Discussion was heated at the annual general meeting of Tramore Golf Club where the committee’s proposal for a subscription increase of 7.5 per cent was voted down. However, on the advice of the legal adviser, Pat Newell, the subject was adjourned to another date when the fees issue would be raised.
The rejection was a blow to the committee who also had their plan for a hike in the entrance fee rejected. The committee had proposed that the charge for entry should be a multiple of five times instead of four times the annual subscription.
It had been suggested by the Committee that a 5 per cent fee rise, which had been proposed at the egm for the expenditure on a new nine holes, should stand but this was a problem, according to the legal adviser, who pointed out that AGMs were the traditional forum for subscription increases.
After the rejection of the 7.5 per cent increase, club member Eamon Keating proposed a 5 per cent increase but this could not be accepted by Captain John Brennan because of rules which stated that amendments must come first and also because of the egm vote where 5 per cent was approved.
This was a difficult agm where a number of complaints were voiced on costs arising from the accounts. Problem areas covered by questions from members included course maintenance and the extra spending on same, the drop in green fee income, sponsorship costs and general expenses.
The committee found it hard going at times to defend the criticism leveled which, at times, seemed a little harsh given that many work on a voluntary basis and give much of their own time to the club.
Green fee figures were disappointing and projections not achieved but, as the tourism season had been hit by bad weather, this was understandable. This point was underlined by Annette Devine of the Majestic Hotel who noted that this had been one of the worst summers on record for rainfall. Such a scenario had to impact on the course and visitors.
A rise in green fees may have to be considered, said the Captain, if actual numbers fell so that they kept close to their projections. More marketing was planned for the coming season and was already well advanced. There were plans for a new manager and that, combined with the marketing efforts, should boost returns for the coming year.
More usage of mid-week days when the club was quiet was suggested but it was noted that there was more competition in the area for green fees. A better summer and the new 9 hole course being built should result in more people playing the course, so there was some optimism on this front. Some members were unhappy at the failure to reach the green fee projections given that the expenditure plan for the new holes partly relied on this front.
Frank Cheatle was appointed new club secretary and the treasurer will be Don Buckley. Roger Kennedy will become the new club captain for the coming year.
A proposal to change the constitution was also deferred. Such a move could bring some benefits to the club financially but the matter is to be investigated further by the incoming committee.
A seven strong committee was voted in and the members will be under some pressure to deliver a stronger financial performance next year, given the tough questioning and accountability sought by various members. Nevertheless, a good surplus was achieved during the period of €175,000, a drop from €297,000 in the previous year.
Higher wages and salaries, increased costs on expenses, repairs and maintenances over projections added to overall costs thus impacting on the surplus which, nevertheless, is still substantial. There was a €60,000 extra expenditure on course maintenance which gave rise to much discussion.
A proposal to use club vouchers for the bar and catering is being looked into in an effort to provide more income for the club. In terms of on-line booking for competitions, this may come more on stream in the coming year. The outgoing Captain, John Brennan, thanked all for their support during the year and wished Roger Kennedy well in the coming twelve months.
No date was fixed for the forthcoming agm where the subscription issue will have to be dealt with.