Around Australia, golf clubs have the resources to call on Golf Australia or state and territory member associations. While the Club Support portal has a depth of resources for clubs to download and immediately put into effect, it is often the visit of a development officer that is a real catalyst for putting the club into a higher gear.
A good example is the Port Lincoln Golf Club, visited by Golf South Australia’s Alan Tarry. The club is run by a group of dedicated volunteers dealing with crippling water costs and member subscriptions that didn’t cover operating costs. In June 2015 it undertook the online club health check. The report rated the club on a series of critical success factors and provided six action plan items that Alan was able to build a report around with more specific observations for the committee to consider.
“Often they just need someone to get them going”, Alan said about his visits to clubs. There are clubs who benefit greatly from an external person sitting down with them and helping them map out their priorities amid an often overwhelming range of items to attend.
In the case of Port Lincoln GC, a year later the club is now in far better financial health and well on the way to dealing with some of its greatest challenges. The club has improved its communication with members, better engaged its local council and regional development board, increased revenue from members and sponsors, advanced its member management and recognition and better structured its governance and understanding of the club’s obligations under the Associations Incorporations Act. The club is now planning things that a short time ago it simply couldn’t afford to do.
“It always comes back to governance and planning.” That’s the assessment of Golf Queensland’s club support and development manager David Webber. David is one of five club support staff in Queensland who assist clubs in five different regions.
Mark Bamford, from Golf Victoria, says each club may have a unique set of needs, but it often comes down to the quality of their governance and their ability to find volunteers with new ideas on driving the club forward. Clubs that can see the shared benefits of engaging with other sports and community groups will do well while others who try to do it all themselves may be left with declining numbers. Mark sits down and goes through the results of each club health check. It opens up all sorts of conversations but most importantly, gets things out in the open. Mark asks where the club sees itself in five years?
Clubs are encouraged to talk with the club support staff in their state. A list is available here club-support-contacts