As written for MG by Rugby GC Director of Membership, Adrian Evans.
“I guess when we’re very young and someone asks, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up? – some reply a train driver! Well our train hit the buffers when the PM announced the closure of all golf clubs. The 23rd March 2020 will be in my mind forever. All private members clubs must have shuddered at the thought of cash flow drying up.
For us all it couldn’t have come at a crueller time, membership renewals had been sent out and although payments were being received there was that niggling doubt in some members minds that things might change soon. We all know what happened next. As the membership director I thought which way from here, we have a very loyal membership base at RGC, I knew they would come good. It has been a struggle, but my gratitude goes out to them.
I quickly wrote a working paper for the board of directors outlining a strategy for going forward, the board supported my thoughts and we implemented the plan. That strategy has worked well. I asked all members to continuing pay their subs and we would start our new golf year when we got the go ahead to resume. It turned out to be 7 weeks and a couple of days, the 5-7-day members that paid without playing will be credited in terms of playing time at the end on March 2021. Those on a flexible membership year started on the 13th May.
On 1st June I was planning to introduce a lifestyle membership, it was aimed at bringing revenue to the coffers. However we were inundated with new membership enquiries, most people must have understood that sport in general wasn’t returning anytime soon and that also affected those nomadic golfers that had nowhere to go. Under the EGU guidance we are not allowing any visitors to play, even with members, in our minds it’s their time, one of the benefits of being a club member.
Whilst on our enforced break we kept part of the green keeping team working, however they worked on tasks under the directive of the government guidelines, security and essential maintenance. I kept the members informed about the course work through our Facebook page, posting regular updates with pictures supplied from Jonny Peacock, Head Greenkeeper.
As we cannot support any competitions, M&H are reviewing this on a regular basis, some majors we hope to plan for later in the year, but frankly a lot will be lost. The loss of society booking is concerning as we’d had an upturn in bookings for this year. We have kept our visiting societies informed and offered our apologies for cancelling. To a group they have all stated they want to return next year so fingers crossed.
One of our main disappointments this year is for our elected captains, the board has asked under the circumstances if they would remain in office for a second year, they have agreed.
The question of cash flow is uppermost in all clubs’ minds, we are introducing a window takeaway service this weekend (May 23rd-25th) so hopefully we should be able to gain some revenue, sadly the clubhouse remains closed for the time being. It’s been disappointing on the catering front as we’d literally just commissioned Sarah Fuller, catering manager, to design a new menu with the help of the house director, this would have been so refreshing as the club has struggled with catering for some time.
The future at RGC is bright, we just have to get though this year, we have strong marketing plans and our new member recruitment and lapsed members strategy is on track. Since lockdown the club has recruited over 20 new members and several more are going through the system.
Now more than ever we have the chance to offer our members, visitors a great golf course in wonderful condition, a catering plan that offers a wide choice of refreshments, wholesome foods, snacks, carvery and even a la carte.
I wish you all great success when we are back at full speed.