CMAE celebrates Damien Connolly joining CCM ranks

The CMAE is delighted to announce that Damien Connolly has gained the internationally renowned Certified Club Manager (CCM) certification.  

With over 18 years of dedicated experience in the golf industry, Damien is currently Director of Consulting Services at My Golf Group. Damien has previously worked for Synergy Golf, Confederation of Golf in Ireland (Golf Ireland) and Target Golf Management.

This esteemed certification is granted by the Club Management Association of Europe (CMAE) and recognises excellence and professionalism in club management.

The CCM designation has been the hallmark of professionalism in club management since 1965 and is the cornerstone of CMAE’s education programme. It is recognised globally as a valuable and widely respected mark of a manager’s commitment to professional development and the club industry.

Well done on achieving the CCM, Damien. You have been working with Golf for a long time now and in multiple roles – what made you decide that you wanted to become a Certified Club Manager

I am thrilled to have achieved my CCM, and the reality of it is still sinking in. With nearly two decades of experience in the golf industry, I’ve had the privilege of meeting numerous incredible individuals along the way. Attending MDP1 in Wales provided me with the opportunity to spend some extended time with CCM-designated presenters for the first time. Their exceptional knowledge and understanding of the industry truly stood out to me and served as a source of inspiration. Witnessing their expertise inspired me to pursue the CCM designation myself. I believe that attaining this certification will not only enhance my professional skills but also give clubs I engage with confidence in my ability to assist them.

With regards to your career – now you work as “Director of Consulting Services” with My Golf Group, what does that actually mean

As the Director of Consulting Services at mygolfGroup, my role revolves around helping clubs enhance their operations in various key areas. We specialise in governance improvement, facilitating business plan creation, guidance on day-to-day operations, recruitment strategies, team training, member engagement, digital management solutions, and sales and marketing optimisation. Over the past couple of years, we’ve assembled a knowledgeable team dedicated to supporting clubs in these critical areas. With their expertise and backing, we provide timely and tailored support to clubs when they need it most. From streamlining governance structures to implementing effective marketing strategies, we’re committed to helping clubs thrive in the business of golf. Day-to-day, I work closely with committees, managers, and club teams directly, plus I oversee the operations of our consulting team, ensuring that we deliver high-quality services and meet the unique needs of each club we assist. As a business, one of our primary goals is to help as many clubs as possible “improve at the business of golf”. I actively contribute to this by sharing insights and best practices through written articles and educational opportunities such as the CMAE Friday Forums. Now that I have completed my CCM studies, I look forward to dedicating more time to sharing information with clubs in the future.

What do you remember the most from you CCM journey – and what would you recommend anyone thinking about going for it?

At the start of my journey, I thought I would try to complete the CCM exam within a four-year period by swiftly attending each MDP course. However, what I learned along the way was the importance of taking my time and embracing the learning journey. Rather than rushing through the MDP weeks, I discovered that by immersing myself in the material, reviewing it thoroughly, and implementing it over a longer term, I gained the most from the educational opportunities. Obtaining the CCM is indeed a learning journey, and I found that allowing myself the time to absorb and apply the knowledge from the MDP courses was immensely beneficial. I wholeheartedly recommend to others in the industry to embark on the MDP pathway. The education gave me a sense of confidence in my abilities and reassurance knowing that fellow ‘family’ members are facing similar challenges. Remember, it’s about the journey rather than the destination. Take your time, absorb the knowledge, and don’t rush. There’s no need to hurry!

Finally, what will happen next? What is your plans from now?

Once the excitement of achieving my CCM certification has settled in, I look forward to a more balanced schedule where I can spend more time with my family and play some more golf. While obtaining the CCM marks a significant milestone, I don’t view my education as complete. Education is a continuous journey, and I’m enthusiastic about seeking out further opportunities for growth in the years ahead. Whether it’s attending the World Conference or exploring additional MDPs through the CMAE, I’m committed to expanding my knowledge and skills. Furthermore, I look forward to meeting more members of the CMAE Family and playing a role in supporting their educational journey. Building connections within our industry community and contributing to the growth and development of fellow professionals is something I find immensely rewarding. In essence, while achieving the CCM certification is a significant achievement, it marks not the end but rather a milestone in my ongoing quest for learning and personal development.