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Chairmans Blog August 2014


Another month come and gone and despite being a little "burnt" in places the course looks fantastic. It looks from the long range weather that we are in for a bit of a scorcher for August. After a slow start we are supposed to get weather coming up from the Sahara and Spain on the Jet stream that will break all temperature records! Sounds like global warming has finally arrived! Keep safe out there on the course! Remember umberellas work for sun too!

Can I be one of the first to welcome the "Help for Heroes" guys to the club for todays shotgun start. I hope the whole day will be a complete success and that a great deal of money is raised for such a fantastic cause. Its always a great day and we are very proud to host it.

I am very much lookin forward to the Club Champs! They should be 2 cracking days culminating in the 2 best gross players being hailed "Champs" for the next year. My odds on favorites for the titles have to be:-

Shaun Embleton - Mens

Claire Miller or Sarah Bendelow (The "ne Wilson" sisters) - Ladies

but stranger things have happened and there are now some rather good players at the club chasing them hard at the moment. I certainly will be competing! After all I must defend my 6th place from last year (ok so there were only 6 competing on the final day but.......)

Oh ........ "How's the new job going? I hear people ask. The answer is "Great". What better job is there that to go from club to club encouraging participation in this great sport of ours. I have been to approximately 12 clubs in the first 3 weeks and seen some marvelous initiatives out there, some of which may or may not be useful for us to consider. We will of course see.

Take good care everyone and have a great August.

Created: 01-Aug-14 09:11

Chairmans Blog July 2014


It would seem that at times my blog touches raw nerves. I never intend to offend, merely to prompt thought and discussion (it seems to do that rather well). Could I mention once and for all that this blog is my personal thoughts and not necessarilly that of the board. It is simply "The Chairmans Blog".

The club is doing well at present but must never rest on its laurels. I am very open to ideas to improve the club so please tell me what yours are. (Remember always, who is going to implement your idea and at what cost!)

Despite an improvement in the economy still golf clubs are going to the wall. I quote from England Golf:- 

"Weekly participation in the game has dropped by 12 percent since 2005, and the authority has now revealed that memberships at England’s 1,900-plus clubs have fallen from 882,640 in 2004 to 675,000 in 2014. This spectacular drop has meant that several golf clubs have closed down since 2007, while many more have struggled financially."

"We ignore the declining numbers of golf club members at our peril"

How do we ensure we are not part of this statistic. I can inform you that over the last 3 years our numbers have been relatively stable. How can we ensure members stay with us. We need to be better, cheaper, friendlier, smarter, richer, etc etc than all of our competitors and that simply is my driving force.


I am proud to announce that I have a new job! I started on Tuesday as "County Development Officer" for the "Northumberland Golf Partnership". My main role is very simple "Grow the game of golf!". The job however is far from simple, one might say challenging! I see this role as complementary to the role of Chair @ RGC. The ideas I see at other venues to bring members in, could obviously be replicated at RGC. I will of course keep you informed of my progress.

We had another "interesting" Board Meeting on Monday night. Anyone who levels the accusation at me that I get what I want need to look at the minutes! I certainly was put in my place!

We agreed another advertising campaign and a new membership subscription fee for "1st time members" only. We are in a position that while finances are OK they are not at the levels that they were last year at this point. We need to raise approximately £12,000. Whilst this seems a great deal on face value it is doable but will require another very aggressive advertising campaign with some very tasty offers. With this in mind we have decided on a £200 membership from the beginning of August through to the end of the year. This is based on a £100 winter membership (which we have done regularly in the past) and £100 for the months of August and September. Also we agreed a £600 membership for the rest of this year and the next. We hope that these will sell and we will see our finances improve.

The "Visiting Parties" problem has reared its ugly head yet again. After a very slow round on Saturday there were many members who were disgruntled (to say the very least). I would like to offer some easier solution to financial problems but I cannot. The simple matter is we need VP's to survive. We need to obviously get the balance correct so that members are least affected and sometimes we do get it wrong but in the main this year has been a lot better than the last. I urge you all to be patient and accept that 2 or 3 times a season you will have a round that lasts 30 mins or so longer. Please reflect on the fact that a little inconvenience equal a long term benefit to the club. We could alway put subscriptions up to a level which would offer exclusivity but the cost would be prohibitive for many and they would leave, we would then be in a position to require VP's and visitors to make up the deficit. In short I would prefer to kep subs below £500 and continue to subsidise that fee with £80,000 in visitors fees per year (a saving in real terms of £200 per member)

Just to inform you all that the White Tee's are only to be used for Competitions from now on. The tee of the day will continue to be yellow with the option of playing off the blues should you wish. The Red tees are for ladies and competitions.

It is interesting that we have had a few comments recently about the rough on the course. After watching the "Open" I would consider our rough to be fairly straightforward! Again their are many different opinions at the club about this and we know that it is impossible to please everybody (but we try!)


Sorry I have been a little bit "off the radar" in the last couple of weeks. However I am back and am really looking forward to the rest of the season. Time flies by and the nights are drawing in yet again! This is always a very sad time for us golfers when we realise that autumn and winter are rearing their ugly heads!

However, we are now preparing for the winter by looking at how we can make the best of the new synthetic grass tee boxes and changing the SI's and Pars and creating a new card! Exciting, can't wait. Take a look at the ideas we have and give us your feedback.

I have to report that I have been away for a week in Scotland with 17 of the nicest guys that you could ever meet. This annual trip was again organised magnificently by Past Captain Keith Pearson and Gentleman John Hardisty! 7 founds of golf and 7 nights accommodation for a snip! Tremendous and a big thanks to all who made the trip run so smoothly.

I was sorry to "miss" the Andrew Renshaw Mixed Open this weekend. I did come up to have a look and was pleased to see some great pairings and some fabulous golf. A huge congratulations should go to Kevin and Maureen Rook for their magnificent 45 points to win the comp. It's great to see a home pairing win an Open and especially good to see such a dedicated pair at the top of the pile. I was so pleased to have a hug and a chat with Debbie Renshaw. I know she really enjoyed the day, with a massive amount of emotion thrown in! Luv ya! 

It was wonderful to see Chris Stavers playing with his Mam. It must be emotional for them too of course!

There are still some good competitions to come. I cannot wait for the Captains Texas Scramble day with the added "bits and pieces" that i am sure he is going to put on. There is the Embleton and Sovereign this weekend and the Little to come. Good comps to win of course.

We have some interesting things to debate at the board meeting next week. Of course I would advise you all to read the minutes when they are posted. I will of course give you a small incite as soon as i can!

Created: 23-Jul-14 22:35

Chairman's Blog June 2014


Well the Captains Trip to Newbiggin was fabulous! Enough said! I guess you just had to be there.

So many things are happening at present at the club it's hard to keep up with it. Finals, County, Opens, Trips, V.P.'s, etc etc I am so pleased with it all! There are so many other things that we want to do but not enough time or "personpower" to get it done.


We had yet another decent board meeting on monday where we made some interesting decisions.

We may be involved with a very different and innovative advertising campaign in the very near future. I will not spoil the surprise on my blog, please wait and see. We voted to open the 1st tee for business for the weekend. We hope that it is not too early and that it doesn't get damaged too much over the weekend. We have not used it over past weeks due to the wet weather, and because we see it as the "cover by which our book is judged"!

Financially we are holding our own but have had a very expensive May! It is necessary for us to raise yet more funds even though green fees are doing very well comparitive with last year. With this in mind you may see some very interesting offers out there, in order to be competitive with other clubs offers. For us, maintaining numbers is never going to be good enough.


I have not had a lot to report lately, everything seems to be going too well. I guess no news is good news!

The course is looking fantastic, the members seem to be happy, the deals are going down well, visiting parties don't seem to be causing any problems, the weather is decidedly average, the teams are doing OK (ish), the captain is behaving himself (presently), there is little or no moaning about slow play, nobody is questioning CSS at present! What can go wrong?

Its interesting that in times like these i always feel a little nervous as if the next big problem or "moan" is just around the corner (by "moan" I of course really mean "astute and well percieved observations!"). What could it be? Who will it be? When it comes I will inform you all of course.

We have another finance meeting tomorrow and a board meeting on monday. It is obviously a very important time of the year for us and we need to know exactly where we are and what the future may possibly hold. But I am quietly optimistic that this year will be very similar to last year. Pretty good really!

We have some great competitions ahead. The diary is still pretty full! We still have many people coming to the club and complimenting us on what we have done. So let us be very positive and "onwards and upwards!"

Created: 03-Jun-14 20:17

Chairman's Blog May 2014


Handicap cuts! Thats all I'll say for today............. Interesting debates and comments going on at the club. If you have an issue with H/Cap cuts please talk with Steve Dix, Michael Rutter or Paul Whittaker who would all be only too glad to explain them!


Another fruitful Board Meeting on Monday. Good business done yet again with some very positive people. Please read the information I have put on in the news section of the website for some of the important decisions we have made.

Can I express my gratitude to all of the Board and the staff at the club who really do a stirling job on behalf of the membership. It might be nice if you get a chance to express your gratitude to them more often too!

I'd like to say a massive thank you tand good luck to Lauren Gunson who leaves our office today to move on to pastures new. She has been a magnificent employee and without her efforts we would not be where we are at this moment in time. Thank you very much.


It's May! Incredible how time flies!

Firstly can I wish Pop a speedy recovery from his very nasty injury. Pop you have left us with a beautiful course but we need you back as soon as! In the meantime sit with your feet up and enjoy the opportunity to have a rest!

The weather seems to be perking up now, almost perfect for growth! It augres well for the future of this season.

Congratulations should go to Captain Paul Stocks for his (so far) 100% record with the club teams. It was fabulous to see our (Category 1) team beat Roseberry Grange away from home but unfortunate that the away match at Slaley had to be postponed due to fog!

It great to see the finals are being played Aitchison Gray last week and Rochester this! It really does show the season is in full swing. The FedEx is maintaining everyone interests too based on the prize fund at the end of the rounds!

I am sure there will be a great deal more to report as the month goes on!

Created: 16-May-14 11:35

The Chairman's (Speed) Blog April 2014


The course is looking absolutely fabulous at present and we really must give a huge thanks to Pop and the boys. Which brings me to the fact that poor old Pop is at this present moment waiting for a much needed operation on his leg after an accident on Thursday on the course. Lets all wish him a very speedy recovery!

We have, as a board, had some very interesting debate about subscription fees at the club and in partcular "Introductory Offers" for new members. Following our very successful fee discount system (or bar credit) for a member introducing a new member we need to think about how we can attract more new members from far and wide. Interestingly the Hobson has lost around 100 members this year (Why and how can we recruit some of them?). At the end of ther day "Subscriptions" are our main source of revenue. If I were to ask our 400+ members what we should do I think I would get many different suggestions ranging from "£490 and no offers!" to some sort of discount. I would be interested to hear from the membership by email of what they feel is sensible! Please feel free to send me your views on



Another Board Meeting last night. Good business done as usual, everyone upbeat and positive about the clubs position. One small disappointment is that we voted against purchasing a "Greens Iron" for now. Of course it is something that perhaps we can resurrect in the future and for this season perhaps hire one when we need it.

Slow play seems to be hot on everybodies agenda at present. We think that a satisfactory time to go around our course is between 3 1/2 and 4 hours but we do need to take into consideration that there are those amongst us who have good reason to be a little on the slow side. (Not me of course because i am "the speed") We have a very large and lets be honest, very active Vets Section who should be given the courtesy of respect and perhaps a little extra time and patience. I enjoy playing with the 80+ years of age members and am amazed how they are able to get round week after week! Good for them! I will however be posting on the website some "Tips" to help us all avoid slow play! Even I might learn a thing or two!!

Great news that both the Mens and Ladies sections are through to the next round of the Mail on Sunday (4th Round). There are still some local clubs left in the competition so we shouldn't be travelling far afield as yet. Lets all pray for home fixtures! 


The Sec/Man Michael Rutter is at Conwy GC at this very moment playing a round of golf prior to his interview for the "Manager of the Year Award". Just getting to the last 6 in the country is an honour in itself. Good Luck Michael!

Huge congratulations must go to the Ladies section who have again done the club proud by beating Matfen Ladies (away) in the Mail on Sunday this weekend and progress to the 4th round! Just another 6 wins required to progress to the finals in El Rompido! C'mon

The men play their MOS 3rd round match at home v Hobson on Sunday 12th April 2pm tee. All support is very welcome!

The mens team are starting their preparations for their very busy Hadrian and North Durham League campaign to come by holding team practices on Wednesday evenings at the club. All are welcome.

The Calcutta draw has taken place. Some very interesting draws! Good luck to all.


I wanted to start this blog with some sort of "April Fool" theme but after a couple of botched attempts I thought "No, I am the Chair and should be dignified and never stoop to doing such a thing !" So just a normal blog then! Yawn! But this months picture is a hoot!

The season has started at last but the weather was darned cold this weekend! It would seem that the majority of the members enjoyed the course set up and whilst its a little short and producing a CSS 68 its still a real test. In fact only 8% of members beat the course on Saturday (a few more were able to on the Sunday).

A few stats to get you all talking:-



  • There was 1 par on the 12th from 89 players and it played 2.25 over par!
  • The 5th is coming out tougher than its SI 16 mainly due to, I have no doubt, being off the very back of the teeing area!
  • Its always fairly easy to see which way the wind blew by viewing the scores on the 8th and 9th. The 8th came out the harder hole this week!
  • The course played 21.7 over par (on average). The average handicap of our members is 18.5. Interesting!


I will be keeping a close eye on the stats over the next few weeks to see if the winter alterations make a difference to the playability of the course. I suspect they will. I am interested also to watch how the 4th fairs with the OOB back in play! It played SI 11 (usually 10) so no surprise there!

This was the first week of the attempt to run the Sunday 10.30 sweep by text! It seemed to work fine (except for one person, no names no pack drill) and we were able to get off the 1st in time! I will endeavour to continue this for a few weeks to see how it pans out! With April being a month of VP's then it is crucial that we all get sweeps organised so that the course is not held up!

I have found the "Diary Sync" invaluable, and i know that all who have tried it have very positive things to say about it. It will certainly help to keep you abreast of timings!



Created: 26-Apr-14 20:26
Showing 26 - 30 of 53 Items (Page 6 of 11)

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