Course Open

Club Managers on the Move 

In all my years in the industry I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many managers moving out and moving in,  then  I have in the last few months.

·       We had Pat Murray move to Tramore  from  Clontarf and his replacement came from Canada in the shape of Neil Rooney CCM, CCE, one of the top managers in that country.

·       Mark Ruddy CMDip went to Kilkenny GC  from Lucan GC and he was replaced by Pat Barrett CMDip, who moved from Muskerry GC.  He has not been replaced in Muskerry.

·       Donard McSweeney moved from Mullingar GC to Ennis GC, but was only there a short time before moving on to Athenry GC. He has not been replaced in either Mullingar or Ennis.

·       Gareth McGinty went from the Royal Irish YC to Killeen GC, taking up a position as GM for the first time.

·       Jerry Foley joined Rosslare GC as GM, the first time that club has had a manager since 2007.

·       Jim Cullen has joined Scrabo Golf Club

·       Then, in recent weeks, we’ve had a minor earthquake in the Club business, with Andrew Whitelaw CCM leaving Portmarnock to take up the GM role at Aronomink GC in Philadelphia.

·       John McCormack  CCM, resigned from Castle GC after 20 years service there.

·        Jim Melody resigned at Woodbrook GC, after 17 years and is taking up a new role as GM at Wicklow GC from August onwards.

·       He was followed by Niall Keyes CMDip, resigning from Killiney GC, leaving at the end of August, following 7 years at the helm there.

·       Then to top it all, we had  James Burns CCM and CMAE President resigning from Milltown GC after 17 years just recently.

Now that’s a wealth of club management experience walking out the front door and leaving big gaps to be filled. What puzzles me though in all this, is “Why now”?. What has happened in recent times, to make all these superbly talented, professional managers, all at the top of their game, and a  real asset to their clubs, all resign their jobs, voluntarily, in these testing times?.   

Is it poor Club Governance,  too much Officer interference, boredom, a need for a change, non-appreciation of their efforts, especially through Covid19?  I don’t have the answers to any of this but I am at a loss to understand it. I think Club Committees have to be more aware of their manager, the pressures he/she is under and try and understand better the job he or she actually does. Officers new to the committee, very often have only a half baked idea of what their manager actually does and in some cases they set about trying to tell him/her what their job is instead of listening to him/her, telling them, what he/she actually does. There isn’t a manager in the country who has not had the unfortunate experience of a Captain or other Officer making their life hell for a year or more, in some cases. Usually the manager can ride this out, but this is not always the case. There a number of now ex-club managers who were driven from their positions by Club Officials, with very few actually paying any price for their actions. Where this will, nobody knows for sure.

The manager merry-go-round will continue this summer, with some top jobs up for the taking. We’ll keep you informed, in due course, as to developments.

International Golf

With Covid in retreat to a certain degree, we resumed our International Golf calendar with our annual fixture against the GCMA. This took place over two days at Royal Ashdown GC and Crowborough Beacon in East Sussex in May. As always, it proved difficult to get Active managers to participate but our retired managers stepped up again to great effect. When you have old stagers like Sean O’Neill & Bernard Gibbons leading the charge there can only be one result. Another Irish win.! President John McCormack teamed up with Matt Sands and the winning streak continued. Others who performed well were Barry Ramsey & Donie Flinn, Gerry Coleman, Paddy Dean, Padraig Flattery, Colin McInerney, Paul Wisniewski and newbie John O’Sullivan, GM at Dundalk who earned his first cap.


Our thanks to Cameron Dawson who did such a wonderful job organising the whole event and even the Edge, our Honorary Irishman,  made a surprise appearance, to everyone’s delight. Here’s John receiving the Trophy from Dave Carlisle captain 2021.









Match V WCGMA at Tenby & Ashburnham

We took the ferry to Wales for our inaugural game against our Welsh counterparts on the weekend of June 27th. We were based in Tenby GC, which had dormy type rooms, but as the club closed at 7.30pm, we had little opportunity to socialise! It didn’t stop one or two trying mind you.

We played Tenby in 40mph gales and torrential downpours but managed to eke out a 2 and half to one and a half victory. The following day was brighter and sunnier  in Ashburnham where the result was the exact opposite. Ronan Smyth halving the 18th  with James Murphy, to bring us level overall. The President and myself maintained our record of being unbeaten over the two days, although in all fairness, apart from two notable holes, I just marked the card!!. There was one among us though who thought “Nigel Porte”r was the barman in our hotel , when in fact his name was Dave. He has been booked into Specsavers!!

The Two Cork Boys, Michael Healy & Cathal O’Sullivan, who made his debut after 25 years a manager, at Tenby. All in all a very enjoyable fixture and we look forward to bringing them to Ireland next year. We’ll be looking for 40 minutes on a tee somewhere, over a Sunday & Monday in June or July 2023.


The Legends!, as we are now known, - with Barney Curnock and Richard Healy, Captain, from Wales.








Our annual match for the Ian Marks Trophy was held at Dundalk GC this year, thanks to GM John O’Sullivan. The course was pristine, as you would expect with John at the tiller.


Golf Genius supplied the scoring and our thanks to Alister Kerr  for his input with that. It made the occasion really special.

Our very own Octogenarian, Barry Ramsey, won the Gary Steele  “El Bandido”  trophy with a scintillating round, which put many of his younger and much better contempories to shame. Then again he did have 29 shots!! It was good enough to help win back the trophy which the North have  had for a few years now. A delighted President, with 3 out of  3 wins this year, is now eagerly looking forward to the Scottish match at Portmarnock GC in September, to complete the Grand Slam.




Note for your Diary

President's John McCormack’s Prize 2022
Rosslare Golf Club, August 29th
This year our President’s Prize talks place in Rosslare GC on Aug 29th. Tee from 12.00 to 2.30pm.

Golf Genius will be running it and we will let you know all the details shortly.  Initially it will be “Members Only” until we see how many we get. After a week we will open it to Member & Guest.


Food & Beverage White Paper

Clubs are facing huge challenges as the hospitality crisis continues across the country, with no end in sight.

James Burns CCM  has kindly volunteered his time this summer to write a white paper on the current issues facing clubs in F&B, to benchmark key performance data and to facilitate discussions with Managers, with the focus on generating solutions. He will cover both in-house and Franchise catering

We would ask when James gets in touch with you, that you give up a small bit of your time to contribute to this valuable project.

Our plan is to have an education day in late September, to share the key findings and information that would benefit the members of the association.  

This is being supported by O’Hara Brewing, Obbi Golf, DAR Construction & PAX Financial Services. Our thanks to them for their help. 

CMAE Conference  Tenerife Nov 5-8 2022

European Conference on Club Management

Over the course of the last two years, people’s priorities have changed. Some forced on us by the impact of Covid and other simply because we chose to re-evaluate what is most important to us. The common theme in this seismic change has been the return to Family. The one constant for us all during these times has been the love, support, care and understanding that our families bring to us.

In 2020 & 2021 the pandemic claimed a lot of jobs, relationships and had an adverse effect on people’s mental health. But, at the same time, a lot of our friendships grew and teams bonded due to the tests everyone was put through. Now in 2022 we begin to see the light within the Club Industry with a lot of our Clubs seeing full Membership and waiting lists. We have never been so busy! That also means that your CMAE Family is more important than ever. With Family in this case we mean:

  • Your Real Family
  • Your Friends
  • Your Owner
  • Your Board
  • Your Staff
  • Your Colleagues
  • Your Association
  • Your ___________ (fill in where your Family is)

So for our European Conference in Tenerife in November 2022 we have gathered great speakers on this theme and beyond. Our goal is to make this Conference one to remember, a celebration, one where you can bring your own little Family if possible, where we will do all we can in order for us to enjoy the days in Tenerife as much as possible and bring strength back in body and soul. 

We cannot wait to welcome you all back to a Live and in person European Conference. The CMAE Family awaits you in November!

Bursary for Irish Club Managers


With the help of JONAS Club Software, the IGCMA is offering 5 bursaries of €400 each to those of you who would like to attend  this event in November. All we ask is a  One Pager on why you should get one. This is a terrific Networking and Educational opportunity for any club manager who wants to progress his or her career. It also carries valuable Education Credits towards attaining or retaining your CCM. Please send your One Pager to me at before the end of September 2022.





Education 2022

MDP 2 – Building & Managing the Club Team

The Part 2 course is also a week long and builds on the foundations of Part 1 to focus on strategic and business planning, performance and service standards, and the professional and communicative skills to develop every aspect of both the individual’s performance and that of their club. At the end of Part 2 there is an optional examination to attain the CMAE Diploma in Club Management.

The curriculum and learning outcomes have been provided by the Club Managers Association of Europe and this training course is endorsed by the Club Managers Association of America as part of the educational pathway to the Certified Club Manager (CCM) qualification.

A Business Plan for your Club

Few clubs have carried out a comprehensive analysis of their businesses to enable them to create a business plan. This course will provide you with the tools to do so,and a simple action plan for taking strategic thinking and business planning into your club.

Successful Committee Strategies

Having clear direction and measurable goals for your club to pursue are key outcomes of this course. The other essential component for success in your career is to ensure that you have the support of your club committee and members. Learn the 20 lessons that have served successful managers well at successful clubs.

Communication & Influence

Communicating a vision for the club and implementing a strategic plan will require enhanced communication and influencing skills. This course will provide a strategy for building relationships in your club at every level to secure the sustainable success of the organization under your leadership.

Team Building

The strength of a team far outweighs that of a group. This course will provide managers with a thorough understanding of a well balanced team and how each member of the team can make a contribution in a club or department. Using the latest Team Role theories, delegates will learn how to build a high performing team and how team dynamics can affect your club. Each manager will complete a pre course questionnaire and the subsequent report will be used as the vehicle for this session and will give managers a template to take back and use at their club.

Managing Performance

This session will allow you to evaluate the benefits of performance review at your club and provide you with a structured template system and action plan for immediate implementation. For clubs with a system in place, this session will enhance and re-energise your current practice and thereby improve employee engagement.

Conduct or Capability? Investigating Under Performance

 Your staff handbook can guide you through the disciplinary or grievance procedures at your club which negatively affect your business. However this session will teach you to address issues before they reach a crisis by showing you how to conduct the essential unbiased investigation aimed at positively supporting staff who may be currently under performing.

Service Standards

Managers will discover the importance of a solid customer focused culture at their club and learn how to identify and set measurable front of house customer service standards. Delegates will ascertain how to use customer feedback to help set and maintain those values and how to implement an assessment programme to monitor the staff adherence. Delegates will also find out how to use this programme to train staff in service standards to achieve consistency throughout the club.

Managing Conflict

This session will raise the managers’ understanding of the background to conflict and the behaviours they can personally display to prevent escalation of those issues which ultimately devour precious time and focus. Managers will learn to recognise their own physical and emotional signals, to help them maintain composure no matter what the source of conflict at the club while choosing to adopt a variety of positive protocols and processes.

Time Management 

As the manager is expected to be the “Jack of All Trades” in their club, this course will help improve personal effectiveness through better management of personal resources. Delegates will identify barriers to their effectiveness caused by themselves and others and employ practical techniques to improve productivity and performance.

Lumina Spark

Lumina Spark provides an accurate, personalised reading of an individual’s strengths and developmental areas. Whether you’re the General manager or new in the club team, it provides rich personal insights and practical benefits for everyone. The Lumina Spark methodology avoids the bias inherent in many other popular psychometrics.

Case Study

Throughout the week of the course delegates will explore a typical club scenario in small workgroups and be invited to share their evolving views on the challenges facing this fictitious club, based on the personal learning outcomes of each education session.

Optional Diploma Examination

Having attended Part 1 and Part 2, managers who wish to secure the CMAE Diploma in Club Management may sit this optional examination. Having delivered their part of a group presentation of the case study, candidates sit a one hour multiple choice examination which is based on the learning outcomes from both courses and some typical experiences facing a modern club manager. A third final objective is to show that the theory learned during Part 1 & 2 has been successfully applied in the workplace by completing a work based assignment of the candidates’ choosing. This can be any current and relevant challenge facing the manager at their workplace, stating the current scenario, tools used, evidence collected and research carried out to consider the possible solutions and selected outcome. Delegates must submit this final element of the examination within 90 days of completing the course.

Retired Golf Outings

Gerry Coleman has put in a great effort for Retired managers with two outings coming up shortly. The first one is in Cork Golf Club on July 26th and the next one after that is in Naas Golf Club on August 15th. If you haven’t booked please do so by letting Gerry know on

 It’s a great opportunity to catch up with some old faces and swap tall tales!!


9 & Dine for Active Managers

We’ve run two of these now in Dublin, in Edmondstown & Powerscourt. But the take up has been small in both cases. Still it’s a great opportunity to meet up and chat. Thanks to Mark Lynch & Gavin Hunt for looking after us so well.

Finally, after a hectic year so far, I’ll be taking a break for the month of August so unless you’ve killed somebody or the club has burned down or you’ve lost your job, please don’t call me!!. Thank you for all the support during 2022. We will resume our Monthly ZOOM Sessions in September

Regards for Now.