Melissa or Mel as she’s known by the team began working at Keilor Public Golf Course in 2018 as a Pro Shop Attendant. Mel says, “I navigated my way in unknown territory with the help of Venue Manager Jack McDonald and a team of amazing young gentlemen. Watching the sunrise over the fairways and making coffee for the dawn players will always be my favourite moments.
“Working in the Pro Shop is never just about tee times and cart hire, there is something unique about the friendships forged with members and patrons. From a coffee and chat with a golfer who lives alone to sharing in the news of a grandchild on the way. I’ve shared tears and laughter with members; said goodbye in tragic and sad circumstances and watched videos of a grandchild’s first steps or graduation ceremony.
“When lockdown one began in Melbourne, I needed to pivot and with a great mentorship under Michael McKay, I was able to direct my past working experience into a new area of golf as the Program Coordinator for Victorian and South Australian golf venues. Lending support by way of coordinating programs and off the shelf activations, I have been able to work with great teams and further developed my love for what golf brings to the local communities.”
What are some of your highlights/magic moments working with Belgravia Leisure?
“So many highlights over the past four years come to mind and to choose just one is impossible. For myself, doing what I love each day as a Program Coordinator brings great satisfaction. For years you try to find your ‘people’ in various jobs and when you find a fit that balances what you love and family life, it is difficult to walk away.
“I have always worked in marketing and communication and even taught secondary school for a number of years, but my love of marketing and writing trumps teaching the best well behaved Year 10 class! When an idea is scrawled on a piece of paper in the middle of the night followed by an early morning brain dump through Teams, seeing it come to fruition from concept to activation is the best feeling in the world.
“The golf sector has so many opportunities to go beyond the scope of tradition and I am proud to be a part of a team that encourages my ideas and supports my passion for each of the venues I work with.”
How have you been impacted by COVID-19 & what have you learnt?
“Through six lockdowns, I have learnt there are no absolutes. The lockdowns brought a sense of uncertainty especially when you have a family. There were lots of tears and high levels of stress as my husband was made redundant during lockdown two and, not knowing when or if the kids would be going back to school. You try to shield your kids from your worries but they have a great sense of intuition to know when mum needs a hug or a quiet moment to just sit with you.
“Through all of the lockdowns, I have been amazed at my own children who have shown great resilience and strength through the uncertainty. As we juggled remote learning, job hunting for my husband and thinking about how to make the best out of ‘unprecedented’ times, we came together as a family. As horrible as the lockdowns were for businesses and industries across the country, we came together as a family.”
What is your favourite thing about your career?
“The people I work with are my favourite thing about my job. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do what I love! From my crazy idea of covering mini golf at Yarrambat in fake snow to helping venue managers develop programs to increase female participation – every day is different and brings a sense of excitement to the infinite amount of possibilities in golf.
“The golf venue managers are the most important part of what I am able to do and achieve. They trust me to bring ideas to help their venues grow. Michael McKay has been a core part of what I have been able to do, along with the support of Jack, Mitch, Stu, Paul, Jerry and Dave. A lot of what I scribble on scrap bits of paper comes to life with the amazing creativity of Liz Healy and further supported by the two most fabulous women I work with, Georgia Hall and Isabel Whelan.
“The work I do is not completed alone but with a team of people who have the same goals as myself. The goal of growing the game of golf for everyone.”
Where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years?
“If we are moving into ‘precedented’ times, I would love to plan a road trip to South Australia and watch our youngest play at the South Australian golf venues.”
What are you most passionate about in life and why?
“Family always comes first. No matter what I do in life, I will always be a mum first and everything else is secondary. As my kids get older and begin to navigate their own way, I hope to be the mum they can come to no matter what the circumstances. I’ve been lucky to have an amazing family who supports me through all my life choices. As a parent, you want to leave behind a legacy for your kids and memories they can hold on to and I hope they see a person who empowers them to be the best they can be.
My favourite quote is, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.