Golf Industry Central Spring 2012 - Page 17

NZ clubs told to change approach By David Newbery leadership but were too afraid to ask. New Zealand golf clubs have been told they must change their approach to doing business and start to “think outside the square” if they are to survive. GMANZ president Steve Wallace said he was impressed with the quality of speakers and presenters. That was the message delivered at the biennial Golf Managers’ Association of New Zealand (GMANZ) conference at Russley Golf Club in Christchurch recently. “The conference’s theme was Survival of the Fittest and those clubs who are going to survive are those that don’t keep on doing what they have always been doing,” said conference organiser Rod Latham, who is also the general manager at Harewood Golf Club in Christchurch. “We (golf clubs) need to think outside the square a little bit. “One of the presenters talked about rationalisation and mergers and I think there needs more of that happening. “The question is; do some of the clubs make it attractive to come to the golf club for reasons other than golf?” Also Mike Orloff from Golf Industry Central spoke about the changes needed in membership structure to fit to the differing needs of young and old members. Latham said keynote speaker Mike Leemhuis, the Chief Operations Officer at the Congressional Country Club in the US, had the 90 golf club managers and delegates sit up and taking notice. His spoke about the Emerging Trends Gauging the Impact of National Trends and the ABC of Leadership – all you need to know about “We had speakers from the United States, Australia and New Zealand and it certainly was a step up from the conference two years earlier,” he said. “Most of the speakers addressed the topic (Survival of the Fittest) although it was a little heavily weighted with the presentations on leadership and communications. At least two speakers spoke on leadership and that would be my only detracting comment. “But the (GMANZ) board thought the conference was a very well-staged event. “The board was delighted with the product given especially for what it cost to attend.’ Wallace said those who attended certainly received excellent value for money. “It cost $175 for a three-day conference for speakers from the US, Australia and New Zealand and included a golf tournament food and a dinner. “All they had to pick up was a couple of nights of accommodation. I thought it was excellent value.” Latham said the gabfest was the perfect opportunity for golf club managers and delegates to get together and discuss serious issues facing the golf clubs. “It was a good opportunity to catch up with your peers and others in the golf industry,” he said. “We were very happy with attendance levels and we had good numbers for the trade show that ran for the two days rather than a couple of hours. “The trade exhibitors were very happy with that format. “We had all of our morning and after teas and lunches in the trade marquee so it gave our delegates the opportunity to get around on a more informal basis and with less time constraints.” Wallace said plans were already under way for the 2014 conference. “I can’t tell you where that is, but I can tell you it will be on the North Island,” he said. “There are two regions, Central and Auckland, bidding to host it.” Whoever hosts the 2014 conference will have the opportunity to set the theme and decide whether to make the conference more inclusive. Some golf industry members believe the conference should include the course superintendents’ association, the PGA and the country’s ruling amateur body, New Zealand Golf. “There are those who think the conference should be a little more workshop orientated,” Latham told Golf Industry Central. “Our feedback is that our delegates don’t want workshops. “Whoever is doing the conference next time will certainly have all the information and it will up to them to decide what they want to do. “It will be either Central or Auckland who set the theme for the next conference.” Golf Industry Central Spring 2012 15