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Top UK award for Llanishen Golf Club

.L-R: Adrian Jones – Professional, Andrew Hulse – Assistant manager, Mark Wilshire – Head Greenkeeper, Martin Stevens – General Manager, Bob Williams – GCA Chief Exec)

Staff and members at Llanishen Golf Club are celebrating winning a top national award from the Golf Club Managers Association, a culmination of hard work increasing both revenue and membership.
The Cardiff based club won the GCMA Team of the Year Award at the ceremony held in De Vere Cotswold Water Park, for general manager Martin Stevens, head greenkeeper Mark Wilshire and club professional Adrian Jones.
They have been a major part of the efforts which have seen Llanishen go from 120 member vacancies to a full membership and a waiting list of 25.
The club have worked closely with Wales Golf to run New2Golf schemes for women, girls and boys, as well as Girls Golf Cymru, so they have a thriving junior section as well as a rapidly increasing ladies membership.
Revenues from the bars and restaurant have also increased, along with work on the condition of the course, and they overcame the challenge of Chigwell golf club in Essex to claim the GCMA award.
“Whilst the Team of the Year was based on three individuals it was also massive for the club, something we are all proud of and a reflection of the work done by the whole team here at Llanishen,” said Stevens.
“It was fantastic, we had no idea until our name was announced and nice to get the award in front of club representatives from all around the UK which also made it special.
“For the three of us it was the highlight of our careers and hopefully that is the case for everyone else involved in the club as well.”
Wales Golf chief executive Richard Dixon added his congratulations, “It is great to see a Welsh club getting an award like this at a UK level, a reward for the hard work they have put in.
“They were on the shortlist for Wales Golf Club of the Year last year, so the changes at the Llanishen are certainly being recognised by a wider audience, helping to put the club on the map.
“They work closely with our development team on schemes such as New2Golf and Girls Golf Cymru – an example of how those schemes can be used effectively to transform the membership levels at the club.”
The GCMA award came after a rigorous process. “You have to be nominated by a fellow GCMA member, specifying three people in your club, put in an initial application and from that we made it to the final two clubs.
“The selection panel made a visit to the golf club, then two of us went to Copt Heath golf club for a day of scrutiny including a sort of Dragons Den exercise.
“We had a mystery shopper call enquiring about membership and then we were scored on all those things.
“We are proud of the progress we have made. The customer service means everyone here enjoys their job, the second element is revenue and membership is always the biggest part of that.
“We have gone from a membership which was 120 short, to being full with 25 on the waiting list. We have done that with very little advertising but relying on word of mouth in South Wales.
“We have worked with Theo Baker and Simon Lu at Wales Golf to run New2Golf, which has seen 30 new women and girls members.
“We have signed up to the commitments in the R&A Women in Golf Charter, becoming the second club in Wales to do so.
“We have an eye for the future, running New2Golf for boys and Girls Golf Cymru. We have tripled the number of members below the age of 35, looking to bring the average age of the membership down.”