Well here we go again. This is my seventh report as your President.
I think it is fair to say that this last year, has been like no other year experienced by our club. We started the year with an air of excitement as we looked forward to our centenary celebrations. However, unbeknown to us, some words like Pandemic, Lockdown, Bubbles and Covid 19 were entering our vocabulary. They say timing is everything and if we had held our celebrations one week earlier it would have gone like clockwork. However, as it was, we had a very stressful week changing our plans daily. We did manage to hold the tournament, albeit as the country waiting anxiously for the midday announcement. The opening ceremony, the Sunday Ambrose and the Celebration Dinner were all cancelled. The major disappointment was the cancelling of the dinner which was going to be a very special night for past and present players. This weekend was the culmination of a years planning and fundraising by a very competent and dedicated committee. To Sharon McGeown, Bryan McKay, Penny and Rob Vincent, Sue Park, Shona Johnson and Rex Edwards the club owes you a huge debt of gratitude for the many hours of work you all put in.
Then of course we entered the various phases of lockdown which created many challenges for our club. My grateful thanks to the sub-committee of Rex Edwards, Bryan McKay, Daryl Graham and Grace Latimer who joined me to navigate the club through the changing and sometimes confusing criteria that was applied in the various stages of lockdown. I am very proud of the work we did in keeping our course open when we could and the creative ideas we came up with to comply with the Covid criteria.
There are two other thankyou's I want to acknowledge which helped us through this difficult time. Firstly to Nick and Ian for the timely work they had to rush through prior to the lockdown, not the least of which was applying the growth inhibitor to our greens. The way our course came through the weeks of no maintenance is a credit to your forethought and dedication. Secondly all this occurred when our Subscriptions were coming due which placed our club in a very vulnerable position financially. I was humbled by the support of our membership, who without exception, paid their subs with absolutely no guarantee of when they would play again. This response from our members, more than anything else, demonstrates to me what a special club this is and I thank each and every one of you.
So lets now move to the other many thankyou's and acknowledgements I wish to make and they are in no particular order!
I have mentioned Nick and Ian earlier but I want to re-emphasise how lucky we are to have you both. Your skills are complimentary and it just amazes me how, when we all think our course is amazing, you continue to take it to another level.
To the Woodies you have put in another stirling years effort. I know many of our players do not see the work that is done but those of us who are involved, and those in the know, certainly do. While you contribute financially to the club through wood sales you do so much more than that.
To the ladies who work on the course looking after gardens etc you are greatly appreciated, thank you. Likewise the team of relief mower drivers who turn up at very short notice when required. You give the greenkeepers the opportunity to get on with the many other tasks they have.
Kevin, thanks for continuing to run She, and He, Loves Golf. Your dedication, over many years now, in running this programme is a credit to you and it is a significant success factor in why we continue to get a steady flow of members.
To my Management Committee thanks for your dedication and support. We are very lucky to have such a dedicated team. To those standing down this year thanks for your commitment and to those joining the team, welcome, we look forward to your contribution. To Rob Guild who is standing down as House Committee Chairman thanks for your contribution over many years Rob, both as President and on the House Committee. My special thanks to Rex for his ongoing chairmanship of the match committee but just as importantly for the work he does for us on our website. Our website continues to grow in popularity and a lot of that is down to the continual work Rex does in keeping it up to date. To Bryan, thanks once again for your amazing support. Despite your accident Bryan you continued to be heavily involved in the club plus managed a couple of projects during that time. I think it may have helped keep you sane during your recovery!
To the members of the House, Match and Ladies Committees, thanks so much for the important work that you do.
There is another very important thank you I wish to make. We are all aware of the challenges that we face in draining our course. We have made many improvements to the drainage of our course in recent years both through improving and increasing our drains but also by way of the new machinery we have purchased. What has remained problematic for us was the challenge of draining the area adjacent to the sea on No 10 and No 11. This year Paul Hay designed a drainage system for us and then took on the task of installing it. It has made a huge difference Paul and significantly reduced the workload of the Greenkeepers. Thanks so much for your creativity and dedication in seeing this project through.
Thank you to Rob and Jenny for managing the kitchen and being the welcoming faces to our members and visitors. Yours is a very important role.
Can I also say that while they are the primary contact to those playing our course we all share the responsibility of welcoming visitors to our club. Our strat line is "The friendliest Club in the Top of the South" and we can all do our part in that. Visitors love to have a chat and if we can make their visit as pleasant as possible then, as a club, we benefit from their word of mouth recommendations. So please take the time to acknowledge them. We all know how great our course is but it is very gratifying to hear the complements from our visitors. Plus you never know who might be considering joining!
Now to our sponsors. To our major sponsor NBS we are so grateful for your continued support and it is very pleasing that we have signed an agreement for the next two years. Greg and his team are great to work with and very supportive of our club. To our partners; Hamish.Fletcher Lawyers and Bowater Hyundai/Isuzu thank you for supporting our club. We are fortunate to have the support of such a quality Law Firm and Car Dealership.
To the many other sponsors who support us, including the new sponsors we have taken on board this year, we thank you immensely. As I have said many times' sponsorship is a two way path. We as a club purchase from our sponsors whenever we can and I again encourage you all to do the same and don't be shy in telling them why you are supporting them, they really do appreciate it. In these difficult times it is more important than ever that we continue to give them our support.
In addition we have a number of members who assist us in various ways that are not obvious. Areas such as donations, use of their skills, purchases etc. They do not ask or seek any public acknowledgement. Suffice to say that I, and some others, know who you are and we are very grateful for your support. We are so lucky to have people like you!
Okay I think that's all the thankyou's, if I have missed anybody, my apologies, it has not been intentional.
Over the last year we have continued with our replacement and renewal of our machinery and other improvements. This year, with the assistance of the Lion Foundation we have purchased a Scarifier valued at $37,000. This machine will complement the Sander and Vertidrain that we have purchased over recent years. The benefit of this machine will become apparent over the next few months. It is seldom that I have seen Nick so excited about a piece of machinery!
Our lease has been renewed this year for a further 21 Years on the existing terms and conditions. I acknowledge the foresight of previous generations who put this lease in place. It was inspired thinking at the time and it has given the club security of tenure.
This year we faced the biggest issue that we have faced in my time as President. Without going into all the details here we became aware that our water right had been severely reduced. To the point that we may not have had enough water to look after the greens let alone the fairways. Through the diligent research and communication skills of a couple of members, and the flexibility shown by TDC, we were able to avert this crises and our water right is now protected at previous levels.
Our membership numbers at the end of this financial year are very pleasing. As at the end of August last year, across all categories we had 370 members. As at the end of August this year our membership stood at 429. That's a 16% increase. You may recall that we introduced cheaper membership last year for members 19 to 25 and 26 to 30. We now have 21 members in these two categories. That's way up on the year before!
Now lets move to our financial performance and while Geoff will cover this in detail it would be very unlike me if I wasn't to make a few comments. Our two major income lines have stood up very well. Subscriptions are up which is a natural result of increased membership and our green fees are on a par with last year' if we remove the impact of the Left Handers Nationals in 2019. Interestingly our Green Fees are up every month since Covid when compared to last year. A significant contribution to our income was the Covid Subsidy and we are very grateful to have qualified for this during lockdown. We continue to keep a close eye on our costs and it is pleasing that there is only a small increase in comparison to last year.
Our cash position is very strong and I want to repeat what I said last year " A healthy bank balance comes with its own temptations but my view is that, like any good business, an accumulation of cash is an insurance against the future. It is hard earned and should be protected accordingly." I think this year, more than any other, this statement is so relevant. We face an uncertain future and should we, heaven forbid, face further lockdowns then we will again face the situation of no income but significant costs. Our cash position places us in an enviable position where we have the ability to, hopefully, weather the storm. A situation that most sports clubs throughout the country would envy.
I said last year that it would be my last as President, that has not come to pass but let me give you an absolute guarantee that this coming year will be my last. As a Management Committee we will have the ability to co-op members and this year we need to have members step forward who are willing to undertake the role of President and Vice-President. They can join the committee and we will mentor them in preparation for next years elections. This will be eight years as President and in all ways it has been a partnership between Shona and I. The tireless work she does for this club in so many ways, gardening, liasing with existing sponsors and finding new ones, being an integral part of the Motueka Open team, work on the house committee etc is a credit to her and as a sounding board for me she is absolutely invaluable.
Each year has bought its unique challenges but this one would have to take the cake. Covid has certainly been the focus of the year and I firmly believe that we have managed it as well as we possibly could have. We are all part of a special club and with transparency, honesty and integrity in what we do I am sure it will remain that way.
It is therefore with pleasure that I present this seventh report as your President. I am very happy to take questions from the floor.