Golf Industry Central Summer 2012 - Page 18

MAX MASON By David Newbery It wasn’t supposed to end this way. Max Mason’s premature resignation as general manager at Nudgee Golf Club caught club members and some golf industry figures by surprise. Unfortunately, Mason had little choice following ongoing health issues. “The timing of my retirement has been brought forward from the originally anticipated date as the direct result of a number of ongoing pulmonary and cardio health issues – more recently diagnosis of a ‘Meningioma’,” Mason wrote in his resignation letter to the club’s board. A popular manager and a well-respected figure in the golfing industry, Mason said he was looking forward to spending time with his family and two grandsons. While this is good news for his family, December 31 will be a sad day for Mason, who has dedicated the past 17-and-a-half years to his beloved golf club. “Basically, I have been a workaholic and I have spent most of my time at the club,” he said. “I very rarely play golf but health permitting I would like to think I will get a game of golf in after I retire.” Mason arrived at Nudgee Golf Club on July 3, 1995 following a four-year stint at general manager at Toowoomba Golf Club (Middle Ridge). Prior to that, he worked in the racing industry in NSW, Tasmania and Queensland. In Queensland, Mason was general manager of the Greyhound Control Board for 11 years. During his reign at Nudgee, Mason played a leading role in setting up the Golf Management Australia (GMA) – a professional organisation servicing the needs of managers. “Previously, GMA was run by the state associations and we’d run conferences on a rotational basis,” said Mason, who was the inaugural president. “In 2005, Gary Thomas (Lake Karrinyup), Don Will (Royal Adelaide) and I were charged with taking it through to a registered body as a national organisation. “We got it done and it came to fruition at our conference at Palm Meadows in 2007. It’s been a resounding success. “Our first conference run by a national board was in Perth 16 has left the building in 2009 and we had our next conference in Melbourne in 2011. The last three conferences were the best three we ever had.” NSW Golf Club general manager David Burton succeeded Mason as president when he stood down at the 2009 conference. Mason agreed to an interview with Golf Industry Central and talked about a number of subjects concerning the golf industry. What are your views of golf industry at present? I think the industry is quite strong, but it’s probably singing out for another champion (ala Greg Norman). In the last decade, there has been an impact on work/life balance between family, work and social activities. It’s had an impact on most clubs. When there is less disposable income, the luxuries tend to go by the board. That includes a company’s capacity to put on corporate golf days, which 10 years ago attracted fields of 140 and now it’s around 100. It’s the same with people playing social golf. The clubs have to keep themselves relevant to the needs of society at any given time. How do you compare the golf industry now compared to when you started in the early 1990s? When I first started, Greg Norman was the beacon, which attracted people to golf. There have been plenty of great players since, but I don’t think they had the image and the charisma of Greg Norman. What is the greatest challenge running a golf club, particularly one with 36 holes? It’s keeping the balance between providing the correct facility that members pay for at a traditional golf club and balancing that with revenue generation by way of corporate golf, soc X[