Improving the committee experience for volunteers and club staff

By Mary Lou Watkins CMDip

Leaving MDP 1 my head was buzzing and I was just not sure what I could bring back to the Club that would give an immediate impact.

I had so many ideas for improvement but as a successful club why would we need to change anything, and how could I persuade others that we needed change?

The one area we really lacked structure was around governance and business planning and I set about reviewing what we could do to correct that.

I was very fortunate that our Captain was in agreement with me, and very quickly and successfully we completed a full review of this area, resulting in a business plan which had immediate and fantastic impact without too much hassle at all!

So what was the next step – the Captain and I decided to look at how we could further improve the Committee experience both for the volunteers and for the Administration Staff at the Club.

We posed three questions: –

  • How could we make their lives easier by having a one stop shop for important documentation?
  • How could we reduce the impact of “golf club business” e-mails being caught up with every day personal or work e-mails?
  • How could we reduce the time spent by administrative staff photocopying papers which were then distributed by post.

Our answers: –

  • We would create an individual e-mail address for every member of the Committee;
  • We would issue every Committee Member with an iPad in order to view their e-mails; and
  • We would utilise an App where all important Club documentation could be stored and easily viewed, such as the Clubs Business Plan and Committee Papers.

The creation of the individual Committee e-mail addresses makes it easy for every Committee Member to check their iPad daily for club e-mails and papers uploaded for future meetings. The iPads have become a much valued one stop shop for all Committee related business of the North Berwick Golf Club.

Internally, the impact to the administration has been huge, no longer do I spend hours photocopying and collating papers for dissemination to Committee Members by Royal Mail. I have seen days lost to that very task – but not now!

A Committee Meeting agenda, and supporting papers can be easily downloaded onto the iPads within 10 minutes. My time is better utilised on day to day matters and more pressing duties rather than photocopying.

The implementation of the iPads has also reduced photocopying charges, saved on paper and also gives the Committee Members quicker access to the agenda and papers for every meeting.

How many of your Captains, or Committee arrive at a meeting with everything they will ever need for the meeting at their fingertips, and no paper?

We have had teething problems, and like everything they have taken time to settle in but all in all it has been a very proactive step forward. There were many comments that it was “an extravagance”, “a waste of club money” and “another gimmick” however, yes the outlay was reasonable but the reduction in admin hours, paper costs, and postage more than covers the outlay.

And, the best bit of all was seeing Kevin Fish’s face, a member of North Berwick Golf Club, when he realised that this cutting edge governance was happening at his Club – priceless!!

We are, and will continue to be a traditional golf club with a modern operation, and these technological improvements have truly set a standard within our Committee of which we are very proud.

Mary Lou started work at The North Berwick Golf Club in October 2012, having previously practiced as a Specialised Paralegal in Licensing and Gambling Law for over 10 years. A career change was forced upon her due to redundancy, and the natural move for the keen golfer was to move to golf administration.

A member of Gullane Ladies Golf Club with a handicap of 4, she has held various positions in golfing administration over the years from Ladies Secretary at Gifford Golf Club to East Lothian Ladies County Captain. From the outset in her job at North Berwick she engaged in the CMAE MDP Programme and to date has completed four out of the five MDP courses. She achieved her Club Management Diploma in July 2014, and plans to sit CCM in the next few years.