Club AGM Wednesday 6th October 2021 @6pm
Mr President, Lady Captain, fellow committee members and fellow members.
I have been searching for some time now for an adjective that would sum-up the last 12 months.
Challenging? – most certainly. Demanding? – yes, every single day. Unprecedented? – without a doubt.
I was described recently as the Covid Captain. I can’t really disagree and although – and contrary to the rumours – I have not been around for all of the 112 years of the club’s history, I cannot believe there has been a more exacting and demanding time for us as a club.
We have had long periods where our bar couldn’t operate and our halfway could only serve take-aways.
There were times when all we could do was play our game and then leave immediately, thereby depriving us of that essential part of our club – the drinks, the conversation, the simple pleasure of sharing a joke with our friends.
But, we have to be forward thinking not backward looking. We have to restore the positive energy in the club. And that can only come from the people within it.
To my fellow committee members – my sincere thanks for your diligence, your dedication, your day to day commitment to help steer the club through such troubled times. And if my fellow committee members will forgive me there is one I wish to single out.
Malcolm – I know that when Runelle left, you worked here almost full time and have overseen the set of financial results you just presented. They are an outstanding achievement. The club owes you a great debt of gratitude.
To our staff: it has not been an easy year for any of you either. On behalf of all our members – and visitors – our sincere thanks for serving us in such a friendly, welcoming and efficient manner.
We were shocked and saddened by the untimely passing of our Caddy Master Adam Rohde in August at the age of 55. He served the club for 15 years and will be greatly missed.
And my last vote of thanks goes to you, the members. You have sustained our club over the last year in the absence of our swallows and overseas visitors. Your continued support has been truly outstanding.
Despite this background of lockdowns, the onerous restrictions the sad news of the passing of members – members who will be sorely missed – there are positive achievements I must emphasise.
On the golf front we managed to hold all of our major competitions.
- Norman Beggs become Men’s Club and Matchplay Champion.
- Lizzy Lightley achieved the same feat for the Ladies.
- Johan and Gina Nel became Mixed Club Champions.
- Hendri vd Merwe and Neville Vosloo became Men’s Summer Matchplay Champions and Nigel Hanworth and Stuart Rose Winter Champions.
- After qualifying and then winning the regional heat, Tom Gray and Dave Meyer reached the National Finals of The Heritage Golf Championships which took place at Sun City yesterday. We are proud to report that out of 60 pairs taking part Tom and Dave finished 6th, two better-ball points behind the winners. They represented Knysna Golf Club with ‘style’ and skill. Many congratulations from all your fellow members.
Our Junior’s programme – so enthusiastically run by Morton of Scratch Golf – has many young boys & girls from all backgrounds taking part on a Monday afternoon. The club continues to sponsor the Knysna Sports School.
In December last year we managed to hold the Men’s Knysna Open, sponsored by PSG, with a full field. This was the 41stcontinuous year of this prestigious event.
Scratch Golf continue their sponsorship of our monthly mixed. The next date is this Sunday.
Currency Assist is the new sponsor of the Friday Meat with R1,500 per week in prizes.
We thank all of our sponsors, including
- The Greens Guest House
- PCL Auto
- Tapas & Sirocco
- Knysna Estate Agency
- MC Construction
- Hands & Hearts Skills Development Centre
- The Men’s Club
- Food Lovers Market
On the marketing front:
- Our social media channels now receive, on average, about 10,000 interactions per month
- Our followers and likes have nearly doubled in the last year
- A new set of marketing images – using a drone – were created last October. These astounding photos are used to promote the club across various media channels.
- For instance, on Google Business and Maps those images were viewed 23,100 times in the last month alone.
- One image – the aerial view of the 8thgreen – our signature hole – has been viewed a total of 107,000 times in the last year.
- We have received 257 reviews through Google Business with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5. We are working to get that even higher. The club responds to every single one of those reviews, thanking the contributors for their comments and for taking the time to interact.
- Our website – knysnagolfclub.com – now has interactive course plans of each hole where visitors can “tour” the course and get an overview. These plans are viewable on a phone and so can used on the course. The site has received over 39,000 views so far in 2021 – delivering 260,000 page views.
- We now have regular email updates for the ladies section and for the club as a whole. These communication channels are open to all – not just members – so that we can share news of events, competitions and whatever is topical.
This last weekend saw the first edition of the Ladies’ Loeries – a joint venture between Fairways to Africa and ourselves. Played over two days at Simola and Knysna, 75 ladies from across the country had a wonderful weekend and came to understand what a great place Knysna is – and not just for golf. I hear that next year’s entry list is almost full – already.
It is our experience that once someone comes to Knysna Golf Club for the first time they want to return. They love what we offer.
All these marketing initiatives were created and designed to change the perception of what Knysna Golf Club offers and position us as a “must play”course.
On the management front, the most significant development was the appointment of our new general manager. A person who was National PGA Professional of the year in 2015 and National PGA Club Manager of the year in 2018 – Mr Meyer du Toit. I had the privilege to sign his letter of appointment in February.
Meyer: your open door policy for both members and staff, your approachability and your commitment to our club is exceptional – and a breath of fresh air. The Ladies Loeries was your initiative – and a great success.
Covid vaccinations is a topic on everybody’s mind and you facilitated a workplace vaccination day which took place here at the club. 32 staff and caddies attended adding to those who had already been jabbed.
You hold weekly staff meetings
You personally meet and greet visiting groups making them feel welcome and more likely to return
The course has been extensively tidied-up with the removal of much unnecessary clutter, dead trees and stumps.
A “Welcome board” has been placed at the club entrance. And Simon’s hitherto untapped artistic talents have been given an outlet
In the last few months we have had 44 new members – many of whom are under 35.
And there are many more improvements I could mention, such as the revised staff meals policy, new stock control systems, a clocking-in system, codes of conduct. If I was to list all of the positive changes, we would be here all night!
Meyer – It has been a pleasure working with you over the last 7 months
I started this report by trying to find an adjective to sum up the last year and, having now written the above, there is a word I believe is appropriate – exciting.
- Exciting because we are forward thinking. We may learn from the past but we look to the future.
- Exciting because we have planned the way ahead
- Exciting because we now have one of the best general managers in the golf business.
Nobody can predict what will happen in the next 12 months – will we see our overseas members and visitors soon? Who can tell.
But – I know that with renewed commitment, determination and positivity from us all we will take our club forward to even greater success.