Learning the club business from all sides

An aspiring club manager got familiar with the golf course side of the gig as a maintenance volunteer at the U.S. Open.


Anna Maconochie
For Anna Maconochie, U.S. Open preparations at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., served as a valuable classroom. Photo by Howard Richman

Anna Maconochie wants to be a club general manager. And what better way to learn about the golf course maintenance aspect of it than at a major championship?

Determined to understand the general manager position in every way possible, Maconochie has visited a variety of clubs to do a variety of jobs. At Forest Hills Country Club in Clarkson Valley, Mo., she worked as a line cook. At Southampton (N.Y.) Bathing Corp., she was a dishwasher.

Her latest venture focused on what it takes to work in the maintenance department of a golf course, and she tackled it last week at the center of the golfing universe as a volunteer on the crew during the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.

“I decided I need to know everything, including the golf course,” Maconochie says.

Actually, Shinnecock Hills is familiar to her. Three years ago, she worked on the crew for superintendent Jon Jennings, CGCS, who goes to the same church as her grandmother, Frances Westerhoff. That connection helped pave the way for Maconochie. “I worked on the bunkers, filled divots. It was early mornings, hard work, and I was definitely tired at the end of the day,” she says.

It’s also demanding work, as she discovered. “I got pulled back to work on a greenside bunker because it wasn’t good enough,” Maconochie says. “So, I was like, ‘OK, work harder.’”

Maconochie graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., with a degree in restaurant, food and beverage management with a concentration on private club management, and she’s currently an event coordinator for Connemara Golf Course in Nicholasville, Ky. Her desire to someday be a club general manager has propelled her into each of the diverse roles she has explored so far, including pulling weeds at Shinnecock Hills.

“If I’m a general manager of a club and something happens on the golf course, I’ll understand what’s happening,” Maconochie says.

Howard Richman is GCM’s associate editor.