Killarney Golf & Fishing Club is nestled within Irelands largest National Park on the shores of Lough Leane with stunning vistas of the highest mountain range in the country – the McGillicuddy Reeks. The three golf courses offer a unique challenge to every standard of golfer, from the local society to the world’s greatest tour players. Home to the Irish Open in 2010 & 2011 this club really is the cream of the crop. Lets meet the General Manager, Dingle native, Mr. Cormac Flannery and learn a little more.
What attracted you to golf?
It was in 1998 I was in transition year in school and we went to Ceann Sibeal Golf Club and I was given a 6 iron and I parred my 1st hole! After that it went downhill for a few years but eventually I became a decent player. After working in a restaurant and focussing on brining my handicap down I decided that maybe I could make a career out of this. I went onto the University of Birmingham and studied Applied Golf Management Studies and I was the first Irish man to complete the BSc Hons programme.
Whilst at Uni I did 3 Summer work placements including 2010 & 2011 in Killarney Golf & Fishing Club for the Irish Open. I applied & got offered a fantastic opportunity of moving to the Middle East and working under Troon Golf where I spent the next 3 years, before moving back and finding my place in Killarney Golf & Fishing Club.
Is the weather your biggest challenge?
It can have a huge impact on plans for the season for example last year (December 2015) there was extensive flooding, when the Lakes of Killarney overflowed. We didn’t have access to the clubhouse for almost a month, and it was almost 5 months before all courses were open. There was a huge knock-on effect on our winter plans as we had to focus on repairing flood damages and getting open asap.
What part of your job do members not understand?
In my experience members are usually very understanding if things are explained properly to them. It is vitally important to keep the Membership happy.
What is the most time consuming area of managing a golf course?
3 Golf Courses, Clubhouse & surrounds, Food & Beverage, Financial Performance, Sales and Marketing, HR management etc… The list goes on. It is a challenging role and no two days are the same but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What is the hardest thing about being a GM?
Probably balancing membership satisfaction and the financial performance. Sometimes to achieve one you will end up impacting the other. This is really a balancing act!
How many hours do you work in a typical week?
In the winter time, it would be 40-45 hours and in the summer time it would be more up around 55 hours a week but it is great to be in the great outdoors, winter or summer time!
What part of your job do you most enjoy?
I enjoy when a member, guest, employee, supplier notices when a new change has really benefitted them or their enjoyment at the club. Our goal is to make KGFC the number one golf club in Ireland of which to be a member, and the number one club to visit.
Who do you look to for inspiration?
I have had 4 main mentors in golf, David Keating, Head Professional at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club, Michael Braidwood, Director of Education for CMAE (Club Manager’s Association of Europe) and PGA Professional, thirdly it would be DJ Flanders, International Vice President of Troon Golf and PGA Professional, and last but not least Matt Borocz, Assistant General Manager and Director of Golf at TPC Sawgrass.
What would you do if you weren’t a GM?
Immediately it would be a self-employed teaching professional, even though when I was a child I did always want to be a butterfly!