IT'S a few months since Maurice O’Meara joined the team in Monkstown, and the experienced golf club manager is settling into his hew role.
Having previously worked as general manager in Killarney, Dooks and The Island, O’Meara has seen all aspects of the game in Ireland over the last 20 years.
And the Dublin native jumped at the opportunity to take on the GM role in Monkstown when the vacancy arose during the summer.
“During my years in golf club management and from my time in Dooks and Killarney, I would have had regular interaction with members of Monkstown as we had a lot of visiting groups from Cork and also a lot of dual members” explained Maurice.
“What I would have heard of Monkstown was very positive, and this was very important in my decision to take up the role here. Like any club Monkstown has faced challenges over the last number of years, however, the club is in a great place now, with a thriving membership.
"It’s been great to see the popularity of golf with both the young and older generations, the demand for members golf is at an all-time high which is wonderful to see.”
Getting to know the team in Monkstown was one of the first tasks that Maurice set for himself and he’s delighted with all areas of the business.
"The team here is fantastic, there is a real can-do attitude and a very strong work ethic,” said O’Meara.
“Martin and his team of greenkeepers have a wealth of knowledge and experience and they have carried out sterling work during the year. We took the opportunity of lockdown to carry out lots of improvements on the course that may not necessarily have happened.
"The course is presented so well at the moment and it’s great to receive such positive feedback from golfers. We have had to work very hard on the admin side of things and Gillian Devine has returned to the club which she is a great asset for me and the club.
"Gillian brings a vast amount of experience from her previous time at the club. Our caterers Debbie and Alan and their team have done an amazing job working within difficult Covid restrictions to look after the members and visitors providing great food and service throughout the year.”
With two PGA professionals working from the club, and a new dedicated Trackman studio, the members have a full range of services available.
“Our head PGA professional Cian McNamara and assistant head PGA professional Shane Irwin are a fantastic team and run the pro shop in such a great manner. We had great news last week when Shane received his qualification as a full PGA Professional after completing his exams.
"With the introduction of our new trackman room the services that are available to members which are second to none. The development of junior, team golf and coaching is at the forefront of Cian’s and Shane’s daily activity which is great to see.
"I am very grateful to all the team for their support and assistance they have given me in my first few months.”
Monkstown represents a slightly different proposition for Maurice, his previous roles in Kerry and Dublin saw him spend a lot of his time on the tourist market.
"It was an area where he became very proficient and he went on to establish his own inbound golf tourism business. As well as that he was also the GM in Killarney when the Kerry course hosted the Irish Open in 2010 and 2011.
"While the golfer mix in Monkstown is more focused on the domestic market, that brings different opportunities.
“Having worked at some of the more resort orientated courses, it’s been great to work at a predominantly members orientated club. I have had to adjust my approach to certain aspects of the management of the club, but like all things in life, it’s nice to challenge yourself.
" With my experience in other clubs, I have been able to harness that experience and use this to the advantage of Monkstown. We have a very forward-thinking committee with a great Chairperson in place in Gavin O’Neill.
"Over the last few weeks, we have developed a three-year plan for the club. Our priority is to improve all aspects of the product and experience here at Monkstown for both members and visitors alike.
"In 2021 we are carrying out a number of cap-ex projects and shortly we will take delivery of a new fleet of state-of-the-art buggies.”