Wendy Perry says the golf industry is a great challenge
Wendy Perry says the golf industry is a great challenge

Wendy Perry has a lot on her plate as general manager of Byron Bay Golf Club, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ms Perry, who has been at the helm at Byron Bay Golf Club for two years following a four-year stint as administration manager, has the club industry running through her veins.

Sydney born and bred, her first job out of school was working as casual staff at Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL.

That’s when the club industry bug bit and she studied marketing and hospitality at NSW University and worked in the club industry before moving to Perth.

“Perth doesn’t have registered clubs and I missed the club industry,” she said. “I was pleased to return to the club industry.”

Since arriving at the club, Ms Perry has overseen a number of changes that members and guests now enjoy.

“We have put on live entertainment on Sunday afternoons and also have a barber in-house, which is another service we offer,” she said.

“We have also taken on the catering in-house, which has been a big challenge but it gives us the entire package so we can more seamlessly provide the services to our members and guests.”

Ms Perry describes her work as “fast paced” and “diverse”.

“The club is not just a hospitality venue – there are the golfers, competitions and all of the intricacies that go with golf.

“We have all of the elements of a larger club, but in a smaller quantity yet the same amount of work goes into them.

“The other thing I like is we have fantastic members.

Obviously, people differ in opinions and that is what keeps the membership lively. They just want the best for the club.”

To say Ms Perry loves the challenge of running a golf club is an understatement.

What she doesn’t enjoy is extreme weather events that affect the club’s bottom line.

“In the past few years, we have had some terrible weather,” she said.

“When we do get a weather event here, it’s difficult to get people on the course, which is due to change this coming year with a plan in place to extend the current cart paths around the entire course.

“Golf is also a challenging industry and sport.

“It’s a time-consuming sport and as such only a certain demographic are able to afford the time to play, so there are some challenges in getting people to play the game.”

This is perhaps one of the reasons Ms Perry has remained a non-golfer although she did try it when the club held a “Ladies, give golf a go” day.

“I got out there and had a hit and wasn’t very good, but I kept trying,” she said.

“It takes time and practice to be a golfer and it’s not a skill that comes to everyone.”

Next year, Byron Bay GC will celebrate its 60th anniversary and there are plans in place to bring the clubhouse “up-to-date”.

“We have a beautiful aspect and a beautiful deck at the back of the clubhouse so we plan to revamp that so when people are enjoying this amazing view they are also sitting on some beautiful furniture surrounded by a great facility.”

This year, Byron Bay Golf Club will celebrate its 10th Legends Pro-Am – one of only a handful of clubs to achieve the milestone.

Ian Baker-Finch, Peter Senior and Rodger Davis are just some of the household names that have participated in previous tournaments and many more are expected to feature again from December 9-11.

“The Schweppes Legends Tour Championship gives the club great exposure,” Ms Perry said.

“We are on the television, in the papers and involve the local community who can come and watch the action and enjoy the facilities. Local businesses get on board and it is fanfare for the members who get to show off their club to everyone.”

Away from the rigors of work, Ms Perry enjoys the beach, hanging out with friends and going to the gym.

Still, she does love going to work.

“Every morning when I drive up the driveway I pinch myself how lucky I am to work somewhere like this,” she said.

“The entire clubhouse faces the golf course so you can’t help but enjoy that view every day.

“The word is getting out that everyone is welcome to come here and spend time with a drink or meal on our wraparound deck in a relaxing and beautiful location.”


About David Newbery

Chief writer David Newbery has been living, breathing and writing and editing golf for more than 30 years. His extensive knowledge of the game comes from covering golf around the world. Hired by Inside Golf in 2009, David previously worked as the editor of The Golfer for 25 years and before that worked for numerous daily newspapers in Australia and overseas. The Brisbane-based journalist describes his golf game as “a work in progress”, but has had the privilege of playing golf with some of the game’s best players including nine-time major winner Gary Player. David enjoys travelling, reading, music, photography and spending time with family and friends – on and off the golf course.


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