Comments from the Chair - February 2018
The 2018 golfing year almost upon us and I would like to wish our members both old and new all the very best for a successful and enjoyable season.
The winter weather has certainly taken its toll this year; it is probably the worst we have had for 4 or 5 years in relation to the course being available for playing golf. Nevertheless as always we can rely on our greens staff to get the course into excellent condition come the start of the playing season.
There are a number of items of information I wish to bring to your attention.
Following our recent Annual General Meeting where we only had two elected board members, I am pleased to confirm that three members have come forward to join the board: Barbara Healy, Mark Taylor (also our JLO) and Howard Rutherford. These members have been co-opted to the board for the forthcoming year and I thank them for their commitment to our club.
We have now confirmed the catering replacement for Jimmy and Joyce. John Sonntag, who lives in Ryton, has accepted our invitation to take up the role and will start on the 26th February. Please give him a warm welcome and your support in this venture. I would like to thank Jimmy and Joyce once again for their efforts and support for our club over the years. You will still see plenty of them over the summer as they are retaining the occupancy of the flat and both will be helping in the bar and elsewhere.
On a sad note, I have to inform the members that Dave Wilson, our treasurer, has decided to formally retire and devote more time to his increasing family (grandchildren). Dave has been with the club for over 10 years and has been the backbone of our financial programmes over that time. I cannot thank Dave enough for his efforts, commitment and professionalism. I will personally find Dave a big miss and I wish him well for the future on behalf of all the members. We have acted quickly to secure the services of Gill Millington as our new treasurer. Gill has over 40 years’ experience within the Lloyds Banking Group and we believe she has all the attributes and skills to take on the role. Gill will join us at the end of February and work with Dave until the beginning of April.
You should all have received either an email or letter in relation to membership subscription renewals for the 2018 season. If for whatever reason you have not already received this communication, could you please inform the office at your earliest opportunity as we have identified a number of incorrect email addresses and we need to update our records to rectify this. The early payment of your subscriptions would be very much appreciated by the club. A number of members have already paid their `subs` early and I thank them for this support. Can I remind you all at this point, that to ensure entry into club competitions in April, your subscriptions are paid-up by the 31st March or, in the case of anyone using the finance option, that the signed paperwork is in place by this date? Should you wish to take up the finance option and are having difficulty using the website please contact the office for assistance. Please see the members area (members' noticeboard) of the website for additional information.
I would like to wish John Haddock, Club Captain; Kevin Rook, Seniors Captain; and Sarah Bendelow, Ladies Captain all the very best for the coming year.
We are still in discussions with the Council and our contractors in relation to work on the 4th hole and I will keep you advised on what progress and plans are decided.
I would like to thank you all for your continued support of Ryton Golf Club.
Comments from the Chair - July 2017
A very warm welcome to all our members both old and new, I would like to have said that I hoped you were enjoying the summer but after a brief spell of warm sunny days we appear to be back to wet and unpredictable weather, the weather experts say it will get better.
A flip side of the wet weather is the reduction in use of our irrigation system; we have incurred fairly hefty costs in relation to repairs in the early part of the summer, the resultant repairs appear to have increased the pressure in the system with the knock on effect that it has caused problems elsewhere on the course, notably the 11th teeing area and the 9th fairway, these are now hopefully resolved. The 4th hole will require further works to bring the area back to a presentable condition this includes additional top-soil and a review of the current fencing on the course side. The greens are almost back to their best and a little bit of warm weather will complete the progression.
By the time these comments reach the web-site the upgrade of the flooring in the bar and lounge area should be complete. This is the final act of our `125` year celebration and I would like to thank those members both past and present who worked tirelessly to raise just under £4000 for this project. I would like to thank the small number of members who gave up their time to carry out the painting; sanding, varnishing, repairs and the moving of furniture in the bar/lounge area, without their help the upgrade would have been far more expensive. I would like to thank a number of our sponsors who have contributed with their particular expertise to facilitate the refurbishment. The flooring project for the club was the decision from the majority of the members of what to do with the monies raised for the `125` year, I hope you agree once finished it is a job well done. The club appreciates your understanding and perseverance during the upgrade works.
The weekly lotto draw has now been running for 6 months and the jackpot now stands at almost £900 and the club have received over £400. This is a very worthwhile money raising event for our club and your continued support is very welcome. It is £1 per entry and is drawn weekly on Sunday lunchtime, you can have as many entries as you like. One idea for how to use the money raised was to introduce energy saving devices throughout the club, another is to repair the famous clock, ` watch this space`.
The management of the club are continually looking at ways to reduce our expenditure and increase our income, One of the changes we have made is with the club insurance (a cost which rose substantially a couple of years ago) by changing to another provider. If you inadvertently hit a ball into the car park and it damages a vehicle it is important that you inform the office or bar staff so that we may record and investigate the incident and review any necessary vehicle repairs. As a club we are still dependant on visitor green fees and visiting parties and where as we endeavour to reduce the impact of these groups on our members there are occasions when crossovers occur between the times of the visitors and the members wishing to play golf. We as a board, request you please be patience with the parties as they are important financially to our club. In the event of inclement weather, the club web site is updated with the course conditions at about 08:00hrs, however, by ringing the club telephone number - 0191 4133253 - and selecting option 4, our head green keeper updates the message after his early morning inspection to decide if the course is open or closed.
It is Captains Day this Saturday and your support for Nigel on this day would be very much appreciated. There are some fantastic prizes available to win; a lot of effort has been put by Nigel during his captaincy and your participation in this day would be more than welcome.
I would like to thank you all for your continued support and commitment to work together for the benefit and interests of our club.
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.
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