Captain’s A.G.M. Report for 2017

It has been an honour and a pleasure to have served as your captain for the past year.

The Golf Club Committee has remained relatively stable from the previous year although Lawrie Marshall and Rob Sales resigned. My thanks to Tony Conradie our efficient Secretary and to Members Tom Lowrie, Paddy Ryan, David Wright – Vice Captain and Beverly de Meyer – Ladies Captain.

I will express my gratitude to Richard Felder, Treasurer and acting manager for his active support and regular provision of the financial situation during the year.

Thanks too, to Phillip Berrange for his hard work and to Les and staff for work on the course.

On assuming the Captain’s role, I felt it my first task to alleviate the prevailing atmosphere of negativity and discontent amongst the Members. Some of the steps I took are:

Managing expectations: We have a links-type course subject to seasonal change. We are limited in what we can achieve by decrepit water reticulation systems, worn out course machinery and tight budget.
Bearing this in mind the course provides a challenging and enjoyable test of golf comparable with the likes of Royal Port Alfred rather than any “parkland” course.

Newsletter: I issue a “Captain’s Comms” on an ad hoc basis to inform members of developments and hopefully to engender a feeling of belonging.

Constructive engagement with Staff: I believe that regular discussions between Richard, Les and myself have resulted in a general improvement to course maintenance and the resulting condition.
We will always experience problems due to changing seasons with the mixture of cynoden and wintergrass on our greens and we will monitor and take action as necessary.

Members: I have made a point of playing golf with as many members as possible and have tried to meet new members to introduce them to the Club.

League Golf: I believe it is important for STGC to maintain a presence in the WPGA Leagues. My goal was to organise teams efficiently and to provide a competitive presence. My thanks to Angel Engelbrecht for doing a sterling job of co-ordinating teams and liaising with WPGA.

Thanks too to home and away Captains. By taking responsibility for their Teams they eliminated the flurry of Friday phonecalls to Phil to find replacements which had occurred in previous seasons.

We have had 2 Harry Solomon campaigns in this Golf year. We made the final 16 in one and final 8 in the other.

We came 6th from 9 in the 1st League and that is indeed an achievement for such a small Club and against formidable opposition.

In September we will make a welcome return to the Master’s League.

I will mention that Vusi Makebe has played in many WP Tournaments and has kept the STGC flag flying. He has also been very helpful around course and club.

Club Championships: A successful club championship was held in April. We reverted to the 4 round format and Attie Baba again proved himself as a worthy Champion. The B and C divisions were won by Victor Packwood and Norman Birkett respectively.

Challenges: Of course several challenges continue to confront us, viz:
We had at October 2016 only 160 Golf Members. It is doubtful that we can continue to run a golf club from this Membership base. The present membership is 166.

The income from the Play more Golf connection has been most beneficial. (Details will be dealt with in the Treasurer’s Report to the Country Club AGM.)

I have a feeling that we have turned the corner and hope we will not experience any further “mass migrations”. This is where each Member can help: - Bring guests, tell your friends about us and speak positively about your experience at the Club.

The number of rounds is down from previous years. Support your Club!
Play when you can and encourage others. The Wednesday and Saturday fields have not been good in winter.

The irrigation system including pumps and dams is antiquated and in need of constant repairs, as is course equipment. Practical suggestions for raising funds to improve this aspect will be most welcome.
The 8th green has, admittedly, been a disaster. We have learned lessons from this and hope to have it in play soon(ish).

I believe we have gone back to basics and this year of consolidation leaves me hopeful that we will continue to improve on our aim of providing affordable golf in a friendly atmosphere.

Please support your Club and assist where you can.

Take pride in your Club and to quote Gary Player “It is the best course of its type in the area.”

Sean O’ Neill
Club Captain
26th August 2017