As is well known Tuck Clagett's successor is to be Simon Greatorex and who hopes to be present at our AGM on the 15th April meeting as many Members as he can. In the meantime we have obtained an exclusive interview with Simon when he kindly answered some of our impertinent questions.
Website; Simon – how old are you ?
Simon: “ I recently turned 46”
Website: Have you always had a love of golf ?
Simon: “Yes, always. My Mum never had to worry about where I was as a lad, I was always on the Golf Course! I started to play on a nine hole course at the age of ten. I joined my first club at the age of eleven and became a category1 golfer at the age of fourteen. My lowest handicap was 3.3 but sadly it's crept up over the years"
Website: Tell us please about your golf club management experience
Simon: “I currently have sixteen years experience in Golf Club Management spending eleven at a course in the New Forest and the last six as Secretary Manager at Yeovil Golf Club, a twenty-seven hole facility, it has the largest membership of any Club in Dorset. Prior to securing a job in Golf I worked in Hospitality, Catering and Leisure management for Whitbread and Rank Leisure. “
Website: What do you most enjoy about golf club management ?
Simon: I'm sure it's something a lot of people say but it really is true that no two days are the same. Each day presents a new challenge, you get to meet a lot of interesting people and of course we share the common interest to have a good day and achieve our best result.
Website: What do you regard as the essential skills of a golf club manager, the core competences as distinct from the detail stuff ?
Simon: "Diplomacy, the ability to see things from a Members perspective, the flexibility to respond to priorities, keeping up to date with the Golfing industry as a whole, making sure you have a good overview of all aspects of the club and of course good communication with all staff"
Website: What do you regard as your greatest achievement at Yeovil GC ?
Simon: "This is a really difficult question to answer, not because I haven't achieved anything, but everything that has been achieved has been a collective effort between the employees and the Management Committees with the input of the Members. Two things I am most proud of are the stability that has been achieved over recent years, there are a few clubs in the area who have been returned to farmland where as Yeovil has maintained its membership. Secondly the investments that have been made to improve the facility and safeguard the Clubs future"
Website: What are you most looking forward to at St Enodoc ?
Simon: "I've had great experiences as a visitor to the Club over the years, I am most looking forward to working with the team who make those experiences possible to Members and visitors"
Website: What, in your opinion, will be the greatest challenges facing St Enodoc GC in the next five years ?
Simon: "Change is always a challenge and I know Tuck will be missed having been central to the club and its success over the last 15 years but I hope with a good handover we can achieve a seamless transition and I can continue Tuck's good work. Every golf club faces different challenges as they are all at the mercy of mother nature and the challenges of all of the elements. The sport as a whole has had a well documented recession after enjoying a huge growth in the eighties and nineties. I think the Clubs that govern and organise themselves in the most professional way will be the ones that prevail. These are the ones that identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and react to them"
Website: At St Enodoc we have some 1500 expert greenkeepers and club managers all of whom are always right, how do you deal with their egos and expectations ?
Simon: "I listen and as I have said before diplomacy is important. I use a suggestion and feedback book at Yeovil, I also monitor feedback on social media and of course speak to people face to face on a daily basis. I think it is really important that everyone has their say and a chance to shape and improve the course and service for the benefit of all members and visitors. I use feedback to prioritise daily tasks, to keep the committees up to date and to plan improvements in the long and short term and when feedback is negative I let the person know what I intend to do to rectify the issue"
Website: Turning now to your own golf, is there any one thing that niggles you on the golf course ?
Simon: "My biggest niggle is that I do not get to play as often as I would like to, but putting this to one side I would have to agree with most that slow play is very frustrating. The R&A have this in hand with the rule change to allowing three minutes to locate a lost ball, so fingers crossed this change will be embraced by all and we can put this frustration behind us"
Website: Do you like links golf ? Have you played a little or a lot of links golf ?
Simon: "During my thirty-six years of playing I have been fortunate enough to play a number of links courses. I think every golfer needs to make a pilgrimage to St Andrews - a very special place, but my first experience was Southerness Golf Club a lovely course on the Solway Firth similar in length to St Enodoc and just as challenging!!. Working in Somerset has also given me the opportunity to play both Saunton and Burnham & Berrow both of which I thoroughly enjoyed"
Website: When not working or golfing how do you relax ?
Simon: “My wife and I have a couple of unruly Beagles, a good countryside or beach walk can really clear the mind. I'm a member of the local skittles team and I am a keen follower of most sports...including football, with my team being Southampton... not that following them could always be described as relaxing”
Website: Simon thank you for this fascinating insight. We are all looking forward to your arrival; we hope that you enjoy your time here at St Enodoc and that you have every success.