December 2020 Newsletter
Message from the President
It is great news that we are going to be able to play golf again. Having walked the course, it has certainly benefitted from some drier weather and not having hundreds of golfers squelching around on the muddy bits. We have brought the Greens team back to more or less full strength this week in order to get preparations going for members to play next week. Whilst grass has been cut in the mild weather and reduced rain, many areas and bunkers are covered with leaves and twigs. Many thanks to Kyran and Alan for maintaining things for the last few weeks. Horsforth GC is a great community, and even in the lock down, volunteers have cleaned and varnished the furniture from the 19th, while others have dug a trench alongside the path from the first tee, to try to solve the drainage issue there. The refurbishment of the 19th is going well and will be completed before Christmas. The outside area will be added when the weather improves in March. Members should be assured that the funding for this project has come from an increase in the brewery loan, and not from club funds, tipping fund or reserves. On the subject of finances, we are in a reasonable position with 6 months of the year gone, given the loss of revenue from bar and catering, and an inability to reduce costs further.
The tipping on the practice ground continued throughout the lock down and the Course Development Fund is growing. We have allocated some of it to make changes to the 18th, which will give us a dramatic and challenging finishing hole, and we are still aiming to have a retained fund, as projected, in the order of £100k.
We are working on ways to build this fund into a long-term resource for the club, so we are able to plan for major course projects rather than make piecemeal changes as and when funds allow. However, we still need to be careful and prudent and ensure that we get through the winter in good shape.
Please also remember our loyal professionals who have had a tough year with the restrictions and closures forced upon them. We are their only source of income, so perhaps it is time to get some new clubs and a set of lessons, or at least some shiny shoes!
A final point, there may be high demand to play over the coming weeks, so please allow all members to get an even crack at playing. Let’s hope for fair weather!
David Coverdale, President
Covid 19 Regulations & Safe Distancing
Now we can play in 4 balls, the proper behaviour and distancing still applies and is actually more important than ever.
Can we please re-state the need to keep your distance when playing and to remember the rules after the first tee. It is worth saying how well people have done so far, but it isn’t over yet. We are also finding people are coming up as much as an hour before their time and asking to go off if there is a gap. This puts unfair pressure on the pro’s to fit them in so please stick to your tee time. You will be turned away if you are not booked on within 15 minutes.
Please also avoid grouping around the pro shop and first tee and be respectful of other people’s space. Thank you.
As you may be aware Simon will be retiring from the office in March 2021. We have had some 27 applications for the position with a closing date of Friday 27th November. A number have been shortlisted and the selection process for a new manager will begin on Thursday 3rd December.
The club have found a new treasurer who will take over from our current “stand in” treasurer Barry Brown. Ian Schofield is a member and chartered accountant, and will take up the reins in January 2021. Even though the clubhouse has been closed we are still taking bookings for external events in 2021, and hopefully, we will be able to hold them as restrictions ease. If any member is planning an event next year and would like to book our clubhouse, please give the office a call. We expect it to be busy next year, as people who have been unable to hold their parties, celebrations and memorials this year will be booking for next.
At this moment we are unsure as to the options and format for the AGM, which is planned for February as usual. We will be putting a board up in the clubhouse for nominations for the various Council offices and supporting roles. Notice will be served to the membership within the timescales required under the constitution. The President and Captain and their respective deputies are going to stay in position for a second year due to the impact of Covid 19. We should sign off the accounts with the Auditors this week in preparation for distribution to members.
Please see below the club’s safety policy about playing in fog and darkness. This is particularly relevant as golfers will be tempted to play into the dark through the winter. Please be aware of your responsibilities and the risks.
Greens staff – 4 staff are coming off furlough this week to prepare the course for play. Time is needed to remove leaves, rake bunkers, cut grass, put tees out, rope off new areas, put flags back etc. Tipping – This has remained at a healthy level throughout November and lock down 2, and work continues to spread the muck around the site, particularly towards the clubhouse end. October was over £10k to the club. With regard to the 18th – we are not able to get the work finished before xmas despite drier ground as the contractors were furloughed and won’t have sufficient time to complete the work before the xmas break. It is frustrating, but the ground at the bottom of the 18th does remain very wet.
Golf – As you know, we are back playing from the 2nd with online booking only. A men’s competition has been organised for Saturday 5th December.
World Handicap System – WHS – most members will be aware that England Golf have changed the way that handicaps are calculated. The change over from the CDH system has not gone as smoothly as they anticipated, and a number of issues have risen with a number of player’s. These issues are in the process of being rectified by England Golf. Some players handicaps are not showing on various portals. We are aware of this and they should be showing soon.
The refurbishment of the 19th is now well underway. Kevin Hill our House Chairman and his team have put a great deal of effort into getting it ready for members to enjoy when we can re-open. New flooring and lighting have been installed along with a complete redecoration. The bar and table have been varnished and a second TV has been installed. The new upholstery will be installed in the first week in December. The outside patio should be available for use before the playing season begins in April.
A part of the clubhouse roof is to be repaired and work will start on this before Christmas. In the last deluge there was water pouring down in front of the bar and the kitchen, and it is hoped that this repair will be a long-term fix.