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Innovation in focus at NZ Golf Managers Conference

POSTED ON December 5, 2018 @ 8:00 am

Last month Golf Managers New Zealand (GMANZ) 8th Biennial Conference took place in the world’s adventure capital Queenstown, NZ, and gathered golf club managers, officers and professionals from all over New Zealand, Australia and some 50 plus club managers from the USA, Canada and Europe.

The three-day-long event between October 9-11 was based around the theme of “Innovate -> Change – > Success” which offered up great opportunities for all delegates to network among peers in golf club management and tap into their invaluable combined experience, insights and support.

The conference highlighted a number of challenges facing the golf industry in New Zealand, with a primary outcome being the need for managers to be motivated, innovative and open to change so they can deliver a successful golfing experience to meet an ever-changing market.

The exhibition also gave industry suppliers the chance to showcase their various merchandise to key decision makers in golf club management, and offered conference attendees a peek of the latest developments in club management and operations.

This year the convention was conjointly hosted with The Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) BMI International Conference, which kicked of on October 4 at the Millennium hotel in downtown Queenstown.

The event marks the first occasion the CMAA has run its BMI International programme in the Southern Hemisphere and saw the invite of 50 of the top managers from the top clubs in the USA, Canada, Asia, New Zealand and Europe.

The GMANZ event opened with a mix and mingle event between the BMI/GMANZ delegates on the Monday night, followed by the annual golf tournament on the Tuesday morning ­– this year hosted by renowned Queenstown Golf Club.

The traditional Gala Dinner and Awards Night took place at the Wakatipu Room Skyline Restaurant, where MC Ross Bond officially opened the event along welcomes from GMANZ President Chris Davies and CMAA CEO Jeffery Morgan.

As always, some of the best speakers from Australia and New Zealand including sportsmen, politicians and business personalities and celebrities presented at the conference, including NZ Golf’s CEO Dean Murphy, Maori Cultural expert Ngahi Bidois, Golf Tourism New Zealand’s Executive Director Ryan Brandeburg, and CCM/CCE General Manager of Tara Iti Golf Club Matt Guzik.

All speakers constantly challenged delegates to be leaders and to strive for innovation. Dean Murphy’s (NZ Golf CEO) presentation outlined the challenges facing golf clubs and the initiatives New Zealand Golf are about to launch this summer to help change golf and drive membership growth. Initiatives like ‘Futures’ and ‘Flexiclub’ are new innovations that will keep the sport ahead of the competition.

Maori Cultural Expert Ngahi Bidois had a few key messages: “A winner is a loser who gave it one more try.”

“Leaders think and thinkers lead – look in the mirror, do I make the time to think.”

This year’s event also saw the new addition of an interactive “Hack fest”, on request from managers themselves based on previous conferences. During these sessions trends was laid bare on the table and thrashed around in a group setting to come up with innovative ways to grow club business.

Another highly interested topic was around the role of a board, the succession planning for key board roles, and the board training.

How can manager influence change with board and the overall direction of a club?

On the conference’s last day Golf Industry Central’s Managing Director Mike Orloff took place among the experts and dabbled questions regarding sustainability, the environment, inclusion, diversity and equality. 



The Golf Managers of New Zealand is a group of over 100 golf club managers and administrators employed in the industry across the country.

The Associations principal aims are to help managers with their everyday management of their clubs through providing forums for the exchange of views, experiences and information and to provide assistance with study grants. The Association also acts as a vehicle to represent their interests at the national and district level.

The Association has strong connection with overseas associations, in particular Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) and Golf Management Australia (GMA).

A special thanks to all GMANZ valued sponsors.

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