Q&A with Enville Golf Club Course Manager

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Q&A with Enville Golf Club Course Manager

Andy Wood, Course Manager at Enville Golf Club talks about maintaining his course, working through lockdowns and why pay needs to be improved in the greenkeeping industry.

Q: Please can you give a brief description of your background, your path to being a course manager, how did you learn, where did you study and how long have you now been at Enville Golf Club?

A: Course manager at Enville for four years, 20 years as a course manager in total previously managing Robin Hood Golf Club in Solihull and before that Cosby in Leicestershire. Prior to this being a deputy course manager at The Belfry and studying for my HND in turf science in golf management at Myerscough College and latterly my degree.

Q: What challenges are you and the team currently experiencing and how have you coped throughout the pandemic to maintain the course and what are your hopes for this season?

A: We have coped very well through the recent pandemic considering we had to reduce our team by over half for the first two lockdowns, however for the third one we were able to retain a full complement of staff which enabled us to carry a large amount of woodland and heathland management prior to golf returning. The club has ridden the challenges very well with fantastic green fee figures and a waiting list of over 80.

Q: You and the team managed to update the ‘Staff Welfare Facility’. What have you done exactly and what difference do you think this makes to the team?  

A: The welfare of my staff is of paramount importance to me – they are our most valuable asset. We have created a fantastic working environment, paid for with funds from our woodland management and the selling of wood.

We have managed to complete updating our staff welfare facility, a project started in the winter and designed and built and decorated by the team, with new skills acquired by some further enhancing our facility as we strive to be as professional as possible while giving our team the facilities they deserve to work and feel comfortable in when taking a well deserved break. It’s another step towards attracting people into our industry.

Q: What was the reason the club invested in a Tru Turf R511 greens roller, what difference have the members noticed to the green performance and how often will you be using it as part of your programme?

A: We use the Tru Turf approximately three times a week during the playing season, for larger tournaments we could be rolling morning and evening, we are fortunate to have a number of different rollers at the club and this seems to be the go-to roller with the staff. It’s easy and comfortable to operate and does the job it was brought in to do with ease. It’s simple to service and maintain and has been my roller of choice when purchasing for the last 10 years.

Q: It could be argued that the wages of greenkeeping staff are challenging when looking at the cost of living today. How do you think this affects the industry by way of, new recruits, staff retention, long term career advancement and what possible problems do you see ahead?

A: It’s not something I can really write about in a few lines because I think the subject is huge and so important.

I don’t think it’s any secret that it is getting more and more difficult to find people who want to come into our industry and when they do show an interest, they are often put off by the levels of pay compared to other areas of industry. Improvement of pay and staff welfare is something I have fought for at every club I have been at and have made good headway however we have a long way to go, with the likes of minimum wage increasing at a rapid rate and other industries upping their game in terms of pay and staff welfare to attract new candidates; I believe we are being left behind.

We have to focus and improve on the many positives in being involved in our profession – there are so many – education for one which has come on so much in the last 20 years but it’s a competitive world and if we are to compete with other industries to attract staff, we have to improve on the elephant in many a committee room – which is pay and staff welfare.

Enjoyed this Q&A?

Read our previous Q&A with Scotscraig Golf Club Course Manager, Chris Barnard.

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