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Members Update


24th November 2020

Dear members,


There is no doubt that COVID has resulted in severe disturbance over this year causing the club to be closed for an extended period earlier in the year and currently thereby impacting on members continued enjoyment of club facilities. On the positive side, through effective management and, in our opinion, with little impact on our members, we have benefitted from increased visitor numbers and a significant number of new members across all sections of the club.

The outlook back in March, when the first lockdown was implemented, looked very bleak but with our successes with visitors and new members we have seen a positive improvement in club finances enabling us to implement improvements on the course, bowls green as well as purchasing newer equipment.

Given the improvements in our financial position, we have decided to hold membership fees for 2021 at current levels, which I hope the majority of members will welcome. Prior to the announcement of the current lockdown we had been considering a modest rebate to all members of around 5% in recognition of the COVID related disturbance over the year. However the financial impact arising from the lockdown over November in terms of the loss of visitor and bar revenues limited our opportunities in this regard and would certainly impact on our continued plans for investment/improvements across the club for 2021 if we were to proceed with a rebate. I am sure that the majority of members would prefer to see continued investment across the club rather than a modest rebate and I am also sure that the majority of members would acknowledge that the club should not be held responsible for closure of club facilities as a result of government directives and recognise that we worked effectively to re-open the facilities as early as possible.

There have been numerous member updates from myself and Alan Mawhinney over the past months commenting on the club finances, how the club was dealing with COVID and our plans for continued improvements across the club.

For the latter part of 2020 and looking forward to 2021 these planned improvements include :

  • -  increasing the staff resource on the grounds team which had been planned for 2020 but delayed due to covid.

  • -  continuing with our plans to update and improve our course machinery. This year we were able to purchase a rough cutter and are now on the look out for a bunker rake and utility vehicle.

  • -  improving the bowls green in readiness for the new season when Ramsey Club will be hosting a number of county matches. This has been largely financed through fund raising plus a grant, both of which were organised by the bowls committee.

  • -  installing a new golfing practice net.

  • -  continuing with the program of renovating some of the golf bunkers

    I am sure that all of these improvements to the amenities are welcomed by the membership but I am also sure that it is recognised that our expenditures will further increase and, therefore, the club will need to ensure that its revenues will continue to meet the club’s needs. There is no doubt that our increased membership numbers place us in a much improved position to maintain our program of improvement

I must also repeat the message that I have been making over past years which is that even with our improved membership numbers, based on current membership rates, the club still does not have sufficient members to ensure that membership income plus all other areas of revenue is sufficient to meet the club’s operational expenditures without the essential work undertaken by volunteers across the club.

The club’s success over recent years is, in no small part, due to the volunteer programme that operates across the club and this is still absolutely essential to ensure continued success, a situation common to many clubs. Without the efforts of our volunteers the club would be incurring a financial deficit each year which, in all likelihood, could only be addressed by increasing membership rates which, I am in no doubt, would not be acceptable to many of our members and would result in resignations. The principal areas where volunteers provide essential support are set out below and I have broken these down into two distinct areas :

1) Those aspects that physically reduce club expenditures which needs to continue until such time that our membership numbers or income from other sources make it possible to review matters.

: working behind the bar and in the restaurant : cleaning the club house and changing rooms

Putting this another way, if these aspects were not carried out by volunteers and had to be paid for, the impact on the club finances would be severe and without an increase in fees all club reserves would be expended in less than two years.

2) Those aspects that have brought about improvements across the whole club that, realistically, would not have been possible without members input.

: supporting our grounds team with maintenance activities across the golf course, bowls green and in and around the club house.

: carrying out individual tasks on maintenance and other areas for the club’s benefit.

Additional to these aspects there are all of those members that work behind the scenes to ensure that the individual clubs operate efficiently on matches, competitions, social events etc etc which range from the management board to the numerous committees and individuals across bowls, golf, snooker and social events and all members should be ever thankful to those that, so generously, give up their time so willingly.

Of the activities carried out by volunteers the area that needs further help is the cleaning of the golf changing rooms and associated toilets, the responsibility for which falls to the golf committees to orchestrate. Our Captains, Alan Mawhinney and Joyce Buddle continue to strive to garner support for these activities and I make two requests on this topic :

: please leave the facilities as you would like to find them and,
: respond to the call to help with the cleaning – if 10% of the combined golf membership (some 30 members) were prepared to give up an hour once a month the job would get done for the benefit of all. In contrast the core of the bar volunteers give up to 20 - 30 hours per week so I do not think it unreasonable to hope that the golf membership could find sufficient support to ensure that their own facilities are maintained in a clean and presentable state.

If sufficient support is not forthcoming then operational costs will increase impacting on fees and/or our opportunities to improve facilities.

In finishing I would like to wish all members a very happy Christmas and prosperous new year and to thank all members for their continued support of the club

Finally a huge thank you to our volunteers, Neil and his team, Stuart and his team, Sarah and her team, Judith and to Bex


Richard Coles
Chairman, Ramsey Golf and Bowls Club