Minutes of the Annual General Meeting

Wednesday 29th November 2017


Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on

Wednesday 29th November 2017

Present   As shown on attendance list 44 - M.Waite, R.Foster, P.Smith, S.Combstock, K.Homewood, B.Goodman, M.Teagle, F.Freeston, N.Spiller, P.Jones  P.Woolston, 

J. Foster, J. Head, L. Moseley, J. Pitt, A. Evans, G. Norris, J. Pain, T Green, J Green, E Spiller, 

W.Emerton, J.Gray, P.Pitcher, M.Crowe. A. Ryzner, H. Corbett, A. Stratford, S. Royall, 

C. Rogers, B. Daly, C. Shirley, A. Strevens, C. Hardy, S. Ketcher, A. Strevens, D. Evans. A. Duff, 

F. Marshall, D. Breen, J. King, R. Grubb, R.Newth, P. Collins


1. Apologies  D.Heavey, J.Pugh, J.Howard, S.Lester, B.Crotaz, C.Gracey, K.Townsend, S.Farminer, 

A.Richardson, M.Richardson, B. Hanrott, L.Baldey, R.Baldey, F.Bullen, P.Becque 

2. Chairman's Introduction

Good evening and welcome – Thank you for attending the 2017 Hoebridge Golf Club AGM.  It is a Club tradition that we pause for a minute’s silence in memory of those members no longer with us. Tonight we remember our dear friend Di Wallace.

3. Minutes of the 2016 AGM

The Minutes of the 2016 Annual General Meeting were proposed by M Teagle and seconded by N Spiller.

Matters Arising


Chairman's Report (Peter Smith)

It has been a great privilege for me to be your Chairman this year.  

Happily for me much of my report tonight consists of thank yous to others for all their work through the year.

To start with I would like to extend my sincere thanks to my colleagues on the Management Committee.  Teresa and James, ably supported by Norman and Mina, have contributed greatly to the work of the Committee and of course to the running of the Club.  I wish Norm & Mina well for their captaincies. Phil has done an excellent job as Treasurer.  Sandra has been an invaluable source of support and advice.  She will be standing down as Secretary after this meeting.  I would particularly like to thank her for all she has done for the Club over many years.

Our General Manager, Jonathan, only joined us a year ago.  This is his first AGM.  Welcome Jonathan.  Jonathan has brought a fresh perspective to how BGL run our golfing facilities and how BGL relates to the Club.  He fully appreciates the benefits of people not just playing golf here but joining the Club and I know he is committed to ensuring BGL and the Club work closely together.

I would also like to extend a vote of thanks to Terry and his green keeping staff.  The condition of the main course is as good as I have ever known it and I am sure I speak on behalf of all the members in congratulating Terry and his team for giving us such excellent playing conditions.  My thanks also to all the catering staff and to all those in the pro shop for making Hoebridge such an enjoyable Club. 

As a final introductory thank you, I would like to congratulate Debbie Evans and her colleagues on the Charity Committee.  As far as I am aware we raise more for charity than any other comparable club.  This year they excelled themselves, raising a record amount of some £22,000, with a notable contribution of £3,500 from James Pitt for his half marathon and £1,000 from the James Bond Society courtesy of Mike and Ali Henley.  Our chosen charities, the Prostate Project and Samber Riding for the Disabled were extremely grateful for our donations.  

At the start of this year I said I had four priority areas: new members; IT; finance and juniors.  

New members are of course crucial to the future of the Club.  I am grateful to Phil Jones and John Head for producing, I believe for the first time, detailed information about how our membership has developed.  In brief, we lost over 20% of our members at the time Pirate Island was introduced.  Since then the numbers have trended down slightly to the present total of 487.  This trend appears to be consistent with most other clubs - people want to play golf but they don't necessarily want to join a club.  

I am grateful to Rosey Foster for leading a small working party earlier this year which looked in to the trend in membership and how we can best work with BGL to drive up the number of those who join the Club.  I know this is also a priority area for Jonathan and his colleagues.   He has appointed a new sales team and we look forward to working with them to achieve the best possible improvement for the Club while recognising the needs of BGL to run a successful commercial enterprise.

Turning to IT, I have been conscious for some time that the Club needed its own website.   Many others have made a similar comment.  My own knowledge of websites is, to say the least, limited, but fortunately there are others in the Club who are far more expert.  I am particularly grateful to John Head for instigating an IT strategy for the Club and carrying it forward.  At the same time he has played a leading role in ensuring that our handicapping system is compliant with CONGU rules and that the Club's handicapping system works properly.

Our website project has been well led by Bill Goodman with Adam Duff doing a terrific job of building it.  Many of you will already have tried logging on and seeing the many features the website has to offer.  It will continue to be developed.  I am pleased to announce that we are formally launching the website as of this evening.  Bill and Adam will be giving a short presentation of the site before questions later.

I am also grateful to John Head for identifying the potential benefits of having a Personal Score Input, or PSI terminal.  This is now up and running in the pro shop.  Tom Wesolowski is the project manager and I would like to extend a vote of thanks to him for masterminding the process.

The Management Committee signed off a budget of up to £3,000 for the website and £2,000 for the PSI terminal and associated software.  I am most grateful to Jonathan for agreeing that BGL should meet the cost of the PSI terminal itself.  I am also pleased to say that both projects have been brought in on time and well below budget.

Let me now comment briefly on the Club's finances.  Some of you will recall that immediately following last year's AGM we adjusted the competition fees for 5 day men.  This meant that we started the year with a budget deficit of £692.  As you will have seen from the papers for the meeting, we achieved a surplus of £1,224.  Not only that but we have fully covered the costs of our major investments in the new website and the PSI terminal.  This result is partly due to membership numbers being higher than anticipated but also down to some excellent housekeeping by our Treasurer.

My final priority for the year was juniors.  As many of you will know, junior membership has fallen off in recent years.  We have also been without a junior coordinator.  Following discussion with Jonathan, he appointed one of the pro shop staff, David Nickson, to co- ordinate junior activities.  We now have a far more structured programme.  I am also pleased to say that two of our best young golfers, Will West and Jamie Potter, have recently said they will work with David and help to introduce the juniors to club membership.

In conclusion, this has been a busy year but I feel we have made real progress in making Hoebridge not just an excellent place to play golf but a welcoming and enjoyable Club.

Thank you all.  I will now hand you over to James for his Men's Captain's report.        

Captains Report (James Pitt)

It was clear at the start of my Captaincy year that it was going to be a year of considerable change for Hoebridge Golf Club, we had the new constitution in place, a new general manager of the centre, a new chairman, some familiar faces left the club and we have also set about embracing the future through the implementation of new the IT systems that Peter has just mentioned.

Coming in as Captain for the year my main goal was to ensure the Men’s Section of Hoebridge Golf Club was a well-run, professional golf club that enabled its members to come and play and enjoy their golf. I also wanted to try and improve the social element of the club with regards to the 7 day membership, I know the social side of the 5 day membership is already extremely strong and centred around the mid-week roll up which is so well supported and my thanks to Graham and John for running and organising the mid-week section.

I do hope that with the help of the Men’s committee we have achieved these goals in part by moving to the online sign up for weekend competitions, making the draw for the Axtell and 

Rondec competitions a social event in the clubhouse and the like.

Congratulations to : Jamie Potter, Club Champion, Derrin Gill and Danny Breen for winning the Mixed Foursomes, Colin Tatla and Di Heavey for the Mixed Pairs, Malcolm Jux, winner of the Axtell, Paul Chapman & Richard Oldham, winners of the Rondec, Colin Tatla, Club Senior Gross Champion, and William Emerton for his hole in one at the 2nd in October! Last but certainly not least to every one of you that has won a medal, a stableford, the mid-week roll up or just had one of those rounds where every putt dropped, every ricochet off a tree ended up in the fairway and every green side chip left a tap in……. certainly I have found this year that this Captaincy thing is not conducive to playing good golf….. so good luck Norman!

I am pleased to report that participation in the weekend medals and stablefords has increased over the last year, and quite considerably in some events. For example and as a snapshot the March medal 2016 we had 22 players, in the same event this year we had 38 players. And I know this is not just a one off but a theme that has continued throughout the year. Clearly participation levels are on the rise which has to be a good thing, and largely I would say by making it easier to enter the competitions with the on-line sign up that was introduced in February.

Peter has already touched on the tremendous work of our Charity committee so I will not repeat that, but I would just like to personally thank Debbie for the enormous amount of work that she dedicates to the cause.

Hasn’t the course been in fabulous condition this year? I have been lucky enough to play several of our neighbours’ courses over the year and I can safely say no-one has had better greens than Hoebridge, and given the amount of traffic our course endures it really is a credit to Terry and his team. In particular, this winter so far, the greens have been superb. And that is one of the things that keep me at Hoebridge, we really do get to play on a fantastic golf course…..

Congratulations to Jonathan for surviving his first year at Hoebridge, something I can safely say having sat on the General Committee for the past two years is that Jonathan is well and truly signed up to the benefits for BGL that a well-run and growing membership of our Club will provide. The addition of the Sales Team and the desire to sell Hoebridge, not just from a BGL perspective, but importantly to us to sell to potential new members the benefit of joining our Club is quite clear to me and this is a significant and welcome change. I really do think this step change will see our membership numbers grow over the coming years.

The Men’s Committee had a very large hole to fill this time last year when Neil Hoar sadly decided to leave the Club. Neil did an awful lot for the Club and I knew one of the first things we needed to do when I became Captain was to try and fill those shoes, probably most importantly in terms of managing our handicaps. So can I say to a very big thank you to John Head for taking this sizeable task in hand and doing such a fantastic job in heading up the Handicap Committee, it is not an easy task, it is time consuming, so John I would personally l like to say a very big thank you for all your hard work. You have certainly made my Captain’s year a whole lot easier. 

And whilst on this topic, can I pass on my thanks to all the Committee Members at Hoebridge? Everyone who represents the Club on a Committee does so as a volunteer, giving up their own free time to ensure the Club runs smoothly for the benefit of our members. I know many of you have been on Committees previously, so you know the amount of time and effort that goes in, but I would just ask you please to remember that we are volunteers and we do try our best. I would also ask you not to worry about the things that don’t really matter, play the course as you find it, play your best golf and if you do you will have a chance of winning………But having said that, if you do have any genuine concerns or you want to put forward suggestions to improve our Club then the door is always open to hear them and we will always do what we can to help.

Can I just say a very big thank you to Teresa, you have been a great Captain to work with and I really could not have asked for a better partner over the last 12 months. I thought Presentation Evening was a great success despite me reading from the wrong sheet, so thank you Teresa for all the hard work you put it.

I would also like to re-iterate Peter’s thanks to Sandra who has given many years of service to our Golf Club, so thank you Sandra.  

It has been a huge privilege to Captain this Golf Club over the past 12 months, something I will remember and be very proud of…….. finally I would just like to wish Norman and Mina the very best of luck next year, together with Graham and Pat as their Vice Captains, our golf club really is in the best of hands going forward.

Lady Captains Report (Teresa Green)

When I took on the Vice Captaincy and had the benefit of learning from Marian throughout last year, I had no idea how many things would have changed, or be about to change when I was in the hot seat myself. So rather than the smooth relatively uneventful ride I had imagined, it has been something of a rollercoaster with thrills and spills, with some hard uphill stretches and fast downhills that ended with a bump and sometimes even a scream. 

Membership of several Committees – Management, Finance, Charity and of course the Ladies Committee – and the Working Group for development of the Members Website has given me great insight into exactly how much work goes on in the background year in, year out, to provide the varied, entertaining, sometimes lucrative and often fun, golf that we all enjoy at Hoebridge.  It’s been a privilege to work alongside the relatively few people who have spent quite a lot of their time ensuring the Club is managed properly and offers a range of challenging or fun competitions throughout the year.  I can thoroughly recommend getting involved whether it be as a competition starter, or as a helper at a halfway hut or taking photographs or whatever sparks your interest.  If you see a way to help, or are asked to, just say yes!  

Aligning with the men, the ladies became fully CONGU compliant this year, trusting that the handicapping system works. Of course Mina will be facing the potential impact of CONGU’s new handicap levels from January next year.  

The ladies section although growing slowly, continues to be a lively, friendly group who turn out to play regularly whether in a Stableford on a stormy Thursday, a slow Medal on a muggy Sunday or a fun competition dressed as a strawberry, or all in green or in goodness knows what at our ‘Hawaiian Christmas Special’ next week.  

Our many competition winners have been feted already and I would like to congratulate them all again, and encourage everyone to sign up next year for Club and external competitions to challenge themselves to get their name on a trophy or a board.

Our Midweek Team has made great strides in encouraging more ladies to brave the main course offering nine-hole fun competitions and marking cards for ladies to get their handicaps. A new Midweek Bronze Division Knockout Competition has been introduced, which has been very well supported. We have all been keen to promote the Club, making flexi members aware of the small extra cost of becoming a member with all the benefits that brings. Three ladies have transferred to Club membership as a result with two achieving their handicap to date. 

We are moving towards full online sign up and that will be implemented from January. We will continue with paper sign up as an option for a time while the ladies get used to the very convenient, although impersonal, new system. So although the amount on the notice boards will shrink, the Members’ Website will now be the place to look for upcoming fun events, results, photographs and all manner of information. There will be no reason not to know what’s going on and joining in online. 

The ladies’ contribution to the amazing amount raised for our charities this year cannot be overstated. As Charity Committee members, or just as supporters, they have planned, advertised and executed events throughout the year, as well as raffles at events. Although she hates to be picked out for special mention, Debbie Evans, the Chair of the Charity Committee has been the driving force getting us all organised to dig deep and support. Well done!

I’m proud to have served as Lady Captain this year, and have enjoyed meeting many more of the membership, among the men in particular, as a result.  I’m hugely grateful to my Committee for their hard work, and to Mina for her support and wise counsel throughout the year. My advice to her is what she has repeatedly said to me – delegate, delegate, delegate.   I’m very pleased indeed that she has Pat Collins alongside her to support and learn for the following year, as well as a number of ladies joining her Committee for the first time. Marian has also been a tower of strength offering help and advice, and kindly organised my fun Away day at Betchworth Park. 

I must also mention James, who has been good fun to work with, and available as far as a full time job allows. I congratulate him on bringing some of the men out of the early morning shadows and into the bright lights of the mixed competitions, and to Presentation Evening in particular. I hope this trend will continue in future.  And I hope we do better in the Mixed Pairs next year James!  

And finally, thanks to John for helping out in the early mornings, for all the G&Ts, and for putting up with being put second and sometimes even third, so often this year.  We’ve already booked our first holiday next year!

8.         Treasurers Report (Phil Jones)

Overall it has been a good year for the club on the financial side with a surplus after two years of deficits in 2015 and 2016.

Let’s take a look at the major factors this year:-


BGL Subscriptions – after declines from 2012-2016 of 24%, we have had an increase in 2017 of £736; a combination of better information from BGL during the course of the year and the efforts initiated in 2017 by BGL to improve core membership.

Medal/Stableford Entry Fees – largely the reflection of the one-off impact of the correct allocation of fees in 2016 plus a small increase in the overall numbers (men up and ladies slightly down)

Miscellaneous Income – It was a welcome return of some advertising revenue but also some extraordinary items; NAPGC Junior Grant, the surplus on the Committee Away Day boosted by the auction receipts of £220, plus miscellaneous income such as small surplus on a few competitions and the write off of prize cheques not presented to the bank


Competition Prizes – Reduction in the Men’s Weekend Prizes in the Medals from 3 Divisions to 2 (£600) plus reduction in prizes in the ladies’ competitions due to insufficient players entering.

Replica Trophies/Engraving – overall correction of 2016 excess costs plus the efforts of Teresa Green to identify and control the engraving/refurbishment process.

Management Expenses

Club V1 Software – we agreed and implemented an upgrade to Club V1 Premium which resulted in additional costs of £220 in 2017 (but saved money on the costs of creating the website and also its future running costs); this will result in an overall cost increase of £660 in 2017/2018.

Website/PSI Touch – due to the excellent revenues elsewhere, we are delighted to have been able to absorb the full costs of both the website and the new PSI Touch installation in the current financial year.

It would remiss of me not to thank the Management Committee for their assistance and support this year; Teresa Green and James Pitt for their diligence and accuracy in what I heard during the year described as the “black art of accounting”. Also Debbie Evans fully deserves all the plaudits received tonight for being a paragon of efficiency and accuracy with the finances of our charity efforts coupled with an extraordinary ability to cajole (or coerce gently!) everyone to support our chosen charities.

Last year I said that transparency and accountability in our financial dealings with members’ money would be a key factor in 2017 – progress has been made in 2017 and this is planned to continue in 2018. It is vitally important that the club is fully and accurately aware of what monies are received from members and others in all events and competitions and also how that money is spent, including any allocated club support. It is clear that the better information flow that we have in this area, the better that we will be able to properly allocate existing and any future available funds to the best potential for members. We also need to look at anomalies in the fees that we collect e.g. we collect 7 day medal/stableford competition entry fees from around 120 7 day members, yet only around 30/35% actually pay in mid-week competitions, leaving 65% paying for something they do not use.

In true “Chancellor” style, I commend these accounts to the membership and will happily take questions at the end of the meeting.

9.        General Managers Report (Jonathan Gray)

It really is a privilege to be here at my first AGM in a place and with people that I have developed affection for since my arrival at Hoebridge.

It was January this year that I took on the management of the Centre from Mike. A busy year, during which, I have sought to learn the business and work with the staff, members and our customers to build on the great reputation here.

It did quickly become clear after joining that there was a supportive and passionate membership in place.  A membership that enjoyed our great facilities, had demonstrated loyalty, had a pride in their association and wanted the best for the Centre.

There is, within the staff, also that pride and desire to deliver great facilities and service to you. Terry, with his course team, have ensured that we continue to enjoy some of the best golfing conditions throughout the seasons and it really quite something when receiving so much commendation from visitors to Hoebridge. It has not been easy for the green keeping team and our courses rely on great planning then coupled with a reactive approach in a year when early dry weather was quickly followed by one of the wettest summers recorded in the area. This course management has been supported with investment as we have refurbished s ix tees, installed new signage on the Main and Shey courses and there is the Shoe Cleaner now in place.

This investment has not been restricted to the courses and recently we have added targets and signage and lighting on the Range and improved signage and planting around the Centre.

As we seek to maintain and improve Clubhouse facilities we have also created a maintenance support role. Mick joined us earlier this year and has ensured that issues are quickly rectified and that we have a proactive schedule of decoration that has notably enhanced the Cafe Bar and Grill, the Function Room and each Changing area.

As a hospitality business we are focused on the provision of good service and we, as previously highlighted, are fortunate to have great staff here. It has been particularly encouraging that within the feedback received through the customer questionnaire surveys that there has been significant improvement in the reference to the staff and their friendliness here.

Of note, Catherine from our F&B department has taken on a new part time position designed to enhance the support and engagement with joiners getting familiar with the Centre and Club, while developing the experience for our customer base and working more closely with our leavers as we endeavour to increase our retention at Hoebridge.

As we approach 2018 our plan is to continue our investment within Hoebridge.    I am not currently in a position to announce the plans but there is clearly support for the Centre and it is my hope that we shall soon present investment levels that demonstrate this. It should be noted, however that within golf clubs the restrictions on chemical usage is going bring with it challenging conditions we are ensuring that our experts on the courses shall have the best in machinery to support them.

There is also much being done to improve our IT customer experience with work on the online booking, where 30% of the bookings are now made and the launch of our new website planned here.

As I review this year and look forward to next with the ambition we have at Hoebridge I would like to state my appreciation for the Club, its committee and reiterate how important I believe the work that is done is to our success here. A really dedicated group of members that give so much to manage handicaps, put on competition and create golfing community that is a key part of what we do. It would be easy to make statement about support of the Club but I hope that this year we have, through consultation, investment and engagement demonstrated how important we believe the relationship is and how much we want to support it.

It is, therefore, important that I take the opportunity to thank the committee for their valued contribution at Hoebridge. Peter, Sandra, Phil, Teresa, James, Mina and Norman thank you. There alongside this committee is the great work done by Debbie on the Charity side that she refuses to accept credit for and John Head often spotted working in the corner supporting the handicap process, getting involved with projects and consuming any cake offered to him.  

10.      Election of Men’s Committee

The following nominee was elected onto the Men’s Committee:

  T Wesolowski  - Proposed by N Spiller seconded by P Smith

11.      Election of Ladies Committee

             The following Ladies were elected to the Ladies Committee 

A Stratford  - Proposed by S Royall  seconded by P Coleman

S Ketcher    - Proposed by J Howard  seconded by A Ryzner

M Crowe     - Proposed by V Kitkat  seconded by C Allport

P Pitcher     - Proposed by V Castle  seconded by A McCarthy

D Buckrell   - Proposed by S Backwith  seconded by F Freeston

            P Collins     - Proposed by M Richardson  seconded by S Reed

H Corbett    - Proposed by R Foster  seconded by F Marshall

12.      Election of Ladies Committee

The following nominee was elected to the Management Committee to serve as General Secretary 

   R Foster       Proposed by P Smith  seconded by S Combstock

 13.    Website Presentation

A Duff & B Goodman led a presentation of the new Club website which was well received by those present. The link to the website along with instruction on privacy settings would be emailed to all the membership following this meeting.

14.      Any Other Business

Mark Teagle asked what financial plans the Management Committee had considering the healthy bank balance of the club.

  PJ answered that the focus should be on the amount held in the reserve account. This balance had historically fluctuated but recently the clubs spending pattern had been more constant. The Management Committee see 2018 as a steadying year and will look to seek alternative forms of revenue –possibly from the website. Any further increase in revenues would be channelled back to the membership.

PS added that there were significant uncertainties, the most notable being

the level of membership from which we derive most of our income which is why the Management Committee are therefore cautious about future finances

15. Date of next meeting

The date of the next annual general meeting will be held on 28th November 2018 at 7.30pm.

As there was no further business the meeting closed at 8.35pm.

Signed ……………………………………………………………. Date………29th November 2017…


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