Comments from the Chair - April 2017
The 2017 golfing year almost upon us and I would like to wish our members all the very best for a successful and enjoyable season.
With the `125` celebration year over, a thank you to all those involved in raising funds and supporting projects over the year, a final figure of £4000 has been raised. Following on from the membership poll, replacement floor covering for the bar/lounge area was the preferred option with the outcome being that new carpeting and wooden flooring have been ordered and we hope to have them fitted in about 6 weeks time. Additional sponsorship, membership donations and support from our members have made this possible, a big thank you to all those who have contributed to this large project. Our telephone/broadband contract was up for renewal and to that end we decided that due to additional wiring having to be installed and rerouted we took the opportunity to move the office upstairs and the golf shop downstairs, this will give the shop visibility of the first teeing area and easier access for visitors. Almost all of the costs involved in this move were met from member donations. The `Lotto` draw we have set up is progressing well, with the top jackpot prize now over £300 and rising, thank you for your support with this. It has been suggested that any monies raised from the draw is to go towards a programme of replacing the existing lighting in the club with energy efficient LED lighting with its long term benefits and replacing light switches with motion sensors, all with the intention of reducing our energy consumption.
With the warmer weather we have started on the plan to reinstate the 4th hole to the main competition teeing area, involving additional top-soil being placed on the land course side of the temporary fencing, levelled off and reseeded. The temporary fencing will be repositioned slightly to provide additional protection to the general public using the footpath. The move back to the competition teeing area will be closely monitored over the coming weeks to provide us with information on how we proceed long term with protecting any users of the footpath. The 12th Teeing area has been re-laid and is ready for use and the greens are progressing well after the winter. The ropes have been removed and the ground will quickly repair itself.
A pleasing note with reference to subscription for 2017 is the news that we have 10 new juniors that have joined the club. Membership subscriptions for 2017 should be paid or finance agreements progressed before the 1st April to ensure entry into club competitions. I would like to wish Nigel Bendelow – Gents Captain, John Haddock – Seniors Captain and Barbara Healy – Ladies Captain all the very best for coming year as captains of their respective sections.
The board are continually looking at ways to provide additional income; one of the ideas brought forward was to look to introduce `Foot Golf` to our club. This idea had the potential to raise substantial income for us, but after feedback from members and much discussion within the board it was finally decided that we should not proceed with the `Foot Golf` proposal.
We also continue to monitor our financial position with respect to income and expenditure. We have renegotiated a number of our existing contracts that have resulted in a financial benefit to the club. A number of members have been asking whether we have received a well documented refund from HMRC, well we have not received anything at this present time. We are not alone among golf clubs in waiting for this refund and our accountants are dealing with HMRC.
I would like to thank you all for your continued support of Ryton Golf Club.
Comments from the Chair - November 2016
The autumn season is well and truly with us now and our annual battle with the leaves continues. The greens-staff are out most weekdays with the leaf collector (with the exception of mechanical breakdowns) in an attempt to control the leaves on the course, it is very frustrating at times but we will continue with this task for as long as it takes.
It was disappointing that we were unable to hold the `125` celebration evening to lack of support. The `125` group and Keith Pearson in particular have worked tirelessly throughout the year with various fundraising events and raised over £3,500 towards the project chosen by the members – replacement floor covering in the bar area. It was also disappointing that our club captain Michael Thompson was unable to hold his captains day prize giving on the same evening again due to lack of support. I have also received comments about lack of support for our gentleman’s club championship.
As interim chair I would like to ask a question of all members: What would you like from the social side of the golf club. We have tried quiz nights, 25 turned up for the last one. There was to be live music at the `125` and captain’s day celebration, less than 30 confirmed attendance. Should you have any other ideas please forward them to any member of the board for discussion.
It is our annual presentation night at the golf club this Saturday the 19th November at 7 – 7 15pm, all members and their family and friends are more than welcome. This event is not just for the competition winners and a 3 course meal is available for those who wish to dine on the evening, please confirm your attendance.
The club finances are not in a strong position, our income is down for the year just ended but so is our expenditure. Our year end accounts are now with the accountants and we await their final confirmation of our performance over the year. A number of members have approached me in respect of membership subscriptions for next year; I have been told that we are increasing subscription by £30 - £50 and even £70 - I do not know where these figures are coming from, as a board; we have made no recommendations of what we do next year. Members are asking about a possible VAT return from HMRC for our club in line with what other golf clubs have received. To date we have not received a penny and any monies received would be used to reduce our overdraft in the short term.
We have finally made a decision to support a professional golf shop at our club, this will be owned and stocked by our club manager, we are still to work out exact figures for the running of the shop but it will require financial support from the club. This will not be from sweep or 2s monies or from buggy hire, it may be from additional opens or competitions. This venture will require support from all the members of the club for it to succeed. The `shop` will be monitored on a monthly basis by both parties to review any impact on our club.
To finish I would like to thank you all for your support, we have a number of challenges ahead of us and we all need to work together to get us through this period.
Comments from the Chair - September 2016
Our summer is almost over and I hope you have had a successful and enjoyable few months of golf. I would like to thank you all for your continued support for our club over this period.
Once again the members have performed well not only in the local leagues but at county and national levels and I must pay tribute to them all for their great efforts. Our club champions have now been decided and congratulation must go to Sarah Bendelow and Chris Stavers for winning their respective championships.
The computer hardware and software problems that plagued us earlier is the season appear to have subsided for the short term, however this is one of the projects we may have to look at in the medium term for final resolution. Our irrigation system is in need of repair at various points throughout the course and we will look at how best to proceed with this task.
We still require your ideas for the `125` year celebration fund, please forward your ideas to Keith Pearson at your earliest opportunity. We have had a suggestion to do a number of smaller jobs throughout the golf club that a present we do not have the capital to proceed with; again I thank members for their ideas.
Our membership numbers and visitors green fees are down on a similar period to last year resulting in a reduction in our cash flow. All income and expenditure is being very closely monitored by our treasurer as we approach the end of our financial year. We may look to reintroduce the option of a 3 or 5 year membership offer to our members in light of our reduced cash flow. We have received a number of emails from our members expressing concerns at the number of visiting parties and the times allocated to them at weekends, we are attempting to reduce the impact on our playing members at weekends to minimise any disruption the visiting parties may cause. It is unfortunate that as a golf club we are very reliant on the cash generated by our visitors and it is something we are constantly reviewing as to the best way forward. We all need to work together and support our club in this challenging time.
Jimmy and Joyce have now taken over the tenancy of the golf club flat; I hope they enjoy the peace and quiet. We are looking to promote our upstairs room to provide function facilities for the wider community so please spread the word to your friends and relatives as this is a relatively untapped revenue stream.
Lastly I would like to thank you for your support and ask that we all work together for the benefit of our club.
Well I did say in my notes last month that the summer was almost upon us, but after the last week I may have to withdraw that comment, however the weather will improve!
I would like to say a big thank you to `Pop` and his fellow green-staff for their efforts in presenting the course in its current condition. We have received numerous comments from visitors, be it visiting parties or team players from other clubs on how well the course looks and a pleasure to play. This is equally rewarding for the club to hear as well as `Pop`s` team after what was a very challenging winter and wet spring for them to bring the course up to present condition. The course and the members are the biggest assets we have a Ryton and will always be our highest priority.
You are all aware of our 125 anniversary year and I would like to mention the fantastic efforts by Keith Pearson, Bev Wears and Paul Whittaker in the organisation of events for this celebration; I am sure every one of you has been badgered by Keith to put your name on the Domino Cards. We are still looking for your suggestions on what to do with the funds raised during the 125 year, the total now stands at £3000 with a new target of £4000 so please get your thinking caps on and come forward with ideas that will benefit the club and its members.
Our Ladies and Gents teams have unfortunately been beaten in the Mail On Sunday competitions but I can say it has been a marvellous effort by all concerned, thank you.
Our membership numbers and green fees are down on last year’s figures to the end of May. This is being closely monitored as it has a direct impact on our cash flow with the bank. The control of costs it imperative in the current climate and all expenditure is being scrutinised to ensure no unnecessary costs are generated.
Thank you once again for your continued support of Ryton Golf Club.
With the summer almost upon us I would like to wish our members all the very best and have a successful golfing season. A number of members have received an email from the club requesting information relating to their subscription payments for 2016, please do not be offended by this request, we are aiming to reconcile the membership numbers against our bank statements as we are concerned that a small numbers of incorrect invoices may have been issued or in fact not issued at all and we are looking to tie this in with former members who have not renewed their membership. The aim is to give us a formative answer on the number of members have and the categories they fit into.
I would like to apologise to the members who were inconvenienced by visiting parties on the 7 th and 14 th of May. It is unfortunate that looking at the initial set of membership numbers we are becoming increasingly dependent of visiting parties and the green fee monies they provide. I can assure you that the last thing the board wish to do is create an inconvenience for our members. We are asking for you support when it comes to accommodating visiting parties on our course.
We have had a number of problems with the competition computer hardware and software. We believe the software issue that has dogged the senior’s competitions has now been sorted out and we are waiting for the keypad problem for the upstairs computer link to be rectified. The computer system could possibly do with an upgrade (125 suggestions?) and we thank you for your patience with this.
We have finally given the go ahead for the installation of the new cellar cooling equipment, as mentioned at the AGM. The installation work is due to start this week and will hopefully see us over the next 20 years or so.
The ladies and gents teams continue to progress in the Mail On Sunday competitions, good luck to them. Check the diary for Tuesdays and Wednesdays when the teams are playing league matches at home, I am sure they will be grateful for your support. A big thank you must go to Edward Alan Clark and David Marshall for their organisation and support during the Seniors Open Competition. Gentlemen members of 55 years old and over have the opportunity to join the seniors section, providing they are checked and vetted by Mr. Clark.
I wish to thank you once again for your continued support over the last month in what has been a somewhat challenging and interesting time for our golf club.
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