2017-18 Committee Reports Updated Below ↓
Shandon Park Golf Club has been so successful because of the members and staff that give time and resources. Below you will find some of the people who can help you get the most out of YOUR club.
If you see them around the club say “hello”. They’re happy to help even if you bend an ear or two.
Team Captains 2018
|Senior Cup, Barton Shield||Iain Hall|
|Belfast and District||Peter Scobie|
|Junior Cup, Holt Shield||Jonny Guest|
|Jimmy Bruen Shield||Jimmy Hill|
|Pierce Purcell Shield||Ken Henderson|
|Irish Mixed Foursomes||Ross Docherty|
|Fred Daly Trophy||Nigel Sloan|
|Ulster Cup||Ernest Culley|
|Irish Fourball Trophy||Diarmuid Maquire|
|Senior Cup||Paula Irvine|
|Senior Foursomes||Diane Nickels|
|Junior Cup||Gillian Harron|
|Junior Foursomes||Dianne Conway|
|Intermediate Cup||Rosemary Gordon & Debbie Thompson|
|Minor Cup||Nancy Anglin & Meta Collinson|
|Challenge Cup||Alison Honan|
|Revive Active||Elizabeth Goligher|
Our Recent Successes
Shandon Park GC Ladies’ Section pride themselves on their competitiveness and every year enter teams in the AIG Inter-Club Championships (Ulster). This year we entered teams in all six categories:- Junior Foursomes, Senior Foursomes, Junior Cup, Intermediate Cup, Minor Cup and Challenge Cup, with all handicap ranges and ability of golfer taking part.
We had a very successful year with five Shandon Ladies’ teams reaching the Ulster Semi Finals – the first time, according to the ILGU, that this has ever been achieved by an individual club!
Two teams – the Senior Foursomes and Intermediate Cup teams made it all the way to the Ulster Finals at Dungannon Golf Club on 27/28 August 2016 where the golf was highly competitive and the atmosphere was electric. Supporters were there en masse to cheer on their teams.
The Senior Foursomes team, who started out in a field of 26 teams and played some fantastic golf to reach the finals, knocking out Galgorm Castle, Royal Belfast and Lurgan on the way, unfortunately just lost out to Royal Portrush in a tight finals match.
The Intermediate Cup team, who were one of 60 teams at the beginning of the season and knocked out Royal County Down, Ardglass, Ballybofey & Stranorlar, Banbridge and Killymoon en route on the final, sadly lost 2/3 to Malone.
Both finals were hard fought and very close. The players, team captains, reserves and caddies showed great golfing ability and commitment. They covered the length and breadth of Ulster during their campaigns, meeting some impressive teams, playing some superb golf, and always playing in the spirit of the game.
The other three teams who reached the Semi Finals were the Junior Foursomes, the Junior Cup and the Minor Cup team. Again, they did extremely well to reach this stage of the competition, having started out in fields of 65, 38 and 65 teams respectively – and scoring wins at Bangor, Lurgan, Fintona, Rockmount, Donaghadee, Knock, Moyola. Dunmurry, Killymoon, Massereene, Ballybofey and Stranorlar during their campaigns.
We are very proud of our teams and look forward to the 2017 season with great anticipation and confidence.
Golf Clubs throughout Ireland and beyond are suffering from falling income due to the reduction in membership numbers. It is all too easy for our Members to migrate to other Clubs as very few now have entrance fees to hold them and many are offering ‘new member rates’ to attract them. Many have relinquished Club membership altogether to take advantage of the very competitive visitor green fees being offered by privately owned, council and even Members’ Clubs. All Clubs are vying for fewer and fewer regularly playing loyal members.
It was with a clear understanding of the above points that we entered our 5-Year Plan in 2016 with only two objectives. The first and most important was to protect our biggest asset, the Golf Course. Without a quality Golf Course, there is nothing. The second was to try to recruit new Members by keeping our subscriptions as low as possible.
I think that you will all agree that that our course, fairways and greens were fabulous this spring and summer. The drainage work carried out on the fairways, the Verti draining of greens, the extensive use of sand on the fairways and the use of mats throughout the winter months of 2016 (not to mention the weather) created a Golf Course that we could all be proud of. Unfortunately, the influx of new Members that we required did not follow. We were aware of the pending VAT rebate (detailed in the Honorary Treasurer’s Report) and, to be fair, this created a safety cushion for the year.
Changes to the VAT regulations applicable to Clubs would also make the option of a Members’ Levy less attractive as this would now be subject to VAT. Reluctantly, we decided that it was necessary to hold an EGM and ask the Members to increase subscriptions by 10%. This would only bring our subscription levels back into line with our competitor clubs but, yes, it did mean a ‘big hike’ in our fees in one year which, if we had annually increased in line with inflation each year, would however be higher than they are today. Hindsight, eh! In effect, we have just painfully realigned ourselves to where we should have been.
We started a new Council with a new Honorary Secretary, a new Honorary Treasurer and a new General Manager. We also had a dramatic drop in our membership numbers which had obviously affected the income from subscriptions, the Bar and the Restaurant. What a challenge!
While Lyle Carson (Honorary Secretary) has worked with the General Manager to realign our staff and administration, creating easily accessible and understandable working systems and practices, Collin Stevenson (Honorary Treasurer) set about controlling our expenditure and analysing our procurement procedures. Both men have my great gratitude for the work that they have done on behalf of our Club. I had no idea that the results reported to me at time of writing would be so positive. My greatest wish was for us not to have the need for an overdraft or Members’ loans for the first time in many years, but to report a surplus over and above the VAT refund is nothing short of remarkable. The enthusiasm and genuine passion shown by these two men has been monumental. A massive word of gratitude also to Maria Morgan, who has worked with our finances often into the wee small hours. If you ever see a light on at 11.00pm in the office, it’s Maria.
By ‘working smarter’, we have made savings across the estate in Greens and House. Our Visitor Green Fees are up and wages across the board are improved versus last year. The Professional’s Shop has showed a marked improvement and we would hope to continue this trend forward.
All the signs are good for a successful financial future for our Golf Club, but the hard work is by no means complete. In fact, it’s just beginning. Once again, our Member numbers are significantly down this year. Some might say that it is our own fault for putting the subscriptions up by 10% but, believe me, we didn’t have a choice. Imagine what we would be looking at now if we didn’t have the increase and had still had lost the membership.
Thanks to all my team Captains in both sections. Fortunately, our Ladies’ Section celebrated success at Ulster level – congratulations to the Ladies’ Captain, Dianne, and the respective Team Captains. But, alas, the Men and Mixed just fell short on every occasion. Better luck this year.
My sincere thanks go to my Vice-Captain Richard Cloke and our President Mr Roy Archibald for the support that they have given me over the course of the year. I wish them a successful year as Captain and another as President, and hope that all the teams give them something to cheer about. Also, to the Officers who have stood by me and have not only helped me meet but have surpassed my vision for 2017. My Convenors – Mr James Hill, Mr Gary Limmer, Ms Dianne Conway and Mr Gordon Strain – and their respective committees, who have all worked tirelessly week in and week out. To the rest of my Council who sat on Sub-Committees and even those who just voiced opinions at the right time.
To the staff, my wife Margie and I have been treated with respect and often just clean spoiled – thank you all.
Finally, to Mr Derek Shaw, who choose me as his Vice-Captain and to all the Members of our wonderful Golf Club for electing me as Captain. I have had the most fabulous year. I have made so many new friends and I thank you all for allowing me the opportunity, one which I feel privileged and proud to have held.
Ian Hanna (Club Captain 2017-18)
Greens Committee – James Hill (Convenor), William Moore, Richard Beaney, John MacFarlane, Julie Hall, Debbie Sweeney and Jeff Lamb (Course Manager, in attendance).
Our plan for 2017-18 is, and has been, more of the same – improving the playing surface to contend with and recover from periods of wet weather. Lateral drainage, gravel banding, sand carpeting and deep scarification have continued to be our main defence against surface water on the fairways.
Our efforts have focused upon eliminating standing water from our greens, by preventing water flowing onto the greens and by moving water off them as quickly as possible. In some cases, it means direct drainage on the green; in others, it is adjusting apron levels and creating catchment areas and runoffs with drainage outside the green area.
Direct removal of thatch across smaller areas, especially aprons, appears to have a high success rate by lifting and re-laying turf. On this basis, we have undertaken an experiment on the temporary 10th green to remove layers of thatch from both green and apron, with the original turf put back onto a new bed of root zone compost. The success of this trial will be judged on the period of recovery, which is not expected to be until the late spring. If successful, the same methodology could be considered for those of our greens that are heavily bound with thatch.
We look forward in 2018 to some clement weather and the fast recovery of the golf course from this incessant winter rain.
I wish to thank the Greens Staff and Committee for their hard work, help and collaboration throughout the past year, and those Members who have volunteered their time to help with work around the Clubhouse and on the Golf Course.
James Hill (Greens Convenor)
Finance Committee – Collin Stevenson (Honorary Treasurer), L Carson, M Morgan and D Doherty (General Manager, in attendance).
Our 2017 accounts indicate a very healthy surplus, thanks mainly to the VAT reimbursement and, with the restructured loans now in place, the cashflow issues experienced in 2016 have now been corrected, and we did not require an overdraft facility to cover our ‘end of year’ finance requirements. This year, our Trading Surplus is £130k and, considering that the net benefit of the VAT refund was £108k, this represents an underlying surplus of £22k. In 2016, we reported a deficit of £39k – we have therefore improved our accounts, net of the VAT refund, by £61k during the year just ended.
The VAT refund has obviously increased the income level for 2017 but, with no Course Levy income (as received in 2016), this shortfall has been made up with improved Green Fees Income of £18k, recovery of current year and past years’ monthly settlement discount from Diageo (£11k), Competition Income Surplus (£6k) and Social Surplus (£3k).
This year, we received £1,900 income for our Solar Panel agreement for the first time. The Professional’s Shop turnover has dropped, but we have improved the Gross Margin from 15% to 22%, whilst reducing the deficit by £3k compared with prior year. Both the Bar and Restaurant report a drop in turnover, and the Gross Margin on Bar trading improved by 1%. The Bar shows a £3k improvement in contribution whilst the Restaurant contribution has declined by £4k. Our Auditors advise that the Gross Margin of our Bar is lower than that of other golf clubs.
Barry Wilson (Club Professional) deserves a mention in the context of the increased income from Green Fees – much of this improvement has arisen from a growth in Society Bookings and this outcome is as a direct result of his promotional work.
There have been a number of savings in terms of expenditure, including Greens (£11k), Repairs and Maintenance (£11k), Irrecoverable VAT (£7k), Bank Charges (£4k), Insurances (£3k) and Administration Wages (£4k).
Although some of these savings can be described as having arisen through good fortune, a lot more attention has been focused upon enhanced accountancy procedures, general control of expenditure and actively seeking better ‘value for money’ on purchases. We are also lucky to have Maria Morgan (Ladies’ Honorary Treasurer) supervising the production of our Sage accounts, our quarterly VAT returns and our ‘year-end’ accounts, some of which previously attracted accountancy fees.
4. Nationwide Savings Account:
The Corporation Tax for 2017 is not payable until the end of 2018 – we have lodged £30k with Nationwide to cover this liability.
5. Prospects for 2018:
The global trend of reducing membership of golf clubs continues. Using 2012 as a base year, our overall membership numbers (as recorded in our accounts) have declined in every year since except for one. Our membership levels always tend to reduce at the beginning of the year before the impact of new Members increases the total by the end of the year.
Income this year with reduce, as there will be no VAT refund, no ‘past years’ Diageo discount payable and a likely downturn in membership subscription revenue. We can anticipate further increased income from Green Fees, whilst every effort will be made to improve the performance by the Bar / Restaurant. However, we clearly have no option other than keeping a tight control on our expenditure in 2018.
The VAT refund and restructuring of our Clubhouse Loan have improved overall finances. During the next two years, we will clear the Course Loan and ‘Six for Five’ Subscription liabilities, which will further ease the situation. These are difficult times for golf clubs and there is no doubt that there are significant membership trends away from clubs and between clubs. It is our loyal Members who will see us through this challenging period.
Collin J Stevenson (Honorary Treasurer)
Social Committee – Dianne Conway (Convenor), Gerry Power, Aoife Bradley, Liam Dowds, Jimmy Gillespie, Adrian Humphreys, David McGarrity, Diane Nickels, Peter Scobie, Debbie Thompson, Norman White, Shirley Heggarty and Margaret Cooper (Bar and Restaurant Manager, in attendance).
The above Club Members have been part of the Social Committee for our Club since March 2017 – we are fortunate to have a very workable representation from our Club, to give a variance of opinion regarding activities. Each person mentioned has freely given of their time and effort to work hard in organising and assisting at the social events that took place in our Club.
Social Events are organised to encourage all Members to use their club facilities and to avail of what we have to offer away from our golf course. With no specific budget to work with, we have ensured that all events have been financially successful to the Club without incurring losses.
We had a varied social calendar throughout the past year and we have tried to ensure that there is something to suit all members, including live music events, quizzes, the family fun day and our varied Christmas programme. The promotion and early advertising of our social programme is key and has proved successful in terms of encouraging bookings. We believe that our approach has attracted visitors to join specifically as Social Members throughout the year.
We have better utilised our Restaurant by staging a monthly Saturday Bistro Night since August 2017 – attendance levels have been varied, ranging from 26 to 55. Feedback from those attending has been very positive in terms of the standard of food and the atmosphere, and we hope that such events will continue to be supported. Members are encouraged to continue to come along or even try them out just once.
We have worked along with the Bar and Restaurant to host special dining to coincide with the viewing of major live sporting events such as the Six Nations Rugby and the FA Cup Final. Special food and drink promotions have also been in place throughout the year during key televised sporting events in the Club. It is hoped to continue to offer this to our Members regularly for forthcoming events such as The Masters, The Open, the FIFA World Cup and the Ryder Cup, to name a few.
Monthly quiz nights are still growing in popularity and, as a result and at the request of Members, we continued to host quizzes into the summer months. The average attendance for these was 65, with the majority eating beforehand and making full use of the Clubhouse facilities. The annual Captains’ Joint Charity Quiz also proved popular, with 120 patrons attending in support of two worthy charities.
May 2017 saw our first May Ball for quite some time – 108 attended and the event took place within budget and received extensive positive feedback from attendees.
Live bands and music events took place during the year and throughout the summer – key events on Captain’s Night and Vice-Captain’s Night were well supported.
Disappointingly, the provision of ‘end of Summer’ live music events and Halloween Night proved a challenge, with ticket sales falling short of expectation. In a similar vein, the reintroduction of a Club Activities Night on Tuesdays has not proven as popular as we might have hoped, but we are remaining positive above the future worth of this initiative.
Our Christmas and New Year programme was promoted early to members and this proved very successful, with both Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve putting out the ‘booked out’ signs early. 700 attendees, including family and friends, used their Club between the Christmas Party on 15 December 2017 and the New Year’s Eve event. This included two ‘full to capacity’ nights – the Carol Singing event and the New Year’s Eve gala dinner.
More recently, 2018 has begun encouragingly with a ‘full capacity’ Restaurant event on Valentine’s Night and a successful Live Band Night (Strings ‘N’ Swing & Burgers & Blues), co-promoted by Peter Millar, which again saw a full house at Shandon Park.
Please be assured that your Social Committee is dedicated and will continue to work hard to bring events to our Club that all Members can attend and enjoy, making full use of our Club facilities.
Following approval by Council, I am introducing comment cards – we are very keen to encourage Member and Visitor feedback, so that our future decisions regarding events are better informed.
On a personal note, I would take this opportunity to thank the Social Committee, the Council and the Members of Shandon Park for their support and enthusiasm throughout my year as Social Convenor.
Dianne Conway (Social Convenor)
Match and Handicap Committee – G Limmer (Convenor), Derek Shaw, Peter Burnside, Aaron Kurth and Maurice McKeown.
The Match and Handicap Committee strives hard to deliver adequate qualifying competitions for all playing Members, including Men‘s and Ladies’ Open Stablefords.
The Committee met with their counterparts from Knock Golf Club and organised a couple of 36 hole competitions. This partnership arrangements also enabled players to play Open Competitions on each course at a reduced rate. We are hopeful that this initiative can continue in 2018.
Open Week was well supported and the weather held fine, with some great scores being achieved.
Congratulations have to go to all competitors who managed to have success in the season, with a special mention for Mr Herbie Crooks on winning Mr Ian Hanna’s Captain’s Day.
Team success was, unfortunately, not forthcoming this year, with Shandon losing to Knock GC in a thrilling Belfast and District Cup Final. A special word of thanks must go to Grahame Baker, who has stood down as the Senior Team Captain.
The Ladies got two teams to the All-Ireland Finals at Malone Golf Club, but unfortunately came home empty handed.
To all the team Captains who give their time and effort freely, thank you.
The incoming year will see the return of the Professional’s Prize and we are attempting to host a Senior and Junior Scratch Cup at the end of July 2018.
The Committee met with the Golfing Union of Ireland in November 2017 and it has been agreed that the course Standard Scratch for White Tees will increase from 70 to 71 in 2018.
I have to express a big ‘thank you’ to the Captain and Officers of the Club for their support throughout the year, and recognise the hard and dedicated work of the Match and Handicap Committee who give their time freely to deliver competitions.
Finally, thank you to Barry, Colin and Dawn for the valuable work that they do in supporting Match and Handicap.
Gary Limmer (Match & Handicap Convenor)
Junior Committee – Richard Cloke (Convenor), Lesley Anderson, Brian McCutcheon and Nigel Sloan.
Numbers and Categories of Junior Golfers:
Boys: 30 with GUI handicaps (3 x 0-5, 4 x 6-10, 6 x 11-18, 17 x 19-28). 42 blue tee beginners
Girls: 3 with ILGU handicaps (all 36). 14 blue tee beginners
Weekly Junior Competitions were held for all categories of junior golfers at 2.00 pm on every Sunday from April to September.
The Fred Daly Trophy team progressed to the quarter-finals in 2017. Unfortunately, several key players will no longer qualify to represent the Club during the upcoming season.
The ILGU adult / girls’ competition saw Lois Gillen and her partner win the 9-hole competition.
Teams were entered in North Down Junior League competitions, including the Norman Drew Trophy, the John Dickson Cup, the Eddie Harper Cup and the Sargaison Shield. Teams also entered the Irish Junior Foursomes and a range of Open Junior Competitions.
Chris Baker’s Junior Captain’s Day on 14 August 2017 was well attended, despite the poor weather. The overall winner was the incoming Junior Captain for 2018, David Kerry, with an impressive gross score of 70 and 41 points.
Three Summer Schemes attracted a number of beginners during July and August 2017.
Wednesday night coaching was available to all Juniors throughout the summer and autumn of 2017.
Norman Drew Trophy coaching was supplied during July.
Coaching for the Fred Daly Trophy team continued throughout 2017.
Sessions of coaching tailored for girls was supplied during August.
I wish to record my thanks for the encouragement and support of our Professionals, Barry Wilson and Colin Bell. They invest much time and effort with our young members.
Nigel Sloan deserves credit for his efforts in bringing on our low handicap juniors and I also appreciate the support of Brian McCutcheon and Lesley Anderson.
Brian is now taking on the role of Junior Convenor. He will be assisted by a number of volunteers, including the Lady Captain.
Richard Cloke (Junior Convenor)
House Committee – Gordon Strain (Convenor), Anne McClean and Gillian Cloke.
Members might be excused if the following Report is familiar, as little has changed over the last few years.
With the ‘repairs and renewals’ budget set at £20,000 for 2017, it was again hoped to carry out the reupholster of the lounge seats and some renewal of soft furnishings. However, our financial position again restricted expenditure to essential maintenance only.
The electricity and gas accounts have been subject to price increases – however, the total cost was up by just £326 due to the favourable rates that applied to the first quarter of the year. Negotiations with the supply companies are ongoing to obtain competitive contracts for the coming year.
The generation by our solar installation contributed £2,257 over the year.
I am pleased to report that, following an inspection of the kitchen early in February, a 5-star hygiene rating was confirmed on 21 February 2018.
Our gratitude is owed to the ‘House flower power initiative’ (established by the Ladies’ Section) for the voluntary provision of welcoming floral displays in the entrance foyer.
A G Strain (House Convenor)