited; that the decision is arrived at in a reasoned, thoughtful and consistent way; that a clear

Acknowledge that Mad Dogs hear what they want to hear, see what they want to see and that they’ll see and hear what they fear most. If they’re scared of a dues increase, whatever you say will convince them that one’s coming.

explanation is given for the decision; and that they have every reason to suppose that future decisions will be dealt with in the same reasoned way, then they’ll more willing to accept the decisions made, will growl less fiercely, infect less virulently, slink about more slowly. When you see a Mad Dog, the last thing you should do is hide behind a tree on the seventh fairway. Arm yourself with the facts (remember that the truth will set you free!) and go pro-active--approach the character and offer up your time to discuss any and all concerns they may have. The key issue is to have all the facts, to anticipate questions in advance and to project the confidence that comes with having thought through an issue before acting. Mad Dogs spread infection rapidly, but well timed member mailings are faster still. Remember, Mad Dogs are territorial and are therefore quite local in their impact---at least in the beginning. Remember the power of the pen to explain and to defuse issues with the larger club community. Town Hall meetings can help people vent. Jump into the fire by advertising open forums to discuss specific issues. This defuses the “one issue agenda” of so many Mad Dogs. A couple WWW.GMA.ORG.AU




times a year you can go one step further and hold a presidential press conference for the discussion of any and all issues that might be raised, accepting unscripted questions thrown out willy nilly by Mad Dogs and their packs. Just remember to muzzle the Truly Deranged Stealth Mad Dogs who may be sitting with you on the board! Get the Board and Manager out and about. Combat Mad Dogs with the walk and talk. Let the membership and the Mad Dogs know that the Decision Makers are walking about, open to conversation, approachable, ready to respond, eager to listen, ready to communicate. Make sure that the General Manager has frequent staff meetings both for the senior staff and for the entire general staff. Have the Manager address the issues raised by the Mad Dogs. Let people vent. Explain. Guide. Lead them beyond the Mad Dog’s infectious bite.

If you see them early enough you can limit their impact. If you confront them and their pack with the facts, you’ll control the amount of yapping and biting and infecting they will do. And remember to tell Mad Dogs, Truly Deranged Mad Dogs and Truly Deranged Stealth Mad Dogs that Samuel Taylor Coleride had it right when he said:

“Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.”

THE EROSION OF TRUST: Mad dogs do bad things to “trust.” Trust is the belief that future decisions will be made in a way consistent with past decisions. There is “good trust” and “bad trust.” Good Trust is when members think that the good values used in the past will be used in the future--they trust in your consistency. “They conducted surveys before deciding on a clubhouse assessment in the past and they listened to the feedback received. They’ll do so in the future.”

SEARCH AND DESTROY The General Manager is the Board’s Hunter-Gatherer of facts, rumors, scandal and intrigue. The G.M. and their lieutenants should be out “in the trenches” searching out the Mad Dogs for the Board of Directors. They should communicate their observations immediately to the Board. The manager’s role is to prime the board with the personalities and the issues, then arm them with the knowledge weapons they need to both attack and to defend against Mad Dogs.



Bad Trust is when members think that the bad values you used in the past will be used in the future--they trust in your consistency. “They conducted no surveys in the past before deciding on a clubhouse assessment---they simply told us what they had decided to do. They’ll do the same in the future.” Losing trust is easy---all it takes is an inconsistent decision, a rumor, a stumbling explanation---and restoring lost trust is difficult. Mad Dogs make members question the board’s motives and intents, boards to question the I


manager’s, managers to question their lieutenants’ and on down the line to the lowest employee in the organization. They erode trust, they interfere with the maintenance of trust and they block its restoration once lost.

HOW DO “MAD DOGS” BITE? Mad Dogs eat away at trust. They create suspicion and discord between members and management, members and boards, boards and management. They make people question the “Great Why” of a decision. Ultimately governance--including both the board as policy makers and the management as administrators--- is based on the governed trusting those who govern. Erode that trust and the governed become praetorians, enforcing dictates that the seething masses reject. Mad Dogs get personal---they name names and cast aspersions. They capture center stage by talking less about policy than about people. They want to infect their listeners with distrust, a disease that creeps through the psyche and causes the blood to boil. “The general manager, who’s known to lie, cheat and steal from orphans and widows, actually changed the Minutes to allow himself five months of paid vacation.” That’s the sort of thing that angers members, sows discord amongst the membership and loses managers their jobs. Mad Dogs talk to different supervisors and sow rumors between them. They know certain staff well enough to “talk honestly” to them about people, or to “ask the hard questions” about peer performance. They know these contacts will speak to other staff, forward those rumors, undermining trust at every level. Then they’ll go to the next supervisor and use what they learned in the previous encounter to spin some tale that provokes

WHAT PROVOKES THESE “MAD DOGS?” Mad Dogs are easy to provoke. Some of the things that make them rabid have nothing whatsoever to do with the club. Their wife may have run off with the postman, their job may have evaporated, their Jaguar may have been totaled or they may have discovered that their number three girlfriend is about to have twins. These aren’t short term issues, they’re not easy to resolve, and they fester in the Mad Dog. They bite the club because the club allows them to bite. Sometimes Mad Dogs truly believe that they know “The Good” and have a compelling need to let the world know they know. They’ve run a business during an economic downturn (though the business may have gone bankrupt in the process!) and are now ready to see how well or poorly the board and management do it at their club. Sometimes the Mad Dog is right. But their A.Q. (annoyance quotient) may exceed their I.Q. (intelligence quotient) or their communications skills may be weak---they think one thing and say another---and their ideas get lost in the clutter. Assume that these characters are rabid, ready to bite, needing controversy to fill the holes in their otherwise dull and mundane existences. What stirs them into a frenzy, foaming at the mouth?

thing. I just had an incident where a well meaning board member--who we’ve come to believe is a Truly Deranged Stealth Mad Dog--- wrongly explained the board’s thinking on a Calcutta event. The Mad Dog who was listening then came to me as club manager to “investigate” this snippet, got the truth about the board’s reasoning and then had a field day telling others that nobody knew what they were talking about. Who’s telling the truth? The issue was not the truth but the inconsistency of the message---they’re trying to smoke me. Mad Dogs go wild when they see different strokes for different folks. Two members known as “bad boys” (crude but pleasant, drunks but not combative) were recently suspended for nine months for telling dirty stories (which they thought were a howl) to a woman staffer and a member’s wife. Good riddance to two very rotten apples. But a board several years ago chose not to suspend a long-time “authentic” member who viciously and with bad intent called a senior woman manager a truly foul name. Do the “rude and the crude” get a different form of justice from the “old guard authentic member”? Trust begins to evaporate when the Mad Dogs think they do.

Mad Dogs go wild when they hear different stories from different authority types about the same

Mad Dogs go wild when they witness decency shown those who deserve no decency. Mad Dogs want the bad guys to pay for their transgressions. Fact is, most members do. So when the bad guys go free, or are given

and annoys that supervisor about the one just spoken to. Within twenty minutes the entire employee team knows what’s been said, all take sides and chaos then reigns. Everyone becomes demoralized, stressed, angry. Trust evaporates.

them and the membership at large. E-mails start swirling about and the President ends up trying to stop the rumors before they infect and fester. The club’s governance team is vulnerable, their relationships public and very fragile.

Mad Dogs corral board members separately and use their “insider info” to plant the seed of distrust between them and other board members, between them and the management team and between

Mad Dogs bite with words, tenacity, access and spin. They nip at everyone’s heels, make everyone edgy and angry and prime the organization for an internal collapse. Trust is the cement that

a slap on the wrist, the Dogs begin to howl. And members will listen, because they’re as annoyed as the Mad Dogs who’ve begun to howl. Mad Dogs go wild when they receive smoky explanations as to why, how and when. They want “the straight scoop” when things go wrong. Mad Dogs can smell “smoke”---after all they’re clever types---and can tell when the board or manager are trying to obscure the facts with a lot of rhetoric. Mad Dogs go wild when the “big cheese policy makers” go into hiding after making big decisions over big issues that are divisive and controversial. Decisions are made in the boardroom but need to be explained and defended in the light of day. Mad Dogs want to bite when they hear about decisions and can’t find a board member to talk to at the club. Mad Dogs go wild when they hear silence in the face of big hairy rumors. Mad Dogs love it when rumors start flying---fact is, they love to rev up the rumor mill and relish the opportunity to stir up the pot---and none of the decision makers choose to confront those rumors head on. It’s like fresh meat for the Dogs. Mad Dogs are easy to provoke because they’re itching for a fight. Boards and managers feed them unknowingly when they ignore the very things that provoke them.

holds it all together and once the bonds of trust are weakened the entire governance system begins to stumble. The club can go from “love-fest” to “suspicion-fest” in the blink of an eye. Mad Dogs want to become the “Alpha Pooch” and their histrionics bring attention to themselves, providing a sense of self and purpose otherwise absent from their lives. Gregg Patterson WWW.GMA.ORG.AU




STORY: The Internet has

been responsible for the biggest communication shift since the printing press, which Google says was around the 1440s. The world is now more connected than ever before, with an astonishing amount of information at our fingertips. What needs to be appreciated in this new media-fragmented world is that there are so many options to consume. You might be comfortable with searching a website and using YouTube, whilst your child wants their content in the form of an image or video on Instagram and Snapchat. Because golf is ‘the game for life’ covering a broad spectrum of ages and demographics, it’s our job to do our best to speak to our audiences on the platforms on which they want to be communicated or are best reached. So, how has this affected golf? What is golf doing differently opposed to five, 10, 20 years ago? With barriers lowered on publishing own content, golf has done what many other sports have done and driven people to their own destinations.

these have been reduced or stripped away completely from the daily papers, they are still available. They’ve just been relocated. Look for club golf results every day on under ‘Club Support’ or visit Golf Australia’s website for all states daily club golf results. Pennant results, too, spike Internet traffic on the Golf Victoria website and you’ll find plenty of news and video content on this popular competition at http://www. Let’s highlight some initiatives that wouldn’t have happened in yesteryear. In the past 12 months, the Victorian Boys and Girls Championships (Yarra Yarra Golf Club), the Victorian Junior Masters (Churchill Waverley Golf & Bowls Club) and the Oates Vic Open (Thirteenth Beach Golf Links) have all been live streamed, making the tournaments available free-towatch to anyone in Australia, and the world for that matter.

In Victoria, take club golf results, for example. While

The live streams were viewable at, GV’s Facebook page, GV’s YouTube Channel and for the Oates Vic Open. These new distribution channels are not the ABC, Channel 7, Channel 9, Channel 10 or SBS, but they





can serve the same purpose, putting eyeballs to our game. The 2017 Oates Vic Open live stream enjoyed significant growth on its 2016 figures, generating a 500% increase in viewership and surpassing 100,000 views with replay numbers included. In fact, the 2017 Oates Vic Open was the first professional women’s tournament in the world to be broadcast via Facebook LIVE, with the LPGA following suit just a month later to showcase one of their Symetra Tour events over the same platform. It will be fascinating to see how the product of live streaming plays out in the next five to 10 years as it’s a well-known fact within the advertising industry that live sports and events are the only content that can counter the ‘on-demand’ media consumption society we’ve become. Why is this important? Because just about all other media can be consumed on ‘our time’, meaning commercials are being skipped or are not in there at all (think Netflix and Stan). Having live golf coverage that attracts a growing audience will be a desirable asset as we look to the future. Golf Victoria TV (GVTV) was launched in January 2015 as a new way to cover some major

events on the GV calendar as well as deliver special interviews, tips, rules and news from around the state. Thirty-two videos later and over 121,500 views across YouTube and Facebook, GVTV has helped showcase golf in a way that was not previously possible in the old media landscape. Golf Australia (GA) and the PGA of Australia have also been on the front foot embracing new initiatives with GA introducing Emirates Australian Open Radio (AO Radio) and the PGA recently launching PGA TV. AO Radio and its lineup of talent including Mark Allen, Andy Maher, Mike Clayton, Martin Blake, Daniel Harford and Mark Hayes have added a new dimension for spectators at the course and for listeners around the world tuning in via the tournament app or a selection of radio stations. PGA TV’s intention is to showcase more of the Australian professional events on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia through live streaming, with many lower profile events previously only generating written coverage or the occasional radio cross. And, as of late May, an exciting new golf podcast called ‘Inside the Ropes’ is available to listen to at and through many podcast audio platforms such as iTunes and Stitcher. What’s a podcast, you ask? Think audio on-demand! You listen to the audio when it’s convenient for you. ‘Inside the Ropes’ is an initiative from Golf Australia and many of the state bodies around the country including Golf Victoria. There will be a weekly

national show running for approximately 40 minutes, covering all aspects of Australian golf and delivering some compelling interviews with a variety of guests that golf fans will love. On top of the national show, Golf Victoria will have approximately 10 minutes of Victorian specific content each week, available for free to all Victorians via au. This same model will be rolled out to other state bodies around the country.

attract audiences and add value to participants of our great game, the better off we’ll be.

So, going forwards, what can golf do better? In a nutshell, become a media company.

Here’s to more live streaming of golf events, to more written coverage of all aspects of the game, to more videos providing interesting insights and tips, to more audio coverage and to developing media assets that make traditional media take notice.

Thanks to the Internet and burgeoning technology, golf no longer needs to sit back and hope it gets picked up by an established (and often now declining) media organisation. We should choose to pick ourselves! The more quality content we can produce to

Despite no longer needing to rely on media companies to give golf content oxygen, would it be advantageous to generate further coverage from traditional media sources? Absolutely. Traditional media is still highly valuable but the way it operates has changed so golf must adjust with that change.

Greg Oakford Marketing & Communications Manager Golf Victoria




GOLF MONTH 2017 IS YOUR CHANCE TO SHINE! Golf Month, Australia’s national campaign to drive golf participation and encourage take-up of golf club memberships, is back this October! It’s your chance to take advantage of a national marketing campaign, promote your club, engage your local community and attract new members by running an activity of your choice during October 2017. Get on board for 2017 – it’s expected to be the biggest and best yet. Last year, 435 clubs and facilities across Australia took part in Golf Month. Each year, it’s making a bigger contribution to participation in Australia and, in turn, is becoming more attractive to commercial partners. The website will be live by 16 June, so look out for a

communication from the Golf Month team. This communication will include a Golf Month 2017 fact sheet, which explains how and when Golf Month will be promoted and gives you some ideas for welcoming, social, fun and inclusive Golf Month activities. From there, it’s easy to get involved. All you will need to do is plan your Golf Month activity and upload it to the clubs and facilities portal on the website. Golf Month will once again be a nationwide celebration of golf, and this year there will be some truly incredible prizes to incentivise club members and regular golfers to share their love of the game and take friends, family and colleagues along to Golf Month activities. We’re looking forward to sharing the campaign with you!

Please contact the team at if you have any questions





Governance Fundamentals – Your e-learning course is here! For too long a cost effective and accessible governance course has not been available for golf club boards and managers. Governance Fundamentals is an e-learning module designed by Golf Australia specifically for golf club board members, GM’s and senior managers with real-life examples of common governance challenges. Course participants will receive a greater understanding of: • The clear roles, authority and accountability of the board & GM • Board legal duties • The importance of policy in guiding your club and you as GM! • What it is that GMs should report to their board • Skills and personal characteristics of board members • Micromanaging • Board succession planning, induction and evaluation This course empowers boards to act with a future focus and for managers to be more dynamic leaders of their teams.

$49.00 per module to register Less than one hour to complete. Registration remains live for 90 days. Includes: videos by Malcolm Speed AO, quizzes, assessment tasks and useful resources. Certificate of completion issued. To register go to: and enter the E-Learning Modules tab. For questions or more information: please email


As a General Manager or a Head of a Department in a golf club you need to learn how to remember a lot of people’s names. Some people seem to naturally be very good at this, others always find it a struggle. Like the golfers who are good at getting out of bunkers, I’ve noticed that the people who seem to be very good at remembering names have worked at their technique over the years. They appreciate how important it is.

strong message to them. Yes, you are interested in them and you appreciate them.

As you know, it’s the little things that make a big difference to the experience your members and their guests have at your club. When you start to recall people’s names and the type of coffee they like, it sends a

I know that if you want to improve your memory, just like working on your putting, with a bit of regular practice and enough desire you can improve.

Last Thursday night we went out for dinner for my father in laws’ 88th. There were nine of us. The waitress took nine orders. She didn’t write down one of them. My wife, and my mother in law, were both worried that the waitress wouldn’t remember our orders. Once again, there was no need for them to be worried. The orders were 100% correct.

Here is a technique that I use

for recalling names. I call it the R.A.I.L. technique. I use one or two of these tips to help me when I am meeting new people. R – Is for Repetition. When you meet someone for the first time I suggest you repeat their name three or four times in the first minute. It could sound like this. “Hi, I’m Steve, the general manager of the club. I don’t believe we’ve met yet”. Offer your hand and smile. They will respond and introduce themselves. “Hi, I’m Barry”. You then say, “Lovely to meet you Barry. Did you manage to get a game in today before the rain arrived Barry?”. Listen to Barry’s response, smiling and nodding your head. Then, if the opportunity is there,

Steve Herzberg is the Managing Director of NRG Solutions. He works with General Managers and their key staff helping them to become more successful leaders. For more information on his programs including Leading for Success for Golf Clubs and Presenting with Confidence please contact him at or go to



Steve will be running two workshops at the AGCSA conference at Twin Waters on June 28th on High Performing Teams and Presenting With Confidence. He will be delivering his public programs in Melbourne, Presenting With Confidence on August 14th and Leading for Success on August 16th and 17th, 2017.




introduce Barry to someone you know. “Hi David, I’d like to introduce you to Barry, Barry’s just joined the club. He used to play at North Lake, and then he saw the light”. A – Is for Association. With a bit of quick thinking you should be able to associate the person you have just met with someone else you know who has the same name. Consider this scenario. You have just met Linda at a function at your club. She’s a very fit woman with excellent posture and well-defined biceps. Your mind quickly associates her with Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman in the 1970’s TV show. You might not see Linda for another three months, but if the association is a good one for you, your mind will be able to recall her name when you next see her. I - Imagination. It seems that the more vivid our imagination is when remembering names, the better the chance of a recall. I recall years ago meeting an old neighbour of mine for the first time. She


L- location. Imagine you are at a lunch and you are seated at a table with 7 people you don’t know. When you go to the bar or the bathroom, practice memorising the location of where everyone is seated. Our minds are very good at remembering things in order. After the event, when you return to your desk, sketch out a little map of the seating plan for your table. You’ll be surprised how useful this method can be. With a little bit of practice and enough time, you will be able to recall the names of up to 10 tables of 8 people quite easily.

YOUR PRACTICE PLAN: Start small and slowly build. If you learn one new name

a day that’s 365 new names by the end of the year. If you tell yourself this is important and you are willing to practice you will improve. Don’t try too hard, just be willing to try. Improvement tends to come in stages. Don’t expect to immediately be great at remembering names. Give yourself a bit of time. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You wouldn’t expect you golf handicap to drop in three months from 15 down to 1. One final suggestion: Ask some of your bar staff how they remember not only members’ names, but also what those members drink. I’ve found that often the staff behind the bar are excellent at remembering little details. Oh, and if you do bump into me at a golf event and I appear to being giving you a rather blank look, don’t panic. I’m probably racking my brains to recall if you remind me of either Wonder Woman or a giant soccer net. Steve Herzberg


or m e M



introduced herself. Her name was Annette. I immediately thought of her being stuck underneath a giant soccer net. It helped me recall her name. The clear visualisation made it easy for me. Let your imagination run a little wild. It really helps.








PGA ACE PROGRAM CONTINUING EDUCATION BENEFITS GENERAL OVERVIEW As is the case with all industries, continuing education for employees of the Australian golf industry is vital to the current and future success of the sport. The sport and industry of golf is evolving rapidly in the modern world and employees must remain agile, knowledgeable and aware of the demands of current and future golfers. In addition, clubs, managers, employers and employees must all be open and aware of the benefits of continuing education and the significant advantages that ongoing training and education provides for all stakeholders. Fortunately, with robust and structured member based organisations already in place, through Golf Management Australia (GMA), the Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association (AGCSA) and the Professional Golfers Association of Australia (PGA), the sport’s workforce is well placed to engage with effective and accessible professional development opportunities.


outcomes through enhanced job-related skills, an increased variety of employment opportunities, extended tenure in current positions and improved remuneration. When combined with an entrylevel workforce development program, continuing education programs also provide employees with a training and education pathway, thereby promoting the concept of lifelong learning. Additionally, within the golf industry there are significant benefits for golf clubs and facilities that support and encourage continuing education, leading to a win-win for employers and employees. Employers who are committed to the development of their employees are not only creating improved skills for the workplace, but are facilitating valuable employee loyalty and increased dedication to positions. Continuing education also prepares employees for new roles within an organisation, thereby encouraging “hire from within” opportunities.


Continuing education is accepted across all industries as the most effective way to provide individuals with significant benefits that improve career

As a Member-based organisation and as outlined in the GMA Mission Statement, the GMA provides its Members with a variety of valid and effective continuing education





opportunities, including the GMA National Conference, State education programs via affiliated state bodies, and through partnerships with organisations such as the PGA of Australia. As the owner and operator of two Registered Training Organisations, the PGA, through its PGA International Golf Institute (PGA-IGI) specifically developed the Advanced Club Management Program (incorporating an Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management) for Members of the GMA. The program is designed to complement existing GMA continuing education opportunities and events by offering a formal AdvancedDiploma level qualification to Golf Club Managers looking to develop new competencies or validate existing skills.

CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR PGA MEMBERS The PGA of Australia’s Accreditation and Continuing Education (ACE) Program was introduced in 2014 to replace the Professional Development

EDITORIAL Program (PDP), which had served the PGA admirably for approximately 30 years. At its core, the ACE Program aims to improve the employability, knowledge and workplace-based skills of PGA Professionals, while at the same time recognising specific skills and areas of expertise.

With its own e-learning platform and webinar capability, the PGA complements face-to-face training seminars at a state and national level with both online modules and regular webinars in all ACE Streams, permitting convenient access to continuing education for all PGA Professionals.

In order to support further engagement with the ACE Program by PGA Professionals, the PGA encourages GMA Members to become familiar with both the structure of the program and the opportunities available to PGA Professionals.

As a golf club manager, feel free to discuss the ACE Program with your resident PGA Professionals and for the benefit of the golf club, the employee and the overall golf industry, explore ways to encourage engagement. In addition, in order to facilitate a structured approach to continuing education for PGA Professionals, consider the inclusion the ACE Program within position descriptions, job advertisements, engagement contracts and yearly professional development budgets.

The ACE Program incorporates four ACE Streams of Coaching, Game Development, Small Business and Management, permitting PGA Professionals with the chance to specialise in a specific stream or complete continuing education across a broad range of areas. In addition, the program aims to improve accessibility of continuing education for PGA Professionals by offering training in a wide variety of formats.

Aside from the online modules and webinars available to PGA Professionals, the inaugural PGA Golf Expo, to be staged from September 12-14, 2017 will provide significant

training and education opportunities to PGA employees – please take the time to discuss and support PGA Professional attendance at this important event.

SUMMARY In summary, there is no doubt that continuing education benefits golf clubs, employers and employees in a variety of ways. Continuing education assists employees with becoming more proficient in their current position at a club or facility, in addition to preparing them for an internal promotion. An efficient, flexible and welltrained workforce is vital to the future success of both golf club and the overall golf industry and it is an obligation for all stakeholders to be aware of the importance of continuing education and the opportunities available. Geoff Stewart General Manager – Education PGA of Australia

For further information relating to the PGA of Australia’s ACE Program, please feel free to contact the PGA of Australia Membership and Continuing Education Coordinator, Sue McCall directly via (03) 8320 1964 or Alternatively, feel free to contact the PGA State Manager or Member Development Officer in your state or territory.

For further information relating to the PGA-IGI Advanced Club Management Program, please feel free to contact the PGA-IGI Marketing and Student Recruitment Manager, Luke Bryden directly via (07) 5657 6109 or




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Wainui Golf Club

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Golf Management Australia E-Mag - Winter 2017  

Welcome to the fourth edition of the GMA National e-Magazine. This publication is designed to inform the membership of what is happening in...

Golf Management Australia E-Mag - Winter 2017  

Welcome to the fourth edition of the GMA National e-Magazine. This publication is designed to inform the membership of what is happening in...