23 May 2024 | Clubs and Facilities |

National Volunteer Week: Many hands at Cooroy

by Patrick Taylor

A crew of volunteers laying the new cart paths. Photo: Cooroy Golf Club

While it may not all be light work, many hands are making sure that Cooroy Golf Club in the Noosa hinterland in Queensland has an incredible team of volunteers to call on when work needs to be done.

With just over 400 members, and playing members only making up a small part of this number, Cooroy is a modest but proud club whose history dates back to 1934.

A strong volunteer group already existed at Cooroy before Head Superintendent Warren Smith arrived two-and-a-half years ago, but the program has come along in leaps and bounds since then.

The first thing Smith did in his role was meet with the club’s volunteers to gain an understanding about their backgrounds and skills.

"A big goal of ours was to utilise the skills of volunteers earned from their previous experiences," said Smith.

"We couldn't do what we do without volunteers."

Cooroy now has a list of 25 volunteers, all of whom have undergone induction training with the club, who they can call on at any stage to help with course upkeep, club administration, and events planning.

To streamline their volunteer program, Cooroy has setup a management software system which allows new volunteers to create their own personal portfolio.

Using this system, the club can see what skills volunteers already have from previous and existing roles, while giving the incoming volunteers the opportunity to complete induction courses in their own time.

With the help of its volunteers, Cooroy has also harboured a relationship with the nearby local high school, which incorporates skills-based traineeships and work experience.

Like many clubs all over Australia, Cooroy simply couldn't get by without their dedicated volunteers, but through Smith's insightful approach, and their streamlined management system, the club is able to maximise the impact.

Cooroy certainly realises the value of their volunteers too, establishing a volunteer office and lunchroom, offering professional development opportunities for volunteers and holding a volunteer recognition golf day.

The club even plans to take those who work with the ground staff to the Australian Sports Turf Managers Association (ASTMA) conference.

Cooroy has also established a charter which outlines expectations and breaks down the full process of each project a volunteer may expect to take on, as well as one more assurance: "You will find it very rewarding and may even learn some new skills."

Australian golf clubs gain so much from their volunteers, and Cooroy ensures that its volunteers get something back too.

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