Golf | 31 Aug 2017 | By Michael Vlismas

Lennox makes history as first woman to win top Club Manager award

Sandra Lennox, the General Manager at George Golf Club (centre) with Gary Geddes, Chairman of CMASA and Janyne Marais, General Manager of CMASA. Lennox received the Club Manager of the Year Award at the Club Management Association of South Africa’s (CMASA) Awards in Johannesburg this week. | Photo by CMASA

The Club Management Association of South Africa (CMASA) awarded its most prestigious title – the Club Manager of the Year – to a woman manager for the first time in its history at the association’s Annual Awards this week.

Sandra Lennox, the General Manager of George Golf Club, made history as the recipient of this award at the gala event on Monday at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

The CMASA Awards – in association with Jonas, TORO, Club Car, Syngenta and Tsogo Sun – recognises the top managers at South Africa’s sport and recreation clubs and is the pinnacle of achievement within the industry.

The judging took place over two months. Nominations were received from clubs for the relevant categories and presented to a judging panel of industry leaders and stakeholders.

Each of the 17 nominees underwent a 45-minute interview with the judging panel, after which the judges made their final decisions.

“I’m overwhelmed and absolutely thrilled,” Lennox said of her award, which took into consideration the achievements of all CEOs, General Managers and Club Managers at South Africa’s recreational clubs.

“This is such a proud moment for me, and I have received wonderful support from my team and the members of the club,” said Lennox, who joined George Golf Club as a Bookkeeper/Treasurer and then worked her way up to General Manager.

“CMASA has really helped me on this journey with all the courses I’ve been able to attend. They have really carried me. And to be the first woman to receive this award is also special. There are so many incredible women in the club industry now.”

As part of her award, CMASA will send Lennox on an all-expenses paid trip to the World Conference for Club Managers in San Francisco in February 2018.

“Sandra’s passion for her club, its members and the industry over the past 26 years is evident when you meet her and is acknowledged highly by her peers,” said Janyne Marais, the General Manager of CMASA.

“She is committed to continuous professional development and after completing a course in Club Management she started her journey to become a Certified Club Manager which she achieved in 2010, and was recertified in 2015. We are extremely proud of her and what she represents to our industry.”

The CMASA Awards also recognised the Young Manager of the Year, the inaugural Green Award, the Employee of the Year, and the Continuous Professional Development Award.

The 35-year-old Alfie Schneeberger, the Food and Beverage Manager at Durbanville Golf Club, received the Young Manager of the Year Award for, amongst others, his achievement in transforming the club’s halfway house menu to also result in a quicker turnaround for golfers.

The Green Award for the club that has shown support of and actively participates in CMASA’s environmental sustainability initiative went to Bryanston Country Club and its 15% reduction of municipal water usage as well as several other environmental initiatives.

Megan Spencer, the Financial Manager at Ruimsig Country Club, was named the Employee of the Year for her development of an integrated financial management system at the club.

Durbanville Golf Club received the Continuous Professional Development Award for committing 33% of their annual training budget to put 20 of their staff on CMASA training programmes.

Durbanville Golf Club’s General Manager, John Bold, was also recognised as a Certified Club Manager (CCM), joining only 17 such highly certified club managers in South Africa.

“The awards process was initiated to not only acknowledge those employees and team leaders who go the extra mile, but also to create a focus on service standards in the industry, ensuring that we exceed the expectations of our members and guests and emphasising the importance of continuous professional development of staff at all levels in the industry,” said Marais.

“CMASA is a proud and professional association set to improve the education, skills and abilities of management within the recreation and sports club structures.”