London, England: Colt Mackenzie McNair (CMM), the specialist executive search firm operating across the golf markets of Europe, Middle East and Asia, has called for General Managers at golf clubs to develop more specialist skills.
CMM, an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation, has seen the golf club GM’s position evolve in recent years due to economic challenges and a drop in participation.
In particular, the company is reporting a recent trend among golf clubs to look for candidates who can demonstrate at least one key specialist skill which makes them stand out.
CMM predicts that, moving forwards, an increasing number of clubs will look to ensure the long-term stability of their club by only employing candidates who have a professional qualification in club management.
“GMs who invest in their education, develop a 360-degree knowledge of the golf club business and add a clear speciality to their skill set are set to out-perform those who don’t in today’s job market,” said Douglas Philip, Managing Consultant at CMM.
“We are seeing an increase in demand for GMs who can successfully address main areas of weakness at a golf club and whose skills align with the objectives of that club – whether a private members or proprietary club, or a municipal golf course,” he continued.
Hospitality, F&B, Business Development, Sales and Marketing are some of the key specialist areas identified by the recruitment firm.
“There is a trend for golf club owners to clearly define their strategic objectives when entering the recruitment process,” said Philip. “Our recent placements have all shared a common factor.
“In each case the successful candidate displayed all of the core general management competencies but also had a particular strength which aligned with the club’s vision.”
Bob Williams, CEO of the Golf Club Managers Association (GCMA), said: “CMM’s call for GMs to develop specialist skills, alongside their call for education and 360-degree training, is well-timed.
“There is new generation of younger General Managers who are bringing slightly different skills into the modern golf market. Our recently-created Young Managers Group recognises these people. They are putting their heads above the parapet as they build their own careers in the ever-changing world of golf club management.
“It is true to say that we are seeing an increasing amount of younger GMs entering our industry with specialist backgrounds in, for example, Hospitality, F&B, Leisure or Greenkeeping – plus of course those who enter golf General Management from a PGA background.”
Rob Marsh, Managing Director of the Harleyford Group, said: “CMM saved us a valuable amount of time and effort when they stepped in efficiently to help us recruit a new GM this year.
“We went with their number one recommendation, and their call for more golf GMs to develop specialist skills is certainly backed up by our experience. The person we appointed has great all-round knowledge, but also has particularly strong business development skills, which was exactly what this business needed. We are now working with CMM again to fill another vacancy at the club.”
Rob Climas, Director of Operations at Crown Golf, said: “So many people’s CVs are broadly the same: if yours shows that you have a useful speciality, in addition to your all-round ability, then you will stand out from the crowd. This was the case recently when CMM helped us to find a new General Manager at Hampton Court Palace GC, which is one of our most prestigious venues.”
Michael Braidwood, Director of Education at the Club Managers Association of Europe (CMAE), said: “If your golf club has a big hospitality offering, then definitely go for a GM with a hospitality background – although in this case we would recommend that you also have a good Director of Golf in place. A GM with a personal speciality is a positive if that person is also well-trained and highly competent in the more general disciplines.”