Call for clubs to employ younger staff

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 18, 2013 10:27

The head greenkeeper of a leading golf club has said that private members’ golf clubs will continue to struggle as long as their committees stick to a mindset that only older people can manage their clubs, and fail to employ younger staff.

Mathew Cropper, who is 24 and is the head greenkeeper at Dodington Park Estate in Gloucestershire, is looking to manage a golf club and has a string of suitable qualifications. However, whenever he attends interviews he finds the clubs are not interested in taking him on because they want someone at least 20 years older as a manager.

“When I enter the interview stages most committees seem surprised that I’m not 20 or 30 years older,” he said, “and have an attitude that I’m far too young to comprehend the workings of a club, relinquishing what I have achieved.”

Cropper has worked as a greenkeeper at golf clubs, including Wentworth and Chipping Sodbury, for eight years and has achieved significant greenkeeping qualifications plus put himself through distance learning and evening college courses on business management, bookkeeping and accounts, employment law and social media marketing for businesses. However, despite the impressive CV, committees of struggling clubs have been unwilling to take him on – something he thinks is a mistake.

“Golf clubs are promoting the game to the younger generation, but it’s seen by them as an old man’s game,” he said.

“This is where clubs need a facelift and adopt a youthful employment structure that will see them into the future and generate a family-friendly feel.

“Is experience and the more mature personnel the safest option rather than the right one?”

Ryan O’Connor, general manager of Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club in Lancashire, who was 27 when he first became a golf club manager, responded: “I already had deep operational experience by the time I became a manager – not just the certificates. I think sometimes people forget how competitive the market is, and a proven track record means a lot.”

Earlier this year Gordon Forster, 37, was named a Golf Club Managers’ Association ‘Manager of the Year’ finalist. He has been managing golf clubs since he was 28.

However, very few golf clubs have managers in their 20s or 30s.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 18, 2013 10:27
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  1. Alistair Reid December 17, 17:26

    As one of the older generation, I have been finding the opposite. There is a desire to employ younger ‘professionals’ at the expense of the those with management experience, though not necessarily in the golf world. I wouldn’t be too hard and fast about it. Much depends on the ethos of the club. If it’s private and financially sound, it is their right to choose whom they wish and whom they think will best fit in.

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  2. Guy Riggott October 24, 18:51

    Productivity and performance are the measurement of future success, not age. Let us not forget that it’s a discriminatory offence to vet a position based on age – young or old. The headline to this article sends out a very dangerous message.

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  3. Matthew Orwin October 24, 10:27

    I would imagine finding a private-members club that would even look at someone below 40 years of age is impossible. Look at it as their loss though. I suggest approaching some of the multi-site operators – The Club Company, Crown Golf, Burhill et al. They have a much better attitude when it comes to employing young people.

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  4. Three Oaks (@TOHospitality) October 21, 22:25

    Call for clubs to employ younger staff: #GolfClubs #GolfCourses #GolfManagement @gcm_mag

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  5. @dtsdavey October 18, 16:09

    “@GCM_mag: #GolfClubManagement Call for clubs to employ younger staff” 100% agree !

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  6. Ellie Parry (@groundsmaiden) October 18, 12:56

    Head Greenkeeper calls on #golf clubs to consider younger applicants for management roles (via @GCM_mag)

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  7. 19th Hole Social (@19th_holesocial) October 18, 11:39

    #Golf #Panthersocial Call for clubs to employ younger staff – The head greenkeeper of a leading golf club has said…

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