Profile: GCMA Manager of the Year finalist, Rob Pointon11th March, 2013 by Alistair Dunsmuir
Rob Pointon is the general manager of Mid Yorkshire Golf Club
There can be very few clubs that have seen as positive a turnaround in their fortunes as Mid-Yorkshire has in the last 24 months.
For years the venue suffered from a lack of investment as its owner, the Highways Agency, was intending to extend the A1 through it. However, the road scheme was shelved and, in 2011, Richard Teatum, owner of Stoneacre Motor Group, bought the club for £1.25 million – beating a rival who’s intention was to close the club down and turn it into an equestrian centre.
Since then Rob has spearheaded a raft of improvements. The refurbished function room and main bar and restaurant are serviced by a new chef and food and beverage manager, who last year oversaw 75 per cent growth in their operations. “We revamped the menu and the staff now focus on customer service,” said Rob. “In 2009 it would cost us money to run a Sunday lunch that 12 to 20 people would attend. Now, we have 80 to 100 attendees.” In addition, the club is already at 80 per cent capacity for weddings, conference and corporate golf bookings for 2013.
Rob also appointed a new club professional and refurbished the pro shop, brought it in-house and got it to focus on custom fitting, ensuring that today it contributes 37 per cent of the club’s now healthy profits.
Probably most importantly, the greenkeeping team has been supplied with a necessary new fleet of machinery which has massively reduced maintenance costs and significantly improved the course.
Rob, a former member of the army and prison officer, has been managing the club since 2009, when the club’s membership was at 310, following eight years of management training and work at proprietary clubs. He first found Mid Yorkshire so heavily in debt that he had to negotiate payment plans with suppliers and even forewent wages so that his staff could be paid. He puts his success down to his new team of staff: only one of the club’s 45 employees from 2009 is still there. “I’ve been lucky,” he said. “The right people happened to be available when I was searching.” Today there are 580 members at Mid Yorkshire – a rise of 88 per cent in just four years.
Club member Susan Fearnley doesn’t put it all down to luck though. “Rob has taken what was a tired and dated club and projected it into a modern venue that members and colleagues can be proud of,” she said.
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