Club newsletter for March 2020

  • 31 March 2020
  • Peter Watson

Hi club members,

Before all golf came to a screaming halt last week (March 25) with the start of the lockdown to counter the Covid-19 pandemic, the club had been going gangbusters. The six weeks leading up to lockdown has been action-packed, with a lot of work started or done which has meant higher-than-usual expenditure but which has been kept under control thanks to the excellent voluntary efforts of numerous club members.

So while most of you have some extra time on your hands to read and think about stuff I thought I would detail what has been done since the start of February.

The good stuff

* The cottage has finally been finished – painted inside and out and repairs made – much to the delight of our new tenants Steven and Haley who are enjoying living on the course. Thanks to the generosity of Trafalgar Painting in supplying the painters and scaffolding, it has cost the club just for paint and wood to complete the job. Thanks to our president John Towns, Trevar Gibson, Paul Tunnicliff, Dave Huntley and others for helping out.

* The cottage garden and surrounds are in the process of getting a thorough pruning and tidy up with Paul Tunnicliff leading the charge.

* Refurbishing of the clubhouse continues under John’s guidance, with the carpet/underlay removed downstairs and the changing rooms getting a new coat of paint. A $5000 grant from Mainland will help pay for the $8000 cost of grinding and sealing the concrete floor and the laying of carpet tiles, which we hope will be done  a few weeks after the lockdown ends. A shout-out to Trevar, Phil Sellers and Maurice Woodhouse for their help with this project.

* Several well-attended working bees have continued the work to tidy up around the clubhouse, gardens and nets, including removing old firewood. Maurice has led several chainsaw parties who have made further excellent progress in pruning trees to a standard height around the course.

* A number of club members, including Richard Pearson and Warwick King, are manufacturing smart new wooden tee blocks for the course, with the first batch already in place.

* A nearly new golf cart, powered by long-lasting lithium batteries, has been leased for an eight-year term from EZGO at a small discount. Our two existing carts bought in 2012 have both had their steering repaired which has reinforced the decision to get a newer one. All three are now covered by replacement insurance after it emerged we didn’t have specific cover for them.

* A new compressor to clean player’s gear has been purchased and installed.

* A new vacuum cleaner has been purchased for the clubhouse.

* A replacement computer has been installed, with updated Windows, built-in box and bigger screen. It was donated by Nelson Aviation College.

* New cups have arrived to complement our new flagpoles on the course, paid for by NCC.

* We have improved, unlimited and faster wireless internet coverage after switching from a Spark data package to Maitai Valley Wireless for just $5 more a week.

* Clubhouse lockers have been sorted out.

* Tighter bar procedures appear to be working, with takings up and the till balancing. Thanks to Warwick King for his help with this.

* We have had a good initial response to re-signing our sponsors, with NBS giving us another $1000 (up to $3000) and paying for one of their women staff members to join the club. Cap-it-all Promotions has renewed its $1000 a year sponsorship and is supplying two new club flags. Total Golf has renewed its sponsorship ($500 for clubhouse sign plus a discounted Maitai Master prize list). We are working on making Trafalgar Painting, Sturrock & Greenwood and Waste Management hole sponsors in recognition of the help they have given the club recently. Fulton Hogan has come on board as a Maitai Masters sponsor. Neil Elliott has again sponsored the Pitch for Cash contest and we are confident of support from Pestells. John and I will continue approaching others for sponsorship once the lockdown is over.

* Club membership is up another two to 152, which is higher than this time last year.

* Green fee income for January, February and March (before the lockdown wiped out the last six days of the month) was tracking to top $30,500, which was down just $1000 on last year which was exceptional because the drought closed many other areas. It was on a par with 2016 and 2017 and much higher than 2018. Likewise, course usage for the year to date was down 1% on the same period last year but up on previous years.

* Despite higher spending due to club maintenance and renewal projects, our bank balances remain healthy, with $37,926 in our 03 account, $6478 in our 00 account, $6631 in our Target account and $47,243 in four term deposits of 3-6 months for total club funds of $98,278 as at March 31. 

* The club was heading for a pleasing profit in excess of  $20,000 for the 2019-20 financial year (more than double last year), but Covid-19 will have some negative impact.

* We continue to attract clubhouse hires from Peak Safety and private groups, with Nelson Mountain Bike Club using us as a base for their Enduro race on March 13/14. More importantly, Nelson Mountain Bike Club wants to use our clubhouse as a base for Nelson’s first international Enduro race from April 1-4 next year which will attract 400 top riders from around the world. The plan is for the clubhouse to be used as a media and drug-testing centre and by race officials. We have begun negotiations with NMTC and Nelson City Council in order to make sure the club is getting both short term and more lasting benefits from the event.

* We have made a comprehensive submission to NCC over a course fee review and expect to be invited to a sport and recreation committee meeting to explain our submission and make a presentation to councillors about the course.

* The much delayed drainage project on No 4/5 holes on the course has been completed and drains resown.

* Both our Sloan and Old Hickory teams have made solid starts to the season and we have been getting big turnouts for the Golden Oldies comps on Thursdays.

* Our accountant has simplified and standardised our accounting codes with my input so our accounts should be easier to follow and even more accurate.

The ho-hum stuff

* Covid-19 crisis: It forced the closure of our course along with all others around NZ and lead to the cancellation of the Maitai Masters, our big fundraiser of the year, although we have November 28 as a back-up date on the regional calendar. The financial fallout will hurt many golf clubs but we are in a better position to survive than many others.

* The cancellation of the 2019 Ryder Cup because Nelson couldn’t get a team together despite two attempts. We are to try to hold another challenge in November or December.

* Nelmac dragging their heels in replacing essential equipment for our frustrated greenkeeper Arnold. The club continues to lobby NCC for improvements on his behalf. A poor audit of the course has sparked some action to improve course presentation.


The still-to-do stuff

* Applying to Rata Foundation for a grant to re-carpet upstairs. The paperwork has been collected and I expect to write the supporting notes and send early in April.

* Writing a submission to NCC’s annual plan in support of a recreational hub in the Maitai Valley, preferably based at the golf club.

* Invoicing of club subs etc for 2020-21, although this will be delayed slightly because of the lockdown. For how ever long the course is closed by Covid-19 lockdowns, your subs period will be extended at the other end to cover this so members won't be paying for what they didn't receive.

* Setting budgets for 2020-21 and updating our strategic plan.

* Getting the kitchen inspected to see what needs to be done.

* Repairing rotten window frames on north-facing side of clubhouse.

* Updating the honours board.

With Covid-19 yet to hit its peak and the short term future uncertain, things could change quite quickly but we will keep you informed throughout either by email, phone, website or Facebook page.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please don't hesitate to contact me by emailing or ringing 0274433494.

Take care and stay safe.

Peter Watson




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