Dear Members,

Not a great deal has changed either for our club or golf in general in the last week, so I thought I’d report on some other golf news, that hopefully you’ll find interesting and one way or another is likely to impact Harburn.

Last week, Scottish Golf announced the departure of their CEO Andrew McKinlay. McKinlay had been at the helm of SG for only 2 years, and his departure was linked to the Covid 19 situation. Rumour abounds as to the accuracy of that and as to whether he jumped or was pushed, but it doesn’t alter the fact that he has gone.

At Harburn, we’ve been working last season to help Scottish Golf test their proposed Venue Management System; we’ve always found our interactions with SG to be positive and have enjoyed a good relationship with them in the last few years.  Personally, I’ve been a critic of their proposed virtual golf club for so called Nomadic golfers, but that apart, I believe Scottish Golf were progressing under the stewardship of Andrew McKinlay and for me, it’s a shame he’s left.

Scottish Golf, as our governing body seem to have been in a state of flux for around 4 years now, and Andrew McKinlay was their 3rd CEO in 4 years, it’ll be interesting to see how they now perform in 2020 and beyond.  However, I guess all the golf associations throughout Scotland will be watching events even more closely than normal.  Every club pays £14.50 per member to Scottish Golf, so the pressure is really on them to step up and support clubs at this incredibly difficult time.

Away from Scottish Golf, there was an interesting article in online magazine The Golf Business about the potential reopening of golf, and you can read it here:

Along with Fiona and our Greens Convenor Alan Douglas, I sat in on an interesting webinar a few days ago presented by respected golf consultant Kevin Fish of Contemporary Club Leadership. There were around 100 clubs participating up and down the country with some interesting statistics quoted.

As a snapshot of the more interesting stuff, 20% of the clubs surveyed by Kevin reported being very concerned for their survival after Covid 19. The average commercial debt across the clubs surveyed was £70,000 with club debt running at an average of 10% of their revenue. Surprisingly, 15% of clubs reported as having no recovery plan for after Covid 19.

I’m glad to report that at Harburn, we are already looking forward to when our club reopens and considering what steps we’ll need to take for whatever our season might look like.  Whilst we certainly don’t underestimate the challenge, I can tell you our club does not form one of the 20% surveyed who believe they might not survive.

We’ve now remodelled our 12 month cash flow forecast to get an idea of the “worst case” scenario we’ll face should we find ourselves in a situation where we have no guest, visitor or open competition revenue.  Put simply, we’re hoping for the best and planning for the worst.

This weeks prize draw winner is Greg Dymock who wins a book of guest tickets. Depending upon restrictions, these tickets will be extended to the 2021 season if necessary.

Finally, Club Trustee Jim McGrane has been keeping a regular eye on the clubhouse whilst closed. Jim’s cleaning company looks after that aspect of maintenance at Harburn, and as well as regular visits for security and airing, Jim recently completed a fully automated “de misting” of the clubhouse which goes beyond what any deep clean could achieve.

Stay safe and keep your distance!

Yours in golf

Jim Stewart