Andy McMahon joined the Adare Manor team from The Grove, London, England. During Andy’s 12 years in management, The Grove was host to the WGC American Express Championship and the European Tour’s British Masters and won several prestigious awards, including the 59 Club Ultimate Golf Resort and Troon Golf’s best Overall Guest Experience. A qualified PGA Professional, Andy also worked as the interim Director of Golf at Fairmont St Andrews.
The McMahon story–
My golf career started while still at school by collecting balls, and working on a driving range near Stirling. I then broke my elbow in a freak playground accident, went through surgery, has two screws in my elbow and stopped my competitive golf for nearly 18 months. In this time I made the decision to pursue the business side of the golf industry.
I began my PGA Training in Scotland and completed this at The Grove in London where I spent 12 years, involving six promotions. Through the time spent there my passion for guest experience grew. I am constantly driven in how any team I am involved with can improve the experience of our guests. In turn, I find there is a direct correlation between happy guests and happy teams.Those 18 months of not playing made me realise how big a part of my life golf had become, and that my ideal would be to make it my career.
You wake up in the morning – what’s the driving passion?
To ensure our team is fully equipped for the day/week/month ahead, to provide an unforgettable experience for our guests, while having fun at the same time.
What specifically separates Adare Manor from other European host sites for previous Ryder Cup Matches?
The conditioning. We are very fortunate to have 50 greenkeepers who do fantastic work to keep the golf course “tournament ready” for the 10 months of the year we are open. With September / October weather our sub air technology under the greens could also prove invaluable.
The facility engaged architect Tom Fazio to renovate the original Robert Trent Jones, Sr. layout. What specifically did Fazio do since the original footprint for the holes remains the same?
When you walk to the 1st tee you can’t help but look right and the severity of the slopes that flow off the 9th green. The closely mown A4 bent grass surrounds are now the golf courses biggest defence. The tee shots are very pleasing on the eye and with the fewest bunkers of any Fazio design course, finding the hole from close proximity, rather than finding the ball from your tee shot is the biggest key.
Adare Manor is available for outside play for those staying at the property. One of the hallmarks in such a visit is the detailed customer service. Define the term and the approach followed?
Our guests are at the centre of everything we do. Our aim is to create an unrivalled experience. From the moment you arrive to our Front Gate, to our bag drop, to The Carriage House, all the way to departure, we are prepared with everything you will or may require.
How important will next year’s JP McManus Pro-Am be given its sixth rendition and with the range of key players such as Tiger Woods, among others, competing?
Our entire team can’t wait to see and hear what the very best in the world think of our course and facilities. The JP Pro-am is so big for the South West of Ireland and to date has raised over €140 million for charity. With the event already selling out we are also looking forward to welcoming 35,000 spectators in what will be a great showpiece for our whole resort.
What gives you the most satisfaction in your position? What’s your biggest pet peeve?
We are very lucky to have a great team, and seeing the progression of individuals with their careers within our golf department and to share our golf knowledge with the wider team is very rewarding. We are also very grateful for the awards we have received and it is always a real pleasure to be recognised by our peers, and the wider golf and hospitality industry. Pet peeve would be the idea that golf pro’s all play a lot of golf. I still really enjoy playing, but realistically during the peak of the summer I may play once or twice a month.
You can change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
A strict time limit per shot. We time strictly how long you can look for a ball, there is no reason why we can’t strictly time how long you have to hit it. From the moment you get to your ball and it is your turn, you have a minute to hit it
All of golf’s major organizations are seeking ways to attract Millennials, women and minorities to the game. If you were counselling them what would you advise be done?
Time as above is precious, we need to make golf faster, perhaps faster than it ever was. Would it make golf more athletic, have more fitness and health benefits, create more tee times for golf clubs to sell and therefore improve cash flow, where people find 3 hours not 5.
Do courses have to be shorter to achieve this goal, or fairway’s wider and rough less penalising? Could we reduce the number of clubs you can have to encourage carrying and again speeding up play? Instagram could have leader boards with shots and times! Playing fast would be something to be proud about, breaking the 3 hour mark for example.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
One of my bosses once said to me “If you are too busy to laugh, you are too busy.” I have had numerous great mentor’s and continue to have, in fact I think it is very important to keep growing the list, learning is something to be proud of and often showing a little vulnerability, allows teammates, colleagues and friends, to be more involved with your journey.
For more info go to: www.adaremanor.com
Photos courtesy of Adare Manor