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Issue 6 - Finances, Gemlife Update and More

Hi reader,
In this edition:
  • Finances
  • GemLife Update
  • Pro Shop
  • Bendigo Bank Partnership
  • Membership
  • Marketing and Communication

FINANCES

The end of the financial year has passed and membership renewals have been finalised with a big shortfall. 70 members did not renew leaving us with 346 members. A ring around to find out the reasons for members not renewing revealed three key themes:
  • value - not playing enough to make it worthwhile
  • health problems
  • age
Of course, this is a double hit as we have 31 prepaid multi-year memberships which we used to solve the equipment lease repayments last financial year but will impact cash flow this year and in future years. We still incurred the expense of 6 months of lease payments before the arrangement was paid out.

Course costs have risen without any corresponding rise in income through subscriptions, although we did gain 30 new members last financial year through various specials and, only a modest rise in social players. Competition rounds suffered because of the wet weather earlier this year, but are recovering.

The bottom line is we are facing a substantial deficit this financial year. As a consequence, your committee is immediately implementing cost-cutting measures, which will affect funds available for spend on the course but are necessary for financial sustainability. Measures are also being taken to address revenue. For example:
  • Increasing utilisation of the course - i.e. rounds played, both social and competition. Total rounds played for each of the last two years were around 25,000 adjusted for weather. We have set a stretch target to grow rounds played to 30,000 annually which will provide a level of financial stability and sustainability independent of membership. Marketing and promotional initiatives will provide support for reaching this objective.
  • Price increase of $1.00 across social and hire fees.
  • Bar price increases.
In 2014 we had a substantial financial contingency fund with the objective of growing this over the next five years but, it has been whittled away in recent years to where we now have no backup finances.

On a more positive note, we have gained 15 new members this financial year and are seeing an encouraging increase in social rounds. With the return to good weather and influx of visitors to the Sunshine Coast, we started the financial year with a strong result in July with August also looking good.

GEMLIFE

Members passed the Motion put to the Special General Meeting on 14th August to approve in principle the proposal from Gemlife. A presentation by GemLife received a positive response from members in attendance.

GemLife will now proceed to gain the necessary regulatory approvals. At the same time, The Club will continue to refine the detail and resolve outstanding issues with GemLife.

Once we reach the stage where the proposal and contract are ready to be formalised The Club will call another Special General Meeting seeking member approval of the proposal and signing of a Contract. We have engaged a lawyer of our choice to assist with documentation and advice at the expense of GemLife.

GemLife have indicated that once a contract is signed, things can move fairly quickly. The initial priority is to create the shared access or grand entrance boulevard, complete course changes (4-6 months) and build the new clubhouse, car parking and other infrastructure (around 12 months).

GemLife say that construction and sale of the 232 manufactured houses on the resort will take 5 - 6 years. GemLife will pay The Club a membership fee for each household for 10 years starting on initial sale of the unit and have indicated they are open to discussion on making an advance to assist club finances.

Building a new clubhouse at Marty's Hut leaves open the option of selling the existing clubhouse and land to assist with future finances and development of the course.

PRO SHOP

As a result of an attractive offer from Titleist under which we exclusively stock their gear, we have set up a dedicated Pro Shop in the clubhouse. We expect to see increased income from the new set up with your support.

BENDIGO BANK PARTNERSHIP

We have renewed our partnership with Bendigo Bank under which any home loan or business loan where Cooroy Golf Club is mentioned we will get a small percentage payback so encourage your friends to mention the club when dealing with the Bank.

Bendigo Bank has a lot to offer, particularly through its referral program with the club, so keep them in mind when you or a friend need banking services.

MEMBERSHIP

We have commenced analysis to understand our membership better. It is still work in progress but, one thing that immediately stands out is how heavily our membership skews to the older age groups. 90% of our members are aged 50 years plus with 76% falling into the 60 years plus age bracket.

Australia wide there is a trend to an increasing number of participants in the 55 years and over bracket and a decline in the younger than 55 years age group.

According to Golf Australia research golf clubs typically have a material number of their members in the 55+ age group, but our weighting is way out of line with the study across Australia. The implications for Cooroy Golf Club are obvious, as member losses at renewal this year showed, particularly as we have around 150 members in the 70 years plus age group. On a more positive view; if, as suggested, one of our target markets of interest is Active Lifestyle Retiree's then we are well placed as we have a well-established model and structure in place to support this market, i.e. the Vets.

A gender split of our membership shows Male 78% - Female 22% which is broadly in line with the Australia wide figures, i.e. Male 80% - Female 20%.

We are also undertaking work to look at the broad spectrum that makes up the golf community and identify segments that are likely to provide the best fit with what we can offer and benefit Cooroy Golf Club. Trying to be all things to all people will not lead to sustainable success.

Targeting a particular market segment does not mean that we exclude people who don’t fit the criteria. Rather it allows us to focus our marketing and brand message on a market that is more likely to be receptive to using our products and services.

At this early stage we have identified the following segments as being of interest but, more analysis is needed.
  • Tourists and Holiday Makers (competition and social golf)
  • Local Recreational Golfers
  • Active Lifestyle Retirees
  • Small corporate groups, social groups, social couples
Members may have heard stories about local club golfers who regularly find it difficult to get a game at their home club. If you encounter such a situation encourage them to come and play at Cooroy - we can guarantee they will get a game.

MARKETING AND COMMUNICATION

In early September, weather permitting, we will have a clubhouse with a more distinctive look with the completion of the external wall mural and should become another promotional point of difference.

In the past, there has been a limited focus on raising the profile and visibility of The Club and growing income from the tourist market as well as tapping into local recreational players. We are, after all, located in one of the premier tourist destinations in Australia.

We are starting to increase our visibility and build a presence, but it takes time. Several initiatives are underway:
  • We were successful in having an article published (free) in the Club News section of the August edition of Inside Golf. We have more articles planned.
  • Make greater use of the free press through publishing articles and stories in local newspapers/magazines. Painting a picture through stories is a great way to help people get to know our club and what we offer. NOTE: If you have a story that you think might be of interest, please speak to Andrew Dick or Rod Booth.
  • Allowing social players on the course earlier on Saturday has been positive with an increase in social rounds played on Saturday.
  • Networking through Tourism Noosa has resulted in a promising business partnership with accommodation group Stay Noosa. Stay Noosa is a business with more than 400 properties under their banner including Noosa Blue, Noosa Lakes Resort, Beach Road Holiday Homes and Culgoa Point Beach Resort. We join Stay Noosa as one of their Local Legend partners under which they provide exclusive referrals to Cooroy Golf Club. We are the only golf club partner. A Stay and Play collaboration will follow a little further down the track.
  • Using a distribution service, our general use brochure (see below) is being distributed in areas around the Sunshine Coast through which tourists and visitors travel. We are also looking at placing the brochure in local holiday and other businesses on the coast. The brochure is currently available in Tourism Noosa information bureaus.
Collecting data through these initiatives will help us better focus our efforts and target our marketing and promotions.
General Use Brochure (full)

Special General Meeting - RESULTS

The Special General Meeting held on 14th August 2019 passed the Motion to approve in principle the proposal from GemLife. Click link to read Minutes of meeting. SGM Minutes
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GOLF SPECIAL - $90 for 2 Players

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SPRING SPECIAL - Social Golf

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Saturday SOCIAL Golf - No Booking Necessary

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The most memorable golf and social experience in the Noosa Hinterland