Minutes of 2023 AGM

Minutes of the 114th Annual General Meeting of Members held in the Clubhouse at 7.30pm on Tuesday 28th February 2023

1. Welcome and Opening Remarks

Immediate Past Captain Stephen Gallagher opened the meeting with a welcome to all attendees, thanking them for their attendance and support. He then led a tribute to those members who sadly had passed away in the past year, asking members to participate in a minute’s silence in their memory. The members and former members who had died in 2022 since the last AGM were Jim Campbell, Jack Finlay, Jim Craig, Tommy Darragh and Charlie Vassie.

2. Attendance and Apologies

51 members were in attendance, their names being noted in the Register of Attendance. Apologies were intimated to the meeting from Chris Lansdell, Alex McAulay, Jim Bolling, Drew Crawford, Angela Scott, Iain Dunbar, Nigel Stevens, Andy McGonagle, Jack Davidson.

3. Minutes of the 113th AGM held on 22nd February 2022

The Minutes of the 113th AGM were then accepted by those present as an accurate record, through a Motion proposed and seconded as follows: Proposer - Michael McKeown Seconder – Frank Geary

4. Immediate Past Captain’s Report for 2022

As no Captain had been appointed for 2022, Immediate Past Captain Stephen Gallagher began his report by focussing on the two main issues faced by the Club, namely membership decline and lower footfall in the Lounge Bar. In terms of the membership decline, we had lost around 27 members in recent months, for various reasons, including age, cost of fees and lack of atmosphere in the Clubhouse. Stephen spoke positively about his membership of Windyhill for over 53 years, encouraging everyone to talk up the merits of membership to friends and colleagues, including the great course, stunning views, no joining fee and a virtually guaranteed access to the Windyhill Golf Club 114 th Annual General Meeting 28 Feb 2023 Page 2 of 4 tee whenever you wished. He also encouraged everyone to make a greater effort to use the Clubhouse facilities and the lounge bar in particular. Stephen then turned to the performance of our various teams over season 2022. He was particularly encouraged by the competitiveness of the various Club teams, particularly considering the smaller pool of players available to the Club in comparison to many of the other Clubs in our area. In his view, this proved the merit of playing a challenging course which is generally in great condition all year round. Finally, Stephen paid tribute to Michael McKeown, who is retiring from the Board after 10 years of involvement in the management of the Club. Michael had been the ‘go to’ man on many of the key operational issues affecting the Club over these many years, and without his steady hand on the tiller, the Club would surely not have survived. Fortunately, Michael has offered to continue to provide support to the Board in bedding in the new Scottish Golf management system and direct debit process. Stephen offered a heartfelt thanks from the Club to Michael, and this was followed by a spontaneous and well-deserved round of applause from everyone in attendance at the meeting.

5. Presentation of the Annual Accounts for the year to 31st December 2022

Douglas Gibson gave an overview of the Annual Accounts for 2022. These were printed in the AGM Booklet, together with a detailed Financial Report. The main points highlighted at the AGM were:

Overview – The 2022 accounts had been seriously impacted by the sudden increase in inflation caused by the war in Ukraine. Costs had risen by 10%, while our income had flat lined. The result was a considerable deficit of over £25k, which had eaten into our reserves and left us with serious concerns for the future viability of the Club.

Income – Sadly, for Windyhill, the surge in Club membership experienced in the COVID years had reversed, and we had lost a significant number of members during 2022. Many of these had been new members attracted by the fact that golf was one of the few sports that were available during the pandemic. Others, however, had stepped down due to advancing years, an issue which will increasingly impact Windyhill, due to its high average age of membership. Given the importance of subscription income to our finances, the Board was planning several recruitment initiatives, including an Open Day and a focussed leaflet drop in the local area. However, as ever, word of mouth is the best method and members were encouraged to do all they can to bring more members to Windyhill. Lounge bar income remained stubbornly down on pre-COVID years. While this is not an unique problem to Windyhill, it is one that the members can themselves resolve by making the effort to use the lounge when they come to play golf. Other income streams are smaller but still important. These include the Lottery, which provides a steady income, but could support a far larger pool of players, and tee-box advertising, which again could offer a far larger income source if all the potential advertising slots were taken up.

Expenditure – Our expenditure in 2022 was dominated by the impact of inflation on many of our service and utility costs. In addition, our course rental had increased significantly, due to the re-negotiation of the Lease. Greens staff salaries had not increased, but this was only due to the fact that one member of staff had resigned in the autumn of 2022 and not been replaced. Thanks were then extended to Darren Welsh, our head green keeper, who continued to save the Club considerable costs through his ability to undertake machinery repairs himself rather than using costly suppliers. Utility costs were an ongoing concern, with new contracts for electricity and fuel now in place, at much higher unit costs than before. This will demand the tightest possible control over the use of all utilities, in order to minimise cost impact.

Balance Sheet – Finally, turning to the Balance Sheet entries, Douglas pointed to the comparison of Current Assets against Current Liabilities for 2021 and 2022. This illustrated clearly the reduced level of reserves now held by the Club and emphasised the need to minimise any deficit in this new financial year.

Questions were then taken on the Accounts, and the following points were raised.

Course Rental – The cost of course rental was raised by several members, asking that representations be made to our factor for some respite in this area. The Board will be meeting with the factor in the near future to report on the past financial year and this issue will certainly be part of that discussion.

New Member Recruitment – Members were understanding that the recruitment of new members would involve promotional subscription rates. However, it was suggested that these could be spread over 2 or 3 years, in order to prevent members from simply disappearing after one year to find a new promotional cost elsewhere.

6. Auditors’ Report & Appointment of Auditors for 2023

George Munn reported on behalf of the auditors that a sample audit had been undertaken successfully, and that the books continued to be well presented and maintained. Both George Munn and Rudy Hanel were willing to continue as auditors next year, and this was unanimously supported and approved by the Meeting.

7. Elections to the Executive Board

One new member of the Board had been proposed for election and was unanimously appointed to serve on the Executive Board by the Meeting as follows. Frank Geary Proposed – Roger McHugh Seconded – Douglas Gibson

Appointment of Captain for 2023

Immediate Past Captain Stephen Gallagher was delighted to announce to the meeting that Mark Gandy had agreed to undertake the role of Club Captain for 2023, having been proposed by Douglas Gibson and seconded by Roger McHugh. The meeting heartily approved the appointment, and Stephen then presented the Captain’s Medal to Mark Gandy as his badge of office. Mark then addressed the meeting, and offered “110% commitment” to driving the Club forward. He intended to focus strongly on improving our social media impact with a view to bringing more members and visitors to the Club. He would also be pushing forward with ideas for improving footfall in the lounge, and he encouraged everyone to help in these initiatives to keep Windyhill alive and kicking for the years to come.

9. Questions to the Executive Board

Captain Gandy then opened the meeting for questions from the floor. The issue of improving our social media profile, including promotional membership offers, was again raised, and Mark promised to be highly proactive on both Facebook and Twitter over the coming weeks.

Michael McKeown then requested the opportunity address the meeting. Michael reminded the members that for the past 10 years, volunteer members of the Club had undertaken all the secretarial, financial and administrative roles of the Club, at no cost to the Club. In previous times, this work would have been paid, and it was not an exaggeration to estimate that the Club had saved almost £500k in salary costs through this approach. While he supported the efforts to recruit members, Michael was not hopeful that we could find and retain enough members to resolve our financial difficulties. In reality the current membership had to think seriously about what we can all do to help the Club survive. One simple action that we could all do was to support the Windyhill Lottery. The Lottery had currently only around 35 participants per month. If this could be increased to 100 members, then the added income would go a fair way to help counter the increased expenditure the Club was facing.

Andy Miller then spoke on the proposed Masters Challenge event to be held on the first Saturday of April. This would be a shotgun start four-ball better ball, with the participants being divided into two teams, Ryder Cup style. There would be catering laid on at the end of the round, and it was hoped that members would make an evening of it and remain in the Clubhouse to support the bar. There was strong support for the event from the floor of the meeting.

0. Closure

There being no further questions from the floor Stephen Gallagher then thanked the members for their attendance and contributions and declared the AGM completed.

The meeting closed at 8.30 pm

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