Welcome to ‘Where are they Golfing now’ where we track down people who used to work in and around the UAE Golf Industry. This time we welcome Jerry Kilby who used to work at Nad Al Sheba Club. Jerry stepped up and gave some great answers to our questions for ‘Where he is golfing now’.
Full name? Jerry Kilby
Age? Too young to retire
How long did Jerry Kilby live in the UAE?
I lived in the UAE for 7 years from 2000 to 2007
Where have you worked in the UAE Golfing industry and when?
I worked at Nad Al Sheba Club, Dubai
What were your duties and previous roles?
I was General Manager and responsible for the overall management of the golf club and for the provision of all the F & B services to the Dubai Racing Club horse race meetings, including the Dubai World Cup. We also were the venue for many concerts, dinners, parties and of course, the Dubai Dog Show. One of my favourite highlights was organizing the Valentines Night Dinner Concert with Whitney Houston. I wonder if any Readers remember that wonderful evening?
You must have seen many changes in not only the way the UAE changed but also in the growth of the Golf industry. What are your thoughts on this progression while you were here?
The seven years I spent in Dubai were a period of tremendous growth, as during this time, the golf courses at The Montgomerie, Arabian Ranches, Al Badia and others opened for play. This created a very competitive golf business, but with Dubai’s population growing so rapidly at the same time, there was enough business for everyone.
Have you managed to get back to the UAE for any Golf or Golf
Yes, my family and I try to get back to Dubai as often as we can, the last occasion was for my daughters 21st birthday. She spent her school years in Dubai, and it was great to see her school friends as well as our friends from around the UAE. Prior to that, I was able to visit regularly as my consultancy business bought me to Dubai from time to time. My favourite course is the Majlis at EGC, but the others are all very good.
Do you miss anything about golf in the UAE and do you keep an eye on what happens?
Yes, I miss the great weather and the ‘can do’ attitude. Working now in the UK there is a great deal more caution and decision-making can be time consuming.
Can you talk a bit about where are you currently working and if you are still involved within Golf?
Since I left Dubai, I have had a couple of roles – mainly as a consultant, trainer and educator in the golf business but also as the part-time CEO of the Club Managers Association of Europe, a role which I am very proud of, as I led the team that developed the Management Development Programme (MDP) courses that are now helping club managers throughout Europe and the Middle East develop their skills and broaden their knowledge. I am currently General Manager of a fine golf club in South London called Woodcote Park Golf Club.
What is the standard of the courses in the area that you are currently located?
Most of the courses in our area are very good, but it is a very crowded market – we have around 20 golf courses within a 20-minute drive of our location. We are quite close to Walton Heath Golf Club, which has two well-known and world-renowned championship golf courses.
In your opinion, how is the Golf scene in the country/location where you are now, compared to the UAE?
You cannot really compare the two, as the UK is a very mature, even over-developed golfing market and the UAE is still an emerging market, but now very well established. Here in the UK, the golf clubs are in the main much smaller businesses, with small teams of staff, whereas in the UAE, larger teams of talented people are needed to maintain the courses and properties in first-class condition all year around.
How was the transition from a UAE Golf role to another for you?
The transition was fine, but I miss Nad Al Sheba Club a great deal. It was a great club, and it was undoubtedly the friendliest golf club in Dubai at the time. I was blessed with a great team of colleagues, who all worked hard, but we had some fun along the way. Nad Al Sheba was different from the other clubs – and we had a wonderful group of loyal members and friendly golfers enjoying the club all year around. If any club in Dubai wanted to be the Nad Al Sheba of today, I would love to help them achieve that. Just let me know….
What did you learn from your time working in UAE Golf?
I learned a huge amount in my seven years in Dubai, made so many great friends and learned the business of club management the hard way – by being dropped in the deep end and trying not to drown. Fortunately, I not only survived, by Nad Al Sheba prospered and went from strength to strength. It was a very sad day when the club closed to make way for the Meydan complex, but I guess that’s called progress.
Would you recommend other people to work in UAE Golf and what advice would you offer?
I would most definitely recommend the UAE as a place of work for many people, but only if you are willing to embrace the culture, and most importantly, be willing to respect others whose culture may be different from yours. If you have a friendly nature and are willing to learn, you will do well in the UAE golf industry.
UAE Golf Online would like to thank Jerry Kilby for his time. If you want to be featured, please contact us.