Minutes of 2024 AGM

Windyhill Golf Club

Minutes of the 115th

Annual General Meeting of Members

held in the Clubhouse at 7.30pm

on Tuesday 27th February 2024


  1. Welcome and Opening Remarks

Michael McKeown welcomed the members to the meeting.

  1. Attendance and Apologies

48 members were in attendance, their names being noted in the Register of Attendance.

Apologies were intimated to the meeting from Alex McAulay, Colin McGregor, Tom Higgins, Robert McKeown, Benny Higgins, Hamish Miller, Ian Thomson and Jack Davidson.

  1. Minutes of the 114th AGM held on 28th February 2023

The Minutes of the 114th AGM were then accepted by those present as an accurate record, through a Motion proposed and seconded as follows:

Proposer – John Britton     Seconder – Rudy Hanel

  1. Executive Board Report for 2023

Due to the resignation of our 2023 Captain, Mark Gandy, the Executive Board had asked Board member Michael McKeown to present a summary Report on the 2023 golfing season at Windyhill.

Michael opened his report by asking all present to take a moment to remember those current and former members who had passed away in the last year. These were - past captains Martin Gilroy (1983) and Jimmy Pentland MBE (1987), and former life member Ann McColl.

There was a comprehensive report contained in the AGM Booklet, so Michael proposed only to focus on a few topics from that report.  2023 had been another challenging year with the decline in membership being a continuing problem.  A number of the new members who had joined on reduced fee promotions at the start of the year had then resigned at the end of the year.  Sadly, this was a common trend among golf clubs nowadays, as players simply move from one promotional deal to another.

The loss of Chris Duffy, our club professional for over 20 years, was a blow to the Club, and it had proved impossible to recruit a replacement within our current financial constraints.  While we were able to provide cover through Fergus Allan in the golf shop over the summer months, the autumn and winter months have relied on volunteer members to organise events, manage visitors and undertake tasks such as opening the clubhouse at weekends. Windyhill is not alone in this.  A recent Scottish Golf survey indicated that 46% of golf clubs in Scotland rely on voluntary management.  Thanks were expressed to all who had helped out in this way.

Michael noted that there had been a slight reduction in the number of members taking part in medals and competitions.  This was perhaps inevitable, given the new ability to use general play scores to maintain handicaps, and also our aging membership profile.

While these were certainly concerns and issues that we had to face up to, Michael was also keen to stress the positive outcomes of the last year. In particular, our teams and individual players continue to win!  The Thomson McCrone team were overall winners of their league, our Donald Cameron League team won Division 2 and gained promotion to Division 1, while a senior team drawn from the McIntyre League group won the Donald Cameron Senior competition for the fourth time.  Meanwhile, Charlie McIntosh won the DGU senior championship and Fergus Allan won the West of Scotland Boys Matchplay. Congratulations to all.

Most importantly, and despite all the rumours which have persisted over many years, Windyhill Golf Club is still here, and 2024 will mark 100 years of golf on the Windyhill site.  We are not planning to celebrate this to the level of our official Club Centenary in 2008, but we do intend to make our Centenary Trophy competition on 10 August a very special day to mark the event.

Michael finished by welcoming the members to the next 100 years at Windyhill, and asked everyone to do all they can to promote the club, which offers value for money and a fine test of golf.

  1. Presentation of the Annual Accounts for the year
    to 31st December 2023

Douglas Gibson gave an overview of the Annual Accounts for 2023.  These were printed in the AGM Booklet, together with a detailed Financial Report. The Accounts had been formally approved by the Executive Board and audited by members of the Club.   The main points highlighted at the AGM were:

Overview – 2023 had again been a year of ups and downs with notable successes seen in increases to visitor income and bar & catering incomes. Sadly, these had been offset by a further decline in membership, so that, despite an increase in fees, the subscription income remained on par with that of 2022. Expenditures had again been held below budget.  Overall, therefore, our deficit had been held to below £6k (before depreciation), compared to £25k in 2022, which was a very good outcome indeed.

Income – Visitor income had seen a pleasing increase over 2022, due in part to rejoining the online GolfNow/BRS booking system.  Bar and catering incomes had been boosted by the catering expertise of our 2023 captain, Mark Gandy.  This has shown what can be done, and it is hoped that we can build on this in 2024.  Lottery income had continued to benefit from an influx of new participants.  In 2023, the Lottery had paid for a replacement fairways cutter and will hopefully cover the costs of more replacement machinery in 2024. As mentioned above, subscriptions had again marked time, reflecting the continued decline in membership.  Promotions will be launched across social media in March, but members were also asked to make their own personal efforts to recruit new members for Windyhill.

A new income stream for the Club was the Golf Shop.  This had been an initiative of Mark Gandy, following the departure of Chris Duffy.  We now had accounts with several suppliers and samples are available for members to try on.  This is high quality golf clothing with the Windyhill Crest on the left chest.  Order Forms are now available, and members were encouraged to make use of this facility to support their club.

ExpenditureOne of our largest annual outlays is Course Rental and, in 2023, efforts were made to explore options to ease this burden.  Selling the Clubhouse to our landowner and then renting it back proved, sadly, to be a non-viable option, but discussions are still ongoing.  Greens costs are dominated by staff costs, and following several staff changes in 2022 and 2023, we now had a team of 3 greenkeepers, including 2 young apprentices.  Despite the size and age of the team, they still performed a terrific job of keeping our course in great order.  Members were encouraged to support and compliment the team any time they were out on the course.  Other overhead costs had again been hit by inflationary increases, most notably insurance, utilities and fuel.  Efforts were in hand to find cost savings in insurance, but hopefully the recent downturn in inflation will at least slow down the rate of price increases over the coming months and years.

Balance Sheet – Finally, turning to the Balance Sheet entries, Douglas pointed to the comparison of Current Assets against Current Liabilities for 2022 and 2023.  This illustrated the reduced level of reserves now held by the Club and emphasised the need to minimise any deficit in this new financial year.

  1. Auditors’ Report & Appointment of Auditors for 2024

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.

  1. Elections to the Executive Board

There were no formal proposals for membership of the Board, but during the question-and-answer session, two members (Malcolm Allan and Tom Milne) put themselves forward to serve on the Board.   The meeting agreed to coopt them to the Board.

  1. Appointment of Captain for 2024

Unfortunately, the Executive Board had been unable to bring forward a candidate for the position of Captain of Windyhill Golf Club for 2024.  The role of captain is essentially a figurehead for the Club, and the Executive Board will endeavour to cover these duties as they arise over the coming year.

  1.   Questions to the Executive Board

Tom Milne asked about the exact number of members. As shown in the AGM Booklet, we have 263 playing members, of which 55 are Juniors. He suggested that corporate meetings and golf days may be a way to get additional income to the Club, and would be willing to assist in that area.

Several members made suggestions about incentivising membership offers over two years, whereby the second-year saving would be the focus to attract and retain membership beyond a single year. The offer currently is for £700 for the remainder of 2024 which is simply pro rata to the annual fee. The Board will consider this and come up with proposals.

Derek Holmes asked if the Board had spoken to members who left the club to find out why they were leaving. Michael McKeown indicated that many were understandable reasons, such as moving away from the area or new family commitments, and that these were often communicated to the club.  The reality now is that many golfers move from club to club depending on the offers available.  Older members will also come to a point where physically they can no longer play the course, and some then revert to social membership.

Malcolm Allan asked if we could employ an intern to run the shop because of the lack of a professional.  This would be on a temporary basis, from Easter to September. This will be considered by the Board at its next meeting.

Billy Murphy asked if the buggies could be made available earlier. At present Darren Welsh services and readies them at the end of March for use in the better weather but the decision on when they can be used is down to Darren.   Several members asked if more buggies could be bought/leased. The issue of how they are stored would need to be considered as well as the initial outlay. John Britton pointed out that more buggies would mean more work for Darren and his team which will detract from their time working on the golf course.  The possibility of picking up second hand buggies from Turnberry once they have replaced them was suggested as a way of adding more buggies.  Buggies will be discussed by the Board.

  1. Closure

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

The meeting closed at 8.40 pm.

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