"Fore Info" Monthly Newsletters


Last 10 News Posts

  • Fore Info April 2021 Mar 31, 2021 @ 19:39

    Let golf begin…

    Never before has there been such excitement to get back to golf. The ‘divot parties’ have once again been popular, testament to many dedicated members using any excuse to get on the course. Due to the lack of play I guess it was more like ‘Spot the Divot’.

    I hope you were lucky or skilful enough to master ClubV1 and get your favourite 4 ball booked. I expect many of you have played already. How was the first round? Please send me any funny restart stories and photos that I may publish next month. As always the best/funniest will be rewarded by a free drink in the bar when we get back to drinking.

    Not only was March 29th our first day of golf after lockdown 3, but also the inauguration of the improved first hole, as part of what was the ‘first impressions project’. The project, kicked off in 2018, has successfully met its objectives of both improving the first hole as well as making the arrival at the first tee more attractive and welcoming.

    The new starter hut, nicknamed ‘Bobs Billet’ or ‘Gezebob’ after Bob Moore (Greens Chair) was duly opened with a ribbon cutting by Pat Willis on behalf of the 100 Club, which kindly funded its purchase.  We must thank all the members that helped erect, paint, wire and prepare the hut which is a vast improvement in itself and as part of the new welcome at Alresford. Our Club Captain Tip, reminded everybody assembled as part of the honorary drive in group, of the initial drawing coming from Malcolm Scott for the new hole with bunkering and dogleg adaption. The greenstaff and Greens Committee has done an excellent job bringing these ideas to reality. A special thanks to Mal Hope-Mason for redesigning the flowerbeds and several members that sponsored the new plantings. A cleaned and repainted John Jacobs plaque now stands ideally positioned at the entrance to the hole. It was moved from behind the putting green where nobody saw it. This is a fitting addition as Malcolm was a disciple and friend of the great coach who opened the 18 hole course in 1993.

    The new first hole was officially renamed Scotts in recognition of Malcolm and his family that gave so much to the club over so many years. It was great to watch the opening drives from the family. Given their golfing pedigree it is no surprise that neither Malcolm, Jane, Becky or Tom tested out the bunker. That honour was left to Graham Marshallsay as 1st (but not last as Mel Exton followed Graham) in to the new bunker.

    It was fitting that Mary our most regular starter and recent Club Captain and former Chairman (amongst other roles- sorry Mary not enough space here to mention them all!) should be the Honorary Starter for the opening of Scotts.

    Well done to the whole First Impressions Team and Greenstaff  for all the excellent hard graft, making starting at Alresford something of which we can all be very proud.

    Given the easing of lockdown we are all hoping to restart our wonderful Social Scene, which over the years has been a hallmark of this great club. In order to give more Social space we will now have a dedicated regular column so nobody misses out on the next events. Make sure you read this section well every month so you don’t miss out on the signup.

    This month my ‘hot seat’ Interview is with Mark and Mandy Wood our new Pro Team. Find out more about them and their ambitions for the Club.

    I am personally keen to raise funds for the Captains Charity. Given the pandemic, charities have suffered reduced income so they need our help even more. So what can we do? Well I have decided to do a sponsored ‘Handicap Chase to Single Figures’. Mark Wood will be coaching me and I will personally add a £ donation for every member that sponsors me. (Sponsorship sign up on noticeboard & payment in office when club reopens). I will be reporting back on my progress during 2021 and beyond if necessary. I hope you will consider supporting me and the Captains Charity.

    Finally I would like to thank those members who contacted me with ideas for Fore Info. Although we cannot include them all, they are very welcome and have contributed to some of the changes you will see here and in the coming months.

    If you have ideas to further improve Fore Info, please email me at newsletter@alresfordgolf.co.uk or look me up on the club directory for a chat.

    David Marshall, Editor

    Finally I would like to pass the word to our Land Trustees. If you, like me are uncertain who the Land Trustees are and what they do, let me explain. We are not a Limited Company but rather an unincorporated members club where the members share in the Clubs Assets and Liabilities. When it comes to Land and Buildings owned or rented by the club, it is obviously not practical for these to be in the names of all members. So they are put in the names of at least two but no more than four ‘Land Trustees’. They hold them on behalf of all members and are obliged to deal with them as directed by the Management Committee. For the full story and much more I highly recommend ‘The History of Alresford Golf Club’ book, especially insightful for new members. (Copies available from the Office).

     

    MESSAGE FROM THE LAND TRUSTEES

    (David Harrison, Brian Young, Keith Monkhouse and Mary Rook)

    Now that we are back playing golf, albeit not yet enjoying the clubhouse to the full, you will have seen how the course has changed. New tees, bunkers and buildings have all appeared since we last played. Those of you who have walked the course during the closed period will have noticed how many were involved in achieving these changes. Not only were our greens staff doing their normal excellent work but many members were helping with the new buildings and re-siting the practice nets to complete the First Impressions project.

    But many more were involved with the club during the lockdown period, quietly working away to ensure that our club maintains and improves its standards during this difficult time. The Chairman, Captains and their committees have done much to prepare us for a possible club development and, with our General Manager and his staff, have kept us all well informed about the club future programme via periodic most informative emails. A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes.

    We would therefore like to pass our appreciation onto all those who, in their own quiet way, have done so well to keep our club responsive and developing during the lockdown period.


    Our New Pro Team

    Mark and Mandy Wood in the interview hot seat

    The pandemic has limited our time to engage with our new Pro, Mark Wood and his wife Mandy. What follows is the second of my editorial interviews to uncover more beyond just the obvious golfing skills and good looks! I uncover their back story and Mark shares his aspirations for the club as our new Pro.

    So Mandy, tell us about your family
    As some members may have seen, we have 2 children. Bella has just turned 10 and loves dancing, gymnastics, reading and computers. Our son Zach is 12 plays golf and like most boys is fanatical about computer games.
    Unfortunately, we have no pets at present as we recently lost our 15 year old cat. If the children get their way, we will be having a dog soon!
    I lived the majority of my life in a small village called Benenden in Kent after my parents relocated from Liverpool when I was only 4 years old.  Although I have lost my accent,  I have been told it comes back when I am with fellow Liverpudlians.
    Mark is from Seaford in East Sussex and has always lived in the south.
    Mark, have you always been into golf?
    Yes, golf was what I always wanted to do. I have played golf since the age of 12. After my parents divorced my Dad bought a house overlooking Seaford Head golf course which gave me every opportunity to play. I used to sneak onto the golf course everyday with a set of old golf clubs that I had found in the Cellar. On one of these occasions I was caught by the Head Pro of Seaford Head, Tony Lowles and to my surprise he did not berate me but took me under his wing and employed me in the Pro shop! I really did not enjoy school, however golf caught my attention and I tuned pro at the young age of 19, passing the exams with flying colours.
    I was coached by Justin Rose’s coach Nick Bradley, but decided not to follow Justin onto the tour. I was fascinated with the instructional side of golf and always will be.
    What are you most proud of in your career so far?
    That’s a tough question. I suppose coaching European tour pro, Steve Richardson, was a great experience. I also really enjoy writing articles in golf magazines.
    I have been a pro at several clubs including Seaford Head, Wellshurst and Dale Hill. It was at Dale Hill that I met Mandy. She was helping out as a puppeteer and working in the Pro Shop. I decided to start my own Golf Academy and moved the family to join Chichester Golf Club in 2016.
    Tell us something that is ‘unique about you both ’ that none of us already know?
    Mark? I have been a calendar boy for Play Better Golfs yearly calendar where I was flanked either side by the rather glamourous ‘Eye Candy Caddies’!  For those who do not know, this is a company that provides attractive male or female caddies for special golf events.
    I have self published two golf instructional books ‘Never Shank Again’ and ‘How to Crush it 20 Yards Further’
    How about you Mandy?
    Probably few members know that I am a trained Quantity Surveyor. My speciality was suspended ceilings and partitions. Exciting stuff!
    So why did you decide to join Alresford Golf Club? I heard the interview process was quite brutal- tell us more…
    Yes the interview process was like no other I ever experienced. Surviving it was a career highlight!
    There were several interviews then a live teaching lesson with a member, where I was being observed. The thorough interviewing gave me a good impression of the club and how seriously they take the recruitment of new staff.
    Mandy and I are quite superstitious and after I started at Alresford I noticed the plaque presented by John Stirling in the clubhouse. John Stirling was my tutor throughout my training and in the final coaching interview he took me to one side and told me he could see me being very successful in the future, which was a great honour , we knew it was a ‘sign’ Alresford was meant for us.
    I think it is one of the top jobs in Hampshire golf. I really wanted to get back to a friendly ‘members-run’ club where we can really get to know the members both through coaching, in the shop and at club events.
    How have you found Alresford Golf Club so far? It must have been terrible with lockdown affecting your start up and now Terry leaving…..
    It is sad that Terry is leaving but we wish him well. He did a lot to help us in the transition, so we are very grateful. We are in talks with getting a new Pro soon and have employed Benjamin as a summer student (Business Studies at Bournemouth). We will expand as needed to meet member’s needs.
    It was challenging to start on the 1st November 2020 and shut within the week for lockdown 2, followed by a wonderful December.  Alas, January brought lockdown 3 leading to us having to close the doors once again, but we have tried to remain positive throughout.  We are so thankful of the kindness, support and advice from members and committee members. We were made to feel at home right away.
    Mark, there are many ways to teach golf. Tell us about your approach and why you chose it?
    I believe a ‘one size’ approach does not fit all. It all starts with really understanding what the person really needs and where we can make a difference. Most important is to agree what achievement to target before getting into swing details.

    Present Role Professional, Alresford Golf Club since 2020
    Turned Pro 1996
    Married Mandy (Qualified Quantity Surveyor)
    Children 2, Bella and Zach
    Qualifications PGA Advanced Professional
    Hobbies Mark: Reading, Fishing, DIY, Stocks & Shares,

    Mandy: History, Architecture, Reading Crime Thrillers

    So what differentiates your approach to coaching from other Professionals?
    The main difference is that I care about results delivered, not just ‘swing change by the hour’. It is more of a coach-coachee partnership working for sustainable improvements. I have found this approach really works, although requires commitment from both sides.
    Many of us are tired of taking lessons because we don’t see sustained improvement. Why should I come to you for help?
    Lessons and coaching are two different things. It should not start with a lesson but on an agreement on what you want to achieve in a given time scale, say 3, 6 or 12 months. Once we set the objectives, then we start to work TOGETHER to reach them.
    A key element is to understand what you are doing, where ‘video’ makes this a lot easier. The Flightscope technology helps me understand why things are going wrong as well as track progress. I often have new people coming to me that have never seen their coach on the course, always on the range. Can you imagine a football coach not watching all his teams matches, relying only on the practice ground? I firmly believe in a playing lesson to see where and how shots are lost before agreeing an approach to meet the objectives. There are many ways to lower scores.
    So can you help me get from a handicap of 15 down to single figures Mark?
    I can’t promise but I have helped many golfers in the past achieve it.
    Editor: OK Mark lets call it the Editor Pro Challenge ‘Handicap Chase to Single’. We can follow progress in Fore Info. I will try to raise sponsorship money for the Captains Charity. I know a lot of members who would bet you could not get me to single figures!
    I am up for the challenge, David. I will book a playing lesson to spot what I am up against.
    Mark, We can get unlimited free golf lessons on Youtube so why should we come to you?
    There are thousands of video tips, many conflicting each other that can make it confusing. So which is right for you? Which suits my body size and swing history?
    It’s easy to misunderstand the changes from watching a video. You can never see yourself so you may not be doing exactly as they suggest. Also some tips don’t work on specific swing issues. Golf swings are so personal.
    Mandy, you are going to be the Shop Manager supporting Mark. Tell us about what we can expect in the shop and what services you offer?
    I would like the shop to reflect the ethos of the club. Professional and knowledgeable but run with a warm and friendly feel. We want the shop to be a nice welcoming place not a place where you feel you are just being sold to! After all it is the ‘members’ shop.
    We will try to get whatever members want. I know due to COVID and Brexit we could not get stock and it was tough not being able to supply what that members needed.
    Suppliers delayed launches as they had lots of old stock. This meant we were stocking up at a time that new season stock was not available to us.
    We will run a bespoke club service with core ranges of Callaway, Taylormade and Ping clubs. We can get others if members want it through our link to a network of other Pro’s so don’t worry- just ask.
    We are making plans for the season and have a few new ideas up our sleeves. There will be a number of Demo days throughout the year for members to try clubs on the range. We aim to be ‘Your total golf solution’……. competitive and local. We hope you will make the most of our services.
    There is a perception that on-course golf shops are expensive and it is better to buy on line or in a mega store. What’s the benefit of buying in the AGC golf-shop?
    This is a common misperception we want to dispel. We offer a ‘Price Match’. That means if you find something at a cheaper price on line or at a golf mega store we will match that price. Two recent examples of this can make our point. On Footjoy Tradition shoes we were able to match a new Clubhouse Golf offer of £99 vs £109.
    Also the Bushnell Pro rangefinder was offered on a special by American Golf so we gave a member a price match and £10 back. We can’t keep up with the ever changing offers around the UK and online but the price match is our way of proving our competitiveness.
    I heard you have lots of technology in the Academy. Tell us about how this can help members?
    Yes we offer swing analysis with Flightscope. It can measure many things including club head speed, angle of attack and ball speed and much more. Mostly it helps me more quickly find the fault and decide how to fix it. Everything happens in just a few seconds in the swing so its great to be able to slow it down and locate the issue.
    I am also fine with the golfer that does not embrace technology. Say she or he is hitting it short and comes to me for help. I am able to show what the difference is and help her or him to understand.
    Mark you follow in Malcolm’s footsteps, who was here for so many years, so it can’t be easy.
    He had a great long career at Alresford!  Big shoes to fill for sure. I am so grateful for the help Malcolm gave in the transition and I hope we will continue to see him playing at the club in the coming years.
    What would you like to be remembered for as our Pro?
    I would like to contribute to the club development in several ways.  I want to support the club to continue to attract new members, I will use a beginners program as the centre point, and will ensure that we continue with our great work of making sure that the new members slide right in.  Some new initiatives I am proposing are to encourage them to play a round of golf with myself and recommend partners that will complement their playing ability and style.
    In addition I want to make sure that all members find me accessible and available should they need advice on their golf or even just a chat.  The Captain/Pro matches will be the start of me trying to get to know all of the members and for them to become more comfortable with me.
    We want to make the shop welcoming and spoil the members with offers that showcase some of the best golf equipment on the market.
    I hope to contribute to enhancing the clubs’ reputation as one of the best and most friendly clubs in Hampshire.

    Quickfire Q and A

     
    Favourite golf course?
    The Forest Golf Club, Florida
     
    Dream 4 ball partners?
    Tiger, Jack Nicklaus, Rory McIlroy
     
    Your biggest golfing disaster?
    6th Head at Seaford GC. Hooked it onto the road and almost hit a car.
     
    Curry or Fish & Chips?
    Mark: Curry, but Mandy: F&C
     
    Wine or Beer?
    Mandy: intravenous Sancerre. Mark: Wine and Beer, not mixed…
     
    YouTube or Netflix?
    Netflix for Mandy, You Tube for Mark
     
    Favourite Film
    Mandy: ‘Seve’
    Mark: ‘CaddySack’
     
    The Beatles or The Sex Pistols?
    The Beatles (Liverpool connection)
     
    The Queen or Madonna?
    The Queen
     
    Gym work or Driving Range Practice? 
    Mark: Both
    Mandy: Gin work with tonic…
     
    Spurs or Southampton FC?
    Mark: Spurs
    Mandy: David Beckham for his good looks

    Management Corner

    Return to golf

    Obviously, it is a relief for us all for golf to be legal once more; on reflection…what a very strange statement that is; but never-the-less an accurate assessment of the journey that we have all endured as golfers and members of our Club.

    Mandatory Tee Times continue for as long as required as stipulated by authorities such as; England Golf. Pre-booked Tee Times will not continue at the Club for any longer than needed. Once Tee Times fall-away we will return to roll-up golf on all days, subject to traditional bookings for matches etc.

    Finances

    There is some difficulty for our Club in our financial forecast for this financial year through to September 2021. Currently we forecast a loss of £40,000 due to less income from the bar, visitors, guests and societies. The Management Committee has taken the view to not to chase increased income in the golf season from visitors and societies, so that Members’ golf is prioritised. We hope for a brilliant golf season making full use of our wonderful and improved course, practice facilities and bar & catering services. I am sure we will all value our club far more this season.

    Proud to be a Members’ Club

    Since becoming Chairman in 2018, I have sought to prioritise members who provide nearly 80% of our golf income; we are a Members’ Club. We collectively own the Club, and throughout 2020/21 we have provided a higher proportion of income than normal, and have faced very long periods of being unable to use our own Club. I am therefore really grateful to Management Committee Members, and Vice-Captain Simon Freemantle in particular, in prioritising Members’ Golf and accepting this may result in a deficit for this financial year.

    The Club faces a loss of members every year at the time of annual renewals, we plan for 9% attrition each year which was accurate again this year.  In my first year as Chairman, member renewals at the end of January were 486, this year we had 536 renewals. This increase significantly improves financial forecasting and enables us to set lower income expectations from visitors and societies; thus further developing priorities for our Members. Club rules allow for a total full membership of 675 5 & 7 day members; the Management Committee are required to regulate this number based on income requirements and the capacity of the Course. Given the increased amount of golf that our Members tend to play, my Committee has decided to initially limit the number of members this year to one hundred less than permitted; 575.

    At the time of writing; we have 560 members signed-up and only 15 memberships available. This success is testament to the Club’s culture in prioritising Membership which is driven by Nick Duncan and the Planning & Development Committee, implemented by our General Manager, David Maskery. All this success leads to an increased workload for our Captains who provide essential screening and ultimate welcome for our new members.

    You will recall some of the congestion we suffered previously, due to; visitors, HPLS members and Winter Members bringing lots of guests and being able to play at the same times as Club Members. Again, the increase in full member numbers allows us to not seek these subsidiary membership schemes but to release course capacity for full members.

    Key Members – Festival Weekend

    There will be a ‘festival weekend’ at the earliest possible opportunity, once all Covid restrictions are lifted; currently this is anticipated as being after June 21st, according to current, central information. The festival weekend would be planned to include a Friday so that 5-day members and 7-day members can take part. It is likely that we will hold a competition to award the newly presented Key Member trophy won by Richard Lane last year. This year we have all been Key Members and we hope that as many members as possible can take part over a 3-day weekend. The Club are planning to provide drinks, food and a warm Club atmosphere to enable us to celebrate a full return to golf and our Club. Much more information once we have some confidence in lockdown restrictions.

    Clubhouse Development

    Chair of the House Committee, Sue Masser, has been working tirelessly to progress plans and planning for the agreed Clubhouse Development scheme. Our plans have been submitted to achieve planning permission, so we hope for a positive outcome. Once we have a positive outcome and final plans we can go out to tender with contractors and then finally implement the members’ loan note scheme to support the build. We will then be able to award the contract and provide members with a schedule for the build.

    I hope that you enjoy your return to golf as much as I anticipate that I will on Good Friday, and that we can be ‘one club’ again as soon as all restrictions are lifted. I also need to register my immense thanks to David Marshall for not only bringing Fore Info together each month, but for the new format and content; thank you David.

     

    Robert White

    Chairman of the Management Committee

    From the Club Captain

    We’re back!   On a lovely sunny Spring day, the course opened on 29th March in wonderful condition considering the recent weather and those pesky rooks.  Some of our members found getting their kit together a challenge, but most got round OK.

    Our editor has covered this earlier, so I add my thanks to all involved in the planning, financing and execution of the First Impressions project.  “Scotts” is a permanent legacy to mark 40 exceptional years and we look forward to a full Alresford Golf Club celebration when circumstances allow.

    The Captain/Pro Challenge is open for bookings through the ProShop.   Book early, 4 of the first 8 have been taken.  The trophy will be in the shop when it reopens.

    Friendly interclub matches have previously been listed on a notice board but in 2021 we are going techno – all fixtures have been entered into ClubV1 for you to review. Some fixtures have not made the list this year due to Covid restrictions and calendar clashes as we inevitability have a truncated season.

    Our first match is soon upon us and is away at Hockley on Thursday April 15th at 3pm. Covid restrictions will still apply so you should look at this event as ‘golf only’ and please remember social distancing. If you wish to be considered for this match please mark your availability in ClubV1. Within the ClubV1 Members Hub menu select the Club Teams option, then select Men’s Friendly Matches 2021 followed by view team details. That should take you to our fixture list where you can, at this early stage, mark which matches you would like to be considered for.  Vice-Captain Simon simonfreemantle@btinternet.com organises the teams and you can contact him direct if all else fails!

    George has covered other events and knockouts in his report.  My thanks to him and the Match Committee for their hard work.

    Continue reading →
  • Fore Info March 2021 Feb 23, 2021 @ 17:14

    Still going after more than 40 years

    As the new editor, bored in lockdown and looking for ideas, I decided to read many of the old newsletters for inspiration.

    The idea to start a newsletter came over 40 years ago from Brian Young in spring 1980, with the aim to improve communication between the committees and members.

    Initially called ‘ALRESFORD LINKS’, the newsletter started off as a humble thrice yearly, 3 page newsletter written by Captains, Committee Chairs and polished with the help of Kit Neilson’s journalism skills as Editor.

    Although we cannot technically claim to be a ‘links’ course, the name Links was used by locals to describe the land beyond Tichborne Down. In addition the original clubhouse was later the ‘Links Laundry’ and the ‘Links Cottage’ property on Tichborne Down has its golf club links, being owned today by a well known member!. Most importantly the name ‘Links’ described well the aim, to connect members to those running the club.

    Although the internet had not yet been invented, it was possible with a typewriter and copier to produce regular newsletters and here are a few highlights of the first edition in 1980.

    In his introduction Brian gave a hint to how the ‘healthy’ club finances of 1980 were achieved by “the clubs best member, the fruit machine”. Maybe a new idea for Ray Panter? Many of you may be unaware that Brian was a fruit machine fan and himself once cracked the jackpot and won £200 on the Wentworth Club machine. He complained when not all the money came out and needed their committee to intervene to pay him back.

    The Greens Committee was in the capable hands of a certain David Harrison. Unlike Bob Moore, today’s chair, he had only 9 holes to manage. David however had the slight irritation of several greens needing replacement and a planned bypass. Luckily, he delayed green rebuilding as the old 9th green was soon concreted over as the new A31!

    It also made me laugh to see David begging members for  “any gifts of exotic flowering shrubs and bushes”. Last month Bob Moore did exactly the same (still not too late to offer…). Nothing changes and hopefully we will get the same generous sponsorship this time.

    In those days the Social Committee, chaired by Robin Good, did not have COVID restrictions and put up a full calendar of events. Fancy dress disco, Film night, Pub Night, Quiz, annual BBQ and much much more. I am sure today’s committee would welcome your ideas too.

    The Competitions schedule added ‘midweek medals’ and the inaugural ‘Husband and Wife Competition’ in 1980. This was also the year David Harrison became Manager of the England Boys Team, which later proved so successful.

    The Newsletter proved so popular that it moved to monthly, went electronic and in October 2015 changed its’ name to ‘Fore Info’. Thanks to the many editors along the way, who gave their time and helped improve it to the enviable format you see today.

    If you have ideas to further improve Fore Info, please email me at newsletter@alresfordgolf.co.uk or look me up on the club directory for a chat.

    David Marshall

    Editor

    Unmasking our new General Manager

    David Maskery in the interview hot seat

    Although you know who David Maskery is, few probably know him very well at all.  What follows is the first of my editorial interviews to uncover more beyond just the obvious golfing skills and good looks! I uncover his back story and he shares his aspirations for the club as our new General Manager.

    So David, tell us about your background

    I was born in Leicester but moved south when I was about 5 yrs old to Sherfield-on- Loddon near Basingstoke and then to Liphook. I went to school in Petersfield and then on to Roehampton Institute to study Sports Science and History. After leaving University, I started as a Lifeguard /Sports Assistant at Guildford Sports Centre. I progressed through several managerial roles at the Sports Centre (1985) and later in the massive new Guildford Spectrum Sports Complex (1993). This culminated in me becoming Operations Manager, handling many big national and international sporting events.

    Which events stand out in your memory?

    I can remember two big international basketball matches that I was involved with at the centre. Firstly, I remember having to escort the Macabi Tel Aviv Team around. I will never forget being a little nervous by the machine gun wielding Israeli Special Forces Security walking alongside us.

    Secondly, I remember the box office mayhem when the Greek Olympiakos Team arrived to play the Guildford Kings. Hundreds of supporters were police escorted from the railway station to the venue all of whom had pre booked tickets. Not a security issue as such but complete confusion and uproar as all names were versions of what sounded like ‘Papadopoulos’ and our staff obviously spoke no Greek!

    So when did you get into Golf Management?

    Back in 2000 I started my first job in golf at the Oak Park Golf Club near Farnham. I was the General Manager of this 27 hole facility which at that time was operated by American Golf UK (not the retail chain). Although this was a great career step, the ownership changed and in 2003, I decided to move to a private golf club and came here to Alresford.

    Tell us something that is ‘unique about you’ that none of us already know?

    I am related to a previous Lord Mayor of London. As a privilege, I can access the Lord Mayors building where the Coach and regalia is kept.

    I was once on security duty at the All-England Tennis Club, Wimbledon and had to radio in a potential suspect package resulting in the evacuation of the Centre Court, before play had started but just as spectators were arriving. It was a false alarm and turned out to be a briefcase left behind by a TV company who had been doing a players interview.

    There are many golf clubs around the country. How do you tap into their experience and compare how we are doing?

    I really enjoy being part of the Golf Club Managers Association (GCMA). Networking is key and it gives me plenty of opportunity to discuss specific golf club issues. We are all facing the same challenges today of COVID but also the ageing demographic and changing needs of the new generation golfer.

    I really enjoyed my time as Captain of the Southern Region in 2010. It was great to get an even deeper understanding of the industry and give something back.

    Present Role General Manager, Alresford Golf Club since 2003
    Born Leicester
    Married Julie (COO North Hampshire Hospital Trust)
    Children Callum (Studying International Relations and History, Exeter University. Currently on placement in Sweden)
    Qualifications BA(Hons) Sports Science & History (1985), Surrey University
    Hobbies Skiing, Golf, Cooking, Rugby Union Referee (Hampshire)
    Achievements

    School football, hockey, cricket and rugby teams

    Guildford Hockey Club

    County Table Tennis Player

    Trumpet in Hampshire Youth Band.

    Golf Handicap 13.5

    So what differentiates Alresford from other clubs in the Southern Region?

    We are more fortunate than many other clubs by the number of volunteer members who work in helping run the club as part of the committees. This shows good member engagement and it is something I want to even strengthen further in the future. Although it is not possible to accept every new idea from every member, we encourage you to get engaged and learn more about the running of the club and help shape our future.

    It must not be easy dealing with all the challenges in a private members club. What annoys you most?

    I rarely get really annoyed and try to stay calm, which is not always easy. I know members are stressed with lockdown but I often get questions about things that we have already addressed or answered in the weekly updates or Fore Info. Nevertheless, I accept there are many ways of communication and some still love the direct contact, which I believe is essential to maintaining a happy and welcoming club. For everyone else I encourage them to read the weekly updates and Fore Info to keep abreast of all the changing circumstances in these COVID times.

    Customers or members being rude or disrespectful towards staff and committee volunteers always annoys me intensely. We all try to do our best and most people do not deliberately set out to do a bad job.

    Although many other clubs seem to have bigger ‘slow play’ problems with some rounds taking over 5 hours, this is still an issue often brought to my attention. I believe it’s about awareness about what’s happening around us on the course. When I play, I try to stay aware of the distances in front and behind, the format of play of the group behind and whether they are big hitters, so I can speed up or let people through accordingly This often reduces the stress and helps me as well as others on the course. Something for us all to think about.

    What is your biggest fear for the club?

    People losing sight of the value of club membership. Although the club has been able to retain an almost full membership, my concern is always keeping a healthy membership level and the customer (member) well served and delivering what they want. That includes not just the facilities but the whole experience both on and off the course which makes for a thriving social and sporting club. With the closure of the bar/restaurant and COVID restrictions the reduced service offer of membership has affected the experience. My aim is to regain the clubs’ reputation as one of the most friendly and popular clubs with a first-class course in the region. We all have a part to play in influencing the club culture and atmosphere which is so important for prospective members and visitors.

    What has been the biggest challenge of your job during the COVID pandemic?

    The pandemic created an unprecedented situation for the Club and there was no operating manual. Although that was frightening at times it was a great challenge and I learnt a lot. We had to reinvent the way we operated, reduce costs and manage all the changes needed to keep members and staff safe. The move to remote working was challenging as a manager and I missed interaction with the team and members every day. With all the job uncertainty and changing government advice it was hard to stay focused. Thankfully we were able adapt and keep the club on a solid footing.

    Looking back, it was a challenging time but very rewarding for me personally.

    What are you most proud of?

    All the staff have stepped up as a team despite all the COVID challenges in these stressful times. I used my industry contacts to learn from other golf clubs and make better and faster decisions. Keeping everyone updated weekly with all the changes going on, proved key. I must say I am most proud to have received so many positive comments and ‘thank you’s’  from members. Other golf club managers I know were not so lucky.

    What would you like to be remembered for?

    Somebody who made a real difference at the club. A nice person to members, customers and staff who enabled the club to grow and develop, strengthening our reputation and profile within the industry.

    What are your aspirations for the club?

    I believe success will come from continually developing the ‘whole club’ experience. The new clubhouse development is at the centre of this, enabling a step change in the social life at the club. I see this as the final piece in the jigsaw to elevate Alresford from a minor player to a ‘top 6’ player – a journey which began and has evolved over the last 15 or so years.  This in addition to keeping up what is already a top golf course with some of the best practice facilities in Hampshire. This should further enhance our reputation in the region as being welcoming, friendly and the club of choice.

    Quickfire Q and A

    Favourite holiday destination?  Mauritius

    Your biggest golfing achievement?  Won Captains Day here twice….

    Your biggest golfing disaster?  Teed off on 1st at Hindhead, ball hit teemarker and went back over my shoulder OB

    Curry or Fish & Chips?  Fish and Chips, but not for my waistline

    Wine or Beer?  Depends on situation. Nice wine in a good restaurant, Weiss beer as part of apres-ski after a hard day on the slopes or a cold beer overlooking the 18th green at Aloha GC, Spain.

    Star Wars or Schitts Creek?  Schitts Creek

    ‘50 Shades of Grey’ or ‘Gone with the Wind‘?  Not for me…

    The Beatles or The Sex Pistols?  Sex Pistols

    Kylie Minogue or Madonna?  Kylie Minogue

    Jogging or Driving Range Practice?  Jogging – too much driving range practice makes me worse!

    Boris Johnson or Maggie Thatcher?  Maggie Thatcher

    Leicester City or Southampton FC?  Leicester City

    From the Club Captain

    Isn’t it good to have a date in the diary for our return to golf?  That said, it is a diary that has had to be re-written.  Following the Government announcement on Monday 22nd, the Captain’s Committee, working with the Match Committee, have made the following decisions.

    Board and Trophy Competitions in March and April have been rescheduled to later in the year and replaced with medals or Stablefords.  As 4-balls are likely to be allowed later in the year, more members will be able to compete.

    Our most difficult decision was to recommend cancellation of several “prestige” events.  All Opens and invitation events before June 21st are cancelled.  These are Ladies Open, Men’s Invitation, Triumverate, Seniors Open and Mixed Open.  We do still hope that the Ladies Invitation (29th June) can go ahead.

    The main considerations were uncertainty around when 4-balls will be allowed, closing the course to members who have been deprived of golf for 3 months and catering being outside only.

    Friendly fixtures will be cancelled until 4-balls and inside catering are possible.

    At this stage it is also unlikely that the Pro-Am will take place this year.

    The Men’s Invitation date of Sunday 6th June will now be Captain’s Charity Day so we hope many members will have a fun day.  Details will follow, but expect a day combining serious golf and fun!

    You will be aware that the Captain’s Charity Trip will be cancelled.  Had it been 2 weeks later it might have gone ahead but we are where we are!  Initial feedback from the tourists indicates an appetite to try to rebook the same event later in the year.  Failing that, I will seek out an alternative.  With 10% of our membership involved, I will need to be on my toes!

    The weekly Captain-Pro Challenge will start when 4-balls are allowed.  Full details when we launch, but we will be accepting challenges from any pairs.

    George has covered other events and knockouts in his report.  My thanks to him and the Match Committee for their hard work.

    Continue reading →

  • Fore Info February 2021 Jan 31, 2021 @ 13:43

    Management Corner

    Clubhouse Development Programme – Approval to proceed.

    I am delighted to report that the recommendation of the Management Committee to progress with Option 2 of the Clubhouse Development Programme was carried at the Special General Meeting (SGM) of the Club. The Club is most grateful to extensive contributions made by former Captains Graham Marshallsay and Brian Wright at the early stages of concepts, and the most recent contributions of Sue Masser and David Maskery in preparation for the SGM on behalf of the Management Committee. We are also indebted to Nick Duncan, Chair of Planning and Development, for communicating so effectively throughout the planning stages and for delivering on ambitious targets for full members, which provides a stable financial base on which to plan confidently for the future.

    The Club held the Special General Meeting (SGM) on Friday, 15th January 2021 to determine matters in relation to Clubhouse Development as required by our rules. 121 full members participated by either providing proxy votes to the SGM or by attending, and voting, at the meeting hosted on Zoom. In compliance with Club rules regarding general meetings of the Club; the meeting was quorate upon the participation of a minimum of 50 full members.

    Next Steps

    Chair of House, Sue Masser, and the General Manager will progress the following, on behalf of the Management Committee;

    • Liaise with the architect to provide final plans and apply for planning permission
    • Review schedule and costs associated with the Clubhouse Development
    • Invite and review tenders from contractors
    • Provide final costs to the Management Committee (assuming planning permission is granted)

    Should planning permission be granted the Management Committee will consider costs and schedules, taking into account the agreed caveats in place; set out below.

    There are three caveats to be in place, before the build for Option 2 begins;

    1. An extension to the current lease for the 30 acres leased from the Tichborne Estate is signed and in place.
    2. The Management Committee’s assumptions on the maximum number of full members are achieved.
    3. The Management Committee will continue to manage the risks presented by the ongoing Covid pandemic. Whilst it is not possible to specify the exact conditions that need to be in place in relation to Covid in order to commit to the build phase of Option 2, the Management Committee will restrict or approve progress sensibly in relation to the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.

    Club Professional – Mark Wood

    You can probably imagine how tough it is for our new Head Professional, Mark Wood and his wife Mandy who both joined us on 1st November 2020.

    Due to Covid restrictions they are currently unable to open the shop or provide coaching at this time. However, they are taking bookings for coaching and indeed providing excellent deals on equipment that can be collected in readiness for your return to golf. Golf coaching packages are available at discounted rates which will provide the perfect springboard for you to get back into golf for the season.

    The Pro-Shop has been upgraded, to provide a lighter space.  Upgrades to Flightscope for coaching provide state of the art coaching support, with video, together with ball and swing path tracking. It’s quite an experience and available through Mark at your Club in the new Golf Studio; so, do book in advance.

    Members Subscriptions

    Many thanks to the vast majority of members who have paid their 2021 subscriptions already and claimed their £50 credit for paying before the end of January. As a members club, your loyalty is critical to our successful future.

    We do appreciate that some members do leave each year, which is why the Club runs a continuous campaign to bring in 40 to 50 new members each year. On 1st February the Management Committee will meet to determine the maximum number of full members for 2021, as we have been experiencing much more members’ golf during the Covid period, and there is an obvious limit to the number of tee times that can be available. There will be no opportunity to pay a ‘pro-rata subscription’ to renew later in the spring; for example, as we are expecting membership to be full at that time.

     

    Any current member who paid before 31st January 2021 is guaranteed membership for the year, however from 1st February the Club will be accepting the applications from new members waiting to join, and we will be limiting the total number of full members to ensure that the course is not too busy. That number is very likely to be slightly less than the total number of members that we had last year.

     

    As recently announced; the Government will be reviewing Covid restrictions in a few weeks’ time, and we expect the course to re-open at that time so we will re-open tee bookings to paid-up members at the earliest opportunity. However, when coming to play, do ensure that you attach your members tag to your golf bag because the Club will be operating a strict ‘no bag-tag…no golf’ policy. We do appreciate that there can be a lag of a few days between making payment and collecting your bag-tag, especially if playing at weekends. I am sure that you will understand that we need to check that only 2021 members are playing the course.

     

    So; if you intend to play at the Club in 2021, and have yet to pay your subscription, you must do so without delay. Otherwise you risk losing out should new membership be closed.

     

    1st Impressions Project

    In our absence, Simon and the greens team have made outstanding progress on the 1st Tee and 1st Impressions project. There is a noticeable improvement already in the layout of the 1st Tee providing for a safer environment and greatly enhanced ‘first impression’. As announced on Malcolm’s retirement; the 1st hole will be re-named; ‘Scotts’, in appreciation of the many contributions to our Club and course by Malcolm, Jane and family. I look forward to not only returning to golf, but also to some ceremony and celebration upon formal drive-in of the new 1st hole. No pressure, Malcolm, just a nice easy draw over the new bunker. I am sure, at that time, there will be a lot for the Club to celebrate in near-normal golfing conditions; hopefully!

    I am expecting that next month’s Fore Info will be written having returned to golf at the Club. Times like these really do remind us how important our golf, community and friends are to us. Not long now; hopefully!

     

    Robert White

    Chair of the Management Committee

    From the Club Captain

    I write this looking out on a wonderful snow-covered vista.  No golf today!  During this period of golfing inactivity our committees and members generally are still working on our behalf.  George and his match committee are putting plans together for competitive golf when we restart.  The Captain’s committee are also working on golfing matters.  Simon and the match organisers are trying to work out friendly and match fixtures.  All in the hope that we do have some normalcy later this year.  Early casualties include the Gales Hockley competition which is cancelled for this year and the highly prestigious pre-season friendly against the Hampshire County Team.  Last year would have been the 50th anniversary and it now looks like it will be next year before we can mark this occasion.

    Our charity work continues.  Former member Kevin Peel kindly made 12 rounds at Remedy Oak available to me, proceeds to 2021 captains Charity. This raised £731 including gift aid and Ocado added £500.

    Di’s appeal to provide craft bags for the Carroll Centre has brought in about £855 so far. The first 50 bags were delivered last week, and Di is now putting similar kit together for Winchester Young Carers.

    £2000 so far in total and still no Captains Drive-in!!  Thank you for your support.

     

     

    Continue reading →

  • Fore Info January 2021 Dec 31, 2020 @ 13:00

    Management Corner

    Clubhouse Development

    You should by now have received notice of the forthcoming Special General Meeting (SGM), finally to reach a decision to proceed with Phase 1 of the planned programme of Clubhouse Development.

    It is hard to believe the length of time that has passed since my last update on the subject, but for reasons we all understand it has not been possible to advance matters any further, until this time.

    The background to the project, and the originally surveyed options, are well understood by the membership, but it is perhaps worth reprising on the outcome of the more recent survey, which concluded this last September.

    This second survey aimed to measure members’ on-going appetite to continue with the Programme, and to quantify potential participation in a voluntary loan scheme. This survey closed on 30th August 2020 and attracted 352 participants; again, something of a record for such initiatives.

    Results, in summary were that:

    · 81.9% of members remained in favour of continuing with the Clubhouse Development Project, with 18.1% against

    · 135 members would consider making voluntary loans to Club totalling a minimum (theoretical) sum of £935,000

    The Management Committee therefore accepted the result of the survey as in favour of continuing with the development programme

    The SGM is being held by Zoom on Friday 15th January, with members receiving in advance a significant amount of supporting information, necessary to take the final decision to proceed.

    Long term vision for our clubhouse

    The information pack included the following:

    • Background to the project – how and why we have got to where we are now
    • Summary perceptions of the existing clubhouse
    • Initial survey conclusions (hierarchy or proposed improvements)
    • Expected benefits from the development (membership, revenue, savings, the intangible gains)
    • 2nd survey findings
    • Questions and Answers, covering in detail:
    • Cash management
    • Profit and loss
    • Planning
    • Project management
    • Security
    • Lease
    • Timing

    The journey to taking a final decision to start this much-needed project has been long and eventful, but at last we have in sight the starter’s gun…..

    In concluding, it is perhaps worth reminding ourselves why this project is so important for us.

    As with all golf clubs we are an ageing membership, with some perhaps tempted to think ‘what’s in it for me’, or maybe ‘it’s really just about the course. I’m only here for the golf’.

    The Clubhouse, and the services it provides, is as much a part of the club as the course itself. The completion of this project will provide a legacy for future generations of members that we – the current membership – can all be proud of.

    Postscript

    PLEASE NOTE that in order to vote at the meeting on the 15th, or by proxy before that, you will need to have paid your subscription and renewed your club membership.

    Nick Duncan
    Chair, Planning and Development Committee

    From the Club Captain

    I do hope you all had a very enjoyable Christmas.  There will have been very few of us who were able to celebrate as plannedThe changes to the rules did create problems and opportunitiesAlthough disappointed to be unable to travel to my mum and sister, I was delighted to take my place in the Boxing Day Captain v Professional Challenge matchWe were blessed with a fine day of weather and over 60 members and guests took part.  Mark’s team was always going to win this yearI’m delighted to report that Mark Tiplady’s team came out on top 18-14!   

    Less than 4 weeks after we were able to re-open the course, tier 4 came and limited us to 2-balls only (apart from players from the same household).  In that short time the match committee arranged a number of competitions and Pro Stablefords filled the gaps. 

    Continue reading →

  • Fore Info December 2020 Dec 1, 2020 @ 0:01

    Management Corner

    AGM

    The Club held a quorate and compliant AGM by Zoom on Friday 27th November, with both live voting and proxy voting ahead of meeting.

    The AGM meeting was expertly arranged by David Maskery having spent a lot of time in research into other Club’s remote AGM’s and having taken advice on compliance with our Club rules. Zoom held up well and the meeting was continuous without any breaks in the online platform.

    The AGM confirmed that Honorary Membership will be conferred on Brian Young who has been central to so much of the Club’s development, from a nine-hole course to the eighteen-hole course we play today. The Club lost a significant amount of land to the Alresford by-pass more than 30 years ago, and Brian was instrumental in securing replacement land ensuring a bright future for us.

    All other motions were passed by a combination of both the live and the proxy voting methods, with more than 120 members taking part.

    I was delighted that we were able to hold live discussions under AOB, on; suggestion to maintain some tee time booking post-covid, a suggestion to provide compensation for our members in 2020 due to the course being closed for two periods, and the membership schemes offered in 2020 in response to the emergency created by the Covid pandemic.

    Re-Opening of the Course

    The course will re-open following guidance from regulators and central Government. Tee times need to continue for now which will continue until such time as we are informed that they are no longer needed. It is the default position of the Club to return to golf without pre-booked tee times at the earliest opportunity. If there is sufficient interest in having some pre-booking in the future the Management Committee and Captain’s Committee will lead a full consultation of our members to ensure that all members have an opportunity to contribute their thoughts on the matter.

    Clubhouse Development

    The Management Committee has invited members of the Finance Committee to our next meeting in two-weeks’ time to review plans and finance options for the proposed Clubhouse development. A Special General Meeting (SGM) of the Club will be called should a preferred package of improvements and finance be approved. That SGM will be called with at least two-weeks’ notice with all full members being provided with detailed plans and costings so that informed decisions can be made at that time.

    Head Professional – Mark Wood

    I need your help! Mark first applied to become our Head Professional in March this year; and then after 6-months of interviews and planning he started with us on November 1st and was forced to close within a few days.

    Mark, and his wife Mandy, have invested personal funds and much time in an update of the Pro-Shop and brand-new stock. Mark also has invested many thousands of pounds in ‘Flightscope’ which is a high-tech coaching aid which replicates your swing path, ball flight, angle of attack etc. He will also provide you with a video of your swing and pinpoint improvements and practice drills for you, following a lesson with him.

    Mark has a price match guarantee for shop stock and will provide a full range of standard and custom fitted clubs from Callaway, TaylorMade, and Ping for example.

    So; do check out the updated Pro-Shop on your return to golf at the Club, and do your Christmas shopping safely at your Club.

    Management Committee

    It is a privilege for me to be Chairman of the Management Committee, and act on your behalf; I thank the AGM for their ratification of my post for a further year. If you want to provide me with any feedback about our Club please do so by emailing me; chairman@alresfordgolf.co.uk. But do tell me good things as well as the not-so-good!

    All existing members of the Management Committee were ratified to continue in post for another year, with a new Vice-Captain of the Club joining us for the next 12-months as usual.

    Management Committee members are;

    Chairman – Robert White

    Chair of Finance – Ray Panter

    Chair of Bar & Catering – Trevor Pearce

    Chair of House – Sue Masser

    Chair of Greens – Bob Moore

    Vice-Captain – Simon Freemantle

    Chair of Planning and Development – Nick Duncan

    Membership Numbers

    Our Club rules permit a total of 675 full members. Given the amount of golf each member now plays this is considered to be an outdated limit, but no change has been made in recent decades. The Management Committee will determine a ‘maximum number of Full Members’ policy, to be implemented this year, without a rule change at this time. It is likely that the Club will need to close to new members at some point during the spring of 2021, so that our course does not become over-crowded and that; as members we enjoy the privileges of a Club that really feels like ‘a private members’ club’, reflecting that our Club is owned by its members.

    Any 2020 full member is guaranteed continued membership on payment of their 2021 membership subscription before January 31st 2021. After that date; lapsed members can re-join but it may be that the Club has taken on other members in the subsequent months and that we might have closed to further 2021 subscriptions.

    So the simple message is; if you intend to pay your 2021 subscription, do pay on receipt of the invoice from David Maskery and by the very, very latest by January 31st 2021. If you might have some difficulty in meeting that date, do discuss it with David as he will be keen to help.

    David Maskery – General Manager

    The AGM conferred thanks and congratulations to David for an outstanding years’ work keeping us all safe and well-informed. David’s role has changed from that as a traditional Club Secretary, so I have moved his role, by agreement, to that of ‘General Manager’. On your return to the Club you will notice that the main office has been extended into Malcolm’s old office. This will help David to maintain confidentiality and to be undisturbed by members when he is busy. The new layout of the main office, will also provide a better impression for new customers and new members.

    Robert White

    Chairman of the Management Committee

    From the Club Captain

    Here we go then! 

    We are back on the course, which looks to be in wonderful condition considering the weather.  

    Great work Simon and team!  

    I was able to join Caroline Warne as she acted as starter at 8:00 on Wednesday 2nd. 

    The first group out was Les Widdicombe and Ed Fox. Huge smiles all round!  

    First impressions coming along nicely.

    Good to see the progress made on the winter projects. 

    The new bunker on the first hole looks superb from the tee. 

    The honour of being the first to find it from the tee went to Dudley George who was the 18th to tee off at 8:36.

     

    Continue reading →
  • Fore Info November 2020 Nov 1, 2020 @ 0:01

    Management Corner

    Covid Restrictions

    • You will be aware that legal restrictions in relation to the Covid pandemic come into force on Thursday 5th November.
    • Current indications are that golf courses will need to close again, and should this be the case our Club will not be open.
    • We are staying alert for all announcements and changes so that the Club remains compliant and ready to react should things change.
    • We will continue to keep you updated.

    Malcolm and Jane

    The Club held a lovely event on Saturday 31st October to mark Malcolm and Jane’s retirement, and their exceptional contribution to our Club over 40 years. Malcolm was joined by some former Alresford Assistant Professionals, members and guests to play the course in fairly unpleasant conditions. Presentations followed with speeches from Malcolm, Brian Young and John Goodacre reflecting on a remarkable career spanning four decades. Becky added a final speech reflecting on having parents dedicated to both their family and golf business; much credit to her for managing to deliver such an emotional and personal message. It was a highly emotional day all-round!

    Presentations were made of flowers, an inscribed Champagne bucket and a cheque for £5,000 from members contributions which Malcolm and Jane will use to fund a ski holiday to Canada.

    It was further announced, that; once alterations are completed to the 1st tee area this winter, as part of the First Impressions Project, the 1st hole will be renamed ‘Scotts’ in recognition of their many contributions to our Club and course. We will be inviting Malcolm to ‘drive-in’ the new layout as part of a renaming event in the Spring.

    We wish Malcolm and Jane a much deserved and happy retirement, and look forward to seeing them at the Club enjoying life as fellow members.

    Mark Wood

    Our new Head Professional started on November 1st, and of course faces closure almost immediately on the 5th November, which must be awful. Mark and his wife Mandy have been busy making arrangements for the Pro Shop and all other aspects of becoming our new Professional Team which will continue to include Terry Gosden.

    Mark wasted no time in providing the first golf lesson to Polly Chuch at 11-00am on his first day, as Polly was the recipient of a free lesson resultant from Mark’s recent member’s survey.

    We wish Mark and Mandy much success and happy days with us all at Alresford.

    AGM & SGM

    This month’s AGM will go ahead, but in a format that meets with Covid Restrictions. As you know, further lockdown restrictions are to be imposed starting from the 5th November, following announcements on October 31st. We will also need to hold a separate SGM to consider proposals for the Clubhouse Development project. Both the AGM and SGM will be planned to provide opportunities for members to cast their votes as required, in a format that supports our Club rules and is compliant with Covid restrictions.

    It does look as if we are in for a difficult month, but let’s hope that we can get back to golf and our Club before the end of the year.

    Robert White

    Chairman of the Management Committee

    From the Club Captain

    In common with, no doubt, all correspondents this month I must start with reference to the seismic change striking Alresford Golf Club.  As I’m writing this we are rapidly approaching the end of an era and indeed by the time you read this the new era will have started.  On Saturday 31 October we formally said farewell to Malcolm Scott after 40 years as our Club Professional.  Sadly Covid-19 meant we were unable to mark Malcolm’s Retirement as we, the members, and I am sure he would have wished.  However, thanks to Les Thorne and a number of other like-minded souls, we did manage to achieve a ‘pretty memorable’ and socially distanced farewell.  

    Enjoy the next chapter Malcolm.  A mega thank you for everything on behalf of all members and a special personal thank you from me.  It’s all Malcolm’s fault that you have me as Captain as 25 years ago he taught me (or tried to!).    

    The new era has begun in several ways:

    • Firstly, we welcome Mark, our new Professional, and his wife Mandy – who will be ‘front of house’ in the Pro shop.   
    • Secondly, the ‘world’, or at least the golf world, changes on 2 November with the introduction of World Handicapping.  What fun!!  
    • Thirdly, as a knock-on of the covid situation, on Friday 6 November we say farewell to Chris and Kelly Pullinger.    

    As ever much golf has been played although the weather has affected some competitions this last month.  Lots of good scores and inevitably

    Continue reading →
  • Fore Info October 2020 Sep 30, 2020 @ 21:40

    Management Corner

    Covid-19

    We continue to be alert to the issues relating to the Covid pandemic and are continuing to make adjustments on an agile basis, as and when the Club receives mandates and/or guidance from advisers and regulators. Following the most recent guidance it would appear that we will need to be patient and potentially wait until the New Year before we are able to return to golf as normal.

    Members have been magnificent in their adherence to the necessary precautions, which helped us all to thoroughly enjoy our golf. We continue to be really well served by David Maskery whose timely and knowledgeable interventions have kept us all safe and playing lots of golf.

    Clubhouse Development

    The recent members survey in relation to potential Clubhouse Development revealed more than 80% of members are in support of continued planning to improve our Clubhouse. Sue Masser and David Maskery are working with our appointed architect and surveyors to finalise a potential phased scheme to be put to the members at a SGM, when that is possible. Prior to any SGM, Members will be provided will full information and costs so that we may all make informed decisions when we come to vote on the final, phased scheme. All plans will take account of the impact of the Covid pandemic on both use of the Clubhouse and the Club’s financial performance.

    Chairman’s Cup

    I am pleased that we will be running a new competition that seeks to recognise volunteers at our Club. This year we are indebted to those members who have volunteered to act as ‘starters’ which enables all of us to play a lot of golf. Therefore, everyone who has acted as a volunteer starter will be invited to participate in an 18-hole team and individual stableford competition on the morning of 11th October; shotgun start. More information on this competition can be requested from the office, however, the intention is to make this an annual event as our Club relies on many volunteers. In subsequent years we will be opening the competition to our volunteer committee members, and others, however for this year we really do need to recognise the priceless contribution of our volunteer starters.

    Bar and Catering

    Chair of Bar & Catering; Trevor Pearce, is bringing forward

    recommendations for catering at the Club at the next meeting of the Management Committee on 12th October. We are grateful to Chris and Kelly for their continued commitment to the Club and we wish them continued success in their new roles. Obviously catering at the Club has been hugely affected by the lack of events, matches and societies so; again, we will need to be agile in our planning during these Covid affected times.

    Head Professional

    The next time that I write this monthly update will be Malcolm and Jane’s last day as our professional team. It seems unreal, even after 10-months of knowing, that there will be change of Head Professional at our Club in one month. Our plans to celebrate with Malcolm, Jane and family on 31st October have been amended due to further, recent restrictions due to the pandemic. However, the Club will still be running an all-day event on the 31st October; more news from Les Thorne in the coming days.

    You will begin to see Mandy Wood at the Club towards the end of this week. Mandy is the wife of our new Head Pro, Mark, and will be partnering Mark and Terry in the Pro-Shop from November 1st. Malcolm and Jane have kindly offered to spend time with Mandy to ensure that she is familiar with systems and our Club in advance of the transition on November 1st. Mark and Mandy will have the unenviable task of remembering 580 members’ names; which I guess will take some time.

    AGM

    The Management Committee is considering the format of this year’s AGM in light of the Covid pandemic and restrictions that are in place. It is very unlikely that restrictions will ease in time to hold our usual format of AGM in November. Other Club’s and organisations have run AGM’s on-line or by written reports with proxy voting. Once we have considered the possibilities, the Management Committee will consult our Club rules and then decide how to run this year’s AGM. More news on this during October.

    I hope that your recent enjoyment of the course matches my own experience; we are truly fortunate to have such a well-run Club with committed staff providing such excellent facilities for us to enjoy.

    Robert White

    Chairman of the Management Committee

    From the Club Captain

    What a wonderful month!  

    Very many thanks to everyone involved on Captains Day – players and helpers. 

    The first team set off at 7am and the last at 4.10pm.  Fortunately we were spoiled with fantastic weather the whole day although it meant dusk/darkness descended almost in an instant leaving the last 2 groups to finish by torchlight. 

    I am humbled by your generosity on the day allowing us to add significantly to our contribution to the Winchester Hospice pot.  

    Continue reading →

  • Fore Info September 2020 Aug 31, 2020 @ 21:30

    Management Corner

    Clubhouse Development Update-Survey Results

    In 2019, the Club surveyed its playing members to ascertain specific preferences in relation to potential improvement and development of our Clubhouse, with 302 playing members responding. Working from those preferences the Management Committee held a selection process in order to appoint a professional architect to provide designs for the Clubhouse which met the aspirations revealed by the original survey.

    In response to the impact of Covid-19; progress on the Clubhouse Development Project was subsequently paused, in line with so many other elements at our Club.

    The Management Committee has stabilised the financial status of the Club, despite the loss of income due to Covid-19, and has been delighted by the significant boost to membership this year, bringing confidence in the budget for the financial year 2020/21. The Club also holds significant cash reserves.

    As part of the Club’s extensive, democratic ethos as a ‘members’ club’ it was decided to re-survey members to quantify the appetite to continue with the Clubhouse Development Project and to quantify potential participation in a voluntary members’ loan scheme. This survey closed on 30th August 2020 having attracted 352 participants.

    • The results show 81.9% in favour of continuing with the Clubhouse Development Project and 18.1% against.
    • The results show that 135 members would consider making voluntary loans to Club totalling a minimum of £935,000

    The Management Committee accepts the result of the survey as; in favour of continuing with the Clubhouse Development.

    Next Steps

    • The Management Committee will now plan for a phased redevelopment of the Clubhouse managing both risks and opportunities.
    • Final plans and costings will be worked-up.
    • A Special General Meeting will be called once we have final plans and costs to enable each individual member to cast an informed vote, for or against, at the Special General Meeting when this is possible bearing in mind current restrictions. 
    • The Finance Committee will consider affordability of any development scheme, but it is unlikely that the Club would seek voluntary loans at the generous level pledged by members due to affordability of repayments over a five-year period.
    • The minimum level of voluntary members’ loans will be reconsidered to enable more members to participate in the spirit of ‘crowd funding’ in support of their Club.

    Thank you to everyone that participated in the both surveys related to the Clubhouse Development project in support of the Club’s democratic processes.

    Bar & Catering

    Chris Pullinger has already issued an ‘all member’ notice informing of his intention to not seek renewal of the catering franchise and to leave the Club on the anticipated termination date as set out in the existing contract. The Club had been in discussion with Chris, through the Chair of Bar and Catering, to agree a new contract and potentially manage the bar as well, however mutual efforts failed to deliver that new contract. We wish Chris, Kelly and their family continued success and happiness in their next venture and assure them of a warm welcome at the Club at all times.

    Chris has very kindly offered to assist the Club in the appointment of the next catering franchisee; however, the Club is considering whether a straight like-for-like replacement would be possible at this time. Therefore, Trevor Pearce – Chair of Bar and Catering will be developing proposals for the Management Committee. More news on this in the coming weeks.

    First Impressions Project

    Bob Moore – Chair of Greens has presented to both the Management Committee and the Finance Committee to gain approval and funding to implement the ‘First Impressions Project’ which enhances the presentation of our Club from leaving the car park to playing the first hole.

    I am delighted that Bob’s hard work has resulted in approval to deliver the project which is also being supported financially by the 100 club.

    Head Pro – Transition

    Mark Wood is working well with Sue, Tip and David in advance of joining the Club on 1st November following Malcolm’s retirement on October 31st. As Stanley has left the Club only Terry will now transfer to the new Head Pro so we will enjoy some continuity.

    It is hoped that Mark’s wife Mandy will also join the new team; which replicates the very successful husband and wife team provided by Malcolm and Jane over so many years. We hope to see Mandy spending some time at the Club in October to aid the smooth transition in November.

    Tee Times and Social Distancing

    The Club continues to operate within the confines of central guidance from Government and golfing regulators. The Club is constantly on alert for any changes that can enable a full return to normal golfing and social conditions. For the time being; tee times have to prevail, but we will remain alert to the opportunities to get back to normal as soon as this is possible.

    Good luck to all those participating in the Club Championships!

     

    Robert White

    Chairman of the Management Committee

    Reminder: New Member Referral Scheme

    We continue to be active attracting new members to the club, though some may be wondering why this should remain a priority given the recent growth in membership already achieved so far this year.

    Simply put we cannot put the brakes on now as we know that each year members resign from the club, for many reasons, not least age, health, or simply moving away from the area.  

    So we cannot stand still…

    NEW MEMBER REFERRAL SCHEME

    The scheme we have in place is aimed at benefitting ALL of our current members 

    A 15% DISCOUNT OFF YOUR SUBSRIPTION NEXT YEAR

    CURRENTLY WORTH £150!

    … … and that’s for every referral you make!!!

    The basis of the scheme:

    • Referral – Introduce a new member to the club this year, joining as an ‘INTRODUCTORY MEMBER’, and paying just a (7 day) pro-rata fee for the remainder of the year; but with some limited playing restrictions, notably Tuesday mornings; Wednesday mornings and Saturday mornings. 
    • Benefits to Both – On payment of the full member joining fee in January the introducing Member then receives a 15% discount off their own subscription, and the new member a 5% off their subscription.
    • Scope – Multiple introductions are permitted, though the scheme will be capped at 20 new members joining in January from current membership referral. So early introductions are to be advised. The scheme will be operable to end of December 2020.

    Terms & conditions apply – Please contact the Office for full information

    From the Club Captain

    Golf continues apace both competition and friendly and for much of the month in good golfing weather.  Congratulations to all who have done well and commiserations to those who have not had such a successful time – as I am wont to say “this is why we are amateurs”!

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  • Fore Info August 2020 Aug 1, 2020 @ 0:00

    Management Corner

    The End of Subsidised Golf

    You will all be aware that the furlough scheme and other financial support from Government and Local Authorities is coming to end as the impact from Covid-19 reduces. These support mechanisms have subsidised the Club which has helped to balance-the-books for the financial year ending September 2020. Since the re-opening of the course in May the Club has not been able to entertain golf societies or visitors, other than member’s guests. Members’ subscriptions and joining fees only account for 79% of golfing income at the Club, which was augmented by £140,000 of green fee income for the financial year 2018/19.

    As members, I think we have all enjoyed having the course to ourselves, and many of us have been able to play much more golf than ever. However, as the subsidies are removed and we have no support from the furlough scheme we must get back to attracting normal income streams. We will start by inviting small, loyal golf societies to the Club, and to enjoy the bar and catering facilities as permitted by Covid-19 restrictions. 

    Prior to Covid-19 the Management Committee had discussed access to the course at busy times for visitors, societies and member’s guests. It is appreciated that the Club has a regular pattern of busier times and the committee had established some ‘closed for members only’ slots for trial. These have not been needed due to circumstances. The committee will be re-confirming some restricted times when it will not be possible for green fee golfers to play.

    I hope that you have enjoyed getting back to golf, and having the privilege of ‘Members only golf’, but we now need to balance the books by replacing Covid-19 subsidies with normal income streams. The recent increase in membership goes some way to helping with this equation, so the budget for 2020/21 does take this into account when planning for reduced green fee income over the next financial year.

    Head Professional Recruitment

    Since concluding the interview process for the new Head Professional, the Club entered into contract negotiations with its preferred candidate, Mark Wood. These negotiations were based on a standard contract provided by the PGA which includes provision of the Pro-Shop, exclusive rights to coaching at the Club, and front-of-house services for golfing activities. Both the Club and Mark Wood are grateful for the support of the PGA in

    getting this agreed. Contracts have now been signed and Mark has now resigned his current position, so; we look forward to welcoming him to the Club on the 1st November 2020. Whilst there is obviously plenty of similarity between Malcolm’s current contract and the new contract offered by the Club; the passage of time has brought much change in contemporary relationships and financial rewards for retained Club Professionals, so the Club was delighted to work from PGA recommendations to bring us up-to-date.

    The PGA has also advised that Terry has a statutory right to transfer his employment to the new Head Professional which fits in perfectly with Mark’s plans, so I am pleased to say that you will continue to see Terry at the Club in his current role.

    Vice-Captain; Mark Tiplady, together with Sue Masser and David Maskery will oversee the transition from Malcolm’s team to Mark’s team in the coming months, and I look forward to confirming launch arrangements for the new Head Professional in due course.

    Les Thorne is busy organising a Club event on 31st October to celebrate the many contributions by Malcolm & Jane, their family and their professional teams over so many years. More news to come soon, but the 31st October will be an important day in this year’s golfing calendar at the Club.

    Pre-Booked Tee-Times

    The Club needed to implement tee-times for all golfers to re-open the course following closure due to Covid-19 restrictions. The default position for the Club is to remove pre-booked tee-times once restrictions subside, as they were only put in place to deal with social distancing and risk of infection, aligned to central guidance.

    Tee-times have become a ‘marmite’ subject; some people love them and some people hate them. However, upon implementation of temporary tee-times, reassurance was given that; this would not result in tee-times becoming permanent at the Club.

    I am sure that discussions about pre-booked tee-times will continue beyond the Covid-19 period and it may well be that the Club consults further in the future on this subject, but there is no mandate for continuing with general tee-times once restrictions ease.

    Robert White

    Chairman of the Management Committee

    From the Club Captain

    Over the past month many rounds of golf, both competition and friendly, have been played.  We have also completed several Board competitions and all things ‘remaining equal’ more will be played over the coming months.  

    The ‘In-House’ Competition Schedule for the rest of this year was finalised in mid-July.  This schedule is of course subject to there being no change to the ‘Covid golf rules’.  

    ‘External’ EventsClub Pro-Am, Ladies Pro-Am (for Assistant Pros) and Alresford Cup (inter county Girls event) – will not be held in 2020.

    The Junior Championships were held on Monday 27 July – on possibly the worst weather we had had for weeks (wind and rain all day).  8 hardy souls played a Stableford in the morning and 6 of them went out again in

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  • New 2020 Competition Schedule Published Jul 31, 2020 @ 14:33

    Members have been requesting an easy to view competition list for the remainder of 2020 as the Club Diary and Club Google Calendar are no longer current. This information is available in ClubV1, but not all members are comfortable with using it. A two page list of competitions has just been added to the Member Hub within the Match / Handicap Committee link.

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