MANAGER OF YEAR
Steenberg’s Peet de Wet wins top CMASA award.
The last few years have been difficult and trying for members at Steenberg Golf Estate in Cape Town, as their course has suffered ongoing conditioning issues due to the city’s water crisis. But that hasn’t stopped Steenberg CEO Peet deWet rising above the problems to be named Club Manager of theYear for 2018.
It is the most prestigious annual award given by the Club Management Association (CMASA), and recognises those who lead with distinction at a variety of South Africa’s sport and recreation clubs, not just those in the golf industry.
DeWet arrived at Steenberg as the new CEO in June 2015, and was immediately plunged in at the deep end.The upmarket estate, renowned as having one of the country’s best conditioned courses since its launch in 1996, was in the midst of recovering from mysterious turf diseases which were troubling the course from tee to green.All 18 greens had to be replanted with new bent grass, but with the water crisis the problems have persisted.
De Wet, in receiving the award for the first time, was praised for his proactive management of tough water restrictions which ensured Steenberg’s environmental sustainability during the lowest rainfall season in theWestern Cape since 1933. De Wet acknowledged that the business framework in which he operates at Steenberg, plus work ethics, provided the ideal environment in which to excel.
De Wet had been headhunted from Ebotse Golf & Country Estate in Gauteng, where he had made a name for himself, first as general manager of the golf club when the estate was launched in 2007, and then as CEO of the estate and home owners association. He started his career in the hospitality industry, working his way up from front office manager to restaurant owner and hotel manager.
“The award and recognition by my peers in the industry is a celebration for me and my team at Steenberg,” said De Wet, who received an all-expenses paid trip to attend the Club Management Association of America’s World Conference in February 2019.“Awards do not only acknowledge individual success but also recognise others who participated in the effort.All our employees contribute towards the success of our club.
CMASA General Manager Janyne Marais said she was thrilled with the level of commitment and passion shown by this year’s winners.“Peet has proved that professional management, strategic leadership, determination and teamwork can unlock the potential to solve problems that may seem insurmountable,” she said.
Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal clubs dominated the five most coveted CMASA awards. Each of the 28 nominees underwent an interview with a regional judging panel after which a shortlist of candidates attended final interviews with a judging panel in Johannesburg including industry leaders and stakeholders.
Umhlali Country Club in Ballito on the KZN North Coast, headed by general manager John Boyce, scooped the Green Award due to their environmental policy implemented in 2016 which has significantly impacted the local community through projects aimed at uplifting club staff. Course superintendent Robin Naicker has played a major role in that policy.
The Continuous Professional Development award went to Kloof CC in Durban for their dedication and commitment to staff training, improving customer service, service delivery and operational effectiveness. Kloof, under a female general manager in Pam Maybery, up-skilled 21 staff members with industry specific training during 2018.
TheYoung Manager of theYear was Kelvin Grove’s Lauren Olivier, who at 32 is managing the financial operations of Cape Town’s foremost club. She implemented new processes that have resulted in improved standards of good practice and governance at Kelvin Grove.
Paarl Golf Club’s Heidi Strydom was named Employee of theYear due to her financial management skills. Her knowledge of taxation pertaining to recreational clubs and non-profit organisations has resulted in large savings for her club which will serve as a guideline for clubs countrywide.
Randpark president Garth Elliott and Bryanston chairman Ian Murdoch, who serve as volunteers at their clubs, were honoured by BoardRoom Magazine for their roles in the professional operations of their clubs as well as their leadership skills.
From left: Lauren Olivier, Financial Manager Kelvin Grove (Young Manager of Year); Heidi Strydom, Financial Manager Paarl GC (Employee of Year); Pam Maybery, GM Kloof CC (CPD Award); Gary Geddes, Chairman CMASA and GM of Durban CC; Peet de Wet, CEO of Steenberg (Club Manager of Year); John Boyce, GM Umhlali CC and Robin Naicker, Course Superintendent (Green Award); Ian Murdoch, Chairman Bryanston CC (Boardroom Magazine Award).