Minutes of 45th Annual General Meeting held on Friday 22nd April 2022 at 7.00pm
Present : 25 Members
Introduction. The President Mrs S Kennedy opened the meeting and welcomed everyone. She introduced those occupying the top table to the floor. Herself as President. Committee Chairman, Mr S Pearson. Mr J Relph, Acting Secretary. Mr A Digirolamo, Outgoing Captain and Mr F Kealey, incoming Captain.
Apologies for Absence: The President read out the following apologies. Vice Captain Elect, Mr M Wilkinson. Proposed Director of Course Services, Mr S Cram. Director of Finance, Miss S Brown. President Elect , Mr R Armstrong. Mr P Hughes, Mr A Reed, Mr B Fairness, Mr Walker, Mr and Mrs M Smith, Mrs J Langrish, Mrs C Hall, Mrs J Blackburn, Mr and Mrs A Forster, Mr L Palmer.
Outcomes/decisions from the AGM held electronically on the 16th April 2021. These had been circulated previously and were agreed by the floor as a correct record.
To receive the Chairman’s report on behalf of Management Committee. The report had been circulated to members before the meeting, the Chairman explained how the proposed new Management Committee structure would work with the Director of Marketing and Member Recruitment and the Director of Clubhouse Services being removed and a new Director of Operations being created. With effect from 1/7/2022 the Admin Manager will reduce from 4 to 2 days and a new Secretary/Manager position will work 3 days a week. Interviews scheduled for the 26/4/2022. The Director of Operations will manage the Secretary/Manager along with the Bar/Catering Manager and the Professional. It is hoped this new and tighter management structure will ensure the operational management and day to day decision making will be more effective. Also, a smaller Management Committee should improve efficiency. The Chairman also said that Mr M Byerley was standing down as Director of Course services and that this vacancy was to be filled at tonight’s meeting. The Chairman also reported that Mr J Relph was stepping down as Acting Secretary. The Chairman thanked both Mr Byerley and Mr Relph for all their hard work and efforts over the past few years. The report was accepted.
To receive Accounts for year ended 31st March 2021. These were proposed and accepted by the floor.
In the absence of the Director of Finance, The Chairman reassured the membership that from a financial position the Club was still sound and expected the accounts to show a small surplus again this year. He added that Management Committee are still being financially prudent. He asked Mr H Corbett (co-opted Management Committee member) to say a few words. Mr Corbett explained that although Covid had been a particularly terrible time for people personally, financially for the Club, it had been extremely beneficial. We had received numerous grants and as golf was the only outdoor sport that anyone could play the subscriptions were up by £13,000 on previous years, however as the bar had been closed the profits from that had been down by around £55,000. Yet along with the grants received and income from subs we managed to show a slight surplus at year end. Mr Corbett went on to say that Bill Martin had been the Director of Finance that year and he had done a marvellous job in that he sourced all the grants for the Club , we received monies from Northumberland County Council, the EGU and the Parish Council. We took out a £50,000 bounce back loan which we are repaying over a number of years with minimal interest as well as being able to pay back a private to loan which Bill had made to the Club a number of years ago when things were tight. In this current year we received more grants, again these were sought by Bill before his sad death. With his work the Club have been able to use monies to better the Course and the Clubhouse and this will continue in the future. The report was accepted.
Confirmation of Key Officer Positions for 2022/2023: The meeting confirmed the following appointments of Key Officers.
Position - Person - Proposer - Seconder
President - R Armstrong - Mrs S Kennedy - S Pearson
Captain - F Kealey - B Hindmarsh - M Henderson
Vice Captain - M Wilkinson - R Armstrong - E Paisley
Nominations for Director Positions: The meeting confirmed the following appointments of Directors.
Position - Person - Proposer - Seconder
Director of Operations - T Docking - Mrs S Kennedy - Mrs J Blackburn
Director of Course Services - S Cram - M Byereley - R Armstrong
Outgoing Captains Report and Presentation of Captains Tie: Anthony Digirolamo addressed the meeting thanking everyone for attending. He thanked everyone for their support during his 2 years in office. Covid had proved problematic trying to run competitions and the Club and he praised the Management Committee for all their efforts during that time. He went on to say a huge thank you to Gary Kennedy who he had been Vice Captain to and who because of lock downs had been unable to receive his Past Captain Tie or momento. Anthony presented them to him and thanked him for his dedication during his year of Captain. Anthony went on to say that he had enjoyed his Captaincy he thanked Mick Byerley and his team for producing a marvellous course in very difficult times and thanked Russell and his team who again worked tirelessly and kept everyone fed during Covid. He thanked his competitions committee whose help and support was greatly appreciated and mentioned in particular David Byerley and James Cram who are doing a fantastic job. He thanked his Vice Captain Fintan who had also been of great support to him and thanked the Hadrian League team who had done him and the Club proud with their wins. Anthony wished the incoming Lady Captain, S Kennedy good luck for her year. He then presented the Vice Captain with his Captain tie.
Incoming Captain response: Fintan presented Anthony with a Past Captain tie and momentos for his terms in Office and thanked Anthony for all his help and support during his Vice Captaincy. Fintan went on to say that it was a privilege and honour for him to be Captain of Stocksfield Golf Club adding that it is a wonderful Club, unique, friendly, warm and welcoming. He was humbled that Past Captains had the level of respect for him to vote for him and he would do his best to continue with the traditions of the Golf Club and would put all his efforts into his Captaincy. He went on to say that Competitions Committee are a huge help to any Captain and he thanked them for their efforts, he was looking forward to Captaining the Hadrian League team and wished all Club teams the best for the coming season.
Any Other Business: There was no formal other business. The President thanked everyone for making her 2 years an experience in many different ways. She congratulated the Gents on winning the Hadrian League twice in a row, the Ladies for winning the evening League, she fondly remembered Captain’s and President’s Days and thanked all who had supported those events. She added that a massive amount of hard works goes into organising these competitions. She thanked Captain Anthony and Sue for their 2 years of service due to Covid adding that it was a big ask and hoped they would enjoy their well deserved rest. She went on to remember the good friends we had lost during the last 2 years and all the difficulties the pandemic had presented.
The President thanked the Management Committee for all their support during her Presidency adding that it had been an honour. She went on to say thank you to everyone who works hard to make this Club the most friendly, welcoming place. She thanked Norma for all she does in the Office and Russell and Non along with their staff who had been amazing during the pandemic keeping us safe and adding that the food is fantastic too. She thanked Mick and his team who not only work hard but they love this place as though it was their own back garden, always a wave and a smile when you see them on the course. She also thanked the numerous volunteers who give up their time to help the Club making mention of Jeff Hird who does a fantastic job organising the Bar Olympics every year. The president went on to thank Nicky the Pro and Dad Brian. Nicky is doing a great job with the Juniors holding Junior camps and the get into golf is proving popular too. Welcome to Archie Wilson who has joined him as an apprentice Pro. Unfortunately there will be no Junior team this year but watch out next year we have some great Juniors coming through. She added that there will be no Junior Captain this season but next year young Thomas Mitchell will have the honour. The President mentioned the incoming President Richie Armstrong who unfortunately could not attend the meeting, she added that he is a popular figure amongst the Club having been playing since he was 11, playing in the Junior teams, and going on to play in the Hadrian team and becoming Club Captain in 2012. She wished Richie all the very best in his Presidency. There being no other business the outgoing President closed the meeting.
Welcome to my Chairman’s report in what has been another strange year to say the least. Coupled with my role as Health and Safety Officer it has continued to have been extremely challenging to provide a safe environment for all members, staff and visitors. COVID has ensured that our golf season and experience has remained different and often difficult. However, I have enjoyed the challenge and can only thank all members of the Management Committee for their excellent support and great camaraderie throughout. Sadly we lost Bill Martín our very own ‘Mr Stocksfield Golf Club’ after a short illness. Bill worked tirelessly over many years in various roles on the Management Committee to ensure the longevity of this wonderful golf club. A huge and irreplaceable loss.
2021 has been another year of considerable change. Nicky Maddison our golf professional continues to provide an excellent all round service via his well stocked shop, swing room and teaching expertise. A junior golf camp took place in February with a healthy attendance which bodes well for our future. Due to this initial success a further two events are planned in April. To support Nicky’s great enthusiasm on the teaching front we are expecting very soon to complete the enhancement of our practice bays and hopefully the provision of a couple of driving nets, suitably located.
A massive thank you goes to Mick, Peter, Joicey and Ant for their continued hard work to ensure the course is in excellent condition which appears to be a greater challenge each year due to the inclement weather. An extensive course development programme is in place and details of specific work and improvements are available on our website.
Since Russell and his team returned the catering and bar functions have flourished even with the restrictions that have been in place. The acquisition of a marquee funded by the Parish Council proved highly successful in helping to manage numbers during social distancing by providing additional space. I am sure with the recent lifting of legal restrictions in February this area of the business will go from strength to strength.
I would like to thank the respective Captain’s Antony Digirolamo - Club Captain, Sue Brown - Ladies Captain, Jim Relph - Seniors Captain and Archie Wilson - Junior Captain for carrying out their duties for an unprecedented second year. This decision was made to enable them to enjoy leading their teams in the respective leagues. We won the men’s Hadrian league for the second year running. The ladies won the Evening League, Juniors triumphed by winning their League Field Day and the Seniors were joint runners up in the Northumberland Seniors League. I think this caps an extremely successful year. Congratulations to our 2021 Men’s Club Champion Steve Cram and Ladies Champion Liz Hartley. I would like to mention specifically Digi and the Captain’s Committee who did some sterling work to ensure our competitions schedule was completed and safely within the strict guidance provided by England Golf.
During the financial year we have received and utilised an assortment of grants to enable sustainability throughout that period. In accordance with our financial objectives, work continues to reduce our bank loan which is improving as a result of our recruitment and financial strategies. Any identified surplus is prioritised towards course improvements and appropriate capital developments with financial prudence at the forefront of our decision making.
Our recruitment and retention group, working closely with England Golf, is actively looking at different ways to retain and attract new members which continues to result in a growing membership. We are still one of the cheapest golf clubs across the County and yet we believe our overall golf package provides massive value for money. We will ensure our communication strategy continues to be strong, via our monthly newsletter, the club website and the utilisation of social media.
In summary, I think we have made progress and delivered all our 2021/2022 objectives listed within our business plan. These include the achievement of financial savings via robust budget management, identifying areas for income growth and member expansion, the provision of additional/new golf buggies and paths to support the age profile of the club and course improvements. Also, organisational restructuring to improve the business model, provide more effective management and ensure appropriate succession planning. Lastly, I hope you like the new decking area which looks absolutely fantastic. A huge thank you to everyone involved with this development which members can enjoy for many years.
Stocksfield Golf Club is a small business operating in a highly competitive, rapidly changing market. Nationally, the numbers of traditional golf club members have been declining with many golfers preferring to just pay green fees, booking at very competitive rates on the internet. This situation could get worse with the ‘Independent Golfer scheme’.
In 2020 the impact on sport caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated “lockdown” periods saw a number of people who participated in team sports turn to golf as a sport they could play. The Club were able to offer short term and longer-term deals to attract new members to offset the losses caused by course closure, clubhouse closure and loss of interest from existing members unable to play golf as often as they could.
In view of the changing situation the club finds itself in, the Management Committee have done a complete review of the existing 5 year Business Plan which was based mainly on what is now a failed Land Development Project. The emphasis being to put the club on a firmer financial footing moving forward, this plan will be reviewed on a regular basis with progress on the plan communicated to members via newsletters, web site etc.
Prior to updating the plan a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis was carried out to identify what we are good at, what we can do better, as well as the things that may have a positive or negative impact on the Club. This analysis included input from the members given via a comprehensive survey carried out by England Golf.
A visitor friendly but challenging and interesting course layout with wonderful views and scenery, welcoming and friendly environment, online tee booking system with buggy availability plus a comfortable recently refurbished clubhouse with first-class catering service.
Limited funding for course development, shortage of junior and lady members, limited car parking facilities, limited number of buggies together with insufficient paths throughout the course to make usage of them safer, poor practice facilities, poor drainage on front 9 holes leading to difficult playing conditions during the winter months.
Utilise IT and social media to increase local reach, develop school liaison and family golfing events to attract more ladies, juniors and younger members, introduce flexible membership schemes to attract time limited golfers, expand corporate membership.
Ageing membership, too many clubs in the area competing for same business, work / life balance reducing financial viability of full club membership, 'Independent Golfer' scheme reducing the need for club membership.
The Club has taken a critical review of its business with the objective of making the club financially sustainable going forward. This requires us to retain and grow membership, increase the unpredictable take up of casual tee times and falling (or static) green fee income and increase the income generated from bar takings and social events. At the same time we must closely monitor all expenditure with a view to reducing (and ultimately removing) dependence on a bank overdraft.
From information gained in the 2019 survey of members we have a better understanding of members needs and will be better able to look after and retain our core loyal member base while continuing to attract new members. Along with the majority of golf clubs around the country, the club has experienced a decline in full fee paying members due to a variety of socio economic and lifestyle reasons. We will continue to develop our range of membership categories with more flexible arrangements to attract those golfers who do not see the benefits of full golf membership.
Year end Mar 2021
We look to be ending the year with an estimated small surplus of approximately £3,000. This is mainly due to the receipt of the various grants that were applied for and which have helped cover the loss of bar income and reduction in green fee income received from visitors. During the year we secured an additional 63 new members and plans and initiatives are in place to help retain the current membership with additional offers being made to attract new members.
A winter programme of planned work, although greatly affected by poor weather, is being carried out to make improvements to the golf course making it even more attractive for visitors to come and play. The Clubhouse refurbishing has continued with the installation of new doors and plans to erect a marquee attached to the Clubhouse on the veranda.
Year end Mar 2022
The moderate success achieved to date on the financial side must not change the strategy of keeping a tight hold on the finances of the Club. We need to keep the membership on board with the actions taken by the Management Committee which include the following:
Year end Mar 2023
By year end 2025
Continued sustainability based on: