Manager of the Year finalist: Trevor Atkinson
During one period of heavy snowfall at his home 40 miles away, the Filton Golf Club manager slept on a blow-up mattress in the office for three nights in a row.
If Trevor Atkinson isn’t careful, he will earn a reputation as the go-to guy if your club needs new members.
With a career in retail behind him, the then struggling Orchardleigh GC in Somerset took him on as manager in 1999. Within five years its membership had expanded from 310 to 545.
Trevor took over Filton GC in Bristol in 2006, and again found himself at the helm of a club where membership was dropping. He therefore implemented a five-year rolling plan that sought to bring new income in, which would be spent on club improvements, that would in turn recruit and retain new members. Catering was brought in-house and the kitchen was invested in, which led to food and beverage turnover nearly tripling, while the course also saw investment, especially on drainage, which saw an end to unpopular winter greens.
Trevor then introduced a membership promotion that offered a discount on subscriptions for the first year. This has been run for the last three years and has resulted in nearly 300 new members joining, increasing the club’s membership from less than 400 to 631, and 80 percent of those who joined renewed at the full price for the second year. The scheme has been so successful that the club this year reduced its full subscriptions from £875 per year to £720.
Filton has also included a six-hole course within the main course that juniors (and elderly members) play on, while a nearby previously unused field that the club owns now has holes and flags in it, where juniors practice. This was part of the reason why the club was recently awarded GolfMark ‘High Achiever’ status.
Elsewhere, Trevor has negotiated links with local hotels, clubs and businesses to get their customers playing at Filton, and even given two memberships to local children from a nearby estate who had previously been causing problems for members. Plus he has saved several thousands of pounds through joining a buying group, that has cut utilities’ and catering costs.
“It’s been a tremendous achievement but you’re only as good as the team behind you,” he said. “We’ve utilised everyone’s skills and that’s why the club is now buzzing.”