THE CLUB­HOUSE PART 2 Fa­mil­iar­ity breeds con­tempt. But it can also in­spire con­fi­dence. The lat­ter was the case for New Zealand Golf CEO Dean Murphy, when it came to the abil­ity of The Club­house to take charge of Sep­tem­ber’s New Zealand Women’s Open.

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - CONTENTS -

The sec­ond part in our story on The Club­house and Michael Gold­stein.

Michael Gold­stein had only re­cently es­tab­lished the com­pany, when it was handed the deal to pro­mote and take op­er­a­tional con­trol of New Zealand's first ever LPGA event.

On the face of it, it seemed like a big gam­ble on New Zealand Golf Inc's part.

But scratch a lit­tle deeper and the rea­son for Murphy's con­fi­dence is clearer.

“A lot of peo­ple have said that to me,” he told NZGM.

“But to me it wasn't new and I was very keen to give the li­cense to The Club­house re­ally early on. I've known Michael for five or six years and worked with him a lot. He and I had talked about (at­tain­ing LPGA sta­tus) a lot. I had faith in what The Club­house were do­ing.” The tim­ing was also key. Tuohy As­so­ciates had pre­vi­ously had the li­cense and gar­nered reg­u­lar praise for the stan­dard of the event through­out its ten­ure in Christchurch.

How­ever, the li­cense had ex­pired, of­fer­ing the op­por­tu­nity to try some­thing new.

“That was a nice, el­e­gant way to tran­si­tion. We were pretty happy with Bob (Tuohy) as well. TA had done a great job for women's golf for a long pe­riod of time – it was just ev­ery­thing re­ally lined up. We re­ally wanted to take the tour­na­ment to the next level and Michael shared that vi­sion. It wasn't a re­flec­tion of where TA were at but that we were look­ing to do some­thing dif­fer­ent and I thought The Club­house were the peo­ple to do it.”

It wasn't just talk that con­vinced Murphy The Club­house was up to the task.

He had seen both Gold­stein and his part­ner Mel Gim­blett in ac­tion from an op­er­a­tional sense, as key mem­bers of Tour­na­ment Di­rec­tor Michael Glad­ing's team at the New Zealand Men's Open in Queen­stown.

In re­turn, Gold­stein con­tracted Glad­ing as the Client Ser­vices Di­rec­tor for the LPGA event, task­ing him with con­vinc­ing play­ers to come to New Zealand and then man­ag­ing what their ex­pe­ri­ence was when they were here.

“Ev­ery­body knows that one of Michael's great strengths is how good he is with peo­ple,” said Gold­stein.

“Player ex­pe­ri­ence is a huge part of an LPGA tour­na­ment so Michael was a re­ally im­por­tant part of our team.”

For some, the switch of roles for Gold­stein and Glad­ing has the hint of a coup, with the ap­pren­tice seem­ingly try­ing to mus­cle in on the mas­ter's ter­ri­tory. Could Gold­stein be about to usurp his men­tor and take over the men's event?

Gold­stein finds the sug­ges­tion laugh­able.

“Mil­brook Tour­na­ments or­gan­ise the men's tour­na­ment and we help them. Michael Glad­ing is the Tour­na­ment Di­rec­tor and we work for him. The Club­house helps with tour­na­ment op­er­a­tions and mar­ket­ing and sales. I've worked with Michael for six or seven years and am go­ing back into that mode now for next year's event.”

Dean Murphy has no doubt the Gold­stein/Glad­ing part­ner­ship and if any­thing ex­pects the two opens to ben­e­fit from their re­la­tion­ship.

“We used all of that con­tin­gency plus some, but some of the sup­pli­ers were amaz­ing in terms of what we needed to do for Mon­day. With (the ex­tra day) there are some costs that you can’t get around, in­clud­ing hav­ing to cater for an­other four or five hun­dred peo­ple.”

“I think the part­ner­ships we now have with the men's and women's to­gether – you'll only see them get closer over time. My whole ethics around these cham­pi­onships is part­ner­ing with the right peo­ple to get things done. The men's event is fan­tas­tic and the women's start was good too which shows what can hap­pen if you let go of the ego a bit and share the re­spon­si­bil­ity with very good, ca­pa­ble peo­ple who are driven and have good con­nec­tions. We're in pretty good space com­pared to where we were five or six years ago.”

Murphy's faith ap­pears to have been re­warded in spades.

It's still early in the “bru­tal de­brief” promised by Gold­stein last month, but the ini­tial feed­back from the spon­sors sug­gests there's not too much to worry about.

The team from The Club­house held one on one de­briefs with each of the ma­jor stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing ti­tle spon­sor McKayson, ATEED, Ma­jor Events and New Zealand Golf inc., and Gold­stein said the over­ar­ch­ing re­sponse has been pos­i­tive.

“Which­ever way you look at it, I think it was an un­qual­i­fied suc­cess,” said Murphy.

“It was a fan­tas­tic event - great field, great cov­er­age, great venue, a re­ally good win­ner, we had great crowds - so ev­ery area that we look at or are con­cerned about was a great suc­cess. Yeah we had some weather prob­lems but on the bright side the spon­sors got five days of TV cov­er­age out of it.”

The only neg­a­tive, if you want to be hy­per-crit­i­cal, was the tour­na­ment's bot­tom line.

“It's go­ing to be a chal­leng­ing fi­nan­cial re­sult,” ad­mits Gold­stein.

“Go­ing to an ex­tra day was dif­fi­cult for us but for year one of an event it's a good start­ing point. Break­ing even was the aim – we won't do that but won't be too far away.”

The re­sult was cruel given much of it can be blamed on the in­clement weather. But it could have been much worse if not for a sen­si­ble busi­ness plan. The Club­house ran a con­tin­gency fund just in case some­thing went awry.

“We used all of that con­tin­gency plus some, but some of the sup­pli­ers were amaz­ing in terms of what we needed to do for Mon­day. With (the ex­tra day) there are some costs that you can't get around, in­clud­ing hav­ing to cater for an­other four or five hun­dred peo­ple.”

His prag­matic at­ti­tude to the fi­nan­cial re­sult comes as no sur­prise to Murphy.

“A lot of pro­mot­ers are about the here and now but Michael has a more of a long term view. He was a key part of the tourism strat­egy we wrote back in 2012 and un­der­stands what's good for New Zealand and the role golf can play. Come three years' time, hope­fully we're in a re­ally good spot and fi­nan­cially do­ing well.

One lit­tle fly in the oint­ment on that front could be the change of Govern­ment.

Un­der Na­tional, the women's open was granted 2.7 mil­lion dol­lars in tax­payer funds for the first three years of the event, with the men's open to get 2.8 mil­lion over the same pe­riod.

Whether the new Labour/New Zealand First/Greens coali­tion will share Na­tional's vi­sion of the tour­na­ments' eco­nomic value is the great un­known.

But Murphy's not overly con­cerned at this stage, with the tour­na­ments un­likely to be on the Govern­ment's radar.

“I‘m sure we're a long way down the list. The good news is we have three year con­tracts in place and I'm sure they have a lot of things to worry about.”

Michael Glad­ing. Ly­dia Ko ac­knowl­edges the crowd dur­ing the New Zealand Women's Open at Win­dross Farm on Sep­tem­ber 30, 2017 in Auck­land, New Zealand.

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