For this update I thought it best to focus on some key issues that, I am sure, will be of interest to members.
Firstly I am very pleased to report our continued success in attracting new members. Since my last update on the 3rd we have recruited a further 5 golf members bringing the total since re-opening to 21 new golf members and 2 for bowls. In addition to these we have secured 10 new “Play More Golf” points members since re-opening so there is real cause for celebration – HURRAH !!
The financial results for May were far better than we were expecting from the re-forecast of the club’s financials that was undertaken back in March when the lockdown was first implemented. There is no doubt that we are still looking at a sizeable financial deficit this year but the additional revenue in May for membership and visitors has greatly improved an otherwise very gloomy prospect and June is also looking to produce better then predicted results. We will continue to monitor our financials on a monthly basis and update members, as appropriate, on any actions that will be necessary to reduce the anticipated financial deficit for the year to a level that the club can cope with from its meager reserves.
Since the lockdown was implemented there has been significant benefit to the club from the endeavors of a number of volunteers including marshaling, raking bunkers, tidying hedges, tending the greens and bowls green, repairing pitch marks, mowing grass, cleaning the changing rooms, general maintenance and a range of other works too numerous to list individually and I want to express my sincere thanks to all who have stepped forward to support the club in its hour of need. Volunteers will remain an essential element for the club’s ongoing success so please lend a hand where you can.
Mitch will soon be returning from furlough to take some of the pressure off Stuart. I have to give a huge “shout out” for Stuart who has done a sterling job since re-opening dealing with the many day to day operational aspects of managing bookings, tee times, help, advice etc etc. With the social distancing restrictions, having two members of staff in the pro shop constantly is a challenge but without two members of staff, the pressures from dealing with the range of phone calls, bookings, enquiries etc etc are a burden for just one person, currently Stuart, so it would be greatly appreciated if members can bear this in mind and, as far as possible, restrict calling on Stuart’s or Mitch’s time to essential matters only. An easy gain would be to book tee times via BRS rather than to ring Stuart – this may seem unnecessary but it would help Stuart and Mitch significantly.
For the time being, Stuart will not be opening the pro shop on a Monday and I will endeavor to go in to open the building so that the facilities will be available but this may not be every Monday.
We are seeing a number of tee times being booked by members who then do not turn up – please bear in mind that there is the real potential for the club to lose out on much needed visitor revenue here. Please ensure that if plans change and any member is not going to use a booking then please cancel it off BRS so that it can either be used by another member or sold to a visitor. I have asked Stuart to monitor this.
I have been mentioning for some time that with the new railings and gate going up
between the pro shop and practice net we would be trialing closing the gates and restricting parking in the bottom car park to busy days only. Closing and locking the gates has certainly prompted a reaction, both positive and negative, so I feel it is opportune to clarify why we are doing this and the perceived benefits to the club and what we are planning to do to mitigate the impact to any member that the gate’s closure has. I remain convinced that closing these gates will be seen as a benefit to the club over time and I ask members to bear with the new arrangements and we will review matters and views next month.
The perceived benefits are :
: Security – restricting access onto the course especially out of hours obviously enhances security and without having people on site through out the day to open and shut the gates the most practical solution is for them to remain closed except on busy days and, for these, Stuart, will naturally open them to enable cars to park.
: Trespassing – in recent weeks/months there has been a number of occasions when a pony and trap has been ridden through the course causing damage to fairways and green. Access has generally been under the arch from the high street so the gates provide real protection against this unsocial activity and we will be installing some form of drop post in the passageway between the club house and pro shop to restrict vehicular access that continues to enable buggy access. We have reported the incidents to the police with them taking no action.
: Trespassing by school children – the school children constantly use the path between the club house and bowls green and despite engaging with the school the intrusion continues. With the railing fence and gates in place this should be radically reduced.
: Health and safety – access to the bottom car park is via the archway off the high street and this route does heighten the risk of injury to pedestrians or vehicular damage which would be mitigated with lower traffic flows.
: Outlook – the outlook from the clubhouse has been greatly improved with the removal of cars in the bottom car park.
: It is extremely likely that the club will need to increase its out door seating area as a result of covid and, whilst it is not ideal, the bottom car park would appear to be the most suitable location to situate additional seating as and when we are able to open the bar and/or restaurant.
Having listed all of the perceived benefits I recognize that there is additional inconvenience to those members who have always parked in the bottom car park but, more importantly, to those members who need a greater level of access, and less of a walk, to the buggy ranch so we will be putting in particular arrangements for those members. Options are for the pro shop staff to, by arrangement, move a buggy from the ranch to the pro shop or to enable pedestrian access through the gate or to open up the pathway between the green and bungalow to offer a shorter journey to the buggy ranch. Could I ask any member who would benefit from this to contact Stuart to make arrangements as and when they are scheduled to play. I recognize that this change will initially be perceived as an unnecessary inconvenience but I remain convinced that it will benefit the club in the longer term and we may yet need to modify our procedures to best meet individual needs.
Finally few points :
- can I ask that nobody should come to the club if you are showing any symptoms of Covid 19 or any cold or flu like symptoms, in particular a cough or a high temperature
- it would be appreciated if golfers could avoid walking down the path between the club house and bowls green when the bowlers are playing in the direction of club house to the bungalow – this better enables social distancing but please bear in mind that the green is open for only 4 days per week and the direction of play is being altered on a weekly basis so the request to avoid transiting on the path between the club house and green will only impact on 4 days in 14 days.
Stuart is planning to continue to be in on certain days and, while he is in, will open the clubhouse to enable access to the toilets and washrooms but, unfortunately, the club house will remain closed at all other times.
Chairman, Ramsey Golf and Bowls Club