Every month, I hear (or read via email) stories about a variety of governance issues at clubs. Whether it’s board dysfunction, lack of role clarity, micromanagement, lack of future planning or any number of similar issues surrounding a Board or committee, the fact remains that many clubs across Australia are suffering as a result of board management (or mismanagement) issues.

This is a worrying trend, as a board is arguably the most important aspect of any golf club; it’s their decisions that ensure the success (or failure) of the club as a whole. In truth, Boards bear the major responsibility for a club’s viability.

Getting the right people onto the Board is critical to success. In a perfect world, a Board would be composed of a diverse group of individuals who (among other things) share a strategic vision for the club, and who also have the necessary skills, background, time and passion to perform their duties.

Unfortunately, that is not always possible. A small club may not have a large pool of business-educated candidates to draw from. They may only, for example, have a membership of small business owners or well-meaning members. And while these individuals may have the passion for the club, they may not have the hard skills to direct a multi-million-dollar business like a golf club, or professionally manage a committee, etc.

The fact of the matter is that there are many board members in power who are simply not up to the task. It’s not their fault…they simply don’t have the information and skillsets necessary for the position.

But luckily, there is help available out there.

Golf Australia has created an online E-learning course specifically for board and managers, in order to help them develop the skills necessary for proper governance.

The e-learning program, which is delivered via computer (so it can be accessed from anywhere), is designed to support golf club committee members and administrators.  E-learning topics are presented in modules, and the course may be completed in various sittings or in one sitting (whichever is convenient to you.) Modules are broken into sections, and at the end of each section participants complete a quick assessment tasks and a quiz to underpin learning.

The modules provides Board Members, Committee Members, General Managers and other decision-makers at a club a basic introduction to the principles of good governance, with topics including: the board’s key roles, legal duties, structure, board policies, Skills and characteristics of your board, the difference between board and operation committees, Board succession and induction, Board evaluation and more.

The e-learning course only takes 1-2 hours to complete at a time of your choosing and costs only $49.50 per person. In my opinion, this represents tremendous value to a club, and potentially a huge return on the investment, especially when you consider the stakes (i.e. the success or failure of a club).

For more information, check out the Clubs and Facilities Support section of the Golf Australia website: www.golf.org.au/clubsupport, or watch a YouTube intro video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zd5zjRxqmgU

As always, I’ll see you on the fairways (or in this case, online!)


About Richard Fellner

A four-time winner of the Australian Golf Media Awards, including Best Photojournalism, Best Opinion, Best Column and Best Photographic Presentation, Inside Golf Group Editor Richard Fellner is the quintessential Golf Tragic, having played the game for over 50 years (but has never gotten any better!) He has played and reviewed courses all over the world, and has interviewed many of the great players of the game (including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Greg Norman). Richard is a member of both the Australian Golf Media Association and the Golf Society of Australia, and has been a featured guest on many Australian "sports talk" radio shows and networks, including ABC Grandstand, SEN 1116, Melbourne Talk Radio 1377, 2GB and others. Follow Richard Fellner on Quora


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