As another season draws to a close at Peebles Golf Club, I feel it is an appropriate time to bring members up to speed with “where we are” and what future plans are being considered by your Committee, without the formality of the AGM. Equally importantly, we are keen to gain members comments and feedback as to what you would like to see more of, and also, where appropriate, any areas you would like to see improved, changed or perhaps cut back on.
I am happy to report that over the last two years, the Club has gained over 100 new members, and in 2015 alone, we gained over 50 new full adult members. Unfortunately we lost 10 adult members, but considering national membership in Scotland fell overall by nearly 4% in 2014, the trend at PGC is encouraging.
However we can’t afford to be complacent, and have to continue to actively grow our membership. Discounts and “member get member” incentives have, and will continue to play a key role.
I’m sure you will recall that Peebles won the Junior Club of the Year award at the Scottish Golf Awards in Edinburgh in March of this year. We are all extremely proud of this achievement which has helped considerably in enhancing the profile of PGC, and has resulted in a net increase of 48 juniors this year. Hopefully most of them will go on to become adult golfers in the long term, but in the short term, we have gained new adult members in some of their parents.
Another source of new members has been through the national “Get into Golf” programme, and our new Club professional, Steve has been at the centre of our campaign. We will continue to support the introduction of new golfers through teaching packages with our Pro; the current tailored programme for ladies is proving a great success.
We also continue to engage with the wider sports community in Peebles, and have forged new relationships with players involved in rugby, football, netball etc. through events such as the Odd Shaped Ball. I’m sure that a number of these players are potential members in the future.
Attracting new members will continue to be a priority of the Club. However, there is no point in all this effort if we don’t ensure that our existing members, old and new, feel that they are getting the right mix of fees, course quality, competitive golf and clubhouse facilities.
We want to get the right balance of member fees, and we are constantly looking at how best we can tailor the fees to meet our current and potential, members’ expectations. Five Day memberships and social golf only memberships are just two of a number of initiatives that could be considered. The challenge we face is ensuring that our income does not decline, whilst making members feel that they are valued and getting great value by being a member at PGC.
Membership is the most important area of the Club, a decline in membership over future years will have a serious impact on the Club’s viability. That is why we need your feedback to ensure that we continue to deliver an enjoyable, and value for money experience for our members.
I am pleased to report that our visitor income has increased slightly over the past three years but there is room for growth. Whilst the Committee feel that a managed increase in visitors would not have an impact on our member experience, we would welcome your views and comments.
The Club is in a position of relative financial strength and we have plans to upgrade and replace course assets and to refurbish the clubhouse as appropriate.
We have an outline plan, but we welcome the views of members as to where you see the need for investment.
Our continuing focus is to ensure that PGC remains an attractive facility, both as a course, and as a social venue. Lack of investment will compromise this.
As you are aware, the Club has been through difficult times, and whilst we have achieved stability, the golfing market remains challenging. We have an excellent Committee who have given freely of their time and whose enthusiasm, together with the hard work of our admin team and our Pro has resulted in our Club being held in high regard within the Scottish golf community.
Looking forward we have to ensure that the Club can sustain its current good performance. We are fortunate to have a good team of employees and sub-contractors across all areas of our operation but currently we are reliant on committee members for undertaking key activities relating to planning, marketing, staff management and control within the Club. Whilst this has worked over the past few years it is not sustainable in the longer term.
We think it is time for PGC to seek a Club manager to build on the progress to date and seek to help to grow the Club and to ensure that all members and visitors receive a consistent high quality experience. We would welcome the views of the members.
You may be aware that PGC will reach its 125th anniversary in 2017, and we would like to mark the occasion in some way(s). We welcome ideas from our members as to how best we can celebrate this landmark in the Club’s history.