St Francis Links Named South Africa’s BEST…
I want to congratulate you and St Francis Links on achieving the TOP CLUB recognition award for 2019/2020. As you may know every year we analyse the submissions from clubs through out South Africa on the issue of good governance and environmental compliance. The results of this process were published in the 13th Edition of the John Collier Annual Survey which was posted out to clubs in early March. Once that is complete we go back to the surveys and rate the responses. As we have done for well over a decade we honour the TOP CLUB. This year St Francis links came out ahead of all other clubs in South Africa.
Once again CONGRATULATIONS to St Francis Links.
In normal circumstances I would really have enjoyed travelling down to St Francis Bay and presenting you and your team with your framed TOP CLUB certificate in person but regrettably the Covid 19 Regulations prevent this. Notwithstanding this, it does not detract from the importance of acknowledging the work that you and your team at St Francis Links are achieving.
The actual announcement of the award will be on World Environmental Day (WED) which is Friday 5 June. On this day, our organisation, as a registered participant in the United Nations WED, St Francis Links will be featured on the international stage. Your achievement will also be publicised to all golf clubs in South Africa, golf and club representative organisations (e.g. Turf Grass Organisations, CMASA), provincial and national representative bodies of golf (e.g. PGA of SA, Sunshine Tour, GOLF RSA) and local golf magazines and publications on that day as well. This is fitting recognition for a club that is setting the standard for golf in South Africa.
In order to give St Francis the due recognition it deserves as the TOP CLUB in South Africa I would request that in the next week we will send you your Certificate and a press release explaining the award. If I may, owing to the extraordinary circumstances, request that you get a few photos of yourself and the team (keeping in mind social distancing) to mark this important award, and to send those photos back to me. It may be a good idea to invite a reporter / photographer from the local newspaper to attend this photo session and to give them a press release as well.
Once again congratulations on being the TOP CLUB in South Africa for 2019 2020 for good governance and environmental compliance. This recognition is well deserved.
I would really like to speak to you as well. So please do let me know what time will suit you.
Doing what we can with who we can…
Our TEAM wants to be back to work and we want them back, serving you, our members, by maintaining our great course and estate facilities. However under level 4 regulations, there is still very little we can do. The following actions are in place.
Maintain and provide critical estate services
o potable water to the home from our water plant (your conservative usage is required and appreciated by all)
o NOW providing water by tanker truck for irrigation (simply log a task on Glovent)
o twice weekly refuse and recycling removal (clear bags available from the Security for now)
o maintenance of our sewerage system
o maintenance of our electrical supply
o Increased patrols around our perimeter fence to mitigate higher potential security risk
o Increased maintenance and bush clearing for security and safety on our roads
We are working and reworking financial solutions
o As EXCO, we began the difficult task of reducing overheads where we could
- delaying and/or eliminating projects that were pending for winter work
- performing whatever maintenance we can do ourselves
- delaying approved CAPEX where still possible, while considering the continuation of projects that may be more cost-effective now (ie. our roof repairs that are required)
- releasing all seasonal staff
- utilizing staff leave to offset hours lost
- restructuring payroll/staffing where necessary and practical
- we have also applied for all government relief that we are entitled to though government with some initial success
After 6 months
There are positives to share with you all! As stated before, we “got on our bellies” in 2009 and there is little or no “excess baggage” on our estate or in the Club. This financial year, we were showing favourable results in the club when the lock down was imposed. On the estate, where considerable allocations are in place for winter maintenance, the funds had not yet been allocated. Spring Maintenance and the August closure will be waived if there is a possibilty of reopening. In budgeting for this year (Oct ’19-Sep ’20) we learned from our previous year that the winter business would be down and we budgeted accordingly. This will also help to see us through this year financially.
The Year ahead
We are preparing forecasts for the remainder of the financial year ending 30 September 2020 and budgets for the year ahead. Without external revenue from international travelers; without weddings, conferences and events, next year will be a huge challenge for the entire industry. In all likelihood, we will be a members’ only club providing services and lifestyle choices for you, your families and hopefully soon again, your friends. By operating conservatively for all these years, we have the wherewithal to weather this storm better than 96% of our friends in SA.
Fairways and Greens (Charl Blaauw-SUP)
During the first stages of lockdown I had the help of these incredible individuals below. They were my dream team on which I could rely to keep the golf course in shape while the rest of my operators and staff could not come in to work. Thank you everyone, and luckily those areas that we scalped by overcutting grew back in time to hide all evidence of not being true operators 😊
Having part of my team back now and by alternating their shifts, we can get more work done that all fell behind during this long lockdown. All the staff came back to work with masks, and in a way every individual have taken this opportunity to show off a part of their personality in their different masks, I thank each staff member for adhering to the rules and regulations and allowing us to continue our important work on the estate. The verges on the estate have been cut and the team will be gearing up to cut back the bush that has overgrown onto the verge, they are almost done on the course with only 7 holes left to cut back the bush growing towards the cart paths. The first priority was to cut the trails on the estate seeing that we have a 3 hours window to walk or jog in the morning, the trails are looking great and I encourage you to use them every day during the lockdown mornings.
There remains a lot of catching up to do with regards to maintenance, but we are slowly catching up and seeing the results of having our great estate and course team back in alternate shifts.
On the course, we had issues with the 4th top green. Bare patches started to form due to the ongoing algae problem we have on some greens. We have now had the opportunity to verticut, seed and top-dress these areas and now the green will be rested for the seed to germinate.
With cooler temperatures we are also able to irrigate the course much less and this means that we were able to get our dam levels back up and looking great. We have also started with the process of relocating the excessive amounts of fish in our dam to alleviate the problems they cause with blocked sprinklers when we irrigate at night. This process will continue until we can see a difference in the water quality in the dam.
When we do open, we will have this incredible attachment on the bottom of the flagpoles. I would like to that Chris Roberts for assisting with the manufacturing of this and we hope you will find it very useful.
I wish you happy golfing (Soon?) and enjoy the fairways in the meantime while taking your morning walk.
Using our staff and time wisely…Cart Maintenance
One of our biggest investments in the golf operation is golf carts. Our fleet of 45 and the nearly 100 private carts out there (mostly purchased from previous fleets) are maintained at the highest level. With the collapse of the Rand even further, we look to extend the lives of our carts much further.
Normally, we would be looking to sell some of the fleet at the end of this financial year, rotating new carts into the equation. That will not be happening. So, preventative maintenance will continue.
We encourage all of you with private carts to do the same. Feel free to call and get advice. Thinus and the team will come and assist you when we are at a level that permits it.
The 2020 Calendar and results
This year, we will be seeing more weddings, fewer golfing National events (due to rotation) and more member functions as our member play is the fastest-growing category in golf. We look forward to more sponsored days with ITEC and Selective Lighting/The Fire Works and the addition of a new partnership between Pam Golding Properties and Village Square SuperSpa
4-5 Jan The Pam Golding Annual, SFBGC Champions, Series tied 7 all
7-8 Jan Men’s Member-Member Partnership, Roger Smith and Charlie Gilmore, Champions
8 Jan ITEC Open Wednesday, Dr Danie Cronjé and Mel Maubec, winners on 51pts
18 Jan Windhoek Pairs qualifying, Geoff Garratt and Ernest Müller, winners on 49pts
29 Jan Pam Golding/ Village Square SuperSpar Alliance, Gill, Hool, Garratt and Wilson-Jones on 87pts
12 Feb ITEC Open Wednesday, Karl-Johann and Nyana Persson on 45pts
14 Feb Valentine’s Day Dress-up Golf; Dinner with entertainment, The Gobby’s 45pts
26 Feb Pam Golding/ Village Square SuperSpar Alliance, Coesens, White, Gobby and Spangenberg 91 pts
12 Mar ITEC Open Wednesday, TK and Percy Owen 51pts
Club and Course Closed – No events
20 Jun Foursomes
24 Jun Pam Golding/Village Square SuperSpar Alliance
8 Jul ITEC Open Wednesday
17-19 Jul Men’s Invitational
26-27 Jul PGA Regional Finals (SFBGC and SFL)
29 Jul Pam Golding/Village Square SuperSpar Alliance
1-2 Aug EP Amateur Championships (course closed)
7 Aug Selective Lighting / The Fireworks – 15h00 shotgun
8-9 Aug EP Amateur Championships – Matchplay finals
20-3 Aug/Sep Closed for Spring Programme
4 Sep Selective Lighting / The Fireworks – 15h00 shotgun
9 Sep ITEC Open Wednesday
25-27 Sep LINKS CUP South Africa (Ryder Cup at Whistling Straights)
30 Sep Pam Golding/Village Square SuperSpar Alliance
2 Oct Selective Lighting / The Fireworks – 15h00 shotgun
3 Oct Stulting Golf Day
14 Oct ITEC Open Wednesday
28 Oct Pam Golding/Village Square SuperSpar Alliance
5 Nov Eastern Province SENIORS
6 Nov Selective Lighting / The Fireworks – 15h00 shotgun
11 Nov ITEC Open Wednesday
16 Nov Men’s Muirfield Day (3rd Annual)
22 Nov “The Trophy” – St Francis Links sponsored Amateur Champs
25 Nov Pam Golding/Village Square SuperSpar Alliance
25 Nov Members’ Oscars
5 Dec Ladies’ Member-Member
9 Dec ITEC Open Wednesday
12 Dec Ultimate Par-3 Championships
16 Dec The Kromme-Enviro Trust Amazing Race
5-6 Jan Men’s Member-Member Partnership
8-9 Jan The Pam Golding Annual