Captains Forum Meeting Notes

By BR - December 10 2014
Captains Forum Meeting Notes


The Captain and Vice Captain opened the meeting with short introductory speeches outlining the actions of the Committee over the last few months. Demand for the Membership Bonds had exceeded the amount that the Committee had required to raise therefore a ballot had been held on Friday 7th November and those members who had applied had been informed whether or not the had been successful. 

The subject of Niblicks restaurant was addressed and that the extra business that they brought into the Club had been the major factor behind the improved financial performance of the bar from a loss of £600 in 2012 to a forecast surplus of £16,000 in 2014. Also it was explained to those members present that although Niblicks were not currently paying a franchise fee to the Club they had made a significant financial contribution to the Club by paying for improvements made to the restaurant, pool room and kitchen that previously would have been funded by the Club. 

Bob then explained that a decision regarding the possible bunkering on the 14th hole had been deferred by the Committee. He said that with hindsight when the voting options were put to the members about the possible bunker options a third option of no change should have been included. He realised that this would not be a popular decision with some members but felt it was better making the correct decision after due deliberation rather than making a wrong one quickly. 

The current financial position of the Club was covered and the current forecast for the end of year position was an operating loss in the region of £8,000. Despite a strong performance from the Bar (as previously mentioned) and the shop which was forecast to break even for the year a significant fall in membership numbers at renewal time had meant a drop in revenue from subscriptions of around £20,000 despite the successful membership promotions that had been run throughout the year.   

Also those present were informed that the representatives from the Ladies and Seniors sections had been co-opted onto the Committee in order to improve Communications with the members. 

Questions were then invited from the floor and the first concerned the current age demographic of the Golf Club and what the Committee were doing to prepare for the future given an aging membership. 

Mr Paul Thompson answered this as he had been doing some research into this area and gave the following summary. Arcot Hall has around 700 members. In January 2013 the average age was over 60 but after having 174 new members join since then the average age has fallen to 56 which bucks the national trend. 

However 38% of the current membership is aged 67 or above and the current attrition rate is 10 to 15% per year. This must be reversed or we would require 108 new members each year to maintain membership levels which would be difficult. 

Mr Bulloch said he had learned some new and interesting facts during the meeting and felt that members would be more understanding should these points be communicated more effectively by the Committee. It was agreed that the Committee would try and communicate their decisions and the reasons behind them to the members more effectively. 

An element of the Ladies Section said that they did not like the new pictures of the course that had been hung in the Lounge and said it was a shame that the old pictures of members and teams that had won trophies had been taken down. The Captain said that although the new pictures may not be welcomed by all the majority of the feedback the Committee had received had been positive. He also pointed out that a large number of the people featured in the photographs were no longer members of the Club and the most recent team photographs were still in the Lounge. Mrs Pearson said that the members had not been consulted regarding this decision but Mr Thompson replied that the Committee had been voted into office to make decisions on behalf of the members and to act in what they believed to be the best interests of the Club and it would not be practical to refer every decision they took back to the members for approval. 

Maurice Price and Colin Burke asked why the Club did not broadcast live Newcastle football matches. The Secretary explained that the broadcasting of premier league matches via any system other than Sky or BTSport was illegal and prosecutions were ongoing. The response from the floor was that this showed a lack of will from the Committee as many other pubs and clubs were broadcasting these matches. The Committee replied it would not put the Directors of the Club or indeed the Club itself into a position where they would knowingly break the law irrespective or what other clubs were doing. 

A question from the floor asked if it was felt that the Club was becoming a friendlier place to visit. The Secretary and others said they felt the Club was improving in this respect but could always be better. The Secretary gave an example of how he had asked one Saturday that a 3 ball to split up to allow a member to play whose partners had scratched from the Competition.

The reaction from the floor to this was to suggest that the Committee start to apply the policy of banning those members who scratch from competitions on the day from the next 3 Saturday Competitions. This would be discussed at a future Committee meeting. 

A question from the floor asked whether the Committee intended to put any proposals to the next AGM to extend voting rights to other membership categories other than full and retired. Mr Brennan said that the Committee had been intending to do this but after looking carefully at the Articles there was a case to suggest every member over the age of 30 already had a vote. The Secretary said that the matter was still being looked at by the Committee as there may be some confusion regarding the name of the membership category “over 30”.