A mid-year update from the Captain

Introduction

I have the great pleasure, as your current Captain, to write to all members providing an update on the performance of several aspects within the club during the first half of our business year.

Like all clubs in this area, we have been severely impacted by restrictions applied during the COVID pandemic and by the coldest spring weather we have experienced in a good number of years.

Thankfully, both situations are starting to recede, and we are looking forward to a more normal summer period than we had last year.

Course

We are currently running the course with 2 qualified staff short of our normal staffing levels. Whilst the vacancy has been advertised, we have not so far been able to appoint a suitable candidate. We are also working with Scottish Golf to add a couple of trainees to the team, and we hope that this can be finalised over the coming months. Whilst these trainees will not solve our current shortfall, it will help us to plan for the future and potentially give some additional employment opportunities within the local community.

To ensure that our greens are in their usual top condition during the year, some pre-planned maintenance work will be required before the end of the summer. In this respect we have provisionally pencilled in Monday 19th July (weather permitting) to complete this work. On the day, all flags will be moved to the approaches and greens will be out of use. It is hoped that with the help of a number of volunteers, the required work on all 18 greens can be completed, allowing the course to fully reopen on the 20th. More details of our request for volunteers will follow nearer the time but feel free to intimate willingness to assist in the interim.

Clubhouse

During the early months of this year, we have been limited by restrictions imposed around the extent to which the clubhouse can operate. With the lifting of these restrictions, we hope to get back to offering a full service during the summer months with Jake, Mark and their staff very much looking forward to welcoming all our members back to the clubhouse. It would be great if we can get the support of members, through their use of the facilities on offer, and getting our club back to its bustling best again.

Finances

At our Annual General Meeting we promised to provide members with more information on the ongoing position on club finances as we progress through our business year (September to August). The lifting of restrictions at the end of summer 2020 saw an increase in the number of visitors we were able to welcome to the club. This along with a good number of member/guest bookings resulted in increased greens fee income for September and October. Unfortunately, this was immediately followed by the re-introduction of wider Government Covid restrictions which resulted in all income/profit from the operation of the clubhouse being lost for a four-month period.

During the period of restrictions, we have made all possible use of government grants and furlough payments available to us to offset our loss of income. We also took advantage of the government ‘bounce back’, low interest recovery loan to significantly improve our cash flow position during a very uncertain period. Taking all of the above into consideration, we have come through the winter and early spring in reasonably good financial shape.

We are incredibly grateful to our members at the last AGM for approving the proposed increase in annual subscription levels. This, coupled with life member donations and a healthy visitor booking schedule of the summer period, will hopefully see us return to a positive trading position by the end of our business year. However as always, we are aware that any further restrictions, or even adverse weather, may have a negative impact on this position, so we continue to proceed with a cautious approach.

Membership

As a club, each year we expect to see several of our members not renewing their membership for a variety of reasons. Whilst this year has been no exception, we are pleased to report that with just over 50 golfing (various categories) and 22 Associate members not renewing, we are well down on previous years resignations. This position is being offset with over 40 new members joining since the start of the season. We are hopeful that we will buck a downward trend of membership reductions from the last five years.

If restrictions allow during the summer, we plan to host a welcome evening for new members to allow them to meet members of the committee and staff within the club – more details to follow.

General

Whilst we are positive that our Golf Club itself will come out of the Pandemic in a good shape, can we please ask that individual members remind themselves that this has been a difficult period for other members, staff, and families and try to be courteous around the Club and course.

We are attracting new members and keeping the majority of existing members as we are a friendly welcoming club to all golfers. Whilst we continue to ask all members to do everything to avoid slow play on the course and to take appropriate action if groups find themselves unable to keep up with the game in front, we would also ask others to preserve patience on the course with golfers of all levels, visitors, and varying speed of play.

To assist our currently reduced green staff could all members;

  • continue to repair pitch marks
  • replace divots
  • smooth out bunkers after play
  • keep trolley use off tees and behind painted lines around greens
  • fill in divots on par 3 tees using mix provided in the divot boxes

Gary McArthur