Chairman's Blog March 2014
I am so looking forward to the weekend when we will see Royal Ryton in most of its finery! We will be playing it at almost full distance and sampling the wonderful new synthetic grass tees. Splendid. I do hope that you all enjoy it and that you give us your feedback.
I am so chuffed that I made it into the MOS team to play Prudhoe on Sunday. Not only am I proud to represent the club in such an important match but to showcase our wonderful course to some very special and hopefully envious guests. I wonder what they will make of it all! After the Ladies doing so well last year and starting the season so well we have a lot to live up to.
Thank you to all of you who have paid your subscriptions so early. It was great to see Michael so busy on Saturday and Sunday and the credit/debit card machine hot with the usage it was getting. Th club has from Tuesday last week gone back into credit and things are looking good (so far) for the year to come. (Fingers Crossed). I wait with anticipation to see how many members we have as at 1st April 2014. Hopefully all the planning and project income figures will be sound!
I must say a huge thank you to Precision Engineering and to the brothers Musgrove for their early subs payment and "a little extra"! This will enable us to do some work on our signature hole (the 12th) and of course dedicate it to them for their help. Its great to have such wonderful members who put the club at the forefront of their thinking. "Gents, you are gents!"
In an attempt to manage and improve course usage, we are proud to anounce that we have developed a "diary sync" facility. If you run an "Android" or "I-Phone" you may find it useful to sync the RGC diary with yours. This will mean in simple terms that you can see whats going on at the club! (this can obviously be turned off should you not want to view it).
The benefits to this will become apparent over time but they include:-
- Being able to see all the competitions, visitors and free tee slots etc at the club without having to log on to the web.
- Ensuring that at weekends you are aware of how busy the club is and are able to manage your "sweeps"!
- Keeping up to date with "Social Events" at the club.
- Plus any information that the club needs to put out re timings and the diary!
Should you wish to use this "free" piece of tech, please click on the link below:-
Feel free to try it and give us feedback!
Another long but productive Board Meeting on Monday night. Some good business done. Moving the club forward.
Its good to see that this years board are "up for the challenge", making some very good contributions to the discussions but more importantly to making the club a better place to be. I urge you to read the minutes when they get posted.
We are now entering the most important and challenging part of the year. We always await with baited breath to see the subscriptions come in as this will have a massive effect on the type of year we are going to have. Interestingly we are out of the overdraft we were in for Feb and March due to early subs payments. That in itself is a good start. I have to make a special thanks to the 4 members who have paid for 3 years membership up front and a decent amount of "sponsorship" to go with it. This has enabled us to make a significant difference to our course! Thank you so much (you know who you are!)
With "Motion 4" voted out at the AGM we are turning our minds to "Visiting Parties" at RGC and how we are going to ensure that both their and our members days go smoothly. We intend to try a new initiative this year. In effect VP's will be met by a representative of the club and "Greeted with a smile!" The rep will ensure that they get off the 1st tee and will field any questions from members. This new strategy is put in place to ensure the course "flows" better and that members regular tee slots are affected (where at all possible) as little as possible. We explained at the AGM that the course needs to be "managed" better in peak times and our intention is to do just this!
Its all starting to feel like the season is beginning. The grass is being cut, the sun is shining and its starting to get very "Competitive" at the club. It is as if we are awakening from our hibernation! Soon the clocks will "Spring forward" and the light nights will ensure greater usage of the course.
Can I ask that all members support the club by getting their subscriptions in as early as possible. As a reminder to all, it was agreed at our AGM that Subscriptions must be paid prior to or on April 1st in order for you to continue playing. There is now no "give" on this date like there used to be. This is important to us as we, financially are reaching our "low point"! This happens every year as we get near to April 1st. We collect our money from our members and have to "survive" on this (budgeted very carefully of course) til the next set of subscriptions are due the following year. Obviously we do have a "trickle feed" of income through Green Fees and Bar Takings etc to help us, but as you will no doubt understand, this is a very fine balancing act. We do run the club on an overdraft through Feb and March at present and the sooner we get this millstone off our backs the sooner we can breathe a sigh of relief and concentrate on enjoying the summer months. We have another board meeting Monday where we will be looking forward yet again to how we can make our fabulous little club even better.
I would like to stress that it is imperative that members are patient with and considerate to our many guests over the next few months. They are (I have to say) part of the life blood of RGC. Without their financial input we simply would not be able to "Survive and Thrive". Consider all the course development that has gone on over the previous year and appreciate that this has been partially funded by our guests! On this very important theme, we do have a larger membership too, which in turn means even more traffic on the course at weekends. We may find that on most Sundays the course is "packed"! We therefore need to be more aware of the effects this will have on both us and others. Can i make a suggestion that "sweeps" become more "organised" so that we reduce any gaps on the course. Gaps generally mean one of 2 things, lost revenue or hold ups later on! Both of these scenarios cause problems and consternation. We obviously want to maximise the potential RGC has, whilst providing the best possible experience for all concerned. I am certainly considering how the "10.30" sweep (I play in) can ensure full consideration for other users. I have my ideas how it should run, I guess I just need to convince others now.
I hope you are all fit and well and looking forward to the season as much as I am. C'mon!
At the end of this month we start the Fed Ex! This really is the start of proper golf again. Wooooohoooo! Bring it on!
February came and went in a blur. Whilst it was wet and plodgy on the course we only had a very small amount of time with "temps". This has been a fairly good winter! The nights are drawing out (still playable at 6 ish) and it will only be a matter of a couple of weeks before the mats are off and we will be "chunking it" off the grass again.
We had a visit from 2 members of the judging panel for the "Manager of the Year Award" on Wednesday. I think Michael did ok considering the majority of the time the judges spent talking to Tom Carr. Me and Agnes! We all wish him loads of luck for the final interview (which he has to do on his own) at Conwy GC.
I hope you have all had the chance to see RGCTV. Please be advised that this was a spoof interview with "the speed" and that we had indeed had our meals and were on our way to the car park. It all makes for some fun in my view and the captain has so far done a fantastic job.
Well the weekend is here again and i for one am hoping that there will be 18 proper greens on tomorrow and as long as the frost stays away there may be a good chance. C'mon!
Chairman's Blog February 2014
Really looking forward to a knock this weekend. I know the course is still wet but I really appreciate the effort being made by the staff to keep as many holes playable as possible. We will reap the benefits come the summer months for sure. Its great to see that thought has been given to traffic. Starting on 15 and taking the pressure of the 1st which is getting very damaged is in my opinion for the best.
It would seem that RGCTV goes live tomorrow. I look forward to it with a touch of apprehension. You never know what could be put on there. Maybe the Chairman will have to sensor it! Please be aware that any interview involving me was done with tongue in cheek and for the sense of fun. When it comes to the crunch and when we need some really important information then things will be done correctly. (I will probably be wearing my tie!)
Captain Paul went to this years Hadrian League AGM at Newcastle GC this week and reports that we have drawn the "Auld Enemy 2" in the Davison Cup (Prudhoe). Now that is a tough draw.; But as they say you have to beat the best teams sometime on the way to winning trophies! Better in the first round I would say!
What a great start to the season for RGC. The lads produced a fantastic 3-2 result at the home of the "Auld Enemy" Tyneside GC in the Mail on Sunday. Captain Paul Stocks has certainly rallied his troops and its looking good for the future of the league teams. We have a few more Category 1 golfers at the club, so watch out for the fixture list and get down to the club and get behind Paul. Well done boys.
I enjoyed the Board Meeting on Monday night! Not often I say that I must be honest, but I feel we have a really good balance of experience and a with a fresh influx of enthusiasm we can progress still further with our strategies.
Great to have Steve Dix on board! I know he has the club at heart and has an eye for what is needed on and off the course and I look forward to working with him. Of course he is a Past Captain and was Secretary for a number of years and his experience is wide and varied. He is a huge asset to the board.
The new captain Paul Stocks has decided to attend meetings. This is fantastic news as he brings fresh and "novel" ideas to the meeting. I am sure this year will be a successful one for him because he is "revved up" and ready to go. I wish him every success and good luck to him and the boys on Sunday in the Mail on Sunday at local rivals Tyneside.
Michael Thomson was unable to make this meeting due to a holiday but I have seen his passion for RGC through his work as vets captain last year. I certainly look forward to his input.
Sage advice was again available from the "old hands". I sincerely think this is going to be another good year! C'mon!
First board meeting with the new board next week (10/2/14), I wonder how that will go. We have a few interesting items to get our teeth into so it maybe a good way of finding out how people think. The summer season is not too far away now and there are a few things that we would like to get sorted before the season starts.
The dust seems to have settled on the AGM. I hope all members were satisfied with the democratic way that the motions were dealt with. Decisions will not please 100% of members it is obvious, but the majority decide! I am still not happy with the decision to reinstate the OOB on the 4th fairway but........ hey ho...... the democracy has spoken and so be it! Yesterday I put 2 in the ditch off the tee which eventually reduced my round to 35 points and I didn't get upset (well OK just a little) I hope members will not regret this reversal throughout the season. I know scores will be affected negatively! Its the same for everyone i guess!
Feb and March are strange months. Its all about the anticipation of what will be from April forward. I am quietly optimistic about membership levels. I do hope that all of you see RGC as value for money and you will stay. I have not heard of any mass exodus as yet and would be surprised if there was one. In effect we have recruited reasonably well so far and have welcomed back some of our old friends from Tyneside and even better some new ones. We stated at the AGM that we could do with recruiting more members. Please remember the new offer of £100 off fees for a member introducing a new member or indeed a credit of £150 for the bar. Sounds like an excellent deal, so please try your hardest to help us recruit.
I am looking forward to see what the new Captain has up his sleeve for the season. He is very proactive and is really looking forward to the job. He has my support! Please get behind him!
Chairmans Blog January 2014
Well the AGM has come and gone and it was "interesting"!
104 members turned up to the evening which is a tremendous turn out (quite a few of our new members turned out). Thank you to all who attended! I guess there were some motions that required careful consideration, full and frank debate and a true reflection of the members feelings by the vote at the end. I certainly feel like we achieved this. The Q&A session after was a little less radical and far more conservative than last year. This suggests to me that things are going OK at the club in the main and our members are reasonably happy.
I would like to thank you all for allowing me another term of office. I will try to serve you all well and validate the confidence you have shown in me. Onwards and upwards.
I would like to welcome Steve Dix and Michael Thompson to the Board for the next 3 years. I look forward to their valuable contributions at the monthly club meetings. I am pleased that Claire Miller and Tom Carr were re-elected as they have both contributed so much over their last terms in office. It was very sad to loose both Nigel Bendelow and Richie Bainbridge but they both served the Board admirably and I thank them and wish them the very best.
I urge you all to read the "Right to Reply" letter from Dawn in the News section of the website.
Dawn of course has made some very valid points and sheds further light on the reason behind Motion 4. It now comes down to the members to view the pros and cons of the proposal and make a decission at the AGM.
Could I be the first to wish you and yours a very Happy New Year and a great many good wishes for the forthcoming year. Lets hope this year is going to be another success story and that all our members and partners thrive and prosper.
Looking back on 2013 i would argue that it was an expensive year. Most of the money that was raised by the hard work of the Sec/Man, the Board and the staff of the club was spent on wages, improvements and repairs. It is with this in mind that I stress how important it will be over the next 12 months to keep the momentum going. The generation of income is of course paramount. We are unable to continue to progress as a club if we do not have the finances. Our Strategy Document has many projections for the future and we do want to act on them! This coming AGM (14th January) is crucial to the financial situation of the club! I implore you to be there to show support and to vote on the very important motions.
Motion 1 proposes an increase in the subscriptions of £10. This would have a net effect of raising and extra (depending on membership numbers of course) approx £4000. This would cover any increased costs of County Registration (which will probably occur due to county lost revenue!). This could also be used towards further improvements both on and off the course.
Motion 4 proposes ‘THAT DURING THE GOLFING YEAR OF 2014 SUNDAY PLAY IS RESTRICTED TO MEMBERS ONLY, UP UNTIL 4PM ON THAT DAY’ - This would have a net effect of a loss of approx £10,000. My opinion as Chair is that any motion that causes lost revenue needs to be thought about and voted on very carefully due to the knock on effects that it may have.
We would obviously have to operate in a different way to accommodate the loss. It would be a very important subject for the Board to discuss at future meetings and the strategy would have to be altered to accommodate this.
It may have effects on:-
- The upkeep of the course and staffing levels on the course,
- The possibility of improvements in and around the clubhouse,
- Staffing levels off the course and therefore possible restrictions to marketing (which would also have a further negative effect on finances),
- Further raises in subscriptions,
- Possible problems with regards emergency and unforeseen financial needs (such as the clubhouse boiler this year),
- The necessity of putting more visiting parties in on a Saturday or other times during the summer to make up for the deficit
- The income for the caterers who run on a very tight budget as it is (it may be the straw........)
- The income for "Glyde Golf" who pays "rent" to the club for the usage of the space who requires the regular footfall of visitors to the club to supplement his income.
Our expenditure this year on the course and staff wages has gone up by over £30,000 from the previous year, this in an effort to make a difference to RGC. In effect the lost revenue would put a dint in this type of expenditure.
£10,000 equates to approximately £25 extra per member. This is the price to each and every member in order to have the exclusivity of the course on a Sunday. Should we be asking all members to pay this extra payment? Exclusivity never comes cheap! Even clubs with extremely high subscriptions have to "put up with" visitors to make the books balance.
As you may tell from this blog I will find the motion a very difficult one to accept. We have worked so hard to get ourselves out of a financial hole and to a point where we can start to move forward and we would be jeopardising this position. We would be asking our Sec/Man to work even harder to find ways to cover the loss which would be unfair after the effort that has been made over the last few years. Would/Could this motion had have been proposed if we had made a loss over the last 2 years?We have seen many clubs go bankrupt over the last few years and the country is in a financial mess, do we want to cut (by choice) a revenue strand which may be the difference between prosperity and austerity?
We all know that slow play and interrupted start times are frustrating. We pay our membership subscriptions in order that we are able to enjoy our golf at the club. I understand that VP's are a cause of frustration with regards this matter but suggest that we would be far better off looking at other solutions including better scheduling of tee-times in order to maximise the usage of the course and better on course management (ie Rangers)
From 7.30 - 4.00 is peak time. We have (using 10 minute slots) a maximum capacity of approx 200 golfers on the course during a Sunday. A party of 20 would leave slots for 180 members which should be enough (50% of the total membership) if managed correctly.
This could perhaps raise the spectre of a "Booking System" at weekends (not simply an online diary). This is a very unpopular option with the members in general but could be a solution to the problem. It would seem to me that we are moving in this direction anyway due to the volume of users of the course.
In summary then, it would be good to have a full and frank debate over "Motions 1 and 4" at the AGM. Opinions from all sides should be heard of course. I would request therefore that there be a full house on the 14th Jan, of those of you who have an opinion, so that your voices can be heard and your votes registered. I would dare to suggest that it is wrong to complain about decisions made if you dont attend.
Happy New Year to one and all!
Chairman's Blog December 2013
Yes I know, it's a bit late but it's been a very busy month already so far! The rest of the month will be mayhem as usual due to the festive season!
December has started with us still playing on the main greens which is good for the weekend comps. Although a little soft they are still running true and people are scoring well. The leaves have gone for another year (good leaf management this year by the staff I hope you'll agree) and all we have to face now are the frosty mornings of January and February! Deep Joy!
It feels like I am at the club a lot at present, which is sometimes good and sometimes sad. Thursday 12/12/13 will go down as a very sad day when we laid to rest a true gent and hosted the celebration of his life with his very many friends and family! Bob Stavers had been a loyal member of RGC for over 30 years. He was the type of man you could always rely upon for a kindly word and a big smile. He loved RGC that is undeniable and I shall certainly miss him. RIP Bob. May the golf courses you are playing now be the best you've ever played!
Wednesday was the Vets Xmas Lunch. What a hoot! 95 sat for a Joyce special! Thanks must go to all concerned for the effort made.
Monday was another Board Meeting! This was a little meatier and some good business was done. Be sure to look out for the minutes when they get posted on the website.
The competitions at the club are still bringing in their fair share of entrants and the prize money is still pretty decent. The DHL is hotting up and looks as though it could be a good addition to the winter calendar.
A few "winter works" are happening at present. Whilst they don't amount to too much in terms of cost we hope they will make a change for the better. I look forward to playing off the new mat on the 1st which I feel will really make a difference. The other tweaks have caused comment, thankfully mainly positive! I would be pleased to know your thoughts on the changes of OOB on 4 and 6, the new mats, the new fencing adjacent to the 15 tee and look forward to any other suggestions members may have about improving/changing our wonderful course.
Well all I can say is that it is getting nearer to the shortest day and the nights will very soon be drawing out! Thank goodness! Summer golf is not so far off really. Bring it on!
Dont forget the AGM on Tuesday 14th January 2014, it would be good to have a crowd there to review our year and cast an eye over the possibilities for the future. I am standing again for Chair (gluton for punishment) and look forward to serving you for another year (as long as I get the votes). There are a few spare slots on the committee as some are standing down, if you are interested we would love to hear from you.
Chairmans Blog November 2013
Well its off to El Rompido on Saturday! Really looking forward to it! Shame that I'll be missing the weekend comps! May even loose my position as 2nd in the race for the DHL! Still as long as I qualify for the final!
C'mon the ladies!
Just to report that I was very proud to cohost the presentation evening on Saturday night. There was a good turn out (not great it has to be said) but the atmosphere as ever was fantastic. I would like to congratulate all the winners and thank all those who turned up to celebrate with the winners. Well done all!
November is going to be a very busy month at RGC.
Presentation Evening on the 9th and Jeff Winter on the 22nd! El Rompido from 16th to the 21st for the finals of the Mail on Sunday. Wow! who said that the winter was the quiet part of the year?
Personally I am looking forward to going to Spain to support the ladies! I am so proud to be part of their journey and am honoured to be with them during the final leg. I of course wish them the very best of luck and hope that they will bring the trophy to "lil ole Royal Ryton!"
There is still a great deal going on on the course. We have introduced the compulsory use of mats on the fairways early this year to protect them from the serious damage that is caused from taking divots at this time of the year with very little or no growth on them. The difference it made this summer due to using them from January last year was very significant. Starting this protection policy early could only mean even better fairways next season.
Keeping the length of each of the holes throughout the winter in order to give members a more meaningful game of golf is our aim this year. Having purchased some decent mats and bringing into play tees that have not recently been used we feel we have achieved this. We do intend to redevelop some of the key tees throughout the winter too. Watch this space.
The DHL Winter League has generated a great deal of interest. The final prize pot will be large and who knows who will qualify and eventually win. It certainly was a surprise winner for the Summer FedEx! (Well done Willie).
Its wonderful to see Juniors back at the club. The blue tees have been a fantastic edition and it is great to see them being used by many different groups of players also. I played them myself the other week and really enjoyed the experience. Witnessing Michael Muldoon drive past the 5th temp from them was amazing. Also all 4 players having Eagle putts on the green made things interesting. Having a very swift round and enjoying every hit was truly marvellous.
The leaves have obviously been a nuisance over the past few weeks and they have not gone yet. The addition of a new machine has meant that the course has been very playable. We hope that the problem will be over very soon. A touch of frost and some high winds will do it I feel! I am looking forward to winter golf this year. I feel the course will stand up well as we have prepared it well and we have mats to give us a good lie all over the course.
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