The General Manager of Helensburgh Golf Club in Argyll & Bute is hoping to take his career, and his club, to new heights after being selected as the first recipient of a professional development bursary.
The bursary has been provided by global leaders in irrigation innovation, design and supply, Rain Bird, in partnership with the Golf Club Managers’ Association (GCMA).
Kevin McAleer will begin his journey along the pathway to an ASQ Level 5 Diploma in Golf Club Management in April, alongside 54 other club managers and aspiring managers from around the UK.
Launched in 2016, the Diploma is run by the GCMA in partnership with the Professional Golfers Association and the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association. The golf-specific qualification covers all the core skills required to manage a golf club and is undertaken in the workplace at the candidate’s own pace, coupled with online and face to face workshops. Three students have already completed the qualification.
Kevin joined Helensburgh in November 2016 from the Gleddoch House Hotel and Golf Club, where he had been the Director of Golf and Estate Manager. He attained the PGA Diploma in 2000 while employed at the Normandy Golf Centre, and during his time at Gleddoch spent eight years managing a soil biology programme. He was one of five applicants who made the bursary shortlist, and attended an interview day in Birmingham where he impressed the panel with his presentation on the future of the golf industry.
Alastair Higgs, Rain Bird’s District Manager for Golf in the UK and Ireland said: “We are delighted to be able to give Kevin this opportunity and look forward to sharing his journey. His application and insightful presentation showed him to be a positive, progressive and hands-on manager. His interest in agronomy and appreciation of its role in club management was evident, as was his commitment to his club’s commercial success, the golf industry and his ongoing learning.
Rain Bird have been working closely with the GCMA to inform club managers of the many benefits good water management brings to their club, their golf course and the visitor experience. Offering this opportunity demonstrates our ongoing commitment to working with course and club managers to ensure that everyone involved in the game benefits from effective, efficient irrigation.”
On being selected, Kevin said: “The GCMA, PGA and BIGGA have come together to offer a qualification which perfectly suits the needs of the modern club manager. I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to embark upon a course which will not only develop my own skills and knowledge, but will also benefit Helensburgh Golf Club. I would like to thank the HGC Management Committee for their continuing support of my professional development.
I’m grateful to Rain Bird and the GCMA for their belief in me and for selecting me to receive the bursary from the shortlist of talented candidates. I am very much looking forward to getting started on the Diploma and to improving our water management practices with the support of Alastair and his colleagues at Rain Bird.”
Bob Williams, Chief Executive of the GCMA, said: “Reflecting an encouraging appetite for personal development amongst our members, all the applications were of a very high standard and we shortlisted some exceptional individuals.
Kevin was an outstanding candidate, and he shared some fascinating views on the future of the game. We are looking forward to helping his future development, alongside Rain Bird, and thank you to them for their generous support of this fantastic opportunity.”