Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Golf club management veteran Steve Thielke has urged golfing establishments in Asia to invest in providing Certified Club Manager (CCM) training for their staff.
Last year, Thielke, Chief Executive Officer at TPC Kuala Lumpur, became among the first Asian-based individuals to achieve this notable milestone when he graduated from the Club Management Association of America’s (CMAA) Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF)-administered programme. The CCM is considered the gold standard in club management certification globally.
“It was probably one of the best things I’ve done in my career, to follow through and actually achieve this CCM,” said Thielke, who is into his eighth year at the prestigious Malaysian club.
“Besides being able to talk to a wonderful organisation like the AGIF that’s got all the knowledge and people and resources to be able to tap into, if I need information I’ve now got this whole network of fellow CCMs with whom I can communicate, and the CMAA and all the lecturers that have been part of that programme. We’re connected on group chats and share information all the time. It’s incredible.
“Whether you’re a new manager or a more experienced manager, it doesn’t really matter. I’d really encourage you to consider getting you and members of your team onto this programme. Not only can it benefit them and their growth personally, but it’ll benefit you and your organisation as well. Join the AGIF if you haven’t already so that you can get the benefits of better pricing and support.”
After more than a quarter of a century working as a general manager at high-profile clubs in South Africa, China and Malaysia, Thielke says he never stops learning.
He said: “The fact of the matter is that we continue to learn in this business. I know there’s a lot of owners and managers out there who think you’ve done this such a long time, you’ve done your education, you’ve got the experience – that’s all you need.
“But that’s not the case as a general manager at a club. You’re learning every single day. But clubs (in Asia) typically work on their own. They’re independent properties and we don’t really work that closely together. It’s quite frustrating because we’re such a small industry.
“The American clubs really work together and that’s why the CMAA is so strong and so well supported. I know it’s the vision of the AGIF Board to get the clubs in Asia to work closer together and to grow that platform of relationships. Education and knowledge are critical.”
The AGIF is an International Associate partner of the CMAA and authorised to run Business Management Institute (BMI) programmes as well as Chapter and Association Education, which are part of the pathway to the CCM.
Eric Lynge, Chief Executive Officer of the AGIF, said: “We’re really focused on providing education to the industry, both in turfgrass and club management.
“Since we partnered with the CMAA in 2015, we have run BMI courses across the Asian region as well as provided various Chapter and Association credit opportunities via our Club Management Mini Summits and co-operative programmes with various national associations.
“In achieving CCM status, Steven has set the benchmark for his peers around the region. In the coming years, we look forward to seeing many more club managers from Asia following in his footsteps.”
The BMI is a professional development programme developed and launched by the CMAA in the early 1980s. Noting managers at all phases of their careers need instruction, education or inspiration, the concept of the ‘lifetime professional development programme’ was born.
The vision was realised as a multi campus-based programme that provides tangible career benchmarks by which managers can track their progress and strive for various levels of competency, including a respected certification.
The curriculum is based on 10 competency areas covering every aspect of a club manager’s job.