Adrian Boyle’s appointment as the next General Manager at Wakehurst Golf Club was as perfectly suited as it was unexpected.
A Wakehurst junior who completed his PGA Traineeship at Cromer Golf Club before spending 17 years as the Assistant at Northbridge Golf Club, Boyle joined Andrew Webster as an Assistant Professional two years ago.
On June 1 Boyle will effectively become Webster’s boss when he takes over from retiring GM Glen Hickey, a position he wasn’t seeking yet feels his history at the club and two decades in the golf industry gives him the ideal skillset to undertake.
“If you’d said to me three years ago that I was going to be the next General Manager at Wakehurst I probably would have laughed at you,” says Boyle, who completed his traineeship at Cromer in 2000.
“One of the reasons that they have employed me is that they realise I’m a Wakehurst person at heart and I’m here for the right reasons and want the club to be successful.
“It’s a nice change to have that attitude from a golf club.
“I’ve got a couple of friends who are general managers and I thought it was something that I would like to do.
“I’d had enough of being in the pro shop and I felt that in this role I could give a lot more back, that I can make a difference at the club and where it’s going.”
Boyle is the latest in a growing trend of PGA Professionals moving into management positions at golf clubs. He believes that a Professional’s grounding in all aspects of golf makes them the ideal candidate to shape the future direction of a club.
“When it was announced that Glen was retiring I was having a discussion with a then committee member and she was wondering what business they were going to bring someone in from,” Boyle says.
“I spent five minutes explaining to her why I thought it was a golf person’s job but she had the belief that you had to bring in someone with a business background first and foremost.
“Having a PGA Professional with a golf background in my opinion is now more important than ever.
“Most Trainees who come out of the program are learning how to run a business and the PGA provides opportunity for further study in that area for those who want to go down that road.
“It’s really a no-brainer and I think more clubs are realising that it is really a golf job.
“A PGA Professional has that passion and love for the game and that not only comes out in the job but provides longevity as well.
“If I spend the next 20 years at Wakehurst I’ll be very happy.”
Attracting a younger demographic to the club and more female golfers is one of Boyle’s stated aims when he commences his new role in less than a month’s time, an objective he can target with mentors past and present that he can call on.
Since his days under Brad Wall at Cromer and Ray McGlinn at Northbridge to the past two years spent working alongside Andrew Webster and Glen Hickey, Boyle says he has been extremely fortunate with the quality of people he has worked under.
Hickey will only be a phone call away should he ever need some guidance while Webster will be a key ally in Wakehurst’s future growth.
“He still thinks he’s going to boss me around so that’s OK,” the former assistant says of his new working relationship with Wakehurst’s Head Professional.
“I bought my first new set of clubs off Andrew when I was 13 years old so it’s quite funny how it’s all worked out.
“When I missed out on the job at Northbridge two years ago Andrew offered me a position here at Wakehurst and as soon as I got back there it felt like going back home.
“It’s funny how it’s all worked out in the end.
“Andrew and I are very open and honest with each other. We know there will be times when we’ll butt heads but we also know we’ll be able to work together really well.
“I’ve seen the challenges that Andrew and the team face in the pro shop every day so if they ever need anything hopefully I can help in that regard.
“I know how everything works and I know all the staff so I don’t expect the transition period to be too difficult.
“There are ins and outs with contract negotiations and council stuff that Glen has been managing for a long time but that’s all stuff I can pick up and be guided through. Having Glen as a mentor is going to be very helpful.”
Perhaps the greatest adjustment won’t in fact happen at Wakehurst but in the wardrobe at home.
“Mike Mosher just sent me a picture of a suit the other day,” says Boyle, laughing.
“There won’t be too much tie-wearing going on but there will definitely be a bit of a change to the wardrobe.”
Image: Wakehurst Golf Club