Cassie Viljoen – General Manager

Royal Cape Golf Club

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What led you to becoming a PGA Professional?

 

Due to injuries and not allowed to participate in contact sports at the age of 15 I had to choose another primary sport to participate in. I have fallen in love with the game and wanted to become a touring professional. At the age of 18 I was invited to play in a Pro-am with a tour professional and realised that the level of tour golf is beyond my budget and ball striking abilities. I completed my articles and started by golf administration at Devonvale Golf Club. I was approached in 2000 to join cricket in preparation for the 2003 Cricket World Cup hosted by South Africa but my heart still yarned to become a Golf Professional. I even applied for membership to the PGA whilst still involved with cricket. In 2007 I had the opportunity to get back into golf administration and joined the team at Paarl. I have been involved with Sunshine Tour events since and have volunteered to work at the SA Opens hosted in the Western Cape. I commenced with my apprenticeship and under Ben Fouche and transferred to another ex-Tour player, Wayne Bradley when I joined Royal Cape in 2011. It was an honour to do my apprenticeship under two players who I used to follow outside the ropes.
How long have you been in your current position?

 

I joined Royal Cape Golf Club in June 2011 as the financial manager and was promoted to general manager in November 2011 when Barbara Pestana resigned from her position.
What does your job entail?

 

As the general manager I’m in full control of the club’s operations, marketing and finances, reporting only to the Board of governors on a monthly basis.

·         The annual budget, drafting and control is included in my roles and responsibilities.

·         Day to day operations

·         Control of bar and functions

·         Tournaments setup and control

·         Information Technology maintenance and control

·         Social Media

·         Marketing

·         Compliance officer (COVID 19)

 

Do you have any environmental or sustainability goals that you have met and would like to share?

 

As a financial manager by main focus has been on cost effectiveness of running a golf club. The focus has been on cost control whilst not adding pressure on the operations and facilities. Through the cost management we have been able to retain members by having subscription increases at CPI and lower levels.

In terms of water management, we had to change the philosophy of running a golf course under severe drought conditions. Our members have bought into the concept of playing the course as a ‘links style’ course during the period. We had to amend our irrigation systems to reduce water usage and have not used any potable water on the course.

In order to reduce the chemical footprint, we have changed our practices to spray curative chemicals instead of preventative.

 

Please give us a brief outline of the path you took to lead you to your current position I did my articles with Price Waterhouse Meyernel which I completed in 1998. From January 1999 to April 2000 I was the Financial Manager at Devonvale Golf Club in Stellenbosch.

In March 2000 Cricket South Africa informed the unions that South Africa will host the 2003 Cricket World Cup. I was headhunted and commenced my work as Financial Manager and Stadium Manager at Boland Cricket. In the period 2000 to 2002 I was involved in the development of the international ticket sales for the event in conjunction with Dimension Data. During the events held in Paarl and Cape Town I was involved with the event management with the World Sports Group, who were responsible for the operational requirements of the event.

In April 2004 I was appointed as the Financial Director of Western Cape Cricket (Cobras) until my resignation in June 2007.

In July 2007 I joined Paarl Golf Club as the Financial Manager and was later promoted to Assistant Manager in January 2010. In June 2011 I was appointed as the Financial Manager at Royal Cape Golf Club. November 2011 I was offered the position of General Manager at Royal Cape, which is my current position.

Why do you feel that you would be a good candidate to win this award?

 

I believe that I’m not just a general manager but are what the PGASA expects a member to do as a representative. In these trying times during lockdown I have done more than what was expected and assisted the greenkeeping staff during lockdown with maintaining the course. My daily responsibilities included mowing greens, maintaining irrigation systems and other manual labour as required. Apart from doing what was required within the limitations set by government I managed to develop as an individual and gain more experience in course maintenance and thus developed as an individual.

I’m the current Mizuno fitter at Royal Cape and have fitted many a member. It keeps me abreast of the latest club technology offers and to developing myself as an individual and a Golf professional. The PGA of South Africa have assisted my personal development through their CPD programmes and I have been blessed by being upgraded to level AAA status.

I have successfully hosted 8 Sunshine Tour events – Cape Town Open, SAA Invitationals and Ladies Cape Town Open events. I have been a volunteer at 5 SA Open tournaments.