How does CMASA assist golf clubs in the region?
The Club Management Association of Southern Africa serves as the official representative, sounding board, adviser and educator for social, sporting, recreational, country and resort clubs throughout Southern Africa. We aim to provide club managers with the information and resources they require to effectively manage their operations and ensure efficiency and good governance. We have three membership options: Associate, Classic and Premium. Through our partnership with GolfRSA, all GolfRSA-affiliated clubs automatically receive Associate Membership. Classic Membership provides clubs with the opportunity to upgrade and access all the additional operational resources and benefits we have to offer, while Premium is an all-inclusive model for clubs that wish to provide their employees with continual education throughout the year.

What are the biggest challenges facing golf clubs today?
One of the major challenges is the continuous rising costs of running a club. Managers are expected to find ways to generate enough revenue to cover these expenses all while keeping the lights on and providing an exceptional experience. It is a balancing act. Another challenge is the recruitment and long-term retention of highly skilled personnel. We are constantly exploring strategies to encourage and establish distinct and comprehensible career paths within the industry. In the past, golf clubs mainly attracted individuals who were passionate about the sport, but that there are many career prospects, including roles in food and beverage, finance, human resources and management.

If you could give golf club managers one piece of advice, what would it be?
Reach out and become a part of our community. I firmly believe, and witness daily, that our industry’s greatest asset is the network of managers who actively share knowledge, learn from each other’s experiences, exchange ideas and move the industry forward. We strive to create numerous opportunities for managers to connect and engage.

What do you consider the most exciting development in the industry right now?
The introduction of the all-inclusive education model in March 2021 has brought a significant transformation in how clubs invest in their staff development and ongoing learning. The numbers speak for themselves, with a 200% annual increase in attendance since the launch. We will be launching the 2024 Training Guide on 1 December. Our vision for this guide is to increase coverage of operational topics and equip industry employees with practical skills that they can take back and implement at their clubs.

What new belief or habit has had the most positive impact on your life?
I genuinely believe that positive opportunities lie just beyond our fears. If we don’t take the risk, we will live with the regret of never having tried. If our goals don’t scare us, they probably are not big enough, and growth seldom occurs when we remain too comfortable.

Who do you admire the most in the golf industry, and why?
I have the privilege of working with some of the industry’s most exceptional leaders and trailblazers, from whom I am continuously learning. I am in awe of their ability to consistently share their knowledge, demonstrate fairness, and embody a commitment to good governance. While I regularly seek input from many individuals in the industry, my primary sources for advice are Paul Leishman (far left), general manager of The Bryanston Country Club, and Francois Swart (left), CEO of Atlantic Beach Estate. They have both served as chairman of CMASA – Francois is presently – and generously dedicate their time and expertise to the industry.

What is one final thought you would like to leave our readers with?
Do not underestimate the power and influence of professional networking and idea sharing. Together, we can continue to move the industry forward.

Roxanne can be contacted at ceo@clubmanagement.co.za.


About the author

Dr Kirsten van Heerden is one of only a few people in South Africa to have represented her country as an athlete and hold a PhD in sport psychology. She has worked and travelled extensively within high performance sport for more than 15 years. She has published a book on the challenges athletes face when they retire from elite sport called Waking from the Dream and hosts her own podcast called ‘Behind the Dream’ where she talks with some of the world’s best athletes about the ups and downs of being a professional athlete. She is also the founder and chairperson of Girls Only Project – a non-profit company focusing on women in sport issues. She is in private practice at Newton Sports Agency.