Profile: GCMA Manager of the Year finalist, Debbie Pern11th March, 2013 by Alistair Dunsmuir
Debbie Pern is the club manager / secretary of Deeside Golf Club in Scotland
You might recognise Debbie because she is the only golf club manager to have ever been a finalist for this competition more than once.
Debbie was first regarded as one of the best leaders of golf clubs in the UK when she took on the role at Deeside, which was building a £1.8 million clubhouse that was proving to be unpopular among some sections of the club’s membership, in 2004.
However, Debbie, who had previously run a large catering business and then worked as a facilities manager at the Scottish Agricultural College, managed the completion of the new building, which even involved finalising plans for the layout of the bar and kitchen, and kept the vast majority of the venue’s 1,400 members onside. “The clubhouse has become the premier building in golfing circles in the north east of Scotland,” said Deeside member Dr Fouin, “and much of its success is due to Debbie.”
To prove the point, catering, which was run at a loss of £40,000 per year before the new clubhouse was built, today makes a net profit of £35,000 to £40,000 per year, and that is despite, or thanks to, the club trebling the number of full-time chefs it employs.
As one of the few golf venues left in the UK that still has a waiting list – of about six years (a rise from four in recent years) – under Debbie and her team’s stewardship, the club has seemingly been unaffected by the recession. One reason why might be because an unused two-bedroom flat in the clubhouse has been transformed into a 30-seat conference room that now attracts about six external functions per month and will pay for itself in six to eight years.
Moreover, Debbie has completely revamped the club’s entire IT system.
You might also recognise Debbie because she has sung acapella with the Aberdeen Chorus, an 80-strong barbershop choir that appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, only to be thwarted by Simon Cowell. “It was a great experience,” said Debbie, “but probably not one I’d do again!”
“She is a wonderful asset,” said Aileen Downie, past president and captain of the club, “and hopefully she will stay with us and oil the wheels for many years to come.”
The Manager of the Year competition is sponsored by HowDidiDo and Tonic Golf.
The winner is announced on March 27, 2013 at Walton Heath Golf Club. He or she will receive a trip for two to Rioja in Spain as part of the prize