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First Female General Manager at Dundonald Links

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PUBLISHED 3 weeks ago

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we thought we’d interview the new general manager of Dundonald Links.

Vicki Harrison has been appointed the new general manager which makes her the first woman to hold the position at the resort. With over 17 years’ experience in the golf industry from her previous role of head of food and beverage at Loch Lomond Golf Club, she brings her expertise to the Ayrshire resort.

Q: What’s top of your to-do list for Dundonald Links?

A: It’s a growing to-do list, that’s for sure! But to be honest I’d worry if it wasn’t a growing list.

The awareness of the quality of accommodation is high on my list, personally. I think the golf course already has a strong reputation in the world of golf. But trying to get every other aspect up to the same sort of speed is paramount. For example, the Canny Crow is a standalone restaurant. People may think it’s still a membership operation, but it isn’t. It’s open to the public and you can come anytime. So really a constant on the to-do list is communication and awareness to get Dundonald Links on the map for all the other things that it now offers to the public, tourists and the community.

Q: There are far too few female General Managers in the industry. What are your thoughts on this?

A: I always think golf’s had quite a male, ‘industry’ persona. Talking generally about hospitality, sometimes that has been a bit male dominated too.

There’s a lot of examples. In the past, sommeliers were males, now more females are going into the world of wine and more female chefs into the kitchen.

I would say that women are coming into the industry along with families, particularly in Golf, its changed naturally over the years. In my career, I’ve always found my feet and worked hard at being my own person. Being a female working in the industry, managing males and females, I think it’s a great thing and it would be nice to see more women make the GM role. But it is happening.

It’s all about having opportunities and going for them. Speaking personally, I’ve just grown. In my career I progressed from level to level so when this opportunity for me at Dundonald came along, I was familiar with every aspect so it suited me.

Looking ahead in the next 10 years, I think you will see more females. It will be interesting to see!

Q: What are your thoughts and feelings in the new position? Still excited?

A: Yes. Really excited and delighted to have been given the opportunity. Absolutely love it.

Q: You were at Loch Lomond before joining Dundonald Links. Does that experience help?

A: It does help. This is my first General Manager role. However, I’ve had overarching exposure to general management of a golf facility as a member of the Senior Management team at Loch Lomond Golf Club. I worked my way up there and had 22 years experience in total. So I have a good grasp of how that kind of business works from every aspect. The Club has a spa, accommodation, events, day to day hospitality and golf operations – it definitely set me up to know about high end produce, and service.

Q: Why do you feel that you and Dundonald Links are the right fit for each other?

A: I think the experience that I bring from a hospitality background fits right in. The fact is that Dundonald Links is now different to how it was three years ago. Now, it’s about hospitality as well as golf and that’s where I flourish. I’m passionate about the place and I adore what I see. I think your heart’s got to be in the place. Here I feel comfortable. It suits me, it really suits me.

Q: Looking ahead, what are you most looking forward to about working at Dundonald Links?

A: It’s still early days, and I’m most looking forward to being one year in. I want to see all the different peaks of the business this year, and then we’re all ready for year two.

Q: What are your and Dundonald Links ambitions for the future?

A: Progression. The growth potential that Dundonald Links has, and the level of awareness that we believe we can achieve are behind the journey we’re going on. The new chapter I’m part of is where Dundonald Links grows with Darwin Escapes. I just want to help continue the success and strengthen it with the team. You can only do it with a good team around you. That’s what excites me.

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