Central West Mums member Jo Hunter sat down with Michelle Carroll from Duntryleague Golf Club for an International Women’s Day inspired chat.
Jo: Michelle, tell us a little about your role of Secretary Manager of Duntryleague Golf Club?
Michelle: My position oversees all the operations and finances of the golf club – golf, retail, hospitality and accommodation. It is a big job with lots of areas to be across but I really enjoy what I do.
Jo: Golf has traditionally been a male centric industry. In 2018, Golf Australia engaged the Australian Human Rights Commission to develop Guidelines for the Promotion of Equal Opportunity for Women and Girls in Golf (Vision 2025) to help clubs address the imbalance. How is Duntryleague going with that?
Michelle: I’m really proud of where Duntryleague stands today in terms of gender equality and where we are heading. 66% of our operational leadership team are female, as are 25% of our board, which is reflective of our membership base. We no longer have male members and female members, we simply have golfing members and social members. The percentage of females in our member base is currently a little ahead of the national average of 20%. We hope to improve that even more. So Mum’s, if you are thinking of giving golf a go, we regularly offer female only beginner classes to get you started on the right track.
Jo: 2020 was a year that many businesses would be keen to forget. What impact did the pandemic have on Duntryleague?
Michelle: Golf Club Membership across Australia dropped to its lowest level in 20 years in 2019. Ironically it was the COVID-19 pandemic that has triggered a reversal to that trend. Despite the increase in golfers we have seen, it is really important that we remain agile and forward thinking as a golf club. We have a captive audience at the moment and we need to make sure we are continually looking for ways to improve – the golf course, our food, our service, our facilities, our openness. Our customers need to receive a first class experience day in day out.
Jo: Let’s talk about leadership – the theme for International Women’s Day this year is: “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”. What leadership advice do you have for other women?
Michelle: I lead with respect and empowerment. I want those who work for me to know they have a voice and that I trust their expertise. I give them autonomy, but at the same time everyone knows that above all we are a team.
Jo: What is your vision for Duntryleague?
Michelle: I want Duntryleague to be a place in Orange that everyone feels proud of and connected to – members and non-members alike. Our mansion and golf course are an integral part of Orange history. I want Duntryleague to be synonymous with a great experience – be that playing golf, dining in our restaurant, attending a wedding or other function or staying here.