I hope that this update finds you all safe and well. It has been a very difficult time for everyone coping with the restrictions and adjusting to the changes in our lifestyle. I am sure we are all missing our family and friends and the normality we always took for granted until this terrible virus engulfed us all.
As you may have seen from the newsletter sent out on Friday, Council has taken the decision to postpone our celebrations for the Centenary until next year. It was felt that with the level of uncertainty surrounding the possible reopening of golf courses, to try and hold the Centenary would diminish what we would hope to be a memorable occasion for every member. By postponing until next year we would hope to have a full golfing calendar along with the social events planned for the Centenary.
Plans have been made for the course reopening. It would appear that for some time we will only be able to play social golf. You will have probably seen speculation in the media that this may be limited to singles or two balls, but until we hear officially nobody really knows what may happen. I mentioned previously that we were looking at a revised fixture list. When possible, we would hope to play our Club Championships and major Stroke competitions. These would take priority over any Medals that may have been due to be held. Everything is dependent on when and how we can reopen. We hope that depending on circumstances that the Flag raising ceremony will be able to be held later in the year. A list of local rules are being drawn up that will enable us when we are able to open, to do so safely. The BRS booking system is being closed down until we have a definite date when the course can reopen. Members will be kept up to date with any information as soon as we have it. There is a statement on the website from Scottish Golf which is worth reading.
The Seniors Texas Scramble has been rearranged for Tuesday 4th August. It is hoped that we will be in a position by then to hold this very popular competition but it will depend on any restrictions imposed on us by government. Liberton members have expressed disappointment that owing to the popularity of this event they were unable to get a time. There will probably be cancellations due to the change of date. Liberton members will be given priority for the revised date and should contact Iain Seath by email, in order that they can be fitted in where possible.
A waiting list will be established and entries will be taken in order by the date they are received.
Iain’s email address is – firstname.lastname@example.org
As I have previously stated the support we are receiving from the members who continue to pay by direct debit is very encouraging. Currently we have 262 members who pay by this method. To date when the May payment was received, the number who felt unable to pay was in single figures. This is extremely positive and shows the depth of feeling that everyone has for Liberton.
As of 10th May our Bank balance is currently down by just under £14000 compared to 10th May 2019. At the time of writing we are still waiting for our furlough payment from the government. This shortfall is represented by a slight decrease in membership numbers therefore lower subs, and the fact that we have had no green fees or bar / function income over the past weeks. Unfortunately even in the present circumstances the running of the club does not stand still. There are still invoices to be paid on a monthly basis. The Secretary has been attempting to negotiate a payment holiday with some companies, but even if that is successful it only pushes the problems further back in the year. We will receive a rebate from Scottish Golf of 25% of our affiliation fees which amounts to £2000. We are continuing to furlough all the Bar staff, the Office Administrator and two of our green staff.
Some members have been asking about Iain Seath’s position and whether the Club are continuing to pay his retainer. As I mentioned in a previous update Iain is continuing to work on behalf of the Club. As well as working on the fixture list he is undertaking other work on the Club’s behalf. He is not receiving a full retainer payment, but is receiving a payment commensurate with the work he is doing. This month like all self-employed members he will receive any payments that are due to him from the government.
I can assure all members that the Council are keeping a very tight rein on expenditure.
Some members have asked about the possibility of a reduction in their fees due to the fact that we have been unable to play golf for a couple of months. In an ideal world that might be the case but the harsh reality is that without members support the Club would struggle to survive. When circumstances allow Council will be discussing our financial position and making plans for the future.
I would now like to give you some information on another matter but one that relates to Club income. We have been in discussions for some time with a mobile phone company regarding the installation of a mast on the course. Negotiations have been going on for sometime now and in March we concluded all contractual arrangements. In the last few weeks we have received the payment for this project. It had been hoped that the money received would have been able to be used for capital projects, but in the present financial uncertainty a good part of it will have to be used in order to help with the economies of the Club. While this is disappointing, it is essential that as far as possible we keep the Club on as firm a financial footing as possible. A timing schedule for the work has still to be finalised but it will not be until the golfing season is over. The mast will be erected in the rough on the right hand side of the 10th fairway. It will be very near the wall and have no effect on the playing of the hole. There may be some disruption to the playing of the 10th during installation but it will only be for several weeks. More information will be made available near the time.
Before a word about the course I would like to thank the members who have been working around the clubhouse area & also on the course.
Anne Elder, Maureen Graham & Moira Kinnear have been tidying up the flower beds at the 1st & 9th tees and Gordon Finney has been working on the area beside the wall at the 13th. Jas Robertson & Bill Carlyon have also been helping with some general maintenance work. I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of all the members to thank you for your efforts.
The following is a short report from our Head Green Keeper Brian Toall.
Over the last four weeks we have been working hard preparing and maintaining our beautiful golf course. We are following the government guidance along with both B.I.G.G.A and the R& A, in which guidelines have been set out for all golf courses, which stipulate essential maintenance tasks.
These guidelines have slowed our rate of preparations but despite this, we are managing areas with the aid of chemicals to help us maintain them.
We are managing to undertake a level of work which has allowed us to deliver a good standard of course. However, we know it will not take us long to restore the course from its current state, to the excellent playing
conditions we have enjoyed over the last few seasons.
Head Green Keeper
I know that many of you have been up to the course and walked over the fairways and have seen for yourself the great job that is being done with limited resources. Obviously when we get back to playing, as Brian alluded to, the greens staff will need some time to bring the course up to the standard that we have all been used to over the last few years.
However, members will find the course in very good condition and I share Brian’s view that when staffing is back to normal levels, then we will very soon have our course in great condition.
Finally can I once again thank you all for your continued support. I realise that this continues to be an extremely difficult time for us all.
I hope you and your families keep safe and that it is not too much longer before we can be back on the course.