CORONA VIRUS UPDATE
May I start this communication by hoping that you and your families are well.
I am writing to you today, probably on a more direct level than of all other updates that have been issued in recent times. I appreciate that you may be a bit overwhelmed by all the information released, whether from Downing Street, on television, radio or any other form of communication. The situation we find ourselves in is unprecedented.
Some of our members may have lived through previous tough times, rationing as a result of World War II or the fuel crisis and the three day week of the 1970s. But none of us have lived in times such as this. I have been a member of Liberton Golf Club for 40 years and in this, our Centenary year, for us to be dealing with this unprecedented situation is proving very challenging.
Quite frankly, the timing of this couldn’t be worse for all concerned. Dozens of courses have already closed their doors in the last 12 months and many others will be worried about what the future may hold. I note that there is a campaign on Twitter to encourage us all to pay outstanding subscriptions in order that our golf clubs can survive the coronavirus crisis. In an ideal world, we would of course all be doing precisely that. But as a Golf Club we all appreciate it is not quite that simple.
As a club Liberton does not have a vast reserve of cash. We are continuing to pay all our staff their salaries; the greenkeeping team, who are working on a split two man shift pattern in order to maintain the course as best as possible, office staff who are coming into the club to carry out essential tasks and also working from home. The bar staff also remain as Club employees. We are doing this with no bar takings, no function income and no visitor income. We like many other clubs are non-profit making and this income is included within our annual budgeted finance to ensure we continue to deliver what our members require.
Visiting parties have been a good source of income in the last few years and we have seen a steady increase in volume, due mainly to the great condition of our course.
Sadly because of the present situation we have had many cancellations of outings & functions. We had budgeted for this income so it will be difficult to recoup this money when everything returns to normal.
The financial strain is having an effect on everyone and we fully understand the effects it may be having on family life.
We would like to assure members that the club is keeping a tight rein on expenses with no unnecessary expenditure being undertaken at this time. Nevertheless we have the aforementioned wages & payments that must be paid every month. The Secretary is looking at all the Government assistance that has been made available recently to help with wages etc. to see what we can apply for.
As I am sure you will appreciate annual member subscriptions are the main source of income the Club must rely on. A large proportion of which our members pay by direct debit each month. Some members pay their fees in full in January therefore by taking out the direct debit option offered by the Club at no additional charge members are making a commitment to pay full fees for the year.
We would therefore hope that everyone on this system will continue to contribute each month. I appreciate the Golf Club is currently closed, closed by Government, but we need continued income if the club is to survive the current global crisis.
The club, also understands that some members may have difficulties due to the present situation, we would ask these members to contact the office by email. Thereafter the Council will discuss potential options which could then be offered, to hopefully reach an amicable agreement regarding payment.
The success of any golf club is down to its members. Liberton is your club and with your continued help and support we will get through this crisis. We will then hopefully be able to get back to what we all love doing very soon.
Finally, I realise that some may not agree with the content of this letter. However, I have to put the good of the Golf Club to the front of all considerations that need to be made. The truth is that not all golf clubs will survive this crisis. What we, the Council are trying to do is ensure that Liberton Golf Club remains in as secure a financial footing as possible.
Wishing you all well through these extremely difficult times.
Brian J Gorman
Liberton Golf Club