Paul McAra 2016 Club Manager of the Year

Paul McAra of Coffs Harbour Golf Club has been named the 2016 GMA NSW Club Manager of the Year and the inaugural Provisional Member of the Year Award has gone to Newcastle Golf Club's Golf Manager, Mark Gilson.

The Club Manager of the Year award recognises a member who has excelled in their position during the past year.  It carries significant industry recognition and includes a trip to the CMAA World Conference in Orlando, Florida in February 2017.

The other finalist for this year’s award was Brad Constable, General Manager of Bathurst Golf Club.  The award was announced at the annual Presidents/Captains/General Managers Day at Royal Sydney Golf Club.

Paul commenced at the Coffs Harbour Golf Club four years ago at a   difficult time in its history but according to their President, Kerry Wilson, they can now confidently say they are one of the strongest golf clubs in regional Australia.Paul has driven a strong financial performance which this year resulted in a net profit of almost $400,000 and surpassed all records in the club’s 90 year history.  The club is now debt free after paying off a one million dollar loan.

Under Paul’s strategies, membership has grown by 10% in the past year through improvements to the course and introduction of junior and ladies golf programs, there has been a 200% increase in corporate golf events and further growth in sponsorships and securing of government grants.  A strategic plan to weatherproof the course with new cart paths is now largely completed.

Paul’s strong focus on HR management with a hands on approach has resulted in high staff morale.  He is also engaged in a number of community projects and networking to raise the club’s profile and has achieved high member satisfaction.

The Provisional Member of the Year Award was introduced to recognise the considerable amount of up and coming managers who will hopefully continue their careers in the industry and progress up the levels to club manager.  They cover an array of areas in their clubs including Operations Managers, Golf Managers and administration staff.

There were two other finalists for this year’s award, Denise Ward, Accountant & Office Manager at Roseville Golf Club and Lee Bradsell, Director of Clubhouse at Royal Sydney Golf Club.

The 110 year old Newcastle Golf Club course suffered significant damage in a huge storm which buffeted the region in April 2015.  The club suffered financial stress due to a subsequent course closure and three months of follow-up rain.

Mark’s performance since has seen a $100,000 turnaround in its business during the past 12 months and his efforts included becoming a club volunteer during the course’s closure, removing debris and fallen trees, rebuilding bunkers and drainage systems to allow the club to reopen two weeks later.

He has since devised strategies to ensure that the club improves its return from the golfing operations and in turn ensuring the club’s recovery and ongoing sustainability. 

The Award carries a prize of a trip to next year’s National GMA Conference to be staged in Adelaide.

PICTURE:  Mark Gilson (left) and Paul McAra (right) with GMA NSW President, Paul Paterson.  

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