Thank you to all those who attended and contributed to the Open Forum. It is hoped that it has helped members to appreciate what the Board is undertaking on behalf of the Club.
As promised, two more are planned, one in Spring and one in Autumn of next year.
We had presentations from John Begley, our Treasurer, about the potential from the land we own adjacent to the 2nd/ 3rd holes and about the current state of the Club finances.
The Land - when we last approached builders (including large nationwide organisations) only one expressed interest - and he remains committed to the project. However, as the current climate (Government led) is now for greater levels of housebuilding, it's possible that more builders may be interested. There are 16 acres in total, though some of this would be absorbed by roads etc. The value of the land is subject to planning approval and no application may be submitted until later in 2017. Any potential sale of this land (and none can be made without approval by Special Resolution in EGM/ AGM) is not a "quick fix" for the Club's finances. A straw poll of the members at the Open Forum indicated a very large majority in favour, in principle, of such a sale.
The Club Finances are in a better position than last year, when we made a £60K loss over the season. Current projections are that we should at least break even this year. The Board continues to look carefully at all aspects of income and expenditure to see how additional income can be generated and how costs can be curtailed. In particular, the club is very well aware of overdue maintenance to the Clubhouse (Foyer, Gents Locker Room, aspects of the Electrics and Carpets). One interesting point raised (later in the forum) relates to the sharpening of ground maintenance equipment. Wayne used to do an annual sharpening during Winter. However, a) the equipment now has "cassetted" cutting units which require a different approach and b) the STRI consultant recommends three sharpenings per annum.
Our Club plans to invest in the lease-purchase of a unit to sharpen such cassetted units (and we have 22). Preliminary soundings suggest that we may be able to recover further costs by providing a contract sharpening service to other local clubs.
The second presentation was from Pete McGowan about the need for change to our Articles of Association. Pete gave a clear explanation of why we have to change - basically to comply with the requirements of the Companies Act. Proposed changes were held back from this year's AGM as further need for change was identified. It is intended to present updated changes to next year's AGM.
The third presentation was from Martin Bonynge who gave an excellent summary of the outcome of the Club Survey. 32% of the club membership had responded - an excellent proportion for such exercises. Martin explained that there were many instances of quite opposing views. However, in summary:
- This is a GREAT Club to be a member of;
- There are areas to improve;
- Loud voices do not mean a majority view;
- Real and perceived issues;
- Lack of respect and courtesy between members;
- Need for more communication, feedback and action.
We will not go into any more detail here as Martin is to produce an article for general issue throughout the Club. There was, of course, mention of how both formal and informal "groups" integrate - or not.
A few members had posted questions prior to the Forum. The Presenters, Martin, John and Peter, together with our Captain and Chairman, endeavoured to answer these; some with success.
We are aware of the many different viewpoints within the Club and the Board will continue to try to meet their expectations.