"Fore Info" Monthly Newsletters


Last 10 News Posts

  • Fore Info June 2020 May 31, 2020 @ 19:00

    Management Corner

    Club Management and Challenges

    We are so fortunate as a Club to enjoy the dedication of Management, Staff and Committee Members who contribute so much to provide us with an exceptional Golf Club. The Covid-19 restrictions curtailed activity on the course, but the work did not stop to ensure that our Club continued to be well-managed and alert to opportunity to re-establish play.

    Initially; Chair of Finance – Ray Panter, and our Club Secretary – David Maskery, took a fine grade tooth-comb to our expenditure and removed all non-essential spending during the closure. The Club took difficult decisions to ‘furlough’ appropriate staff; as Chair of the Personnel Committee it felt brutal, yet necessary. Not nice!

    With no prospect of seasonal income from Green Fees, Golf Societies and bar takings, Ray informed The Management Committee that, as a result, we would be missing more than £100,000 in income for the financial year to September 30th 2020.

    Successful Membership Drive

    Planning and Development, led by Nick Duncan, brought forward plans to boost membership of our Club to offset some lack of income and to deal with stubborn membership numbers that had not increased in recent years despite having a large amount of vacancies. This drive, innovation and enthusiasm has resulted in more than 60 members joining us since lockdown. This would be welcome at any time, but given the closure of the course for nearly two-months this is remarkable, and reaffirms my confidence in our wonderful Golf Club. Mary, our Club Captain, and David have necessarily been going the extra mile to interview and bring on-board our new members. I really hope that each new member settles into their new ‘home of golf’ and feels most welcome.

    Club Development and Highly Valued Support

    More work in the background continues with the House Committee led by Sue Masser. Unseen, due to the closure of the clubhouse, our inefficient heating and hot water boilers have been replaced by state-of-the-art kit and relocated.

    Bob Moore has kept our greenkeeping staff well informed and safe working with Simon; our Course Manager. Trevor Pearce, Chair of Bar & Catering is eagerly planning our return to Clubhouse facilities.

    We are indebted to the Sub-committee Chairs for their commitment on an entirely voluntary basis, for the good of our club.

    Head Professional Recruitment

    The Club’s advertisement for a Head Professional, to replace the irreplaceable, attracted 29 applications which were given in-depth, individual consideration by a Sub-group formed from the Management Committee. Sadly; as part of the recruitment process, we have only taken 11 applicants to stage two of the recruitment process and necessarily had to let down 18 other applicants. There is a very strong field of candidates and we are making selection decisions based only on the needs of the Club. Restrictions willing; we hope to make a final choice towards the start of July so that there may be a smooth transition towards handover at the end of October for Malcolm and Jane after 40 years of wonderful service at the Club.

    Getting Back To Golf

    My sincere thanks to the vast majority of members for their patience and mutual respect enabling a steady return to golf for us all. We have all faced ‘rationing’ of availability on the course and the need to book tee times. It’s not quite the same without the opportunity to meet-up after golf in the bar or on the terrace, or to join-in for social events. Special thanks to all volunteer starters providing cover for the 1st tee, for 11 hours on every day since the course re-opened. I arrived to do my, planned stint only to find that Pete Dowse had beaten me to it, driving from Southampton to be on the 1st tee at 07:15; that really sums up ‘the spirit’ of Alresford Golf Club.

    I certainly think we all value our Club more than ever and hope for a full and safe return to the Clubhouse when Boris permits.

    Robert White

    Chairman of the Management Committee

    From the Club Captain

    At last!  

    On 13 May after 8 weeks (of torture for some) Tichborne Down stopped being a dog walking, bike riding paradise for the local population and returned to that which it has been since 1890. 

    While the ‘system’ allowing us to play is not the norm, we are back on the course we love, no doubt hitting some good and some not so good shots – no change there!  

    The situation remains that competitions are cancelled until 1 July. 

    Thus I have little (make that nothing) to report, however CAPCOM will be meeting shortly to discuss next steps.  

    No cartoons this month but I hope enjoy the video.

    Continue reading →
  • Fore Info May 2020 Apr 30, 2020 @ 18:00

    Management Corner

    Furlough and Essential Staff

    The Personnel Committee has met twice recently to consider the staffing implications from closure of the Club due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Personnel Committee considered options to furlough some staff, and retain others essential to maintaining the course and our Club. The Management Committee supported the recommendations from the Personnel Committee which are under review on a fortnightly basis.

    Re-Opening of the Course

    The opportunity to re-open the course is out of our hands and we await information from Government to guide us. There is no telling when this might be, of course, or what restrictions might be in place. We are however planning in the background on some basic assumptions, central to which is prioritising loyal members. If Nikki and I have found the closure of the Club tough, I imagine it is the same for all members. So; for the initial period of re-opening it is envisaged that only members of the Club will be able to play the course or use the practice facilities. The Management Committee will meet urgently when we become aware of the potential to re-open to ensure that all members and all sections of the Club can get back to golf as soon as possible.

    Recruitment of the Head Professional

    Our advert for a new Head Professional closes on 30th April and we will therefore cease to accept further applications. There has been much interest in the position with in excess of 20 applications received so far from PGA Professionals currently employed locally, nationally and internationally. A sub-group of The Management Committee has been formed to consider all applications and to narrow-down candidates to a short-list of an unspecified number. Given the quality of the applications received, this is going to be a very tough job indeed. Ultimately, those candidates short-listed will be interviewed by The Management Committee with all current Captains invited to attend. So; we will ultimately appoint through a fully democratic and transparent process, and hope to offer the role in the summer to enable a smooth transition through to November 1st. I have spoken briefly to Malcolm about celebrations to mark the immense contribution to our Club by both himself and Jane; more to come on this nearer the time from the relevant committees.

    So, I hope that we can all get back to playing our course in the near future, and thank you for your continued support and loyalty to our unique Members Club.

    Robert White

    Chairman of the Management Committee

    From the Club Captain

    Isn’t it marvellous – we have just had one of the wettest winters, yet the weather didn’t stop us. Now we are into ‘wall to wall sunshine’, and all we can do is look at the course (in my case from afar via the webcam).

    “When we will be allowed back on the course?” is the $64K question!

    Wont we enjoy it when we can play … … and to heck with bad shots!

    In the meantime the following may amuse – they came to me from my sister ‘across the pond’.

    Continue reading →
  • Fore Info April 2020 Mar 31, 2020 @ 22:00

    Management Corner

    Club & Course Closure

    The Club and course have been necessarily closed due to Covid-19 restrictions which have been imposed. I am really missing my golf and club community; and I am sure that is the same for all members of Alresford Golf Club.

    Course Management

    Our magnificent Greens Staff continue to work to maintain our course and have organised themselves into two teams to ensure that they can comply with social distancing, and remain well. They are very well led by our Course Manager, Simon Justice; and supported by Chair of Greens, Bob Moore. We thank you all for your commitment which will hopefully ensure that the course can be brought back to provide suitable playing conditions in a reasonable timeframe once restrictions have been lifted.

    Impact of Covid-19

    The Personnel Committee and the Management Committee were able to ‘meet virtually’ on 30th March 2020, and both meetings were quorate with full agenda.

    The Personnel Committee agreed recommendations to be made to the Management Committee in relation to the HMRC Job Retention scheme, which were unanimously approved. A further review by the Personnel Committee will take place in two weeks time.

    At the Management Committee we obviously discussed the impact of Covid-19, the temporary closure of the Club, and the impact of lost revenue. The Club still carries most of its costs at this time, although we will get help with wages and salaries for Staff that are officially laid off. These are really difficult decisions for us all as there is a balance to be struck between taking care of our valued staff yet ensuring the Club is financially well. Chair of Finance, Ray Panter, is doing all he can to reduce our costs at this time and I thank him for many hours of line-by-line, detailed planning. Obviously, we do not know how long we will be closed, but whilst we are closed, we have no further income.

    Membership

    The Club was not able to agree terms to renew the HPLS scheme this year; despite protracted negotiations which reflected the democratic view of our members and the Management Committee. Once this was known; the Management Committee acted immediately and offered preferential joining terms to current HPLS members and current Winter Members, closing on 31st March.

    I am delighted to report that 26 people have requested membership and they will become full 7-day members on payment of their subs. This is a huge vote of confidence in our Club, and I will be delighted to welcome them all to the Club when we are back playing golf.

    Recruitment of a New Head Professional

    The recruitment advert for our next Head Professional has gone live, and applications are coming in. A sub-group of the Management Committee will consider all applications and work to provide a shortlist of applicants to be interviewed by the entire Management Committee when this is possible.

    If Covid-19 restrictions are lifted in a couple of months; we would hope to offer the role to someone in the Summer so that they can be ready to take over on 1st November as planned.

    Looking Forward

    I really hope that my next ‘Management Corner’ brings much better news on the golf front.

    However, let’s all continue to do everything we can in our homes to make sure that we are all fit and well for sunny days on the course… and lovely afternoons on the patio!

    Do stay well!

    Robert White

    Chair of the Management Committee

    From the Club Captain

    What a month.  

    For the first half, life continued as normal and with improving weather we all happily (I hope) played lots of golf.  The men had 3 matches, managing to win 2 and halving the one against the County Juniors. 

    Then on Tuesday 17 March the world changed and we concluded we had to cancel inter-Club matches and internal competitions, while allowing play on the course to continue.  While we were making this decision the County, men and women, were also cancelling their events/competitions.

    Continue reading →
  • Fore Info March 2020 Feb 29, 2020 @ 18:00

    Management Corner

    Clubhouse Development

    We move ever closer to being able to make final presentations to members to enable a decision on the Clubhouse. It is very likely that we will propose a two-stage development and have a multi-year plan much like we have an extended plan for Course Development. We have two sources of funds to provide for the capital expenditure required; cash reserves and members loans. We are in the process of delineating and costing each of the two stages of development so that we can provide members with an estimate for both stages of development and a request for members loans to fund stage one, in addition to cash reserves, should members be supportive of the scheme at a SGM. So; more news in March and finally the SGM once we have the costings and plans for each stage.

    Bag Tags

    Thank you all for ensuring that you proudly display your Bag Tags. It really will be quite an exception to discover any member playing the course without their Membership Tag not attached to their bag; David has tags and stickers in the office should you still be lacking.

    Course Rangers & Starters

    I attended the 2nd training session for Course Rangers & Starters held by Graham Marshallsay and David Maskery; thank you for arranging a Saturday session so that us working types could take part. The two sessions were very well attended and we now have a cohort of trained, volunteer Rangers & Starters already in place. We hope that the marshalling of our course will improve the enjoyment of our course for the majority, but a small minority may feel aggrieved that we will be checking that full payment has been made before taking to the tee, and that etiquette and pace of play are fulfilled as expected. Many thanks to Graham, David and all my fellow volunteers for getting us underway. Please do see David if you would like to volunteer as a Course Ranger or Starter.

    Recruitment of a New Head Professional

    As you will be aware Malcom will be retiring on October 31st this year, and so we will be embarking on a recruitment process to replace the irreplaceable. Initially an advertisement will be placed in the relevant PGA publications and will be available on their website too. We plan to offer the role towards the end of June/early July so that the in-coming pro has sufficient time to serve notice on their current role, if needed, and to make arrangements ahead of starting on 1st November. More info will be provided as we go, once ManCom has approved the appointment process.

    Course Condition 

    We are so fortunate to enjoy year-round golf at Alresford with little disruption. I have noticed an improvement in the presentation of the course this winter enabled by our excellent Course Manager, a committed Greens Committee and, crucially, a full crew of Greens staff. We have operated ‘a man down’ for some time previously as the Course Manager position changed and then we found it difficult to fill the apprentice role. Simon has been in place now for a full calendar year and Dominic, our apprentice, is making an effective contribution to the workload and completing his study courses. Well done to all of those who contribute to the condition of our lovely golf course.

    Social

    Les Thorne became Chair of the Social Committee in November and immediately provided us with a really entertaining Captains’ Drive In. In the few short months since his appointment, the Club has been really busy socially, through the Christmas and New Year periods with successful and enjoyable events. My lovely wife, Nikki, and I attended the Valentines Dinner at the Club and really enjoyed the evening; dining with Mr & Mrs Pulling in a busy dining room. The quality and value of the food was excellent and would undoubtedly cost 50% more in a restaurant or bistro pub environment. Well done Les, the Social Committee and the Pullingers (not to be confused with the Pullings, but Cheriton School often do). We now look forward to March 7th and Kit’s legendary quiz, now in its 42nd year, remarkable!

    Happy golfing and happy socialising!

    Rob White
    Chairman

    From the Club Captain

    Firstly apologies for the very abbreviated report from me last month – this was due to a total computer malfunction and thus a few words sent via my phone.   Thankfully I am now back up and running. 

    I am sitting here typing this with sun streaming through the window yet for most of the month the awful weather sadly continued to take ‘centre stage’.  

    For the Club the major casualty of Storms Ciara and Dennis was the postponement of the scratch match against the County on Sunday 16 February.  Postponement was particularly disappointing as 2020 is the 50th anniversary of this match.  However if at all possible it will be rescheduled for later in the year and we are currently finalising a date with the County.

    Not only did Ciara and Dennis cause the postponement of county match it also led to the complete closure of the course on 16 Feb – something pretty rare in the annals of Alresford Golf Club.

    The course reopened on Monday 17 February in time to allow the Juniors to play the TJ Evans, their first competition of

    Continue reading →
  • Fore Info February 2020 Jan 31, 2020 @ 18:10

    Management Corner

    The Management Committee met informally in December and again with a full and formal agenda in January.

    Clubhouse Development

    The planning for the Clubhouse Development continues with Trevor Pearce joining Sue, David and me on the Sub-group as P&D pass the baton for next stages. Fortunately, the feedback from members alerted us to historic problems with the Greenkeepers’ rest facilities, sanitary conditions and statutory facilities which are not good. We must now include an update to these facilities within the development as we will need to allocate budget to this.

    Members and Visitors Golf

    The new golf season is only a few months away now and we are making preparations to ensure that Members’ golf is prioritised but we also recognise that income from guests, visitors and golf societies is essential for the Club. 

    At the AGM I appealed to all Members to ensure that their bag tag is attached to their bag, and not somewhere in the boot of their car. Admittedly, I was a repeat offender having rarely displayed my member’s tag but am now in complete compliance.

    Such has been the uptake for member’s tags that David had to place a new order with the supplier, so I am really pleased that we will all be looking good by the end of January.

    So, with member’s tags in place we can now identify visitors by exception and ensure that they have an appropriate bag tag, for; a paid green fee, a reciprocal round or as a HPLS golfer. We would not, of course, expect to issue bag tags to visitors playing matches.

    Course Marshalling

    David and Graham Marshallsay are working hard on arrangements for our new Course Marshals; Around 10 club members have shown interest in helping us to manage golf traffic. We will have a friendly, yet important, deterrent in place to ensure that only bona fide golfers take to the tee. Do let David know if you would like to help out

    The Management Committee is currently in discussion with HPLS over a review of the current scheme and with particular regards to changing the access and controlling the numbers taking part in the scheme for the coming year. We have also considered the times at which guests and visitors can play, given that we must prioritise members at busy times, and of course ensure that guests and visitors have paid their green fee before playing on our course. Final details will be shared when we have them, this is work in progress but will be in place for this year’s season.

    Club’s Boilers

    After more than 12-months of planning by Paul Batty, Brian Wright and others in the House Committee, we have accepted a competitive tender to update the Club’s boilers which provide us with heat and hot water. David and Sue Masser, the new Chair of House, benefitted from their expert planning and a sound tender process resulting in a great deal for the Club. The boilers are moving from their current location and should provide us with a far more efficient, up-to-date system.

    Happy golfing!

    Rob White
    Chairman

    From the Club Captain

    They say time goes faster as one gets older, but this is ridiculous – we have already finished the first month of 2020.  

    Sadly the generally uninspiring weather throughout much of January somewhat limited everyone’s golf but, thinking positively, … …

    …. It can only get better!

    Continue reading →
  • Fore Info January 2020 Dec 31, 2019 @ 14:00

    Management Corner

    Clubhouse Development

    The comprehensive and fully costed Business Case for the Clubhouse Development Programme is nearing completion, at least in draft form.

    The plan now is to secure specialist input to the document from other relevant committees, and then to gain overall approval of it from ManCom. At that point we will to bring it before members, with a two week notice period for a Special General Meeting for final approval and project go-ahead. 

    It is still our intention that this will be undertaken at some point during January.

    The Plan will provide the following:

    • An Executive Summary
    • Detailed Membership Analysis (past)
    • Why development of the clubhouse is necessary, indeed essential
    • Members’ survey (reprise)
    • What is being proposed (pre and post consultation phases)
    • What this will deliver for the club (5 year membership, subscription and other income projections, along with detailed assumptions)
    • How much it will cost – and over what time period
    • How it can be funded
    • A detailed Risks Plan, including impact and probability analysis, and controlling factors
    • Roles and responsibilities going forward
    • Critical path (milestones etc)

    So there is plenty going on, despite the seeming lull in activities….!

    Thank you again for all the support you continue to give this important project.

    Golf Studio

    On other matters we are delighted to confirm that the Golf Studio project up in the Driving Range has received planning permission, and following the enforced delay, is now all but complete. This will undoubtedly add further asset to the club’s already considerable training and practice capability. 

    The Course ‘First Impressions’ project, detailed in the Green’s Section is a further example of the investment our club continues to make for the future of the club, and for the legacy we are providing future generations of golfers.

    Nick Duncan

    Chair, Planning and Development Committee

    From the Club Captain

    Happy New Year to you all.  Not only a new year, but also a new decade and, almost certainly and even more importantly, the start of our club’s 130th year.

    Last month in my report, I was only able to ‘guess’ about the Captains Drive-In which took place as the December Fore Info went to press.  It proved to be a very successful event masterminded by Les Thorne, particularly as the four of us Captains managed not to disgrace ourselves even if none of our ceremonial tee shots finished near the hole. 

    Special mention needs to be made of George Skayman and the Pullinger young who formed a ‘military’ escort  to the ‘tee’.  George & I both served for a ‘few’ years in the Army – unlike me he can still get into his uniform!  

    Thank you also to Lesley Martin who organised the sale of drive-in sticks and a huge thank you to all of you who brought ‘sticks’ and thus contributed so generously to start off this year’s Captains Charity, the new Winchester Hospice.

    The weather was fair for the Drive-In and indeed the rest of the first week in December during which I was honoured to join the Vets Xmas Scramble on a cold crisp morning.  Our golf was followed by a warming and excellent Christmas lunch.  By the following week when the ladies had their Xmas Scramble the weather was most unkind and, only now as I write this, it is beginning to improve.

    Continue reading →
  • 1st Impressions Project Document Added Dec 23, 2019 @ 23:09

    This document from the Greens Committee has been added to the “Course & Greens Information” subpage of the Members’ area. Log in to view it. The old saying “You only get one chance to make a first impression” still holds good. The approach to, and area around, the 1st Tee is our “shop window” – we should capitalise on it.

    Continue reading →
  • Fore Info December 2019 Dec 1, 2019 @ 0:00

    Management Corner

    Clubhouse Development

    Following the end of the initial consultation period, we have been hard at work analysing the extent and depth of your comment! Almost without exception your feedback has been supportive, positive and constructive, yet with a most valuable critique.

    As a result, we have incorporated positive changes to our proposed design in a number of important areas.

    In particular, but not exclusively, these include the following:

    • Acoustics
    • Air conditioning
    • Bag and trolley storage
    • Bar service area
    • Dining area
    • Foyer
    • Greenkeepers’ mess
    • Management of the project
    • Men’s changing area
    • Path to 10th tee
    • Patio layout and the 18th green
    • Security

    In a number of instances we found that your suggestions led on to further, perhaps unintended or ‘knock-on’ improvements, which have also been embedded into our design.

    In addition to the above we are also working on a comprehensive and fully costed business case to be put to members before any final approval to proceed is achieved.

    The case will set out in detail:

    • why the initiative is essential,
    • what it will deliver financially for the club over the coming ten years and beyond,
    • what it will cost, and how it can be financed.

    It will also set out the construction milestones, and how we plan to minimise member disruption during the period of build.

    As already notified, we have therefore decided to step back from the originally envisaged timing of a Special General Meeting (SGM) to approve the project, in order to absorb your suggestions and to prepare the business case. We believe there will be no loss of momentum, just a little more planning time, before we ask you once more for your participation in this important project for the club.

    Thank you again for your support and considered comment. We will be back in touch with you again once we have completed this exercise.

    Nick Duncan

    Chair, Planning and Development Committee

    From the Club Captain

    By the time you read this we will have had the AGM and I and my fellow Captains will have ‘gone through the pain or otherwise’ of the Captains Drive-In.

    I have to start with a huge thank you to Graham for a) being a superb Captain and example to all and b) inviting me to be his Vice and putting up with me during the year. 

    Thanks also to the rest of the Captain’s team – Sue, Drew and James – for all their efforts during 2019.

    Continue reading →

  • Fore Info November 2019 Oct 31, 2019 @ 22:00

    Management Corner

    Clubhouse Development

    You’ve waited long enough!

    Many of you will by now have viewed the presentation boards in the clubhouse, or via the website, and share in the excitement of what we are hoping to bring to the club, going forward. Your review, comment, and (hopefully) ultimate support is very much appreciated.

    For those still waiting for an opportunity to review the proposed designs, layouts and content, the presentation also provides summary background to the following:

    • How we reached this point
    • Why the development is so important for the future of the club
    • How we propose to pay for it
    • How members can engage, and offer their comments and thoughts 

    The only final point to reprise is the timetable, in so far that we intend holding open the consultation period as long as possible (close to three weeks), allowing us time to analyse feedback, prepare presentations and take a final go/no go decision at a planned EGM/SGM. Two weeks’ notice of this meeting will be given, normal club rules for proxy voting applying.

    Social Media

    A sub-group of the PD Committee has been formed to evaluate the scope and opportunity for developing further the club’s social media activities, with the following specific objectives:

    • Limit of the club’s intent (platforms and priorities)
    • Target audiences (rank order)
    • Communication objectives (such as desired / expected shift in AGC brand perceptions, brand awareness, enquiry generation etc)
    • How measured
    • Who responsible going forward (management, maintenance and control)

    Suffice to say we will report further as developments occur.

    Nick Duncan

    Chair, Planning and Development Committee

    From the Club Captain

    We were promised a radical review of our clubhouse and ‘wow’ that’s exactly what the Clubhouse Sub-group have delivered! Their designs are on display in the foyer. Take a look when you are next in the clubhouse and please provide your feedback on what has been suggested.

    Once the feedback is complete we will be in a position to have an SGM for members to determine how we should proceed. Let’s all move forward together as One Club and provide a first class clubhouse to compliment our first class course!

    The 2019 season concluded on the 5th October with a Mens Friendly Match against Ryde Pirates. This particular match was established in 1987 when Malcolm Scott, our Head Professional, was assisting Ryde with some ideas for a new course layout; Steve Brandon, an Alresford member, made the ‘Malcolm Scott Challenge Trophy‘, which was first awarded in1993. This time, Alresford ran out winners by 5 and 1/2 to 1/2 – your Club Captain and Club Head Professional provided the ‘honourable half‘!

    The VOX Beatles evening, organised by our Social Committee, on 12th October was supported by 93 members who enjoyed a fantastic evening of nostalgic music, it’s been some time since I’ve seen the dance floor so full, the clubhouse was rocking!

    The Social Committee experimented with a table layout of smaller tables of 4-6 which proved to be very successful and I’m sure one that will be repeated, where appropriate, in the future. Well done everyone involved in the organisation of the evening, but particular thanks to Marion Bruce and Mike Battison.

    Continue reading →
  • Clubhouse Development Proposal – Member Documents Available Oct 21, 2019 @ 23:01

    An overview document together with four highly detailed architect proposal diagrams have been added to the Member’s section of the website.

    These can be viewed online or downloaded as desired.
    The diagrams are large and detailed and may take longer than usual to download or access.

    If you do not have the login details for the member’s section, please request them from the Club Secretary.

     

    Continue reading →