Our much respected and admired General Manager retired on 31st May after fifteen years of highly successful management of our Club. Whilst the Committees may set out policy and determine funding their plans can only have effect if properly implemented. Tuck has been hugely successful in driving the Club forward and encouraging the Committees to be ambitious in their ideas and plans. It is Tuck who has selected and employed the team of staff who now efficiently ensure that the course is immaculate and that the needs of the Members and guests are satisfied. Success can be measured in many ways and two such metrics are green fee income and course ranking. In Tuck's time our course has risen from being ranked # 83 in the UK & Eire to #35 and our green fee income has increased by some 50%.
Tuck has been at the Club for longer than a good number of Members and we have asked him to reflect on his time and career in the interview below.
Tuck and Janine enjoy your retirement !
Can you please tell us about your early life, your family and schooling ?
I was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived on a fairly large lake some 25 miles southeast of the city. My early life was filled with water sports – skiing, sailing, swimming, along with any ball sport I could get my hands on. I come from a large family of six children (4 boys, 2 girls) so ours was a very busy and happy household. Our parents always encouraged sport and outdoor activities. I went to a boys preparatory school and then to university for four years in Dallas, Texas where I gained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business at Southern Methodist University.
When did you take up golf ?
I started playing golf at about the age of 12. Originally introduced to the game by my father, I played mainly casual golf with friends until much later when I became a member of a club in Colorado.
What was your early career path ?
I went straight from university into a job as a buyer for a large sporting goods company, buying exclusively ski equipment and clothing for stores throughout the southwestern US. I then moved to Colorado and became a partner in a ski shop at the base of the mountain in Steamboat Springs. In 10 years, we had 10 shops throughout Colorado and Utah. I remained in Steamboat for 30 years before moving to England.
Your friendship with Tom Watson is well known, how did that come about ?
Tom and I went to the same school from an early age and have remained close friends ever since.
How did you end up in the UK and what were you doing here ?
Having a British wife provides the biggest clue! My parents both died years ago and Janine’s parents were both very active and healthy. After years of persuasion, she convinced me to move from Colorado to the southwest of England to be closer to them. I worked for American Golf when I arrived in the UK, first at St. Mellion and then on to manage one of their clubs in Hampshire.
Why and when did you apply for the GM's position here ?
Ironically, St. Enodoc was the first club in the UK to which I applied, in 2000. I did not get a response the first time around, when the Club hired Col Ian Waters. After my short stint with American Golf the GM’s position came up again due sadly to his unfortunate death. I was more successful the second time around and thus began a very happy run of years here.
What were your initial impressions of the Club when you started and what were the challenges you faced ?
Well, first impressions at St. Enodoc are usually very good and mine was no exception. I saw it first on a lovely sunny day so you can imagine my reaction. This place has a certain magic as we all know, once bitten never forgotten. It has been a real privilege to have been involved. I think the biggest challenge at St. Enodoc is to understand the enormous variety of members, their needs and wants and in many cases their long-standing connection with the Club. Navigating through that environment has been tricky.
What do you consider to be your biggest achievement(s) during your time at St.E ?
There have been many satisfying changes here since 2002 – upgrades to courses and facilities - but I suppose one of the most pleasing of them is the change to the overall atmosphere in the Club. The staff have all contributed hugely to creating a warm, friendly club for members and visitors alike. We get a constant stream of letters and emails congratulating the Club on the friendly feeling of St. Enodoc and that is very gratifying.
What will you miss most about your job and responsibilities ?
I will miss the interaction with the staff and the members. I will also miss being out on the courses and running some of the bigger events.
Will you be back to play with the Members ?
Most certainly. I hope to continue to support the Club teams and play some golf, both casually and in the Saturday comps.
Do you have some immediate post retirement plans ?
We actually have very few plans, other than a golf tour in July and a trip to the States later this summer. I’m sure plenty will come up to fill the calendar very soon. I will keep an open mind about what to do next!
Tuck & Janine with Past Captain Derek Kingsbury at a recent farewell luncheon