As the sun rises on another exciting year of membership at Fairhaven, I wanted to kick start by updating members on the most recent Covid-19 updates, the Golf Course and the Board, Membership Working Group and Development Working Group.
I will aim to update members on recent developments in the Food and Beverage department and upcoming events in the coming weeks.
THE LATEST COVID-19 UPDATE
Covid-19 continues to impact everyday life. As per my email to members dated Tuesday 28th December 2021, we must continue to champion a safe environment for members to enjoy the club facilities.
Face coverings remain mandatory in all general areas of the club until Thursday 27th January 2022. From this point, they will not be mandatory although we will continue to encourage their use throughout all areas.
With immediate effect, the Administration Office has re-opened. For safety reasons, face coverings will be required when entering the office. If you do not have one when arriving at the club, face coverings are available in the hatch. If members are exempt from wearing a face covering, please can we ask that social distancing is observed at all times for the safety of both members and staff.
The Golf Course
This year, the club has welcomed three new members of staff to the agronomy team, Joe Barnes, Jim Beattie and Callum Davis. All three have been fantastic additions to the team and I believe we have already reaped the results having experienced high standards throughout the year.
During the early months of the playing season, we experienced very little rainfall which resulted in extreme pressure, particularly on the putting surfaces. Using the resources available, the team was able to accurately locate areas in need of additional water supplements. The results of this meant we were able to be more efficient in our water usage.
Rough management was also at the forefront of the work this summer and will remain so moving forwards. The work will see taller fescues become the dominant species in our rough which will provide both improved definition and playability.
As we head into the 2022/23 membership year, winter works continue which are vital for setting the foundations for the up and coming summer season. With this in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to provide a short update on the Winter Programme of works.
Winter Programme of Works - Update
Over the coming weeks, members will see additional works in the area situated between the practice ground and 9th green. This area experienced significant damage during Novembers storms. In order to carry out essential repairs to the netting and supporting stanchions, we have had to strip back the shrubs which had started to grow into the netting.
The impact of the storm damage to the practice area was significant, the repairs of which are on-going. Due to the severity of the damage, we are exploring all available options with our insurers whilst discussing the repair options with suppliers. Unfortunately, due to the process with our insurers and issues with contractors sourcing supplies and products, this is taking longer than expected and is something we can only apologise for. However, we continue to push to get this facility back open to members at the earliest time, whilst improving the facilities and infrastructure for members.
In the meantime, we have made some improvements to the practice net to enable members to warm up appropriately should they wish to.
As we continue to battle with the ever-varying weather that the winter months present, please can I ask members to assist us in keeping the course to its absolute best condition. Recent weeks have seen a continual increase in both the number of unrepaired pitch marks and the amount of wheel marks from trolleys edging ever closer to the greens and through areas which trolleys should not be taken. Please can members ensure that they do not take trolleys in between greenside bunkers and the green, and also across any teeing area. This will assist us with improving the turf quality in these areas.
Throughout the winter months, we have regularly asked members to carry if they can which assists greatly in the protection of the course. It is worth highlighting that if a member is physically able to carry their clubs, we would ask that they do so. We understand that not every member is able to. If you are physically unable to carry a golf bag, a push / pull trolley would be preferred to an electric trolley.
THE BOARD, MEMBERSHIP WORKING GROUP,
THE DEVELOPMENT WORKING GROUP
The Membership Working Group
The Membership Working Group recently met, continuing their analysis of course usage and the impact of this on the membership. Within this meeting, three particular areas were discussed:
- Member habits whilst using BRS Booking System.
- Member guest usage.
- The process of applications for new full playing members and social members.
BRS BOOKING SYSTEM
The club is aware of the frustrations which can be experienced when trying to reserve tee times, mainly between the hours of 9am and 12 noon. Whilst the club are actively reviewing the issues at hand, members also play a significant role in resolving such issues.
In recent weeks, it has become noticeable that some members are holding tee times whilst contacting their playing partners to choose their preferred tee time. By doing this, it blocks any tee time held for approximately 3-minutes, consequently restricting other members from reserving specific times. It does of course mean that multiple times are being held for just one booking increasing the pressure on the system.
Each tee time that is opened, is locked for a 3-minute window to that particular member, irrespective of whether any activity is seen on the tee time. This is a standard feature of BRS and cannot be changed.
Moving forwards, I would ask that all members are mindful of this, and apply courteous booking habits avoiding multiple users trying to book tee times for one group. Whilst I appreciate this won’t eradicate the problems entirely, it may help ease the pressures being faced by all members.
Member guests are a prominent member benefit and one most members enjoy utilising. In recent years, the club has experienced a consistent rise in the number of member guest bookings, particularly in the period between 9am to 12 noon. This rise has been in the region of 250 bookings per year. Further analysis of this is being conducted in order to understand these bookings in more detail and recommendations will be presented to the Board in the near future.
APPLICATION PROCESS FOR FULL AND SOCIAL MEMBERSHIP
It has come to light that some applications for social membership are submitted with the intent of trying to obtain full membership of the club more promptly. With this in mind, the decision has been made to split the application process further. This means that there will be separate application forms for Social and Playing Membership. Should a member submit an application for Social membership and also playing membership in order to be added to any potential waiting list, they would initially complete the application process for Social membership and then, should they be selected from the waiting list for Full membership, they would complete a separate process for this category based on the application form submitted at the time of being added to the waiting list i.e. there is no automatic transfer from Social to playing categories.
The Development Working Group
The Board have recently set up a Development Working Group to review and explore capital expenditure required in all areas of the club. This will enable the Board to understand the required investments within a structured and robust capital expenditure programme. Further information on this will be provided when it is available.
At the beginning of the month, the notice for Board vacancies was posted.
This year, the Board vacancies which will become available are the Director of Membership and the Director of Maintenance.
Due to recent events and the creation of the Development Committee, I am pleased to advise that Michael Muschamp will again stand for the role of Treasurer for a further year in order to facilitate the financial forecasts for any proposed developments by the Development Committee. This will bring continuity to the process and will aid the club significantly over the next year.
Board nominations can be viewed on the club website – please click here.
Moving into the 2022/23 Membership Year…
As the club moves into the 2022/23 membership year, two key positions remain vacant: Junior Organiser and Club Starter.
The position of Junior Organiser remains vacant. It is vital that this position is filled as it is the catalyst for the smooth running of the junior section. The position will be supported by numerous members who have come forward to say they would support the section, but we still need a figurehead to lead the development of the junior section.
Additionally, the club is still looking for a successor in the role of Club Starter. We will begin an external advertising campaign in the coming weeks, but if this is of interest please do get in touch.
This year, we see the return of the prestigious Fairhaven Trophies (29th April – 1st May) and Regional Qualifying for the Open Championship (19th & 20th June). As per previous years, we will require volunteer support for the successful delivery of both events. Further information will be provided in due course on the roles available.
Finally, the team and I would like to take this opportunity to thank members for their continued support, understanding and patience during what has been a challenging year.