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Drummond Golf oct 2020
Charlestown Golf Club – the Home of Social Golf.

Joanna Mantle, General Manager of Charlestown shares her colourful career journey, the trials and tribulations of running a golf club & the future of the club from a boss lady’s perspective. 

About Joanna - from Junior Clinic participant to GM

Here’s a little bit about myself and how I got to where I am today. I had always wanted to be a professional golfer and started playing golf from the moment I could walk. My father was the Secretary Manager of Toronto Country Club and my mother worked there as well. I would say I was probably destined to be involved with golf in some capacity. 

After a successful amateur career, I turned professional and headed for the Ladies European Tour where I played for about 5 years, as well as the Australian Ladies Professional Tour, a stint in the US and also Japan.

Eventually I came home to settle down get married and have a family. I took over from my father at Toronto Country Club as the Manager, before heading to Pennant Hills Golf Club to manage the Pro shop as the retail Manager. I really loved my time at Pennant Hills however I soon fell pregnant with my first child.

Another child later (I was a stay-at-home mum for 4 and a half years) and the golden opportunity arose at Charlestown golf club for the General Manager role. For me, the timing couldn’t have been better as I felt it was the right moment to get back into career mode.

In fact, my first coach was Neville Bell at Charlestown Golf Club and I had been going to the junior clinics there since I was 12. Neville also gave me my first job in the pro shop! So this opportunity really felt like coming home. I’m really enjoying the club management side of the golf industry and have been at Charlestown for 6 and a half years already.

Modern Day Aspects of Charlestown Golf Club

A lot has changed in the 6+ years I have been at the club. We have rebranded ourselves with a Facebook and Instagram account, a new website, and a terrific clubhouse refurbishment. The main objective has been to encourage the community to golf and the club's facilities. I believe we have succeeded with our branding "the home of social golf". We really marketed this tagline, and it was extremely effective. Our social golf grew dramatically and it now sits equally with members.  We have also extended our tags to "the home of the 10k wedding" which was working really well - until COVID hit that is.

One aspect we do really well is balance our members with our social players. Our members understand and appreciate our social players' role at the club and how this positively affects them. 

Along the way the club has won the Lake Macquarie Small Business Sustainability Award and went on to be an NSW award finalist, something we are all very proud of.

However, the biggest project to date is by far our new driving range facility. A 25 bay undercover floodlit facility with a 10 bay member-only grassed area. The build has a budget of $1.7M and we estimate an October opening. We are all extremely excited as this will see the club continue to be self-sustainable for the future with many more projects in the pipeline. 

Women’s clinics, junior programs and a unique short course

The club has a strong tradition of building junior golfers through our interactive junior clinics and many of our juniors go on to join the professional ranks. James Nitties, Jake Higginbottom, Aaron Townsend and Blake Windred to name but a few. 

The new driving range facility will definitely enhance our Professionals Ryan and Janelle Smith opportunity to grow more clinics with juniors, and women golfers. In conjunction with Janelle's women’s beginner clinics, the club has recently offered a 3-month trial membership and already the ladies have joined up and benefited from the experience.

It’s also worth noting that Charlestown Golf Club has recently set up an 18 hole short course, which is unique to the Newcastle area. We plan to use the short course as an enticing lead for beginners and junior golfers to start their competition experience. Note: the short course will be rated so that our members can play it. I believe the opportunity for members to be able to play with their children or grandchildren in a competition together is amazing. I know I would with my own family.

1A Barker Ave, Hillsborough NSW 2290 

Bookings essential PH: 02 49437944