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Club newsletter September 2017

Dear club member,

Now that daylight saving is almost upon us and the weather is warming up, we hope you are taking the opportunity to get out and play more often.

It’s been a busy winter for the club with some major developments that we want to make sure you know about:

Contract signed with the Nelson City Council

To recap for those not at our special meeting in June:

After almost two years of talks, we signed a comprehensive agreement with the council in July which sets out the roles and responsibilities of both parties and covers things like course fees and access rights, marketing, communication, how the golf shop is to be managed, and funding and revenue targets.

Green fees, season ticket prices and club access fees paid to the council remain unchanged, although the access fee will now have to be paid up front when a member joins. The new contract includes measures designed to boost course usage by cutting the cost of playing for certain groups. These include lower fees to hire the course, particularly in winter, and 20% discounts for Gold Card holders and NZ affiliated golf club members.  It also allows for special and targeted rates to be set to encourage more women, young players and novices to use the course. Generous discounts for groups of 12-36 remain.

The club’s exclusive use of the course on Saturday during the winter is protected and we have won an extra free day to holds inter-club events and tournaments. We also have a direct say in running the course through monthly Greens committee meetings and an annual policy and performance meeting with the council as well as input into marketing and promotion.

Taking over the golf shop

As part of the contract, we took over running the golf shop from July 1 on a one-year trial basis with a right of renewal for two years and a further three. For that we are paid $48,000 annually plus a 12% commission on all income from fees, tickets and hires. The council has agreed to pay for all outgoings, including a long overdue upgrade of the golf shop. It is now a bright and clean place to visit to print out your scorecard and offers a good range of merchandise and new hire gear. Our friendly staff Adam Candy and Gordon Davidson are there to help so just ask. New reporting and accounting systems have been put in place, and Lindsay Brooks has kindly produced a health and safety plan as required by the council.

Many of these new improvements are due to the efforts of our golf shop steering group, in particular Martin Fitzgibbon, who have worked tirelessly with the council to set up an operation that is efficient, transparent and modern.  They will soon be recruiting extra staff for the summer. 

Marketing and promotion of the course

Our marketing expert, Barbara Kotua, of the steering group has been busy putting together a coordinated plan with the council to better promote the course, which is crucial if we are to boost usage and earn more commission. As a first step, expect to see publicity soon about the reopening of the golf shop under club management and a free round offer to those who have never played the course before. There will also be a greater presence on Facebook and new signage on the golf shop and clubrooms.

Membership moves

The club is also doing its bit to promote usage of the course and boost our membership. We’ve just launched a Facebook campaign advertising our 3 and 6-month membership options and listing other ways to play, and we are about to print and distribute flyers with the same information, which is also on our website. We will be asking members to help with this as you are our best sales people. Any member who signs up another will get a free cap or towel and be in to win a thank you voucher. So talk to your family, friends and work colleagues about giving golf a go at our course. With our membership currently at 130, we need all the members we can get.

Management committee

Pat Melville has resumed the president’s chair after recovering well from his heart operation. We thank our vice president Richard Pearson for filling in so ably in Pat’s absence. Richard Deighton and Keri Kotua have replaced John Hornby and Graeme Bird who have both resigned as members, although we hope to see Graeme back playing again soon. We thank John – whose new forestry job has seen him about to move to New Plymouth – for his big contribution to the club over recent years.

Among other committee business:

·         We continue to work on our strategic plan, focussing on membership and marketing

·         We have approved an improved sponsorship deal with Total Golf, and Gordon is working on several other deals

·          Peter Watson has been appointed the club’s delegate to the newly formed Nelson district men’s committee which hopes to better promote and develop golf in the region in tandem with Tasman Golf Association.

Vets days plan

Pat and Richard have come up with an excellent idea to boost usage of the course by holding mixed vets competitions, similar to those held regularly by other clubs. The plan is to run a monthly stableford comp from October through to March on a Wednesday, depending on the number of entries we receive beforehand, although indications are that vet golfers are keen to support it. The council has come to the party by agreeing to charge only a $7.70 green fee per player, meaning the entry fee will be the same as at other clubs. The first event is scheduled for October 11 and will involve both a 9-hole and 18-hole comp. Entry details will be released soon, and we hope many of our older members support this initiative.

What else we’re working on

We will be repeating our efforts to attract more women and youngsters to play our course and hopefully become members by offering open days and cheap coaching. Richard has again put his hand up to organise the juniors and we will be looking for people to help him. Total Golf has also offered its services.

Gordon has been busy approaching businesses and sports groups about hiring out the course and has already signed up three parties, with the extra income benefiting both the council and the club.

We are looking at running a 9-hole competition alongside our regular 18-hole one on Saturdays in an effort to boost dwindling playing numbers and involve more club members. We hope to release details shortly.

With a new accounting system in place, we will soon be sitting down to set updated budgets for both the club and the golf shop which will help us plan ahead.

We are finalising an annual survey to send out to all members so you can tell us how we are going as a club and what we could be doing better. Your feedback is vital so please take part when you get the survey.

Inter-club success

Our Old Hickory team has done the club proud over the last couple of rounds, finishing second at Greenacres last month and then going one better by winning at Tasman this month. Rod Thomason and Jack Denton led the way at Greenacres, while Denis Blomquist and Paul Tunnicliff shone in difficult conditions at Tasman. Well done guys.

Our Sloan team battled back from a poor start to their season to finish in a share of fifth, which was a pretty good effort for a team missing some experienced players of previous years. Dave Huntley, Rob Willems and Keri Kotua were our top players.

On the course

Through our monthly greens committee meetings with the council and Nelmac, we continue to keep the pressure on to make sure the course is maintained to a good standard. With spring upon us and the grass growing strongly, we will be lobbying for more regular mowing of fairways, rough and greens, as well as action on weed control and tree maintenance. If you see an issue that you think needs addressing, please let either Gordon or Pat know rather than going straight to the greenkeeper. It’s important to work through the right channels and not upset our greenkeeper who is doing the best he can with limited equipment and help.

What’s coming up

Club champs finals are on September 30. Good luck to those vying for top honours.

Our annual match with Blenheim Golf club is scheduled for October 21 (Labour weekend). It is in Blenheim this year and we need a good turnout after they sent a strong contingent here last year. Put your name on the sheet on the noticeboard or let Gordon know.

The date for our annual Ryder Cup challenge with Nelson is December 9. It’s a great format and we will host it this year so we want out strongest possible team so we can build on our 3-1 lead.

Get involved 

We want you to get the most out of your membership. That is why we started a Tuesday morning 9-hole competition to complement our Thursday Golden Oldies events and are looking at doing something similar on Saturday as well as running mixed vet events. They are all aimed at getting you out playing more often and using our facilities.

However, the club does not run itself. Currently we rely on Gordon and a handful of dedicated members to do the donkey work, and many of us are not getting any younger.

We need your help, even if it is just for a small or short term job, such as doing the scorecards or draws, running raffles, cleaning up in the kitchen or helping with the occasional working bee or the Maitai Masters. And we also need people willing to step up and serve on our various committees. Without volunteers we won’t survive, so give something back to golf and the club. Contact Gordon or Pat if you can help.

ends