CMASA 2019 Annual Conference Report

It was our biggest one yet! Two action packed days of education, information sharing and networking between a vested group of 143 delegates, consisting of CEO’s, General Managers, club employees, committee members and industry stakeholders working in the club industry in South Africa and abroad, took place at CMASA’s annual conference.

“I am so proud of how CMASA has grown! It is now professionally run and provides us, as inspiring industry professionals, to develop our skill sets and grow our passion for what we do, so that we can successfully lead our clubs into the future.”- Damien Wrigley, General Manager, Pearl Valley.

We are extremely proud of this year’s event. Not only was it a success in terms of education, training and networking, it was also the first of many “Environmentally Friendly” CMASA Conference. Below are the initiatives we took, alongside Houghton Golf Club and GEO OnCourse, to ensure our 2019 Annual Conference was a sustainable one, hopefully setting the trend for many future events in the industry.

To achieve our goal of being a Sustainable Conference, Earth Probiotic installed a bokashi system comprising 100L bins and Earth Bokashi. In terms of impact, over the two days of the conference they collected 76.8kg of food waste. This was composted at their site in Randpark Ridge through their composting machine.

To read the full report, CLICK HERE

Earth Probiotic also gave away four Bokashi Bins through a lucky draw throughout the two days.

Attendees had the great pleasure of listening to many powerful and passionate local speakers as well as two international keynote speakers. Jeff Blunden from GBAS, Australia joined us again this year and we welcomed John Kemp, from OnCourse, GEO as a first-time speaker at our Annual Conference.

Jeff Blunden from GBAS, made another trip from Australia as CMASA’s appointed research services provider, to share his expertise in delivering independent value-added advice to many clients across the full spectrum of the club industry. His opinions, insights and recommendations are underpinned by vast experience and an enduring commitment to delivering industry research. Jeff shared some preliminary insights from the 2019 Operational Survey such as;


John Kemp, flew in from Scotland to share his insights and recommendations on sustainability in the club industry. Providing the delegates with some ideas on how to increase sustainability within their clubs. Leading to OnCourse. In the days following the conference, we have already had 5 new OnCourse registrations. OnCourse are now working closely with 5 clubs as they progress towards GEO Certification. GEO OnCourse are also now progressing with Silver Lakes to take them though the Recertification process - this will be the first Recertification in SA!

Dale Hayes was this years Master of Ceremonies. It was truly insightful to experience the
vast knowledge that Dale has of the history of golf, and in-between sessions, gave the delegates some fun-facts and great stories which made us aware of how far we have all come, giving this year’s event an extra inspiring kick.

“In the tough times we are facing, a conference like this is needed to get us focusing on the things that must be done and to motivate us again.” – Neels Gerber, General Manager of Mogol Golf Club.

Highlights from the two days

Monday, 26th August 2019

Bringing CMASA to Life - Click Here to watch the CMASA Video!

Our opening speaker was Peter van Kets. Peter is a Professional Adventurer and Inspirational Speaker. His presentation, RESOLVE, provided the delegates with a new look at how to foster passion, then harness that passion to create discipline and to construct a process which will drive passion and discipline towards significant success.

“Incredible opening morning. CMASA video was inspirational. Peter is Mad but really makes you think. I just love NYAMAZELA (to push through hard times) – Paul Leishman, General Manager of Bryanston Country Club.

FNB Economist, Siphamandla Mkhwanazi presented on the state of the South African economy. Sharing statistics and insights on what the current state of the economy is, and what we can possibly expect in the future, providing the delegates with a brief outlook on the subject matter.

Sarah Hoffman, Director at The Digital Law Firm, presented on the Legal, Disciplinary and Reputational risks of Social Media, which covered the below elements;
  • The social media landscape in South Africa;
  • The legal considerations of using social media, including defamation, privacy, hate speech, crime injuria and intellectual property;
  • Business confidentiality in a world of over sharing; managing brand reputation on social media;
  • Confidentiality and insider trading risks/offences; straddling the personal / professional divide on social media;
  • Employment law issues;
  • Personal reputation management on social media

Bart IJssel de Schepper and Craig Thomson from Retail Tribe shared the success stories of how several clubs have each created substantial improvement in EBITDA. The session showed how the club organisation can be better aligned to deliver value to the member creating substantial increases in membership subscription revenues (accelerated member acquisition and improved retention); more rounds and greater spend per round (activation).

Francois Swart, CEO of Randpark finished up the first day with his session, Food & Beverage Trends – The taste of the future. Food and beverage service are a vital part of a club’s business and can often make or break the experience. Francois shared some insights on the trends that are driving consumer behavior and explains how this can be used to grow revenue within your club

Tuesday, 27th August 2019

The second day of the conference started with a BANG! Robin Banks, South Africa’s leading authority on Mind Power and a highly sought-after International speaker was our opening speaker for the second day of conference. His ultimate desire is to empower people to take charge of their lives and create a brighter future for themselves, their community and their country. Robins motivational session gave everyone the boost they were needing, while making everyone laugh and even dance! His session was definitely a highlight of the conference and remember – DON’T FORGET TO BE AWESOME!

“A job well done! Robin Banks was extraordinary in his motivational talk. I would recommend as many Clubs as possible to send representatives to this annual conference as we receive a lot of useful information that will help to make the Club industry world class! – Heidi Strydom, Financial Manager at Paarl Golf Club

The upbeat motivational sessions continued as Rob Arnold from RCA Consulting, presented on Leadership 2.0 – Building a People-Centric Culture. One of the most significant challenges we face as organisational leaders is the mobilisation of different personalities towards a singular set of objectives. Robs session focused on the tools and tactics you can implement to foster a more cohesive, people-focused team. By bullet-proofing the internal working relationships of your organisation, we set ourselves up for a more consistent member value proposition & offering. It's time to challenge convention, to re-evaluate and re-invent.

Tanja Potgieter, Senior Tax Manager for PWC, presented on the Tax Status and Exemptions for Recreational Clubs. Tanja gave the delegates a more in depth look at the Recreational Tax Guide and an overview on what the Exemption Status means. Tax Guide - Click here

Ian James CEO of Retail Tribe presented The New Service Organisation - The new definition of service. Ian challenged the view that we have departments that manage transactions which should support a transactional P&L. Ian provided insights on how whether you run a ‘supper club’; ‘health club’; or country club; this leads us down the road of flawed business decisions. It also fails to align the staff to deliver value.

“A very well organised and thought out conference, content was informative, and most speakers were engaging and entertaining in their delivery. Awesome networking opportunity and learning of other clubs and what they are contributing to the industry.” – Mandy Adamson, Marketing Manager at Glendower Golf Club

Following Jeff Blunden’s session on Monday, Francois Swart presented his second session, Financial Insights – applying the language of finance to clubs. Francois provided the delegates with some insights on how to explain the Club business to your boards, using financial language which helps them to better understand the business and industry trends, by demonstrating what you need is data, information and insight.

Paul Leishman, General Manager of Bryanston Country Club gave his session, Are you MAD? Paul gave the delegates a breakdown on how you can Make A Difference as a club to benefit and uplift the community.

Using examples from other clubs in the country, Paul provided everyone with some facts on how they are MAD and gave ideas on how you can be MAD!

“Well themed and planned event. Great networking and awesome to see how much interest and attendance has grown!”- Vian Schoeman, Financial Manager at Bryanston Country Club

This year’s conference was one to be remembered! We look forward to hosting the 2020 Annual Conference in Kwa-Zulu Natal. We can’t wait to see you there!

Are you up for a Challenge?

We challenge every club that attended this year, to bring another club that has not attended the past two conferences i.e. 2018/2019 to the 2020 conference, and the GM/CEO will receive a 50% discount on their delegate fee.

Further details to follow in due course.

“Wonderful conference. Great vibe, good learning and as always, the best networking. How high can this bar go? Well done team CMASA, 2020 here we come KZN.” – Gary Geddes, General Manager of Durban Country Club