The King’s Speech

Tandragee Golf Club
Thursday 26th January 2012
Annual General Meeting

Usual formalities take place. Remembrance, apologies, agenda, reports, people in, people out, discussion. All good. With a shrug of his shoulders he stood, composed himself and delivered the golfing equivalent of the ‘State of the Union’ address. The room fell silent….

“Firstly Leslie (Warren, 2011 Captain),  thank you for doing me the honour of choosing me as your Vice Captain and giving me the opportunity to follow in your footsteps.

I was surprised to be offered the vice-captaincy and initially quite unprepared, for like many of you, I was happy to play, have a pint and go home: letting the Club Council get on with it and having no personal responsibility.

I had attended AGMs over the years and thought to myself: “What a thankless task for anyone getting caught up with all that – they need their heads examined!” I had reservations, to put it mildly, but Leslie called at the house informing me of the Club’s critical financial position, amongst other areas of concern. I agreed to give his offer serious thought and consideration. On the empty beaches of Donegal I was thinking: “Do I want or need this?” I began to contemplate the personal implications: the responsibility associated with accepting the position. I talked this over with my wife, Lynda; as always she said: “You know I’ll be supportive of you whatever your decision, however, I know you very well and you never do things in half measures. If you decide to accept this offer our lives will certainly change.” Leslie assured me that a ‘Line in the sand’ letter sent out to members by (then) Captain James Magee would outline the seriousness of the Club’s financial position. From that it would be clear and evident to the members that the club was in a perilous financial position.

When accepting the role I strongly believed that amongst the most pressing issues was that of communication; not the website team’s weekly results, but keeping members informed of what was happening within the club on a regular basis. I thought this type of contact had been lacking. It had to be addressed: we had to do better. Well, we did. With the help of others, in particular The Editor (yes that’s me!), Mr Tandragee Telegraph himself, we quickly made progress on that front.

We immediately set to work on other matters: change was needed, with help from the Club’s Conveners we produced, under Leslie’s guidance, a radical plan.

I don’t, as they say, take prisoners. I have my own way: not everyone will like it, but that is me. Am I looking forward to this year as the Captain of this golf club? Yes, wholeheartedly. I’m 100% immersed and involved in all aspects of this club. I have pride and passion: I am humbled by the goodwill that I sense towards me and I will be proud to lead this club into 2012. With my commitment to you all, be assured that I will do my very best, my upmost for you and this club.

Afterall, this is not MY club, it is not THEIR (Convenors) club, it is OUR club.

I’m different from Leslie in many respects, after all, he is a good golfer! However, we both share a common desire: that being the interest and wellbeing of Tandragee Golf Club. I look forward to working with Leslie and the team to consolidate and secure the future of the club. I consider the condition of the course to be of primary importance with the restaurant coming a close second: I believe it is crucial to focus on good value meals for golfers in the back bar.

The financial climate, the current downturn and the depressed economy would seem to be with us for the foreseeable future. Our club, along with many others, is under threat; therefore it is important that we remain focused and vigilant, keeping our fingers on the pulse to monitor any adverse trends, reacting and managing changes as required. I’m confident we now have the necessary financial fire checks in place to monitor our progress. Thanks to Honorary Treasurer Sam Curran who has worked tirelessly on the Club’s behalf, organising and putting these administrative systems and markers in place. We now have monthly and quarterly templates to chart our progress, to check and make comparisons with previous periods.

This, of course, does not mean that we can easily solve any shortcomings or adverse problems that may arise, but at least we will be aware of them at the earliest opportunity. We can only cut expenditure by so much: 2011 showed how well the Club’s Conveners tackled their associated budgets and running costs. Under my watch this will continue; I will lead, question, provoke and do my utmost to ensure this Club’s future will be safeguarded. Undoubtedly, costs will continue to rise like rising water levels: it never goes away. Whilst there are savings that can be made, the most obvious areas of cost-cutting have been identified, actioned and those savings realised.

Membership numbers are crucial to growing the Club and this is another priority area for me. The additional cost of servicing a new member is zero. Therefore, every new, male, full member puts £600+ on the bottom line – in this year’s case it is an extra £600+ of operating profit. We have to be proactive in putting our best foot forward: this requires an innovative marketing strategy, requiring us to be sharp, fit and on the ball to attract new members.

At the same time we must do all we can to ensure that the course is kept in pristine condition. Our existing members must feel that their subscription represents good value. Council must endeavour to satisfy and further enhance the benefits of their membership together with seeking new members and disenfranchised  members of other clubs. Subject to current membership renewals and available funds, along with assurances that we will be keeping a lid on expenditure, we hope to be able to have the opportunity for modest investment in the course. Focusing our attention on priority areas: immediate drainage, some path work and a forward plan for more detailed drainage improvements. It is a case of MAJOR IMPACT IMPROVEMENT AT MODEST COST.

Now you can play your part: please give us your support. No single or small group of people can do it all; it is a team effort. Members are the heartbeat of the Club and I ask you all to support the Council and Club. Within this club we have talented members having a broad base of skills, now is the time to ask yourselves: “What can you do”? Everybody at the club is an expert in some respect. You are versed, steeped in knowledge and experience. Can you donate this talent for a few hours a week, for an odd day? Together we can make a difference: we can’t do it without you. For example, the immediate Past Lady Captain, Annie Hall, is looking for assistance to complete the refurbishment of the Ladies’ Locker Room. It is essential that we all pull together as a team for the future of this club. With your backing we can go forward into 2012 making this a year that the Club can consolidate its financial position.

Twelve months ago I stood before you (2011 AGM); you may remember that after being introduced by Leslie I had a few words for you, our members. I spoke very briefly and stated that I was here to make a difference, to work on your behalf and that my actions would speak louder than any of my words. You have heard enough of my words:

I go to work on your behalf.”

Thank you
Malcolm Lynch
Captain, Tandragee Golf Club 2012