On the day the Keigwin Cup was competed for and the winner, Jim Phillips on the right in the photo, won with a nett 68. Tony Fitzpatrick, on the left, was the runner-up with nett 69. Wendy Burke presented the President's Trophy - Keigwin Cup to Jim. It is a tradition that the President gives a gift and I was pleased to present Jim with a crystal water jug and glasses. Vice-president Ian Mckenzie announced the results, he won the cup last year whilst President - that was a great win - a President winning the Presidents Cup !
The dinner was very well attended - overwhelming comments of how enjoyable the evening was - and I would like to add my personal thanks to those members who could attend on the night. Our club has many traditions and one of those, at the Anniversary dinner, is that the President speaks. The text of the address is reproduced below.
You will see in the address that I talk about benefactors. They are those who support the club with their time and/or funds and support. Being an active club member helps our club - thank you. Kevin Burke, President
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"Thank you Brian for your words and wisdom. Brian –our patron, is constantly a great member, supporter and benefactor of our club. Brian has given his time being President for 1 term and Captain for 2 terms. We have many Captains and Presidents here tonight.
So yesterday but 115 years ago a meeting formally constituting the Club was held in the church hall in Bendooley Street. This date, 18 March 190l, marks the beginning of the Bowral Golf Club. Thomas Henry Keigwin, was elected the Club’s first president, it was his trophy today that we were competing for.
The first course used by the Club was on Church of England Glebe land. This is the Bradman Oval area. At the first meeting Mr and Mrs Royle also offered their 9 hole course on their property Annerley – In appreciation Mrs Royle and her daughter were made the first honorary members of the club
Earlier that day there was a gathering of 38 persons at the Glebe to witness the formal opening of the course. The Bowral Free Press, reported on 20 March 1901.
“Opening of the Bowral Golf Club . A number of ladies and gentlemen met on the Glebe last Monday afternoon to formally open the newly formed Golf Club. “The president T.H. Keigwin, Esq. in the course of his opening address congratulated (among others) The members of the Club on their links, which left nothing to be desired, and he had very much pleasure in declaring the Bowral Golf Club opened, and in obedience to the wish of the members would call upon his wife to hit off the first ball. Mrs Keigwin then stepped forward, and carefully addressing the ball, succeeded in making an excellent drive.” (Mrs Keigwin was presented with the first ball)
The first monthly medal was played in July 1901 at Annerley, Mrs Royle having given her consent. Mr Hodge won with a nett 93 and Miss Royle won the ladies medal 121. The medal rounds for men and ladies ran concurrently.
Then in April 1902 a new course was opened on the Merilbah Estate. Wendy and I live in Centennial Road on land which was once part of the Merilbah Estate - an estate of 110 acres - 44 hectares. The first ball was driven off by Mrs Keigwin and the course declared open. Once again the ball was presented to Mrs Keigwin.
Forward a few years to 1917. Construction started on the course at our present location. So that’s a brief history of how we got here. Have a look at Doug Staley's book - Bowral Golf Club 1901 - 2001 - it’s on the club’s website for perusal.
Progressively over the years the club prospered and improved –and then we find ourselves here 115 years later.
Benefactors have always played a big part in the affairs of the club. Course improvements – bridges, trees, fairway extensions have all been funded in part by member benefactors. In the club house much of the furniture and furnishings in the members’ room and bar has come from members. On the course giving of their time benefactors such as Dad’s army, the paspalum sprayers, gardeners, committees, handicappers, event organizers, flower providers – (thank you Wendy) organizing golf – the captains, the white horse cup captains, Robert Eriksson for the 12 hole comp. Things don’t happen by themselves. Members and their guests supporting club events, such as this, are a real benefit to the club – our club.
Our club has a constitution and is governed by that, as well as about 60 different pieces of legislation – principal among these is the Registered Clubs Act 1976 as amended and the Corporations Act of 2001. Our board is elected to manage the affairs of the club and is required under the Act to make decisions in the best interest of the members – all of the members. Some of these decisions involve compromises but that’s how it is. Our club is for the members – that’s why we are here. The entrusting of the welfare of the club to the directors is a responsibility not taken lightly. Our present board (thank you) , is a cohesive , functional and friendly board. We discuss, listen to opinions, consider argument , consequences, decide and then move on. And we all understand, as do all members, that we owe a tremendous debt to those founders, office holders and benefactors who came before us and gave us this club – our club.
Our staff, small and select, is a big asset to our club. On the course Damian Gair heads his team of 4 (him included) and gives us, the golfers, an exceptional course – constantly improving. Visitor and member’s comments are without exception positive and generous. I’ll come back to the part where visitors play in our club. In the club house and kitchen we are gifted with a special team – the clubhouse and club functions depend so much on our staff, ever cheerful and always cheerful to greet a despondent golfer after a nett 93. With Chef Rob and Nadene in the kitchen. We have a team - a special team. What a pleasure.
What happens in the office ? (a gentleman from the Vets called it the plotting and planning room). One of the things that happen is the development of plans to conduct our club business now and in the future. It is said
Planning without action is futile; Action without planning is fatal.
Planning allows one to get into a position to develop options. If one has options then one can make choices - no options and the future is dictated to you. Planning and forecasting is key.
I like this quote - it’s from Sir John Harvey, ex navy man, submariner and chairman of ICI
"Planning is an unnatural process; it is much more fun to do something.
The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression."
That leads me into another subject about finances
Our club is a business also and it has to be run as such. Without a successful business we cannot have a club. The business depends on creating surpluses from all our activities to pay for our overheads and leave a surplus amount after all expenses are taken into account. Last year a review of our operations led to a revision in the prices charged to ensure that we could cover our costs adequately. Without the goldmine of gaming machine revenue or an associated accommodation venue other clubs may have to subsidise food and beverages, we must ensure that we don’t make a loss on any of our activities. This week Paul Carroll (our captain) and I attended a Club Director Institute training course where it was emphasised that prices must be reviewed continually. The example given was if inflation increases weren’t made after 4 years of stable prices the business would be down 10% on the surplus required. As an unpleasant consequence that means that we would run out of funds - funds needed to run our business.
What’s the result of the planning.
Compared to now we will be around $40,000 better off per year without these loan repayments. This surplus will be put towards replacement of assets and improvements when and where necessary.
Speaking of assets - one of our principal assets is our Kevin Kenny. Kevin, our secretary manager who manages our club wonderfully. One of Kevin’s focuses is on members and membership. He is the first point of call for new members and in the last years our increasing membership numbers are witness to his efforts. Memberships numbered 464 two years ago and are now 560. A tremendous effort and one of the rewards of having Kevin Kenny.
The reason people want to become members is what our club has to offer - our facilities and you the members. Several new categories of membership were introduced that provide a pathway to full membership. Provisional members allow new members to sample our club for 1 year at a very competitive cost. The vast majority enjoy their experience and upgrade to different categories of membership.
I spoke before of the importance of visitors to the club. Visitors contribute around $150,000 per year not counting how much they spend on food and drink. They also spread the word about our club and are one source of new members.
Long time members have commented on the changed atmosphere in the club - it’s busier now, more is going on. In June we will be receiving new furniture which will lift the ambience of the clubhouse. Funds came from benefactors from an appeal organised by Blandina. Thank you.
And finally things are much improved financially.
The auditor has just signed off on the accounts for 2015 which show an increase in the surplus to $131,000 up from $21,000 last year.
Our club is a club of many traditions and is here now for you and because of you - the members.
We all are the present custodians of the traditions of our club - Bowral Golf Club - 115 years old yesterday."
19th March 2016