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An update from the CEO - getting back together

Friday 31, Jul 2020

It’s great that in some states, GMA members are finally seeing opportunities open up to meet in person with fellow managers. It’s been a while. Just getting together can give a boost to morale and mental health.

GMASA members held a Zoom PD session last week at Glenelg GC on the 20 Rules of Power Politics with Jason Koenigsfeld of CMAA. Some of GMAWA's members enjoyed a game at Mandurah CC on Monday in the return of their popular Manager Invitation Golf Days. GMAQ members are gearing up for a PD session on the important topic of Health and Wellbeing in mid-August at Nudgee GC. Stay tuned for updates from your State Operations Managers for activities which everyone is super keen to get going.

Sadly, it may be some time before GMV members can get together in person. Yesterday’s state totals of 723 cases and 13 deaths is a concern on many levels. The number of healthcare workers infected is another concern and shows just how contagious the virus is. All this raises the possibility of greater restrictions across the board to contain the spread.

As footy commedian Titus O’Reilly recently wrote “..late at night my mind starts skipping forward to when the Victorian Government announces Stage Eleven, when you can only lie still in bed, breathing occasionally and blinking quietly.

BMI Program

Things are changing in the way BMI is delivered around the world. In America, all the normal BMI locations just happen to be in the country’s coronavirus hot spots.

This has meant that the closely protected principle of in-house learning and networking has needed  a change. In October, for the first time, CMAA will undertake a form of online BMIs in hubs. In Australia, where there is a great appetite to keep the modules going, this is good news. 

The ongoing uncertainty about state border restrictions won’t stop the program from running. In talking with CMAA, we can expect a combination of live on-line speakers and pre-recorded BMI sessions. This is expected to occur in November. This may be an opportunity for a greater array of GMA members to enter the BMI program. We look forward to bringing you more details, but for now, November is the plan.

Multi-speed golf industry

When describing the ongoing state of golf and our clubs, it’s fair to say we have multi-speed economies.

In pure golf participation terms, if golf clubs were cars travelling along Australia’s highways, a great many would be tracking along at the maximum speed limit. Clubs with capacity to take lots of green fee income are like cars in turbo charge with musical air horns blasting.   

The Victorian cars would be in the slow lane, revving hard in second gear, with the driver wearing a mask. Occasionally there would be an ambulance driving by, driven by someone in the army.  It’s crazy times.

Clubs along the NSW/Vic border would be either stuck in something akin to 40km/h roadworks or pulled over by the authorities. Murray Downs Golf & Country Club on the NSW side of the border decided to close completely Wednesday last week as 99% of members live in Victoria and are not allowed to cross the border to get to the club. Yarrawonga and Mulwala Golf Club is staying open but has 80% of its members unable to come to the club. Being a long way from the Melbourne coronavirus hot spots and the NSW clusters for that matter, I’m sure many clubs along the border would be thinking Mrs Berejiklian, tear down that (invisible) wall. But with the latest case numbers in Victoria, this will not happen any time soon.

The various situations in states around the country means there is no way to really summarise the health of clubs. Revenues from hospitality, conferencing, gaming, green fee groups and teaching are keenly felt by many clubs and less so by others. But on the whole, the core product of golf is sustaining many clubs. 

Everyone is spending time working out what all this means in the medium and long term. How do we make the most of the new demand from players? Have they come from other sports and how do we keep them in golf? How do we create a personal connection with the new golfers and how do we assimilate them into the fabric of the club? Is greater family engagement the key to holding on to the newest members? Will we see a burst of function and seminar activity once things can return and will there be fresh demand for health and wellness services following this stressful year?

Things will be changing and new opportunities will emerge. Will the decentralisation of central business districts and the trend of working form home be great for golf?

Our Corporate Partners

We wish our corporate partners the very best in these times and we’re glad when we hear many are holding up well. Daniel Christie at Schweppes has seen golf drinks return to healthy levels, reflective of the amount of thirst quenching golf courses. With so many varieties of colas and a growth in non-sugar varieties, the old Coke vs Pepsi decision is a thing of the past. If you’ve been thinking of switching to Schweppes products, please do!

In talking to Kelly McLoughlin at Lion, COVID times have led to people reverting back to the comfort of beers that they have known for a long time.

Golf retail suppliers have seen a boom as people flock back to the game. Our partners in Callaway, TaylorMade and Walkinshaw have seen strong sales in recent months. Oh, and if you’re yet to go in the Under Armour draw, today is your last chance.

Register to win Under Armour staff uniforms for your club >

Joel, from InGolf & Utility, reports that the Club Car COVID-19 Health Screens have been rolling out across the country. Club Car have placed 500+ orders with many clubs looking to keep them for protection and as a value add for their members and visitors. Get in touch with Joel.

GMs adapting to change

It’s one of the great demands on any GM/CEO to adapt to the changes in club leaders from year to year, whether they be President, Captain or other board members. In the perfect world, a club would have a strong direction forged with research, strategy and policy settings but in reality, we work with volunteers who have a range of interest, skills and occasionally, agendas. 

A GM/CEO has to work on building a rapport with a new board member and first spend time really listening to what makes this person tick. Only when this is done can a meaningful dialogue be created in the form of a thorough induction. Sometimes questions are faced either directly or indirectly about what the GM/CEO actually does? 

What do our GMs actually do?

You may not personally serve the beer or teach the golf lesson, so you may not be everyone’s favourite. In fact, what do you actually do again? We know this question comes up in the minds of people who can’t see beyond the activities that have a personal and immediate impact on members. But if something slips through the cracks, there’s only one person who’s accountable.

So, in talking with a couple of experienced GMs, we came up with a list, not an exhaustive list, but a list, of some of the things a GM actually does. It may have some reminders for an experienced GM and it may be a useful list for a new GM. Thanks to Barb Kelly and Trevor Harrison for your input. Adjust it to suit your own requirements and if we’ve left a few things off, let me know.

GM/CEO Checklist   GM/CEO Checklist

A few reports have come out in recent days

2019 Golf Australia Participation Report

Syngenta Report – Rethinking Golf: How to reset golf for the new normal

You may gain some insights from these reports. 

Another useful report, and one that everyone should have handy, is the recently updated Environment Report from the Australian Golf Industry Council.

On the topic of golf and the environment, see the following link to a sustainability project where clubs can apply to become involved: The Sustainability Project in Australia

Golf Australia and GMA webinar Series

You may like to register for the 20th August Webinar on how to produce and communicate with video. Also, there is a growing list of recorded webinars on a variety of club management related topics.

Golf Australia Webinar Series

Looking after yourself – Member Assistance Program

A reminder that GMA offers a Member Assistance Program through Acacia EAP. It’s quite extensive and can be extended to not just GMA members but GMA family members and staff.

GMA’s Honorary Solicitor, Michael Horton, has helped a number of GMA members in recent times with issues of their employment situation. We thank Michael very much for his assistance. It may be a chance to double check some options either before taking a new job, dealing with an employment issue or before leaving a job. It’s peace of mind.

Spare a thought for the Karens

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Karens. Off the cuff comments about the boredom of walking around one’s expensive suburb, or a weird video while driving across a border, or reciting their human rights to the boys and girls in blue (or red if at Bunnings), the women on screen are branded a “Karen”. We all know some very good Karens out there so ... hang in there Karens.