Clublinksinian Chat - Gemma Nicholson
When staff enjoy being here, customers enjoy being here.
Waiting for kangaroos to hop out of the car park each morning on her drive in was a much-loved novelty for British-born Venue Manager for Collier Park and Clublinksinian, Gemma Nicholson, and certainly sparked the love of having a golf course as an office.
Interestingly, Gemma’s career didn’t start exactly like a traditional golf course venue manager – having studied a Science degree in Psychology and working within mental health services including running NFP volunteer programs, it was a yearning for travel and “forgetting to return to England” that meant Gemma has made Perth home since 2009.
Having spent a year studying abroad in Canada, and being lucky enough to travel extensively through Australia, Gemma always knew she wanted to return to a lifestyle and climate that complemented her passion for the outdoors and adventure activities.
“I had a few roles when I first moved here and then landed in a hospitality role at Joondalup Resort, managing their marketing for the golf course, function centre, restaurant and hotel. This was my first taste of working in the golfing industry and I have never looked back.”
From a psychology and marketing background to a foray into operations, it was the excitement of a new challenge that was the key driver for applying for the Venue Manager role of Collier Park.
“(with regards to marketing) I had done everything I had wanted to do – design, developing campaigns, project management and I had a real keenness to be able to action key decisions I made, so I applied for an operational role and was thrilled to get it.”
That role was for Venue Manger of Collier Park Golf, one of Perth’s busiest golf courses with a driving range, food and beverage operation and earlier this year a newly opened mini golf course. Gemma took up the role in 2019 after previous VM, Matt Day, transitioned into the State Manager for WA as Clublinks took on more managed sites.
When asked what Clublinks does really well, Gemma explained it was being a part of an organisation that gives that license to stand out – to ask the question of is there a better way and the freedom and support to explore that, even if it doesn’t always work out the way you planned.
“The great thing about Clublinks is the ability to take ideas, no matter how out of the box they are, and run with it. I remember suggesting we do (now the highly successful) laser tag on an unused part of the golf course as to me it made sense and the company supported me exploring the idea. You don’t get those freedoms in other jobs.”
It is that aspect, and the people that make up the team, that Gemma loves about her job.
“Its always the people – I always think that I’d be happy doing any job in the world as long as I’m surrounded by good people.”
And it’s the people factor that Gemma is continually cognisant of, particularly in an ever-evolving COVID world.
“What gets me up in the morning is me wanting to make sure everyone is ok. We have thrown a lot at our staff with the venue having evolved a lot in recent times and I want to make sure they are ok with what they are doing, they’re learning, and they enjoy being here. When staff enjoy being here, customers enjoy being here.”
When asked what she would tell her 20-something year old self, Gemma replies a resounding “nothing… because all of the mistakes you make, everything you learn, all puts you on a path to here and I don’t want to be at any different point to where I am now – I am grateful for where I am today.”
Check out some of the awesome stuff Gemma and her team are doing at Collier Park Golf Course.