Delegates for the recent CMAE Programmes hosted at Park Hyatt Dubai and Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. Image Credit: Supplied

Gulf News met up with Torbjorn Johansson, the Director of Education for the Club Managers Associations of Europe (CMAE).

GULF NEWS: Torbjorn, welcome back to Dubai and to the Park Hyatt Dubai and Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club.

Tell us about the history of CMAE?

Thorbjorn: We have been in Europe for only nine years and we are associated to the Club Management Association of America (CMAA) which was originally founded in the US in 1927.

Our territory for the CMAE is Europe, Middle East and North Africa.

The CMAE is all about executive education, management training for managers by managers. We train people, the key managers of the clubs who then pass this expertise to within their respective clubs.

Our philosophy is to work with the AAA’s Programme: Awareness, Analyse and Applicable.

The whole programme takes a minimum of six years to go through, to ultimately achieve the Global Certification for Certified Club Managers (CCM), so it is early days for us all, and to date, we have 66 CCM’s in Europe and the MENA region.

Chris May, CEO of Dubai Golf is one of our CMAE Ambassadors and I must thank him for all his support and encouragement over the years.

The CMAE has grown hugely and we now believe that our CM DIP is an industry standard that is a ‘must have’ on a Manager’s CV.

GULF NEWS: Tell us about the relationship between the CMAE and Dubai?

Torbjorn: We are all delighted to be back here in Dubai. We have been visiting Dubai with the CMAE since 2016.

The last time we were here we were doing all our classes in person, which was in May 2019, before Covid.

During the pandemic we transitioned from a classroom model to on-line learning very quickly as the world and our industry changed overnight, and so differently in all parts of the world under different Government directives.

We created a blended learning experience of on-line sessions with members from over 40 countries. We had a choice and the alternative was to do nothing.

We certainly made the right choice.

We are very proud of how we engaged the industry together from around the world and it was all very beneficial for everyone to share their experiences.

But the CMAE is really about meeting people and networking face to face and that is why it is so exciting to be back here in Dubai.

GULF NEWS: What CMAE Programmes are you doing on this visit?

Torbjorn: Firstly, let me explain the levels of our Management Development Programmes (MDP), a globally acknowledged curriculum alongside a career pathway as below:

MDP 1 – Club Operations.

MDP 2 – Managing a Club Team.

MDP 3 – Strategy and Leadership.

We have six different MDP’s in total and are currently adding a seventh, all aligned to the 11 core competencies of running a club.

Then we have further courses on the Programme: Food and Beverage Management, Sports and Recreation Management and Golf Management.

This week in Dubai we are doing the following three courses: Food and Beverage Management, MDP 1 and MDP 2.

What is important is that it is not one size fits all, we have adapted the programme for all regions and different cultures.

GULF NEWS: How many delegates and from where have attended this week?

Torbjorn: 60 delegates from 17 countries attended this week including from, Bahrain, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and a healthy representation from the UAE.

What is important is that the training is not just for golf clubs, the whole sports industry is included in the CMAE initiatives.

Coming to Dubai for delegates has been hugely beneficial seeing how the Dubai Golf clubs and especially F&B operations work over here. A couple of weeks ago we did an F&B programme in Switzerland, which was also very special and very different.

GULF NEWS: How has Covid impacted the golf industry?

Torbjorn: So much has changed in our industry over the last few years with the impact of Covid: Leadership has changed, Membership Services has changed, Customer Service has changed.

Coming together as an industry has highlighted the importance of sharing all our challenges.

We thank Dubai for being a big part of the CMAE story and look forward to returning again soon.