By Alistair Collier | The Business of Golf Magazine

BG: In the last issue we asked Alistair Collier, how one could help to ensure stability and create an environment, in which the normal functioning of the club, and the work of its office bearers, is not disturbed or usurped, by self-serving individuals or cliques?

AC: I think it might be best to tackle this from the bottom up, and start with the club member you refer to. Apart from the de Maistre quote, which is very apt, on occasion in the past you have used the Churchill quote about democracy being a poor system, but better than anything else! In this democratic process, the members are the rock and foundation of any club, and they need to understand that their vote counts.

It is essential that they attend the AGM, study the documentation and take a serious, and preferably an active interest, in the challenges, key issues and the debates around them, and be prepared to contribute. This contribution should be both in terms of voting, and lending their time where it is available to serve, on either the board or a sub-committee, wherein their particular skills might be pertinent. If they are not willing to do this, then they cannot reasonably be aggrieved, when things are not run the way that they would like at their club. Of course, getting involved does not mean that things will necessarily be done ‘your way’, but it is better than adopting an indolent attitude, wherein one is not willing to be involved, but still insist on sniping from the sidelines.

At the committee or board level, the chairperson must lead by example, and in this role, there are a number of key areas and activities. The first of these would be in identifying the appropriate people to help put or keep the club on a secure footing.

The issue here can be, at least at some clubs, that the numbers of board members required can be difficult to find. That said, the goal will be to have a mix of skills’ sets and expertise on the ‘team’ (because that’s what it should feel like) i.e., accountancy, legal, marketing, agronomy, hospitality, event management, etc. This balance will be essential to deal with the multi-disciplined nature of running any business, particularly a golf club.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email ajcollier@telkomsa.net or visit the John Collier Golf website at www.johncolliergolf.com