None of us want to do it and very few actually do, so why is being on a golf club committee such a grind? One expert explains how we can make it all so much easier

Being on a golf club committee is perhaps the sport’s most thankless task. A parade of meetings, constantly attracting the ire of grumbling members, and many hours of work for no financial reward?

It’s probably easier to get blood out of a stone than to convince many of us to become a committee member but these volunteers are utterly essential when it comes to the running of our clubs.

Governance expert Jerry Kilby, speaking on NCG’s From the Clubhouse podcast, says: “I don’t blame people for saying, ‘Look all I want to do is pay my subscription, turn up when I want to play golf, go out and enjoy my game, have a drink with some friends afterwards, then go home and do it all again a week later.’ They don’t want to get involved. They’ve got busy lives.”

But if you’ve ever wanted to know how your club operates – from how committee structures to work to how clubs react when things go wrong – Jerry covers it in a wide-ranging chat.

He says: “What I ask every member of a club to do, as a very minimum, is just respect the difficulty that those well-meaning volunteers have and understand that they aren’t always able to make the decisions that benefit members personally.”

Jerry also outlined three key things all members can do to make the task of committee members a little easier – and ensure our experiences at our clubs is just a little bit more enjoyable.

Read what the committee send out to you 

“Newsletters, updates from the chairman or treasurer, or whatever it happens to be. Please read them.

“I frequently find committee members saying there’s no point because [they] send out this information and then, two weeks later, get somebody coming up to [them] in the bar and saying, ‘Why are you doing this?’ ‘Well, did you read the information we sent?’ ‘No, I didn’t read it.’

“Whether you agree with it or not, that’s your freedom, but please read it because it’s important.”

Respond to surveys

This is an easy and quick way for your views to be known. The committee, when they look at surveys will say, ‘Great, of our 700 members we had 500 people respond and so we’ve got a very good cross section of views that are represented in our survey.’

“So please, please, when your committee send you your survey, take a few minutes to complete it and register your views.”

Attend the AGM – and vote!

“Try, as much as is possible, to attend your Annual General Meeting. Try and vote, and for somebody who you think is going to represent your views as best as possible from the candidates that are up for election. It’s part of the democratic process, isn’t it?

“If we think of this democratic process in government, part of our responsibility as a good citizen is, I believe, that when it comes to general election time is to vote if you can – unless something is preventing you from doing so.

“The more people vote, the better the chance the people we elect will represent us. When the turnout is small, the chances of a particular faction of views being represented is greater.

“That can equally happen in a golf club as it can in central government. Please turn up to AGMs, or vote by post, or however the rules allow you to do so.

“Express your right to vote.”

The From the Clubhouse podcast with governance expert Jerry Kilby

You can listen to the full episode in the player below, or on your preferred podcast platform.

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Steve Carroll

A journalist for 23 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former captain and committee member, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the national Tournament Administrators and Referee's Seminar. He has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying and the PGA Fourball Championship. A member of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap.

Handicap: 10.9

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