Irish duo Ronan Smyth and Alan Threadgold, have attained the Club Managers Association of Europe's (CMAE) Certified Club Manager (CCM) qualification, recognised as the global industry benchmark.
Ronan and Alan, of Kilcoole Golf Club and Bray Golf Club respectively, have achieved the CCM while managing their clubs through a devastating recession in Ireland demonstrating their determination to be a prominent force in the global golf market, despite increasing economic pressure.
Ireland now boasts seven individuals that have attained what is seen as the definitive qualification for experienced managers who aim to develop their career and become the best in their business.
Ronan Smyth is also the President of the Irish Golf & Club Managers Association - CMAE's partner in Ireland. He said: "In times of recession, the primary concern for golf consumers is value.
"A club with a CCM at the helm highlights their dedication to offering members and visiting golfers the best service through expert management."
Joining an elite group of 19 club managers in Europe to have attained the CCM, the two completed the qualification with the demanding final assessment - a seven-hour examination focusing on 10 core club management competencies.
Alan Threadgold said: "The exam goes into fine detail of each subject, from alcohol regulation to strategic club planning, and budgeting to media relations and in-house publications.
"There are extensive requirements necessary to complete the CCM and at the culmination of six years learning new skills, I diligently prepared for the final assessment to ensure I passed.
"Achieving the CCM is important to me because it raises the perception of club managers in the members' eyes and adds value to the club."
Leaving behind his role as a bar and restaurant manager in New York, Ronan began his career in the golf industry just 10 years ago. He added: "Having worked in the food and beverage industry, I felt comfortable with that aspect of my role. However, I am now an expert in nine other critical aspects of club management.
"It's much more than a personal achievement. It's important for Kilcoole to have a manager at the peak of his career, able to attend conferences with CCMs from across the globe to discuss critical matters and share knowledge of club management."
Founded 10 years ago with the support of the Club Managers' Association of America, the CMAE's principal qualification, the CCM is a quality assured recognition of professionalism in club management.
Jerry Kilby, CMAE Chief Executive Officer, said: "This helps clubs in Ireland to recover from the challenging recession they have been experiencing, by having the most talented club managers working at their clubs, this gives them every chance of building successful clubs."
For more information about the CCM, to download the registration form or to find out more about the CMAE, visit: www.cmaeurope.org