By Paul Vardy

TWO clear themes came out across the nation from the GMA Covid Insights Survey in September.  

One, golf club and facility general managers around the country expect that the high demand for golf will continue over the next 12 months.  

In a rating of zero for negative and 10 for positive, GMs rated a very positive outlook at 8.9.

The other clear theme is that shortages in house/hospitality staff are expected across the country with over 65 per cent to 75 per cent of managers across all states expecting this to be an issue.  

There is also a sizable expected shortage in course staff, identified by 20 per cent to 40 per cent of general managers across states. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, the impact of COVID on staff feelings of wellbeing generally is not dissimilar from what society is experiencing.  

Estimated staff wellbeing dropped from 4.4 out of five pre-COVID to a 3.3 out of five now.  

The long closures in Victoria and NSW/ACT have been the reason for the fall with little change in the ratings of the less impacted states.

Regardless of revealing survey data such as this, quite rightly golfers will want to enjoy their golf with friends on a well-prepared course complemented by good food and efficient, friendly service.  This is absolutely what general managers and staff will want for members and guests too.  

Averages and headline data are one thing yet, in reality, some clubs won’t skip a beat when it comes to delivering on expectations.  Other clubs will really feel the pinch.  

For some clubs it may be time to send in the working bees and Dad’s Army groups to help with the course.  

In the clubhouse it may be a chance for members to send in their 18+ aged kids to work in the bar or with catering.  GMA is working on establishing connections with hospitality training centres as a short term and long-term strategy.

A change of tact. Along with the golf industry bodies, GMA is proud to support the Australian Golf Foundation’s Junior Girls’ Scholarship program.  Vision 2025 creates changes to get more women and girls into the great game.  Managed by Golf Australia in 2022, the AGF Girls’ Scholarships will see girls receive at least 24 weeks of clinics with PGA professionals.  

Developed by Bonnie Boezeman (AO) of Killara GC, the program is growing in scale quickly across the country.  

General managers I’ve spoken too are glowing about the concept and the unexpected spin-off benefits around their clubs and facilities.  

What a brilliant way to develop girls and women into every aspect of our game for the long term.  

Congratulations to all involved so far.  Applications for the 2022 funding closes on 25 October. 
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