Sue LeBeau retires on March 11th as GM at the South Staffordshire Golf Club near Wolverhampton after a 20 year + spell at the club.
She will be incredibly missed by the staff, members, visitors and also by us all at MG. Sue was not only a successful manager, but more importantly had a welcoming smile and time for everybody who passed through the club’s doors, no matter how busy and stressed her day might have been.
MG Editor Phil met Sue right at the beginning of his golf magazine career when delivering the first ever issue of Staffordshire Golfer to the club in 2009.
“Very few Mids GMs remain from Feb 2009 when I started all of this, and there are even fewer of them I like and respect as much as Sue. She has always been so supportive of the magazine, and we’ll miss her greatly, her support, friendship and humour too.”
Sue began life at the club when in between jobs in September 2001, accepting a full-time role in the pro shop with the then pro Mark Sparrow. She soon became responsible for a significant rise in green fee income, then going on to become head of customer service. In 2008 the club decided to hire a General Manager again and Sue had made herself the natural choice.
Through her years, the club achieved much, emerging from a spell in the doldrums to become a successful business again. Sue was quick to credit the club chairman Philip Sims as well for the recent growth of the club and a major 19th hole improvement project which included a long-awaited clubhouse upgrade and an extension of the outdoor patio area.
Her most precious personal accolade was becoming the first ever lady captain of the GCMA (Golf Club Manager’s Association) Midlands Region in 2019. A quite amazing turnaround for Sue as, having been encouraged by the committee to join the GCMA once she became GM in 2008, found it a daunting experience to begin with.
“I recall walking into the room for my first meeting and just seeing a sea of male faces and almost silence to accompany it,” she recalled. “It wasn’t their fault, I’m not sure they knew what to say!
Then they got me to stand up and say a few words about myself, I thought, I don’t know what you’re all about. But I made sure I went religiously to all the meetings even though I genuinely wasn’t sure what I was doing there to begin with.”
It didn’t take her too long though to settle into the association and over the years Sue was delighted to see many more female managers join up, they currently occupy 25% of manager’s chairs in the Midlands.
“I would absolutely encourage any new manager to join GCMA, the support, camaraderie and learning opportunities are invaluable.”
Sue, who has never picked up a golf club in her career looked back fondly on her tenure at the club and with pride at what has been achieved.
“You have to make sure that everybody who walks through that door ends up going away with the best experience they can have. There will be lots of things I’ll miss, the people mainly, and I’m proud the club is in such a good place, full membership, a big waiting list and money in the bank.”
Sue even hand-picked her successor, Gareth Anthony, manager at Druids Heath GC for eight years. He’s a natural fit from what we’ve seen in our time of knowing him, and Sue knows it too, very similar to her in his personality, with a front of house and hands on approach. Sue feels the club is in safe hands.
“He’ll do great things here,” she concluded.
Director of Golf Peter Baker (pictured with Sue above) spoke to us on behalf of the club – “Sue’s been a truly great colleague and we’ve achieved much together at the club. We’ve had a good few laughs along the way too, we’ll all miss her greatly.”