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An update from the CEO

Tuesday 15, Sep 2020
Paul Vardy (Chief Executive Officer)

It’s quite difficult picking the mood to open an email to GMA members when we have such diverse situations that members find themselves in. 

Whilst in most states things are very normal with some clubs running at full capacity hosting large golf days and catering to many, club managers in the greater Melbourne region and to an extent, in regional Victoria, have been dealing with restrictions that seem to be endless. 

The Victorian Government COVID roadmap announced Sunday last week, but which already seems weeks old, was quite devastating in its impact on business and society with seemingly as much in the way of extensions as wind-backs. 

For golf, further to the 45 day closure of Greater Melbourne golf courses over March/April/May and the recent run of 41 days that were due to end at midnight, 12 September, there is the reality of many weeks of extra closure, a worst case up to an extra 45 days. 

Victorians have to get their heads around stages, steps and trigger points. The government is intimating that as COVID cases are dropping well, restrictions may be removed early.  So, the watch and waiting game is very much back. 

Golf Australia has been seeking clarification on whether our safe, socially distanced and open air sport can return in two-hour form on 28 September under a second step. But, until we know better, the third step, being 26 October, looks the more likely scenario. Let's hope not.

There’s a high level of frustration about the lock downs, particularly in the business community. COVID cases are almost contained (99.98% of Victorians not having an active case, not much different now from the national figure of 99.99%). In the past six months in my household there hasn’t been so much so much as a sniffle. I almost need to check if the tissue box has a used by date.

Whether in shut down or not, there’s always plenty to do for the GM (AKA things on the GMA Checklist) and there is optimism that golf will continue to be popular and explode back in Melbourne. 

The role of maintaining staff morale has weighed heavily on the minds of managers. As one Melbourne manager said to me recently, it’s the uncertainty that is hardest for staff. 

The Melbourne Sandbelt group of clubs has run an online motivational speaker series with four guest speakers recently. In booking the speakers they kindly extended access to staff of Victorian clubs, also experiencing the challenges of shut-downs. 

Along the lines of this online speaker format, two additional speakers are planned by GMV around mid-October, available to all GMA members nationally. Guest speakers in October will be Ben Crowe and Jacqui Cooper. Stay tuned for more details.

There has been a lot of moral support from GMA members around the country for Victorian members and I’m sure this is greatly appreciated.

On the positive side, events are being organised and help across the country. GMA Queensland ran the annual GMAQ Member/Pro Day proudly supported by Club Car last week, and GMAWA held its GMs & Superintendents Day yesterday, which was proudly supported by Heineken 3 and Lion.

View other Industry News

Member Assistance Program – It’s there for you

A reminder that GMA offers a Member Assistance Program that extends to not only GMA members, but up to three free hours for staff as well. Mental health will remain an issue in clubs and broader society. We have seen a number of experienced GMs choose to leave their jobs recently, for various reasons, and we wish them all the very best. The Member Assistance Program offers a whole range of services on issues such as relationships, addiction, stress, sleep, financial and legal.


Almost the best one ever is coming your way!

The BMI program is back. It will involve two days online learning through late October and three days in hubs (and live online) on 4th, 5th and 6th November.

As anyone who’s been part of the past BMI courses will tell you, they are a week of learning new things, confirming what you may have suspected all along, recalibrating thoughts on what you thought you knew and, of course, getting to know golf club people and their experiences.

Apart from the great speaker content and a return of many familiar faces to the program, what has me most excited is that this this will be an opportunity for many new attendees.

Yes – this could be the perfect time to dip your toe into BMI’s lukewarm waters.

The commitment of three days in a row brings with it a convenience along with less travel and accommodation costs across the board. The price has dropped accordingly.

Running across five time zones, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, East Coast Daylight Savings and East Coast USA and with the joys of mute buttons, screen positions and internet, it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

The hub venues are:

  • Lakelands (WA)
  • Glenelg (SA)
  • Launceston (TAS)
  • Concord TBC (NSW)
  • Oxley (QLD). 

When registering, we expect all participants to book in a hub. At this stage we can’t plan a hub in Melbourne, so Victorians will need to be online for the three hub days in addition to the two days of online content. 

We’re excited to have a DeBortoli wine tasting on the Thursday afternoon (bonus for WA as it’s straight after lunch).

Book your BMI place now

Please email me if you have any questions.

GA and GMA Webinar Series

Quite a lot of webinars have been recorded recently to assist club managers in the topics of marketing and communications, grant writing, governance, finance and course maintenance.

View past webinars here

Last week, Matt Chesterman and I had a very insightful chat with special guests, Sharon Purnell from Mt Coolum, Brett Holdway from Cypress Lakes GCC and Steven Freeling from Westward Ho, about withdrawal from Job Keeper 1.0, limiting business exposure from COVID and trends we’re seeing and expect to continue in golf demand and membership.

This recording will be posted soon.

GMA Podcast Series

We’re currently running a set of shorter podcasts than those in the past, and these will be posted weekly.

If you are yet to download the MiClub app, you can do so and hear them all on the app. It’s a chance to hear from, not only managers and industry people, but also some of our corporate partners who bring expertise to us in various forms.

In Episode 9, we heard from GMA Chair, Cathy Neagle, and in Episode 10 is all about energy cost production with GMA partner Richard Martin from AEES Group. This is a great listen if you’re thinking about solar for your club or if you need help in explaining the benefits to your board.  And, as Richard and his team showed me recently, there are black panels new to the marker that look very smart on rooftops.

This week, we a have recording from Ross Haron from Transform Golf Shop Specialists, further to the interview with Sonia Kirkman a few months ago. Ross and Sonia are the team to use to bring your golf shop’s retail presentation to a whole new “wow” level. And with record low borrowing costs and high demand for golf, now is a prime time to maximise what your golf shop can do for you. 

If you haven’t yet downloaded the MiClub app, please do so as there is quite a back-catalogue building that you can listen to when in the car, sitting at your desk or walking the dog.

Listen to the GMA Podcasts

GMA Spring Journal

If you’d like to contribute a piece to the Spring Journal, we welcome content which is newsworthy and that advances our understanding of managing golf clubs and facilities.

The absolute deadline for content is this Friday, 18th September. Please send your content to David Brand (GMA Media & Communications) at

We plan to publish the Spring Edition of the GMA Journal on Friday, 25th September.

View previous GMA Journals

Appointment of GMA - WA Operations Manager

It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Jodie Alaban to the role of GMA – WA Operations Manager. 

Jodie will work closely with the GMA Operations Managers, the GMAWA Executive and members and with the broader WA golf industry, including running the Manager Invitational Events. 

Jodie will commence on Monday, 21st September 2020.