June 2017 Newsletter
We promised to update Members on progress with the financial situation for the Club, and this is a good interim point for a progress report. Now that membership renewals are more or less clear for 2017-18, and we have confirmation of the VAT rebate for which we been fighting for some time, we can detail our plans for meeting some of our targets for the season. As part of that, the 5 Year plan for the Club is also summarised here, so members can see what we are working towards, and how well we are progressing.
Other items, about events and progress on the course, and in the Clubhouse, are included here.
Total membership for 2017 is very close to 2016, with numbers leaving/retiring very close to new members. An encouraging sign is the high proportion of new members, who joined on one of our promotional deals last year, remaining on full membership this year.
Our bar takings, and our green fees takings, both of which contribute to the Club’s income, are significantly up on 2016, and our thanks to Greg and Abi in the catering, and Craig in the Pro’s shop, for generating that boost.
The VAT windfall
We have managed to retrieve some £54,000 from the VAT man on our expenditure over the last few years, and though we worked hard to secure that, we couldn’t build it into our longer – term planning until it reached our bank account! You may well be interested in the saga, so here goes.
Retford Golf Club has had a long-running claim/dispute with HMRC over the addition of VAT on Green Fees. We signed up with KPMG, a national firm of accountants, on a no-win, no-fee basis to fight our case, along with others in the country. Eventually they were successful with a test case for the Berkshire Golf Club, and some seven years of tremendous work behind the scenes by our own office staff, and our local accountants Wright Vigar, involving claims, counter claims and court appeals, has led to the decision falling in our favour too. HMRC has begun to repay a total of £68,962; our costs have come to £14,600, so we have a net account of £54,362, which is lodged in a savings account, as we now prepare to use this windfall.
We plan to use some of that to repay some of our loans, and to invest in the key greens equipment which we have wanted for some time.
Specifically, we have placed an order with John Deere for a Dakota Mounted Spinner-Dresser, and ProGator utility vehicle which will carry the Dresser. This should be at the course by July, and will help the greens staff greatly in top-dressing the greens and aprons. This is the sort of equipment that courses like Coxmoor, Sherwood and Hollingwell use, so we should be on a par with them.
We have also been trialling a “second cut” machine and/or a fairway mower, and in the near future we will arrange a trial of a sweeper and leaf collector, which would greatly reduce the man-hours in the autumn/winter. We will then make decisions about purchasing this equipment, and we will keep members informed about that. We know many members will be pleased to see that several of the frustrations about course management can be tackled in one sweep here.
5 Year Plan
We have been developing our longer term planning, and this plan, aspirational and subject to review and revision as we move ahead, is an expression of what we want for the Club, and where we aim to be in five years time. With our Centenary Year coming up in 2020, we hope that the course, clubhouse, and Club as a whole, will meet most of our targets by then. The overall costs would be c. £200,000 over the 5 years.
On the Course
- Highest possible standard, challenging and attractive for members and visitors, safe and open in all weathers, and capable of hosting County standard competitions.
- Greens renovated and drained to STRI guidelines.
- Paths upgraded and maintained to all-weather standard.
- Trees thinned and maintained as healthy feature of course, with the Forestry Commission guidelines on removal/replanting of trees met, along with a greater diversity of tree species, especially more Scots pines and Yew trees.
- Bunker upgrading and repositioning in some cases.
- Tees/fairways improvements, especially on the reshaping of the 10th tee.
- Irrigation improved with additional sprinkler spurs to greens.
- Look to extend yardage on some holes, to balance that lost on the new 16th.
- Maintain and upgrade machinery fleet for course maintenance, and meet H&S and environmental requirements.
Total costs over 5 years c.£100,000
In/around the Clubhouse
- Refurbish the Clubhouse to a high standard, with furnishings, floorspace usage, energy efficiency, security and computer/communication systems as priorities.
- Increase membership, with a variety of recruitment and membership option approaches.
- Increase the commercial exploitation of the Club assets, such as website promotions and bookings, diary times for visitors, catering access for visitors without inconvenience to members.
Total costs over 5 years c. £100,000
Captains’ Charity Day
This is the main fundraiser for our charities. The date is Saturday July 22nd. You can play in Mens, Ladies or Mixed fourballs. There will be prizes for the winners and for nearest the pin on a number of holes. Entry is £10.00 per player for members and £20 for visitors. We are looking for hole sponsors at a minimum contribution of £25, so if you or anyone you know would like to out their name on one of the holes or the practice putting green or short play area, please let us or the Office know. We are also grateful to receive any raffle prizes/auction prizes.
Our charities this year are Harefield Hospital and Canine Partners. Entry sheets are with Craig in the Pro Shop.
The social evening on Friday 16th June, with singer Ruth Stanford, has had to be cancelled, as there were not enough people booking places to make it worthwhile. In the light of this disappointing response, we will look again at the proposed events for September and December and make a decision about whether or not to proceed. We will keep members posted about that.
Bar closing time over the summer months will be 8.00pm, when there isn’t an evening event.
Other Clubhouse matters
The balcony damage at the clubhouse has been repaired, at a cost of £6,500, and we should be able to enjoy a summer, and beyond, out there.
The tables in the Clubhouse have been retopped, and many of the chairs re-covered. New curtains have been put up in the bar/restaurant area. Many thanks to the Ladies and the Senior Men’s sections, who have funded these improvements.
To upgrade your Garmin and Bushnell distance devices to include the new 16th hole, you need to go to http://software.garmin.com/en-US/express.htmlm and follow their instructions. Broadly, you delete Retford as a favourite, and then re-install it.
A plea; please don’t use the Charity parking place unless you’re the member who won it in the auction. On several occasions that has caused problems.
Andy Massey, Dean Atherton, Mary Saddington
Communication Group (on behalf of the Management Committee and Club Members)