Emma Clifford is Manager of the Year
Emma Clifford, secretary manager of West Essex Golf Club, has been named the Golf Club Managers’ Association’s (GCMA) Manager of the Year for 2014.
Emma, a PGA professional who used to play on the Ladies’ European Tour, revamped the club’s marketing operation, which helped bring in 115 new members last year alone, negotiated new deals with all major suppliers that cut costs and helped to turn financial losses into profits, and played a major role in the club, which offers free coaching every week, both securing GolfMark status and becoming a Get Into Golf centre.
She was named winner in front of scores of fellow golf club managers at the GCMA’s annual general meeting at Conwy Golf Club in Wales. Her prize, sponsored by HowDidiDo, Europe’s largest golfing community, and Tonic Golf, the leading insurance provider for golfers, includes a trip to Rioja in Spain and the opportunity to attend several golf club management network meetings.
Emma was named ahead of five finalists, Trevor Atkinson from Filton Golf Club, Michael Rutter from Ryton Golf Club, James Washington from Bradford Golf Club, Simon Smith from Aston Wood Golf Club and Terry Crump from Harpenden Common Golf Club. Bob Williams, chief executive of the GCMA, revealed that the six judges deliberated over the decision for seven hours – after spending three hours interviewing each candidate – making it the closest competition in its 10-year history.
She said: “I would like to thank everyone at West Essex – the members, the captain, the president, they all made me very welcome as manager after I grew up there.
“I would also like to thank the GCMA and sponsors for this competition. Special recognition must also go to my fellow finalists. Five new friends for me and great networking opportunities.
“This is my X Factor moment!”
Bob Williams also revealed that the competition attracted111 nominations for golf club managers – the highest in its history, and the format of it will now be expanded in line with growing interest.
The announcement came at the end of a meeting in which the GCMA, which was formed in 1933, revealed it will become a private company after a members’ vote received 100 percent support for the move. The new company has a board of six directors: chairman Michael Hoare, chief executive Bob Williams and Barry Hill, Gary Steele, Philip Grice and Eddie Bullock.
Bob Williams and Debbie Pern introduce the six finalists:
The six judges for the competition were Debbie Pern, manager of Deeside Golf Club and former Manager of the Year, Niki Hunter, GCMA education co-ordinator and former manager of Letchworth Golf Club, Alistair Dunsmuir, editor of Golf Club Management magazine, Richard Peabody, managing director of golf club software supplier Club Systems, Alex Rae, managing director of leading golf insurance provider Tonic Golf and Barry Dyett, managing director of HowDidiDo Media.