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Royal Dornoch Winter Newsletter 2020

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WINTER NEWSLETTER <strong>2020</strong>


Front cover and following pages give an<br />

artist’s impression of the new clubhouse<br />

2


Captain’s Report<br />

It seems no time since the AGM in August and now into my<br />

second year of Captaincy the business side of the role continues<br />

at considerable pace.<br />

At the AGM in August it was pleasing to get such positive<br />

support for the clubhouse project and since then the Projects<br />

Team have been working extremely hard with Keppie Design our<br />

architects. As I write we are in Stage 4 of the design process which<br />

involves the interior detail of the building. This has thrown up<br />

challenges such as having to incorporate a second fire exit within<br />

the body of the building which involved a design change. I am<br />

pleased to say this has now been resolved.<br />

Rob Murray<br />

We have also had fairly prolonged discussions with the Highland<br />

Council and <strong>Dornoch</strong> Area Community Council to allow us to build on the Common Good Land.<br />

This has involved renegotiation of the Common Good Land Lease with a new annual rent of £25,000<br />

being agreed and to be included in a proposal which now needs to go to a Public Consultation.<br />

Recent new legislation requires a Public Consultation to take place due to “change of use” of the land<br />

and this process is underway now. It is a fairly lengthy process but shouldn’t delay our plans to commence<br />

the build in October <strong>2020</strong>.<br />

I hate to mention the Brexit word but this has also thrown up challenges for our Quantity Surveyor as<br />

the price of steel, stone, slate and general building materials are hard to predict. We continue to monitor<br />

the budget closely and hopefully by the time we go out to tender in April/May <strong>2020</strong> markets will become<br />

clearer.<br />

We had to delay the extension to the bowling green and the widening of the new access road due to<br />

“change of use” until after the Public Consultation however this will happen around September <strong>2020</strong><br />

and will not delay the overall project.<br />

In summary we now have Planning Permission for the access road, bowling green and for the new<br />

clubhouse. Highland Council and the <strong>Dornoch</strong> Area Community Council have agreed to locate the<br />

new tennis court next to <strong>Dornoch</strong> Academy. A very appropriate location to encourage sport for the<br />

younger generation.<br />

The Carnegie Shield was a great success, yet again, with competitors praising the condition of the course.<br />

The Championship course in particular has been in fantastic condition all year. I refereed the final<br />

which was played in testing windy conditions and contested by a repeat of last year’s final between Chris<br />

Mailley and Ian Rennie. Chris won at the 21 st hole and again the sportsmanship of golf was evident.<br />

3


The Carnegie Shield week is always fun meeting<br />

up with so many of our returning friends and<br />

meeting new ones.<br />

As you know the new 7 th hole is now open and as<br />

part of the course winter programmes the final<br />

alterations are now almost complete with new tees<br />

in place and some definition added to the hole.<br />

There was a concern raised at the AGM regarding<br />

some of the detail in the original plan however as<br />

described by our course architect “the design and<br />

construction of golf holes is a combination of<br />

science and art”. Once clearance work commences<br />

some base topography and what the design eye sees<br />

allows for enhancements to improve the design.<br />

The hole will remain a par 4 at 479 yards and we<br />

took the opportunity to include a Blue Tee at 499<br />

yards to accommodate some of the major events.<br />

I am confident once you all have the opportunity<br />

to play the hole you will agree what a magnificent<br />

creation has been achieved. I had the pleasure of<br />

playing it when it opened on a clear and sunny<br />

Autumnal day and the views are breathtaking!<br />

I was invited by the <strong>Royal</strong> Navy to board HMS<br />

Sutherland at the docks in Invergordon for a tour<br />

of the ship and afternoon tea. Around 60 guests<br />

enjoyed the hospitality and I arranged a four ball<br />

for four of the crew the following day.<br />

The Captain’s weekend was again a great success<br />

and well received by all who attended. The weather<br />

was kind with some good golf being played and<br />

some great <strong>Dornoch</strong> craic and hospitality. The<br />

dinner on the Saturday night was well attended<br />

with over 80 sitting down to an excellent meal and<br />

more hilarity. The raffle and auction raised healthy<br />

sums, and we received donations for the juniors<br />

on the night. My thanks to those who contributed<br />

so generously.<br />

For the second year running we changed the<br />

format of the Annual Prizegiving incorporating<br />

cocktails and live music and it was good to see<br />

young and not so young enjoying themselves. Well<br />

done to all the prize winners.<br />

As we move towards the winter season we look<br />

forward to a fresh approach to our social events<br />

and hope more members will attend and enjoy<br />

some fun nights out.<br />

Sadly our Patron the Countess of Sutherland<br />

passed away at her London home just before<br />

Christmas. The Countess had been Club<br />

President from 1963 – 1975 and was invited to<br />

become the first Patron of our club in 1991. My<br />

thoughts and condolences go to her family and<br />

friends.<br />

I have to thank all those who make <strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong><br />

such a wonderful place both to play golf and to<br />

enjoy the social aspect of the club. This can only<br />

be achieved by the dedication of those who work<br />

for us but also those who give up time to direct and<br />

manage the club.<br />

Neil Hampton our General Manager has been a<br />

tremendous support to me during my term of<br />

office and his workload has been increased<br />

considerably with the addition of the clubhouse<br />

project so I thank him, his management team and<br />

staff. Officials, Council of Management and<br />

members have also been very supportive too and I<br />

owe a huge amount of gratitude to all.<br />

I look forward to the year ahead and wish you all<br />

a Happy New Year.<br />

Rob Murray<br />

Captain<br />

4


From The General Manager’s Office<br />

The dryness of 2018 gave us some misgivings on<br />

how the courses would fair for 2019 but the expert<br />

work carried out by our team at the end of the<br />

2018 and the beginning of the 2019 seasons<br />

coupled with a bit of help from the man upstairs<br />

and the courses, especially the Championship,<br />

were in wonderful condition for the golfing season.<br />

I had quite a number of comments from members<br />

and visitors saying how amazing the greens were,<br />

and some saying they were the best that they had<br />

ever seen them.<br />

The club continues to grow with member and<br />

visitor numbers reaching new highs, and that is not<br />

to mention the continued growth in the staff<br />

complement, that reached 73 at its peak this<br />

summer. The responsibility for ensuring that the<br />

club is heading in the right direction to satisfy all<br />

these various parties lies with our Council of<br />

Management and my thanks to all of these who<br />

volunteer their time to guide the ship called <strong>Royal</strong><br />

<strong>Dornoch</strong>. Our Captain and Vice Captain, Rob<br />

Murray and Willie MacKay respectively, are mid<br />

way through their term and seem to be very much<br />

enjoying their roles. On the Council of<br />

Management itself we said thank you to John<br />

McMurray, Grant Shannon and Alastair Stoddart<br />

for their time and efforts on the Council, and then<br />

hello to Ian Irwin, Ian Madeley and John<br />

McMurray (again!).<br />

On the staff side of things we have seen a few<br />

coming and going as always and we wish them well<br />

but our senior management team remains as it was<br />

and this has led to better consistency in the<br />

leadership, quality of training and the subsequent<br />

service in all areas of the club.<br />

My thanks to Sue Robb and Brian Sangster for<br />

what they are doing in food and beverage and the<br />

desire for 4 star service, Brad Smith and the team<br />

in the pro shop for the excellent results in 2019,<br />

and as always to Eoin Riddell and the course team<br />

for the superb courses and to Claire Riddell and<br />

her office team for keeping all the bookings and<br />

mountain of paperwork right up to date.<br />

As the team grows in line with the workload we<br />

have been sharing out more of the tasks and so<br />

Gary Dingwall now looks after our golf operations<br />

team and helps Neil Munro with the caddies, while<br />

still keeping and eye on the coaching and club<br />

fitting. Andrew Skinner has been given<br />

responsibility for event management, handicaps<br />

and rules, so he will be in charge on the day of our<br />

open events, as well as our club competitions,<br />

while ensuring that all prizes and handicaps are up<br />

to date after each one. With the new World<br />

Handicap System (WHS) coming into force in<br />

November of this year Andrew has been charged<br />

with learning it inside out so that he will be our<br />

guru when we have the inevitable questions and<br />

queries. I should also mention that club member<br />

Alison Bartlett is our WHS North representative<br />

so will also be well clued up on the system. There<br />

will be some information evenings coming and our<br />

thanks in advance to Alison and Andrew for<br />

helping to educate us.<br />

It is not just our people who have given us lots to<br />

talk about as our desire to build a new clubhouse<br />

continues to gather pace. The past year has seen<br />

the club projects team attend many meetings with<br />

our architects and their fellow design professionals<br />

to progress the many facets of the building, some<br />

that are obvious to the eye and many that will be<br />

hidden from sight. All on the team are very pleased<br />

with the reaction to the external appearance of the<br />

building and hope that the interior look and feel<br />

receives as favourable a response. Planning<br />

5


Planning permission has been granted as well as<br />

building warrant so the public agencies seem to<br />

approve of what we have designed so the work<br />

continues to provide a new building that will be a<br />

true reflection of our club and what golf in <strong>Dornoch</strong><br />

means to us all.<br />

The Greens Convenor has talked about the 7 th<br />

hole in his report and I would just like to add my<br />

personal congratulations to our greens staff on the<br />

work that they had done in giving us a truly<br />

wonderful new hole that maximises the<br />

tremendous views and provides a classic links test<br />

for all golfers. It will be interesting to see if Pier<br />

challenges Foxy to be our best known and talked<br />

about hole!<br />

New tees for the 8 th hole will be constructed on the<br />

site of the old 7 th green in the coming winter and<br />

will add a new dimension to the tee shot with the<br />

ambition to have more players take on the green<br />

from the top of the hill and thus play the hole in<br />

the way it was originally designed.<br />

I am also very eager to try out our new putting<br />

green. For many years our golfers have been saying<br />

that it is too flat and doesn’t prepare you for the<br />

challenge of the greens on the Championship<br />

Course. Well, there is no doubt that what we have<br />

now reflects many of the contours that we have to<br />

tackle on the course, and in some cases it will be<br />

even harder to manoeuvre your ball close to the<br />

hole! I foresee several summer nights with a group<br />

of golfers, maybe a drink or two in hand, trying to<br />

hole the impossible 6 footer well after the sun has<br />

gone down.<br />

Throughout all the above mentioned course works<br />

our club and greens staff have been guided by Tom<br />

MacKenzie of the golf course design firm<br />

MacKenzie and Ebert. Tom has a very sympathetic<br />

approach to proposing changes in our courses and<br />

has been very open to comments and suggestions<br />

from all of the people involved at the club. This<br />

has given us confidence that the end results will<br />

enhance what we have and continue to grow the<br />

worldwide reputation of our courses.<br />

This coming year we will be hosting the Mens<br />

Home Internationals which is following on closely<br />

from the Boys event in 2018. This is the start of<br />

three consecutive years of hosting national<br />

Championships with the Senior Amateur<br />

Championship coming in 2021 and the Scottish<br />

Amateur Championship in 2022. Hopefully the<br />

last one will see us view the action from our new<br />

clubhouse. As always these events require lots of<br />

extra help to ensure they run smoothly and<br />

therefore we will be looking for volunteers to<br />

complement the professional staff of the<br />

organising body and the golf club so please step<br />

forward when the appeal comes. Together we can<br />

ensure that all who take part are given the very best<br />

<strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> Experience and leave with many<br />

6


It is still the desire of the club to host the Walker<br />

Cup at some point in the future and the successful<br />

hosting of other major events can only help build<br />

the reputation of <strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> as the perfect<br />

venue for the biennial match.<br />

Finally, you may have noticed in early December<br />

2019 that Golf magazine gave the Championship<br />

Course a ranking of 10 th in the world. As I am sure<br />

you are aware there are now many lists of the best<br />

courses and in recent times we have been quoting<br />

Golf Digest who put the course 4 th in the world.<br />

However the move up from 15 th to 10 th in the Golf<br />

magazine ranking is quite a change and something<br />

to take note of from one of the oldest golf course<br />

rankings there is. We expect Golf Digest to<br />

announce their review in January <strong>2020</strong> so<br />

hopefully more good news to look forward too.<br />

Thank you to all the members who get in touch<br />

and come to play as it is because of you that all of<br />

us here enjoy our work and go the extra mile to<br />

make this the best club in the world.<br />

We all look forward to seeing you soon.<br />

Neil Hampton<br />

General Manager<br />

7


Finance Convenor’s Report<br />

Overview<br />

Financially the Club has had another successful<br />

season with our operating surplus increasing by<br />

15% over the previous year. This has resulted in a<br />

cash balance of nearly £6m at the end of<br />

September. As you know as a club nearly all our<br />

income is generated in the first half year. Trading<br />

deficits in the second half result in a dip in cash<br />

balances until January when visitor income paid<br />

in advance and members subscriptions increase<br />

our balances at the year end.<br />

Visitor Green Fees<br />

Visitor green fees have increased by over 15% and<br />

are now well over £2m. Most of this increase is due<br />

to the rate per round increasing by 12.5% to £180<br />

but there has also been a small increase in the<br />

number of visitors playing both the Championship<br />

and Struie courses.<br />

Professional Shop<br />

There has been a very significant increase in the<br />

surplus generated by the Professional Shop. This<br />

year the club took the decision to increase the<br />

staffing levels of both the shop and golf operations.<br />

This combined with a significant change in<br />

product mix has resulted in a sales increase in the<br />

6 months of around 30% to over £750,000.<br />

Visitors account for over 80% of sales; the mixture<br />

of high quality merchandise and our famous club<br />

logo seem irresistible, long may it last!<br />

Bar & Catering<br />

Bar sales have increased by over 15% and catering<br />

by 2%. However our investment in increased staff<br />

to improve service levels combined with the usual<br />

winter losses are expected to result in a deficit<br />

similar to last year.<br />

Costs<br />

Whilst costs have been largely managed within<br />

budget, some additional expenditure has been<br />

necessary on the course to bring it back to the<br />

standard we all expect. The new 7 th hole is now up<br />

and running and the costs have been largely well<br />

managed. The costs relating to the new putting<br />

green and the changes in the car park are both well<br />

within expectations.<br />

The Future<br />

A great deal of time has been spent by the Capital<br />

Projects Team on the new clubhouse and a tight<br />

rein has been kept on the cost of the external<br />

professionals. Currently there are no significant<br />

changes to the budgeted capital costs of the<br />

clubhouse or our expected cash flows from our<br />

8


operations. As mentioned previously the next<br />

major step in firming up the capital costs will be<br />

in the spring of <strong>2020</strong> when we go out to tender.<br />

We are still in discussions with HIE regarding<br />

some potential funding of the Clubhouse although<br />

HIE’s remit is under internal review and it is far<br />

from certain that this will be to our benefit. On<br />

the other hand we continue to have very<br />

constructive discussions with our bank regarding<br />

any short term facilities should we need them.<br />

Whilst it will not affect the current year our wages<br />

and salaries costs next year are likely to increase<br />

significantly more than inflation. This is to ensure<br />

our staff continue to be remunerated at least in<br />

line with industry standards and local competition.<br />

It is essential not only that we recruit very good<br />

people but also that we retain them. Particularly in<br />

the bar & catering parts of the business where we<br />

are striving for better quality food and service on a<br />

consistent basis it is likely that we will need to<br />

employ more people on annual contracts rather<br />

than place so much reliance on temporary staff. As<br />

I’m sure you will appreciate this is a difficult<br />

balancing act.<br />

The Council of Management have approved for<br />

the <strong>2020</strong>/21 membership year an increase in the<br />

Full Members subscription of £15, from £525 to<br />

£540 (2.86%). All other subscription rates will be<br />

increased by this percentage.<br />

We continue to improve our financial management<br />

and reporting and much thanks must go to Neil,<br />

Claire, Martin Lynch and Matt McBride for their very<br />

significant input. We are fortunate to have dedicated<br />

people with the relevant expertise prepared to spend<br />

the time necessary to keep the financial management<br />

of our business in good shape.<br />

Tony Bartlett<br />

Finance Convenor<br />

9


Match & Handicap Report<br />

We have enjoyed another successful season over<br />

both links. This year I have enjoyed being involved<br />

in the running of the event and competitions and I<br />

am looking forward to doing even more next season.<br />

There have been many good performances during<br />

the year and I have picked out a few notable<br />

achievements.<br />

We introduced a new format for the mens Club<br />

Championship, with all the competitors having the<br />

opportunity to compete in all four rounds. As a<br />

result of this there was a notable increase in<br />

entries, with many from overseas, giving us a very<br />

strong field. Chris Mailley came out on top,<br />

winning his 6 th title by 19 shots with an impressive<br />

276 (4 under par). We have again refined the event<br />

for <strong>2020</strong>, when we are going to extend the<br />

Handicap Championship to 72 holes. We keep<br />

the Senior Scratch Club Championship to the first<br />

36 holes but we are going to add a Senior<br />

Handicap Championship over these rounds. So we<br />

look forward to having even more entries next year.<br />

Not satisfied with lapping the field in the club<br />

championship Chris also won the Sutherland<br />

County Cup held in Golspie, he retained the<br />

Carnegie Shield and helped his team win the<br />

Burghfield 3 Man Team!<br />

Colin Mackay, one of our past Match and<br />

Handicap Convenors also had a very successful<br />

season. He won the Denis Lovell Eclectic played<br />

for during the winter Saturday Stablefords, the<br />

Bethune Cup (President Cup Handicap) and the<br />

E C Fraser Trophy during the Carnegie Shield.<br />

The winning of these events is all the more<br />

impressive due to each one being played over<br />

numerous rounds.<br />

Connor Mackay became a first time Dad in<br />

February but he still managed to feature during the<br />

season and in particular in both the major singles<br />

matchplays. He won the Murray Vase beating<br />

Philip Prince and he was runner-up to Ernie<br />

Millard in the Ryle Jug.<br />

Club Competition winners were as follows:<br />

Donald Grant Cup<br />

McNaughton Rosebowl<br />

Ryle Jug<br />

Murray Vase<br />

Cadzow Quaich<br />

Patterson Trophy<br />

Prove Trophy<br />

Paul York Order of Merit<br />

President’s Cup Handicap<br />

President’s Cup Scratch<br />

Struie Club Championship Handicap<br />

Connor Preston<br />

David Fleming<br />

Ernie Millard<br />

Connor Mackay<br />

Stuart Innes & Craig Sutherland<br />

Alastair & Margot Stoddart<br />

Brian Foley<br />

David Pearson<br />

Colin Mackay<br />

Brian Urquhart<br />

David Pearson<br />

10


Struie Club Championship Scratch<br />

Club Championship Handicap<br />

Club Championship Scratch<br />

Craig Sutherland<br />

Bryan Urquhart<br />

Chris Mailley<br />

Congratulations to all the prize winners and best wishes to all club members for golfing success in the<br />

forthcoming season.<br />

Our various Opens have been well supported and it is a great feeling to sit here on competition days as<br />

our visitors rave about the courses and the welcome that they receive when they visit. The various trophies<br />

have been won by both members and visitors with some familiar faces returning to ‘try their luck’ or just<br />

to enjoy the experience.<br />

Open Competition winners were as follows:<br />

Carnegie Shield<br />

Davidson Trophy<br />

E C Fraser Cup<br />

Sinclair Cup<br />

Fraser Shield<br />

Gardner Trophy<br />

Robbie Grant Seniors<br />

Duncan Murray Quaich<br />

Macleod 7 Club Trophy<br />

Burghfield 3 Man Team<br />

G K Mackay<br />

Glenmorangie Open<br />

Chris Mailley<br />

Gareth Roberts (Hindhead)<br />

Colin Mackay<br />

David Corben (Hindhead)<br />

Allyn Dick (Kingsfield)<br />

David Horrocks<br />

Ernie Millard<br />

Paul York<br />

Hoyt Tessener (North Ridge)<br />

Chris Mailley, John Gow & Paul Mailley (Dunbar)<br />

David Pearson & Derek MacDougall<br />

Gareth Hall<br />

Two other trophies played for over the season are<br />

the Donald Grant Cup (medal winners medal) and<br />

the Paul York Order of Merit, these were won by<br />

Connor Preston and David Pearson respectively.<br />

We have been working towards using a software<br />

that will facilitate online entries for members<br />

medals, matchplays and open competitions and<br />

we are hopeful to have something in place for the<br />

coming season but we will keep you informed of<br />

any developments via the General Manager’s<br />

weekly newsletter. I have also attended a couple<br />

of seminars about the World Handicap System<br />

which will come into place for us in November<br />

<strong>2020</strong>, again we will keep you informed of any<br />

developments in this area.<br />

To finish, I would just like to thank you all for<br />

supporting our competitions and I look forward<br />

to seeing many of you competing in <strong>2020</strong>.<br />

Andrew Skinner<br />

Head Professional<br />

11


Greens Convenor’s Report<br />

What a difference one year makes. This time last<br />

year we had only just laid out the new green on the<br />

7 th hole and just 60 yards of fairway leading up to<br />

the front of the green. Now we have one bunker<br />

on the left and one bunker on the right of the<br />

green with two more down the left edge of the<br />

fairway to catch the more wayward longer drives.<br />

The putting surface is in excellent condition and<br />

with the temporary use of mats we have been able<br />

to play the hole since the middle of November<br />

albeit from the front tee. Work on the new tees<br />

was completed in mid December with the yellow<br />

and white tee extended to incorporate a new Blue<br />

tee some twenty yards behind the white tee, all of<br />

which were re-aligned to face towards the new<br />

green. The green tee and the red tee have been<br />

positioned nearer the escarpment edge, thereby<br />

making for a slightly easier angle of play and some<br />

great views.<br />

We will also build some mounds across the old 7 th<br />

fairway and plant some bushes in order to break<br />

up the ground. The turf from the old green has<br />

already been stripped and has been used in the<br />

extension and alteration of the new practice<br />

putting green that now extends down towards the<br />

first tee of the Struie Course and which is some<br />

seventy metres long. The new green will<br />

incorporate more of the contours that are such a<br />

feature of the Championship Course and, weather<br />

permitting, should be ready for play in the Spring.<br />

12


We have had an awful lot of rain recently so our<br />

sand top dressing policy on the fairways will<br />

certainly be a help as we try and maintain them to<br />

the level expected of a top links golf course.<br />

The trialling of a rubber matting base in the front<br />

left hand bunker at the 13 th hole has been successful<br />

and therefore we plan to do about six or seven more<br />

bunkers this winter. By linking this work with our<br />

annual revetting of the bunkers we will be able to<br />

fix the matting more securely into position.<br />

On the Struie Course several of the fairways have<br />

suffered from lack of growth especially on the “new<br />

holes” where the soil is of a different type. Coring<br />

and seeding work has been done and an<br />

improvement will be seen this year.<br />

The work done on the new 7 th hole was carried out<br />

almost exclusively by our own greens staff, as well<br />

as the enormous amount of work carried out on<br />

the new putting green.<br />

We have a big debt of thanks to our skilful and<br />

enthusiastic greens staff under the able<br />

management of Eoin Riddell and his deputy Scott<br />

Aitchison.<br />

Adrian Bagott<br />

Greens Convenor<br />

13


House Convenor’s Report<br />

My second year in the role of House Convenor has<br />

been rewarding. The team in the kitchen and front<br />

of house are successfully achieving ever increasing<br />

standards. We have moved from a situation at the<br />

start of the year of addressing some difficulties, to a<br />

more stable position with members complimenting<br />

the service and food.<br />

The staff team has continued to develop, both in<br />

terms of new staff members joining, and new skills<br />

being added across the team. Our goal remains to be<br />

achieving 4 star standards in service, food and<br />

beverage. To this end, some of our staff have been<br />

visiting other golf clubs, as well as distilleries to<br />

update skills and gain new insights to bring back to<br />

the clubhouse.<br />

The highlights of the year are too numerous to<br />

mention as many of the special events have surpassed<br />

the 4 star standard. It was encouraging to enjoy the<br />

presence of so many members at the winter season’s<br />

first carvery on the first Sunday in November. This<br />

will continue through to the end of March.<br />

We have taken pride in arranging even more special<br />

events over the winter. By the time you read this, we<br />

will have had our night with Rod Stewart, Christmas<br />

Music Quiz and Hogmanay Dinner.<br />

But still to come are:<br />

Burns Supper on Friday 31 st January with the<br />

Rotary Club of East Sutherland<br />

Bingo and Play Your Cards Right on Saturday 8 th<br />

February (Bus)<br />

A Night with Ronan Rafferty Saturday 15 th<br />

February<br />

Curry Night on Saturday 22 nd February (Bus)<br />

Leap Year Ladies Choice Gin Tasting Saturday 29 th<br />

February<br />

14


Johnny Cash/Neil Diamond Tribute Act on<br />

Saturday 7 th March, (Bus)<br />

French Food and New World Wine Matching on<br />

Saturday 14 th March, (Bus)<br />

Race Night Saturday 21 st March (Bus)<br />

Mothers Day Sunday 22 nd March<br />

Last Carvery Sunday 29 th March<br />

Easter Sunday Family Special Sunday 12 th April<br />

Those events with (Bus) indicate the provision of a<br />

pickup and drop off service. The bus service is<br />

available for a small charge, to ensure those using it,<br />

get home safely.<br />

The House Committee have agreed three other new<br />

initiatives. Firstly we kept the Halfway House<br />

(HWH) open for longer during the winter for a trial<br />

period, at a minimal cost to the club. 55% of golfers<br />

playing used the service. We plan to have the HWH<br />

open on special golfing days, weather permitting.<br />

Secondly we are introducing hot food at the HWH.<br />

Thirdly we have designed a survey, to be completed<br />

by members to comment on their experience in the<br />

clubhouse and at the HWH. Please make a<br />

commitment to make your views known, so that our<br />

team can learn from your views and ideas. We hope<br />

to take this learning forward, to improve even further<br />

our service, particularly as we prepare for the new<br />

Clubhouse.<br />

The achievements made throughout the past year,<br />

and the year to come, I lay at Sue Robb’s (Food &<br />

Beverage Manager) door, Brian Sangster’s (Chef) and<br />

their willing team of workers. Both Sue and Brian’s<br />

professionalism, skills and enthusiasm has made a<br />

very positive impact on the experience in the<br />

Clubhouse.<br />

John McMurray<br />

House Convenor<br />

15


Junior Convenor’s Report<br />

The opportunities that all our juniors have at <strong>Royal</strong><br />

<strong>Dornoch</strong> are exceptional but we are not complacent<br />

and the <strong>2020</strong> junior programme will raise the bar<br />

and it is up to our juniors to show their desire to<br />

work hard to develop their golf.<br />

At the heart of our plan is for children to enjoy golf,<br />

have fun and develop their social skills and be a<br />

credit to their parents and their golf club.<br />

In March 2019 the winter training programme saw<br />

our “A” Section juniors enjoy a weekend at the<br />

Home of Golf, St Andrews. Gary took eleven<br />

juniors, accompanied by parents and coaches, who<br />

had a busy and fun weekend full of history, golf &<br />

fitness!<br />

Day one started at the Links Academy to warm up<br />

before playing the Strathtyrum Course. Their<br />

nutrition lesson had a visit to try ice cream from the<br />

World Famous Jannettas Gelateria!<br />

Day 2 was a visit to Crail Golfing Society to play<br />

alongside the society’s junior golfers on the<br />

Balcomie Course. Our thanks to David Snodgrass<br />

and Crail Golfing Society for their hospitality and<br />

allowing the <strong>Dornoch</strong> juniors to experience another<br />

World Class golf course.<br />

Vice President, and founder member of the Morcott<br />

Challenge, Jim Campbell, and Jorden Ferrie took<br />

our team to America this year.<br />

After 15 years of playing for the Morcott Trophy at<br />

<strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> and Hilton Head Island we had a<br />

new venue in Chicago as Mr and Mrs Woody<br />

Morcott were handing over the reins to their son<br />

Scott, ably assisted by his wife Rhian.<br />

The matches were played on the Onwentsia and<br />

Knollwood courses with the professionals Nick<br />

Papadakis and Wade Gurysh making sure the<br />

matches were played in a friendly but competitive<br />

manner.<br />

In between the matches cultural visits were<br />

organized for both teams and coaches including a<br />

downtown trip in Chicago which included the<br />

Bean, the Shed Aquarium, the Natural History<br />

Museum and the Harley Davidson factory in<br />

Milwaukee en-route to watch the Chicago Cubs take<br />

on the Brewers at baseball.<br />

Jim Campbell reports, “Although we lost the<br />

matches by one point overall we definitely won on<br />

the dress front with our team immaculately turned<br />

out for the matches and social events. I was<br />

Swilken Bridge, Old Course<br />

<strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> and Crail Golfing Society Juniors<br />

16


extremely proud of the way our junior team<br />

represented <strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong>. The experience will be<br />

an important part of their life skills. We look<br />

forward to hosting the American team and coaches<br />

in <strong>2020</strong>”.<br />

The younger juniors enjoyed matches organised by<br />

Jorden with games against the Ladies and Gents.<br />

After the match versus the Gerries, John Logan who<br />

runs the Gerries commented, “The juniors were a<br />

credit to our golf club”.<br />

There were also games Versus the UHI Students<br />

and this relationship is developing further in <strong>2020</strong><br />

with the students enrolled for the PGA Professional<br />

Course being a support team across all our junior<br />

groups. It is great to have Sean Fay back in <strong>Dornoch</strong><br />

and leading on this with Gary.<br />

<strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> Morcott Team in red<br />

In April we had seventeen youngsters play in the<br />

Wee Wonders qualifier at Fortrose & Rosemarkie<br />

with eight progressing to the Regional Final at<br />

Carnoustie Links.<br />

From here four juniors went to the Grand Final<br />

with Mikayla Mackay, age 11, playing at Gullane<br />

No.2. The younger group of Jessie and Molly Lewis<br />

and Harry Fleming played at North Berwick and<br />

their first experience playing in a Final.<br />

Jessie Lewis, Harry Fleming, Molly Lewis<br />

From the 2018 results of the Wee Wonders, Finn<br />

Hallam, age 7, Mikayla Mackay, age 11, Zara<br />

Macdonald, age 13, were invited to enter the US<br />

Kids European Championships. This was a great<br />

experience for our juniors who saw the standard<br />

they must aim for nationally. They all returned<br />

enthusiastic and loved the event.<br />

Jorden ran an Order of Merit for the Wildcat and<br />

Minis sections playing on the Academy holes.<br />

Wildcat and Minis Junior Section<br />

The Minis play from the forward black tees and Isla<br />

MacCulloch won that age group. Finn Hallam won<br />

the Wildcats section who played from the green tees.<br />

It is good to see more parents playing golf with their<br />

children and we encourage this.<br />

17


Can you imagine having thirty under seven year olds<br />

for golf coaching, well that’s what Jorden has on<br />

Tuesday and Thursday afternoons during the golf<br />

season and from November to March we have three<br />

classes on a Sunday for Minis and Wildcat sections.<br />

No need to ask are these juniors enjoying their golf.<br />

The smiles in photos of the Wildcats and Minis says<br />

it all.<br />

Team Europe<br />

This is where we shall benefit from the UHI Student<br />

helpers playing with them and helping with rules<br />

and etiquette and being on hand when Order of<br />

Merit weekends take place.<br />

Our programme of events for <strong>2020</strong> includes Junior<br />

and Adult events that builds on the fun days we had<br />

this year. This can be a junior playing with a family<br />

member or a family friend. The pattern for the day<br />

is golf followed by food afterwards in the clubhouse.<br />

(L to R) Rhianna, Mikayla, and Zara at Muir of Ord<br />

North Girls Championships<br />

Our first event was on Burns weekend and that was<br />

followed by a successful Masters Sunday event which<br />

saw a full house of 20 pairs playing and staying to<br />

watch the Masters on the big screen in the lounge.<br />

The Father’s Day event fell on the last day of the US<br />

Open. Not luck, but good planning.<br />

What a climax these events had when Jorden<br />

organised the Solheim Cup Day with 48 players<br />

playing foursomes on the Struie for the <strong>Royal</strong><br />

<strong>Dornoch</strong> Solheim Cup and guess what – EUROPE<br />

WON. Watch out for <strong>2020</strong> and a busy Ryder Cup<br />

weekend.<br />

Ian Lagowitz with Hannah Riddell<br />

18<br />

2019 saw girls playing several away competitions.<br />

Mikayla and Rhianna Mackay played in Junior<br />

Opens and Northern Counties competitions at<br />

Brora, Inverness, Moray, Muir of Ord and Fortrose<br />

& Rosemarkie with Zara Macdonald.


All three played in the North of Scotland Ladies<br />

Championships at Elgin where Zara had a 92 gross<br />

nett 70 to win the North of Scotland Girls<br />

Handicap Championship. Along with Zara,<br />

Rhianna also qualified for the matchplay with a nett<br />

71 and made it to the semi-final stage.<br />

Zara also played in the Scottish Under 14 Competition<br />

played at Elgin and gained valuable experience.<br />

This year we added a new trophy to our list with the<br />

Alex Lagowitz Cup which was awarded to Hannah<br />

Riddell. The Award recognises long term<br />

commitment to supporting the junior section.<br />

This includes considering golf etiquette, good<br />

attitude, being helpful and courteous and displaying<br />

behaviours we wish our younger juniors to follow.<br />

Our Caddies Cup day will always feature as the best<br />

golf day for juniors and that should never change.<br />

Speaking to Kevin Matheson and Andrew Skinner<br />

they still remember the excitement and the<br />

anticipation as Caddies Cup grew closer. For some<br />

it was the glory of lifting the cup, for other it was<br />

the massive spread of food, sorry Kevin.<br />

2019 Caddies Cup Results<br />

Trophy<br />

Alex Lagowitz award<br />

Caddies Cup<br />

Girls Champ Trophy<br />

Ken Natsusaka Cup<br />

A. Reeves Memorial<br />

R. McCulloch Shield<br />

Katie Sutherland<br />

Eclectic Trophy<br />

Eclectic Trophy<br />

Eclectic Trophy<br />

John Gordon Medal<br />

Section<br />

All Junior Sections<br />

“A” Section 1st Scratch<br />

“A” Section 1st Scratch<br />

1st Handicap<br />

“B+” Section<br />

“B” Section<br />

‘A’ Boys Eclectic<br />

‘A’ Girls Eclectic<br />

B+ Boys<br />

B Boys<br />

B Girls<br />

Most Improved Golfer<br />

Winner<br />

Hannah Riddell<br />

Max Hampton<br />

Rhianna MacKay<br />

Alex Innes<br />

Kieran Allan<br />

Mary Mcfall<br />

John Leslie<br />

Hannah Riddell<br />

Kieran Allan<br />

Liam Vass<br />

Erin Holden<br />

John Leslie<br />

2019 Competition Results<br />

Competition<br />

Robert Murray Adult/Junior<br />

Rainbow Trophy<br />

Thomson Trophy<br />

Burnett Cup<br />

Hans Burkhard<br />

Skinner Competition A/B<br />

Donald Ross Open – Peter De Savary Trophy<br />

Donald Ross Open – Provost Trophy<br />

Winner<br />

Neil Leslie & John Leslie<br />

Ben Dingwall<br />

Rhianna Mackay<br />

Mary McFall<br />

Max Hampton<br />

John Leslie & Alistair Matheson<br />

Alex Innes<br />

Zara Macdonald<br />

19


Prize Winners on Caddies Day<br />

Hans Burkhard Cup<br />

We finally managed to play the 36 hole Hans<br />

Burkhard competition on Saturday 9th and Sunday<br />

10th November after poor weather caused<br />

cancellations. Max Hampton won with scores of 81<br />

and 76 to win by 7 shots.<br />

Scottish Golf have selected <strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> as a base<br />

for one of their forty Girls Hub Centres. We have also<br />

signed up to be included in the Golf Sixes rollout<br />

across Scotland. Golf Sixes encourages clubs to take<br />

their juniors to play different golf courses. The format<br />

is six clubs playing at one of the courses with six juniors<br />

in a team and using different golf formats during the<br />

round robin league, but the emphasis is on fun and<br />

building confidence while making new friends.<br />

A big thank you to Alastair Stoddart for his three<br />

years as Junior Convenor which he completed in<br />

August 2019. To Gary and Jorden, the juniors and<br />

parents appreciate all you bring to our junior<br />

section. Thanks also to Owen Mackay for his time<br />

as Junior Captain.<br />

The final words are from Tom McFall, Junior<br />

Captain. “This will be an exciting season with new<br />

equipment to prepare us for competitions and the<br />

Morcott contingent coming to <strong>Dornoch</strong>. I am<br />

looking forward to more in-house golf and the<br />

scoring in the weekly newsletter as an incentive for<br />

our juniors to practice hard and play more.”<br />

Willie MacKay<br />

Vice Captain<br />

Alex Innes<br />

Zara<br />

MacDonald<br />

20<br />

Max Hampton<br />

with Hans<br />

Burkhard Cup


Marketing Convenor’s Report<br />

Another extremely busy and successful year for<br />

<strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong>, which has again seen visitor<br />

numbers increasing, this is supported by an<br />

increase in our popularity worldwide. In the<br />

recently published GOLF magazines Top 100<br />

courses in the world we climbed 5 places to<br />

number 10, pushing the world famous Pebble<br />

beach out of the top 10.<br />

National Club Golfer also gave <strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong><br />

special mention under their “Best for Mystique”<br />

category. This is something the local members<br />

appreciate and enjoy all year round, and I am sure<br />

part of what the rest of the world members<br />

appreciate most about coming to <strong>Dornoch</strong>,<br />

escaping from the buzz of city life and immersing<br />

in the tranquillity of life in the Highlands.<br />

We continue to work closely with Quatro (formerly<br />

System2) on the PR and social media side, this is<br />

an area we continue to grow and are trying to<br />

develop new ideas and opportunities regularly. In<br />

the last year we have increased our followers by<br />

over 11% and have over 3,500 engagements per<br />

week over the various platforms. We hope those<br />

of you who delve into the world of social media<br />

regularly continue to enjoy our content.<br />

We have also recently released flyovers of several<br />

holes on the Championship Course, these have<br />

been on social media and the website. They offer<br />

a good insight into how visually impressive our golf<br />

course really is.<br />

Neil once again attended the Scottish Golf Tourism<br />

Week and the PGA Show in Florida, these are<br />

always productive events for cementing old and<br />

building new relationships particularly with tour<br />

operators. Bradley, our Retail Manager, attended<br />

the PGA Show also allowing him to look into new<br />

merchandise opportunities, hopefully you have all<br />

found something nice in the Pro Shop this year.<br />

Our involvement in the Highland Golf Links<br />

continues and the HGL Pro-Am continues to<br />

grow, this is a very well attended event by many of<br />

Scotland’s top PGA Professionals and host of<br />

amateurs from all over who enjoy a fantastic week<br />

on the 3 world class golf courses we have on our<br />

doorstep - Nairn, Castle Stuart and <strong>Royal</strong><br />

<strong>Dornoch</strong>.<br />

We also continue to run popular social events,<br />

particularly over the winter months. Recently we<br />

have enjoyed, amongst others, live music, whisky<br />

& gin tastings and quiz nights, look out for more<br />

events in the coming months.<br />

Thanks must go to the members who continue to<br />

talk highly of our club, this is the best form of<br />

Marketing.<br />

Cara Thompson<br />

Marketing Convenor<br />

This year we collaborated with Carnegie Whisky<br />

Cellars to have our logo and tartan on a bottle of<br />

single malt whisky, those of you who indulge in a<br />

nip or two, I hope you have enjoyed this.<br />

21


Retail Convenor’s Report<br />

I’m delighted to be bringing you the very first Retail report!<br />

It’s already two years since the Club transitioned the Pro<br />

Shop from Andrew Skinner and things go from strength<br />

to strength.<br />

Bradley is also now in his second year with us and I think<br />

we would all agree he and his team have done a tremendous<br />

job. The Shop is a vital contributor of revenue and profit<br />

and is very much at the forefront of day to day operations.<br />

In conjunction with our Golf Operations Team it is the<br />

first face toface contact for our visitors.<br />

In the UK golf market, despite its modest size, our shop is<br />

probably one of the top performers in terms of the amount<br />

of revenue generated per sq. foot!<br />

We have had two fantastic years in terms of sales and<br />

profitability, a result of a renewed focus on customer, range,<br />

display and quality. At the time of writing we have already<br />

achieved a record turnover of close to £850,000, 30%<br />

higher than last year.<br />

Bradley has a challenging role to balance the various<br />

demands we make as members alongside the fact that 80%<br />

of our revenue comes from Visitors, especially from the<br />

USA. I do feel it is important to make sure members feel<br />

that they have a “Pro Shop” that works for them as well as<br />

the visitors. It is essential that we continue to offer a full<br />

range of “traditional” services such as teaching, playing<br />

lessons, club fitting and repairs alongside a contemporary<br />

range of clothes and accessories. Sometimes in the height<br />

of the season this can be really difficult, I know local<br />

members at times feel “swamped” by the number of visitors.<br />

I am therefore encouraging the team to put more emphasis<br />

on our members in the <strong>2020</strong> season and will shortly be<br />

asking for your views through an on-line survey.<br />

There have been various initiatives launched this year:<br />

• We have raised the ongoing member discount level to<br />

20% which is now taken directly from the retail price.<br />

• Bradley and his team also “price check” versus our<br />

competitor clubs and in the main we compare well on<br />

the majority of key lines.<br />

• We have introduced regular off season sales at discounts<br />

of up to 50% for our Members, at the time of writing<br />

this I have just seen a shop full of Members taking<br />

advantage of the Black Friday Sale!<br />

• We also sell off hire clubs and trollies at heavily<br />

discounted rates at the end of each season.<br />

22


I would always encourage Members to talk directly to<br />

Bradley if they feel we are not competitive or if we are not<br />

stocking what they are looking for. The last thing we want<br />

is for members to feel they have to buy elsewhere.<br />

One development I am really proud of has been the launch<br />

of our members only “Wildcat” range and our links with<br />

the <strong>Royal</strong> Zoological Society of Scotland. The thinking on<br />

developing this range was to make members feel really<br />

special by giving them something only they could purchase.<br />

For every Wildcat sale in the shop we donate £5 to Wildcat<br />

conservation here in the Highlands and so far we have<br />

contributed over £3000. More new lines will be announced<br />

very shortly to supplement the merino wool and cashmere<br />

jumpers, head covers and golf bags.<br />

Finally, some news which is hot off the press. With the<br />

support of the Junior fund we have invested in a state of<br />

the art “Trackman” system. At the time of writing this is<br />

being trialled by the juniors in the warehouse where we<br />

have built an all-weather “net room”, however, Trackman<br />

is fully portable and will also be available for club fitting on<br />

the range.<br />

That’s it for now, feel free to contact Brad or myself with<br />

thoughts or suggestions.<br />

Ian Madeley<br />

Retail Convenor<br />

There are no plans to stop offering lines featuring the<br />

existing <strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> logo (which are still incredibly<br />

popular and some Members prefer) but of course these<br />

lines are available to anyone including the thousands of<br />

visitors who visit us each year. Wildcat lines are strictly<br />

limited to Members and are pre-order only, making it easy<br />

to identify fellow <strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> members throughout the<br />

world! Don’t forget we also now have our own embroidery<br />

machine which can personalise various products for you,<br />

it’s not just for caps!<br />

23


President’s Report<br />

It continues to be a great privilege to be President of<br />

<strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> and to have the opportunity to<br />

contribute towards the smooth running of the Club in<br />

whatever way is required. I am fortunate also to have the<br />

support of the Vice Presidents Hamish Macrae, Jim<br />

Campbell and Christine Murray here in <strong>Dornoch</strong> and<br />

Woody Morcott in the USA which has been much<br />

appreciated.<br />

It is said that timing is everything and I was in the right<br />

place at the right time to be asked again to present the<br />

prizes at the Caddies Cup. It really is one of the best<br />

events in that it is so well supported and it is such a<br />

pleasure to see so many enthusiastic young faces not to<br />

mention the adults attending as well. We should<br />

encourage our juniors as much as we can and it is hoped<br />

that <strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> can be regarded as having played at<br />

least a small part in their future success whether on or<br />

off the golf course.<br />

<strong>Dornoch</strong> seems to have been even busier than in<br />

previous years both in the town and on the golf courses.<br />

I have had the pleasure of meeting many Members (both<br />

based locally and away) and visitors from far and wide<br />

who seem to have very much enjoyed their time here. Of<br />

course it is never possible to please all the people all the<br />

time but our staff have done their utmost to make sure<br />

our Members and visitors have been given a high quality<br />

<strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> experience which should be appreciated.<br />

There are changes underway on the Championship<br />

Course in altering the 7 th hole to take advantage of the<br />

splendid views available and also extending the practice<br />

24


putting green. The work is being carried out by our own<br />

greens staff who as usual are doing an excellent job and<br />

have presented both the courses all year in very good<br />

condition despite some rather unfavourable weather<br />

from time to time.<br />

The high standard of the Championship Course and<br />

related facilities have been recognised as the Club has<br />

been chosen to hold the Men’s Home Internationals in<br />

<strong>2020</strong> and the R & A Senior Amateur Championship in<br />

2021. Congratulations are due in no small measure to all<br />

our staff for their contributions in achieving that success.<br />

While sifting through some old files and papers I came<br />

across a quote from Donald Ross which I would like to<br />

share with you. He moved to the USA in 1899 and<br />

achieved success as a player, teacher and golf course<br />

architect. However he never forgot his roots in <strong>Dornoch</strong><br />

and praised <strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> by saying “it is the most<br />

beautifully situated links in the world and no American<br />

golfer should omit to go there, where he will find the best<br />

golf, a royal welcome and no rabble”. I would like to<br />

think we can still provide that...even the last bit!<br />

Wishing you all a happy and healthy <strong>2020</strong> and trust that<br />

your golf will live up to your hopes and expectations.<br />

Gordon Lawson<br />

President<br />

25


Ladies Section<br />

We have once again had a busy year enjoying both<br />

competitive and fun events throughout the season.<br />

At our AGM in October our Secretary, Rosemary<br />

Muschamp, retired after 4 years. We shall all miss<br />

Rosemary’s efficiency and sense of humour.<br />

Kathleen Mackenzie, our “flower lady”, also<br />

stepped down from the committee. Thank you<br />

both. We welcomed Lisa Dickenson back as<br />

Secretary and Anne Gunn to committee.<br />

Our Club Champion is Cara Thompson, who<br />

defeated Alison Bartlett in the final and our<br />

Handicap Champion is Elizabeth Coghill who<br />

beat Margaret Ross. This year saw the introduction<br />

of a Strokeplay Club Championship. Alison<br />

Bartlett won the scratch trophy and Caroline<br />

Madeley the handicap.<br />

Other trophy winners this year were Margaret Ross<br />

– Sykes Cup; Theresa Campbell – Sutherland<br />

Cup; Alison Bartlett and Kathleen Mackenzie -<br />

Barrow Cup; Caitlin Boa – Davidson Trophy and<br />

Daisy Simpson Bogey Trophy; Ann Little – Struie<br />

Cup; Caroline Madeley – McQueen Cup; Wilma<br />

Murray – Grant Cup; Ashley Rose – Macleod<br />

Trophy; Rosemary Muschamp and Deborah<br />

Thomassen – Mrs <strong>Winter</strong> Cup; Alison Bartlett –<br />

Constance Young Seniors Trophy. Well done<br />

ladies.<br />

In the Open competitions there was success for a<br />

number of our ladies. In the Ladies Open<br />

Caroline Madeley won the Lovell Salver and Cara<br />

Thompson was the silver medallist. The bronze<br />

division was won by Bel Shepherd. The Seniors<br />

Open was won by Pam Moscati. The 3 Lady Team<br />

Open was won by Bel Shepherd with Vicki and<br />

Suzy Sutherland. There were many more <strong>Royal</strong><br />

<strong>Dornoch</strong> ladies featuring in all the Open prize lists.<br />

Well done all.<br />

Qualifiers for the Daily Mail Foursomes are Fiona<br />

MacDonald and Theresa Campbell. The<br />

Coronation Foursomes qualifiers are Trish Weekes<br />

and Moira Rennie.<br />

We enjoyed friendly fixtures against Inverness,<br />

Nairn, Fortrose, Tain, Bonar Bridge, Brora and<br />

Golspie. These matches are always played in good<br />

spirit and are enjoyed by all who participate, and I<br />

encourage all ladies to put themselves forward for<br />

these matches no matter what their handicap is.<br />

Thank you to Fiona MacDonald who has run<br />

these matches so efficiently.<br />

Our teams again did well in the Ross/Sutherland<br />

where <strong>Dornoch</strong> 1 and 2 were victorious.<br />

Unfortunately the Caithness/Sutherland was<br />

cancelled at the last minute due to very bad<br />

weather.<br />

Alison Bartlett won the inaugural North District<br />

Seniors at Grantown. Three of our junior girls did<br />

very well in North District events this year.<br />

Rhianna and Mikayla Mackay and Zara<br />

Macdonald shone not only in the girls<br />

competitions but also did very well in the Ladies<br />

Championship at Moray. Well done girls.<br />

It is wonderful to see our young junior members<br />

doing so well both at <strong>Dornoch</strong> and with Northern<br />

Counties – very encouraging for the future. Also<br />

Zara scored an excellent nett 64 in the Donald<br />

Ross Junior Open on Struie. I must also take this<br />

opportunity to congratulate Hannah Riddell for<br />

being the first recipient of the Alex Lagowitz Award<br />

– very well deserved.<br />

26


In the Highland Vets the trophy for Silver<br />

Aggregate was won by Alison Bartlett.<br />

We played a mixed greensomes with the Men’s<br />

Senior section which was enjoyed by all. Both our<br />

matches along with and against the Wednesday<br />

Seniors were unfortunately cancelled due to bad<br />

weather but we look forward to competing again<br />

with “The Gerries” next year.<br />

UHI students again organised a fun evening for<br />

those taking part in our annual match with them,<br />

which was the usual enjoyable day.<br />

This year our Ladies’ outing was to Carrbridge, a<br />

lovely little course, and I think we all enjoyed our<br />

day away.<br />

The charity this year was a Club Charity as Rob<br />

and I decided to support the same one – Chest,<br />

Heart and Stroke Scotland. Thank you all for<br />

being so generous, and a special mention to the<br />

Monday afternoon Bridge players who very kindly<br />

donated their money to our charity. This is to<br />

continue to be our charity for <strong>2020</strong>.<br />

One special highlight of my year was a visit to HMS<br />

Sutherland courtesy of the golf club – a most<br />

enjoyable and interesting afternoon.<br />

Another special date was our Annual Dinner when<br />

we celebrated 30 years of Ladies Dinners, the first<br />

having taken place in the Burghfield Hotel in<br />

1989. It was wonderful that we had an excellent<br />

turnout of ladies who had organised and attended<br />

the very first dinner.<br />

of house staff; Brian and his kitchen crew and<br />

Andrew, Bradley, Gary and Jorden and everyone<br />

else in the Pro Shop; and last but not least Eoin<br />

Riddell and all his team. Thank you all.<br />

I could not have managed without the support of<br />

my committee. They are always willing to do<br />

whatever is asked of them. Thank you ladies.<br />

Thanks also to all the ladies who volunteered to<br />

help at Opens and other events.<br />

I wish you all well for <strong>2020</strong>. Please continue to<br />

participate in our club events as this keeps our<br />

Ladies’ Section flourishing.<br />

Norma Fleming<br />

Ladies Captain<br />

On behalf of the ladies section I thank all the<br />

<strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> staff – Neil, Claire, Alison, Donna,<br />

Elaine and Stuart in the office; Sue and all front<br />

27


Senior Section<br />

With the Summer season having finished, the<br />

Seniors are now into the <strong>Winter</strong> schedule of<br />

Tuesday roll-up four-ball better-balls with a<br />

monthly Stableford. This <strong>Winter</strong> a monthly<br />

Greensomes is being trialled, to introduce further<br />

variety to the competitions. One thing is certain,<br />

as the course appears longer with cooler air and<br />

wet ground, using the green tees has been greatly<br />

appreciated. The <strong>Winter</strong> tees will be greeted with<br />

similar popularity!<br />

During the Summer thirteen matches were played,<br />

seven won, five lost and one halved. Five of the<br />

victories came at home, but Tain and Hopeman<br />

were both vanquished away. The only home defeat<br />

came against The Senior Society. Unfortunately<br />

<strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> failed to regain the Alex Sim<br />

Quaich from <strong>Royal</strong> Aberdeen, that match being<br />

halved. Thank you very much to the forty-one<br />

members who represented the Senior Section,<br />

especially those who answered last-minute calls.<br />

During the Summer the various medal, Stableford<br />

and team competitions plus the Barry Watson<br />

Quaich all attracted substantial entries.<br />

The winners are:<br />

Summer Championship: Stuart Shaw;<br />

W. E. Skinner Cup (Senior Scratch):<br />

Stuart McAllister;<br />

Seniors Spring Meeting (May Medal):<br />

Jim Campbell;<br />

Willie MacDonald Quaich (Senior Handicap):<br />

Stuart Sim;<br />

Barry Watson Quaich (H’cap Matchplay):<br />

Jim Seatter;<br />

The Bartlett Cup (Scr. Matchplay):<br />

Stuart McAllister.<br />

28


The Senior Section had fifty-three members this<br />

year, most of whom were actively involved in our<br />

events. After three years, John McMurray stepped<br />

down as Secretary. At the AGM he was thanked<br />

for all his hard work. He was replaced by myself.<br />

Matthew McBride completed his two-year stint as<br />

Captain, Adrian Bagott stepping up to this<br />

position. At the AGM appreciation was expressed<br />

for Matt’s contribution. The new Vice-captain is<br />

David Muschamp. On the committee Derek<br />

MacDougall replaced Hamish Macrae who had<br />

completed his three-year period as a committee<br />

member.<br />

Quaich, will be taken in the Pro Shop along with<br />

all other Club matchplay competition entries.<br />

Finally, my thanks to Andrew Skinner for making<br />

the monthly medal/stableford draws; all the office<br />

staff for their patience and support; the greens staff<br />

for providing such a high quality course, much<br />

appreciated by ourselves and our visitors, who<br />

made many favourable comments; the catering<br />

and bar staff for the excellent food and service after<br />

matches. Also thank you to the members of the<br />

committee for their valuable assistance helping me<br />

through my first season as secretary.<br />

Next year there is a full list of competitions and<br />

matches, which it is hoped members will enter and<br />

enjoy. New members are always welcome, annual<br />

subscription being £10. Please note, entries,<br />

together with fee of £2 for The Barry Watson<br />

Roger Boyce<br />

Senior Section Secretary<br />

29


Wednesday Seniors (The Geriatrics)<br />

Once again we had a a good turnout with an<br />

average of 25 to 30 or so members playing each<br />

Wednesday throughout the summer and early<br />

autumn. The turnout peaked at 38.<br />

The Martin Steeves Trophy was played for the first<br />

time and we were pleased that his widow Mary<br />

presented it. The mixed greensomes competition<br />

was again cancelled due to bad weather and the<br />

Ladies v Geriatrics was cancelled due to a<br />

congestion of fixtures. Jorden arranged for some<br />

of the juniors to play with us on a Wednesday<br />

morning and joined us for ‘afters’ but they missed<br />

out on a dram! It was especially pleasing that their<br />

captain Tom and his brother Angus turned up as<br />

they had just arrived back late at night from the<br />

USA. They did look jet-lagged.<br />

Whilst we are enjoying ourselves our donations<br />

(which is the weekly entry fee) have been<br />

accumulating. This year we again raised £1250 for<br />

charity - £500 each to the <strong>Dornoch</strong> Medical<br />

Practice and the Highland Hospice, and £250 to<br />

the Heritage Society.<br />

Our Annual Luncheon and Competition took<br />

place on Wednesday 25 th September and was well<br />

attended as usual. Many thanks to the chef &<br />

catering staff as we were well fed and watered. I also<br />

thank the front of house staff for looking after us<br />

throughout the season and to the club for<br />

supplying the wine. Our guests were President<br />

Gordon Lawson, Captain Rob Murray, Ladies<br />

Captain Norma Fleming, General Manager Neil<br />

Hampton, Assistant Manager, Claire Riddell, Club<br />

Pro Andrew Skinner and Course Manager Eoin<br />

Riddell who gives us a well prepared course<br />

although we do sometimes question the pin<br />

positions!<br />

Norma graciously presented the prizes & trophies<br />

and stoically withstood many geriatric embraces.<br />

As usual we all retired mellow and happy.<br />

John S Logan<br />

30


The results for the season:<br />

Competition Winner Runner Up<br />

Spring Mixed Greensomes<br />

Cancelled<br />

J T Robertson Cup<br />

Geir Thomassen<br />

Don MacKay<br />

Jim Seatter Rosebowl<br />

Don MacKay<br />

Ian Irwin<br />

Macleod Thomson Targes<br />

Geir Thomassen<br />

Graeme Miller<br />

Don MacKay<br />

Alistair Fleming<br />

Niall Curry Trophy<br />

Frank Gerstenberg<br />

Keith Henry<br />

Patterson Salver Foursomes<br />

Tom Dingwall<br />

Bill Orr<br />

Stuart Shaw<br />

Ray Bower<br />

Heritage 5 Club<br />

Mike Thomas<br />

Lindsay MacDonald<br />

John Green Quaich<br />

David MacLean<br />

Sander MacDonald<br />

Peter Monk Trophy<br />

Mike Thomas<br />

J N Patterson Quaich<br />

Graeme Miller<br />

Ian Irwin<br />

K W Milne Whisky Greensomes<br />

Ian Innes<br />

Willie MacKay<br />

Stuart Shaw<br />

Ray Bower<br />

Archie Forbes Trophy<br />

Ian Irwin<br />

Allan McKillop<br />

Martin Steeves Trophy<br />

David Offin<br />

Graeme Miller<br />

Qualifying Appearances – 15<br />

For trophies below<br />

Winner<br />

Runner-up<br />

Hugh Steele Trophy<br />

Hugh Anderson<br />

David Offin<br />

Overall Winner<br />

Anniversary Trophy 81 & Over A<br />

Florence Patterson Trophy 76 & Over B<br />

Trowbridge Trophy 70 & Over C<br />

Bill Smith Trophy 65 & Over D<br />

Twomey Trophy Under 65 E<br />

President’s Shield (Non-Qualified) F<br />

Dingwall Trophy<br />

(Most Appearances)<br />

W E Skinner Quaich Highest Average<br />

J N Patterson Eclectic Trophy Eclectic<br />

Willie Skinner Ray Bower<br />

Hugh Anderson John Calder<br />

Billy MacKay<br />

Stuart Shaw<br />

David Offin<br />

Andy Marshall<br />

Keith Henry<br />

Graeme Miller<br />

Gordon Lawson Alan McKillop<br />

Don MacKay 37 Andy Marshall 36<br />

Phil Prince 23.94 Ian Irwin 23.00<br />

Phil Prince 132 Steve Webb 131<br />

Ronnie Bruce 132<br />

E H McDonald Painting –<br />

‘Thanks for the Memory’<br />

Winner of<br />

A&B Groups<br />

Hugh Anderson<br />

John Calder<br />

31


Meet the Team<br />

people play and what we’d now term “grow the<br />

game”, I’ve never forgotten that!<br />

My name is Scott Aitchison. I am the Deputy Course<br />

Manager here at <strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> and I’ve been a<br />

greenkeeper for 28 years.<br />

My life began in Kilwinning, North East Ayrshire, in<br />

the town where my mum’s family came from. My<br />

father was an East End of Glasgow boy and this was<br />

his first pit stop in a quest to live on the coast. My<br />

mum was from a golfing family and did well,<br />

winning 13 club championships at 3 different clubs<br />

and represented Scotland at amateur level. As a<br />

family we seemed to move every couple of years when<br />

I was wee so I was never settled or was able to cement<br />

friendships however the first club I remember being<br />

around was Troon Welbeck where my dad was the<br />

treasurer and I remember getting a Pepsi and a pack<br />

of Tudor Spring Onion crisps if I helped him count<br />

and bank the money. He also took me out to play<br />

there and got me lessons with Willie Hastings who<br />

was a local man, golf mad and just wanted to help<br />

Sadly, my parents got divorced and I moved with my<br />

mum to Prestwick which is where I call home.<br />

Prestwick St Nicholas was now my mum’s club and I<br />

got a junior membership when I was old enough at<br />

12 year of age. I’m a terrible player but I love it and<br />

there’s more to golf than playing well. Having always<br />

been in and about golf clubs, I can tell you there’s lots<br />

to learn. There’s rules, there’s etiquette, there’s<br />

manners, there’s respect, there’s social interaction<br />

from men, women and children where on occasion<br />

the best and worst of human nature can be on<br />

display, but also opportunity, and as junior captain<br />

of St Nic’s, I got the first refusal to become a seasonal<br />

worker on the greenstaff. I took it and had one of the<br />

most exhilarating months of my life as a 16 year old.<br />

I was working in a team of colourful characters who<br />

had stories like I’d never heard. I was wet behind my<br />

significant ears until I started working with these<br />

guys so had to grow up fast. I was fit so enjoyed the<br />

physical work and had such a laugh doing it, all while<br />

getting a suntan. I was asked back for the October<br />

holidays too and after that when it was time to pick<br />

the places where we’d go for further education and<br />

I was offered an apprenticeship on the greenstaff. We<br />

had the fear of unemployment drummed into us by<br />

the school in those days and it was pointed out to<br />

me the large number of jobs in greenkeeping<br />

available throughout the UK at the back of the<br />

Industry magazine each month. It was more difficult<br />

to convince my parents however as they expected<br />

university graduation despite me having very little<br />

academic ability- deluded! Anyway I accepted.<br />

32


My boss was from <strong>Dornoch</strong> so I became well aware<br />

of the qualities of <strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> as a course and as<br />

a younger man I had previously watched Tom<br />

Watson’s speech describing it as the most fun he ever<br />

had on a golf course, which stuck with me. The train<br />

on my train set was called the Duchess of Sutherland<br />

so perhaps it was being written in the stars I’d<br />

eventually move here! I came up to play in a<br />

greenkeeping tournament in 1995 and was blown<br />

away by the course and the atmosphere in the<br />

clubhouse afterwards. I must have been doing<br />

something right in my 7 years at St Nic’s because<br />

when my boss got the job as Head Greenkeeper at<br />

<strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> in 1997 he offered me the first<br />

assistant’s role if I’d come up and run the Struie<br />

Course for him. I took him up on it and moved my<br />

girlfriend and step daughter to <strong>Dornoch</strong> with me.<br />

I thought I’d stay a couple of years, get the Club on<br />

my CV and drift off round the world, instead I fell<br />

in love with <strong>Dornoch</strong>, the people and couldn’t<br />

imagine a better place to raise children. I got married<br />

and two more children came along, both of whom<br />

have been raised in the <strong>Dornoch</strong> community and<br />

became junior members, so they benefitted from the<br />

opportunities that brings including the amazing<br />

things like the Morcott Challenge.<br />

I’ve worked with Eoin Riddell now for 22 years, who<br />

took over as Course Manager in 2005, and in 2007.<br />

I was honoured when he asked me to be his Deputy<br />

Course Manager. I’ve watched Eoin take the course<br />

to a different level, we’ve been through a lot together<br />

and we are a good foil for each other. I’m very much<br />

about team, it’s all I’m interested in as far as work<br />

goes – I’d be useless self employed. I live for winning<br />

as a team and here at <strong>Dornoch</strong> I know we could go<br />

toe to toe with any greenstaff in the world, we have<br />

such talent in our ranks. Some of the work in the<br />

past 5 years in particular, has been remarkable. It’s a<br />

major part of who I am, but I wouldn’t define myself<br />

by my job.<br />

I have other passions including sport and music. My<br />

children are grown up now and occasionally they<br />

remember where I stay so I get to spend some time<br />

with them, but I’ve lived in 5 houses throughout the<br />

town and massively appreciate the community aspect<br />

that is the soul of the place. Although I can’t play a<br />

note, I love all types of music and go to lots of<br />

concerts up and down the country.<br />

My first love is football and my cross to bear is that I<br />

support Ayr United Football Club. I never managed<br />

to catch the eye of their scout back in the day BUT<br />

I have been captain of <strong>Dornoch</strong> FC, the Zeebz, both<br />

summer and winter league teams... although I have<br />

never been asked for an autograph by any of the<br />

supporters.<br />

I’m very lucky to have been part of this wonderful<br />

community and golf club especially at this time when<br />

so much is changing. I remain as passionate as ever<br />

about how I can affect it positively and wake up each<br />

morning with that in mind. I look forward to seeing<br />

the new clubhouse and the change in dynamic that<br />

will bring to the club and town. My best wishes to<br />

all members near and far and to the multitude of<br />

visitors who come here like I once did to see what<br />

the buzz is all about.<br />

Scott Aitchison<br />

Deputy Course Manager<br />

33


Minutes of the Annual General Meeting<br />

Minutes of the Annual General<br />

Meeting of <strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> Golf Club<br />

Held in <strong>Dornoch</strong> Academy on Friday<br />

16 th August 2019 at 7.30pm<br />

Captain Rob Murray in the Chair<br />

Present: 156 Ordinary Members, 11 Struie/Social<br />

Members<br />

1. Meeting Overview<br />

The Captain welcomed everyone to the meeting<br />

and thanked them for turning out in such<br />

numbers. He highlighted some points of order,<br />

namely switching off mobile phones, that there<br />

were no fire alarms scheduled so should the alarm<br />

go off please exit the building in a calm and orderly<br />

fashion, direct any questions from the floor<br />

through the chair, wait for the microphone, state<br />

your name so it can accurately be recorded in<br />

minutes, only one voice at a time and be courteous<br />

to those speaking.<br />

4. Matters Arising from the Minutes<br />

There are no outstanding matters arising, all<br />

matters raised at last year’s meeting having been<br />

dealt with.<br />

5. Captain’s Report<br />

The Captain had nothing material to add to his<br />

report but noted the following: “We have had a<br />

good year, the Championship Course is in<br />

excellent condition, we are financially in a good<br />

place and the Clubhouse Project is progressing<br />

well. Thank you to all those working in and around<br />

the club and to those on Council of Management,<br />

Sub Committees and the Projects Team for the<br />

tremendous amount of time and effort you put in<br />

for the club and for supporting me in my first year<br />

of Captaincy.”<br />

6. Election of Vice President<br />

2. Apologies for absence<br />

19 received prior to the meeting, 1 received at the<br />

meeting<br />

3. Approval of Minutes<br />

Minutes of 2018 AGM (circulated previously).<br />

Proposed by Rob Murray and Seconded by John<br />

McMurray.<br />

Mr W H Macrae is eligible for re-election, he is<br />

willing to serve again and is unanimously<br />

nominated by the Council of Management.<br />

Seconded by Gordon Lawson and unanimously<br />

approved by those present.<br />

Mr Macrae accepted the position and said that it<br />

was an honour and privilege to have this<br />

nomination. “I have been a member for 50 years,<br />

have served as captain and a previous term as vice<br />

president, thank you all very much.”<br />

Approved by a show of hands.<br />

34


7. Election of Members of the Council of<br />

Management<br />

The retiring members are: Mr S J M McMurray,<br />

Mr A G R Shannon and Mr A Stoddart.<br />

The Captain thanked them for their hard work,<br />

dedication and time given to the club during their<br />

term of office.<br />

There were three candidates and the Captain asked<br />

them to say a few words of introduction and what<br />

qualities they would bring to Council on serving<br />

the club:<br />

Ian P Madeley<br />

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I’m Ian<br />

Madeley, not all of you here know me so I would<br />

very briefly like to introduce myself to you. I’m<br />

delighted to have the opportunity to serve <strong>Royal</strong><br />

<strong>Dornoch</strong> on its Council of Management. What is<br />

my connection to the club? My wife Caroline and<br />

I have been coming to <strong>Dornoch</strong> to play golf for<br />

over 35 years and I have been a member for 11<br />

years. We built a house here 9 years ago which<br />

houses webcam No.2 for the club. We moved here<br />

permanently 4 years ago and 2 years ago (because<br />

of my retail experience) I was asked to be part of<br />

the retail sub committee run by Tony Bartlett. The<br />

financial contribution retail makes to <strong>Royal</strong><br />

<strong>Dornoch</strong> is vital and this group meets on a regular<br />

basis. I helped transition the business to the club,<br />

handled recruitment of new key members of staff,<br />

developed the members Wildcat range and our<br />

relationship with RZSS and have introduced a<br />

higher level of product quality control. If the<br />

Captain asks me to become the retail convenor<br />

then I would hope to continue improving what we<br />

can offer in the shop, for example our members<br />

now have 20% discount and regular 50% sales. I<br />

will look forward to hearing your views and thanks<br />

for listening.”<br />

Ian W Irwin<br />

“Back in the 1970’s l worked as a quantity surveyor<br />

for a couple of civil engineering and construction<br />

companies on various projects including but not<br />

limited to the construction of a 100m high<br />

reinforced concrete grain silo, the precision<br />

demolition of a 120ft high industrial brick<br />

chimney and the construction of underground<br />

storage tanks etc. at a USAF air force base in the<br />

UK when that base was part of NATO’s strategic<br />

defence during the cold war. In the 1980’s l joined<br />

a professional quantity surveying firm who were<br />

acting for and on behalf of BP in the construction<br />

35


of the Sullom Voe oil terminal in Shetland.<br />

Thereafter l was posted on other oil and gas<br />

projects including a 2 year stint at Shell’s Stanlow<br />

oil refinery in which a major upgrade was carried<br />

out. l then joined Shell as a contracts engineer in<br />

Aberdeen putting in place various and numerous<br />

North Sea onshore and offshore contracts and<br />

after circa 3 years l transferred to one of their<br />

major contractors. I remained with this contractor<br />

the rest of my working life, working as a contracts<br />

engineer/manager on numerous North Sea<br />

onshore and offshore projects for various major oil<br />

operators. This involved all commercial activities<br />

in putting back to back contracts in place with<br />

various sized subcontractors. During the last six or<br />

so years l also took on the role of office services<br />

contracts manager putting in place all the contracts<br />

necessary in order to operate a number of office<br />

buildings where we had over 3,000 personnel in a<br />

number of UK locations. Why did I move to<br />

<strong>Dornoch</strong> some 28 years ago? well the reason was<br />

not golf but a wee highland lass l took a shine to<br />

whilst working at Stanlow Oil refinery and who<br />

became my wife. This lass along with some of you<br />

here went to school in <strong>Dornoch</strong>. The rest as they<br />

say is history. For the record I joined <strong>Royal</strong><br />

<strong>Dornoch</strong> as a member back in 1995. If l get<br />

nominated l would hope that l may be able to assist<br />

<strong>Royal</strong> <strong>Dornoch</strong> in its successful future.”<br />

S John M McMurray<br />

“I have been a member since March 2003 and<br />

served the Seniors as Secretary between March<br />

2016 and April 2019. I have been a member of the<br />

Council for the last year during which time I was<br />

House Convenor. At my previous club I was<br />

Handicap Convenor for 4 years. I wish to see our<br />

club continue to prosper and maintain at least a 4<br />

star service in the longer term, thank you.”<br />

As has been normal practice with 3 candidates for<br />

3 positions you are all duly elected as members of<br />

Council.<br />

8. Statement and Adoption of Accounts for the<br />

year 2018/2019<br />

The Finance Convener, Mr A.D. Bartlett told the<br />

meeting that he would first comment on the<br />

36


accounts for the year ended 31 st March 2019,<br />

answering any questions, and then say a few words<br />

about the current year and the future.<br />

Besides the £200,000 external costs spent so far on<br />

the 7th hole, the greenkeepers have worked nearly<br />

5000 hours on the project over the past two years.<br />

At last year’s AGM we gained approval to spend<br />

up to £400,000 on professional fees in the year. So<br />

far around £200,000 has been spent.<br />

On other matters<br />

Our budget for the current year is based on<br />

achieving an operating profit of £1.5m.<br />

To date nearly all revenue streams are ahead of<br />

budget and costs are close to budget. Overall our<br />

surplus is running well ahead of budget.<br />

Of particular note is the Pro Shop. Whilst we<br />

budgeted for a large increase in sales this year the<br />

results to date show a significant increase over<br />

budget.<br />

Our cash position is standing at over £5.7m but<br />

we continue to be heavily reliant on bookings in<br />

advance to achieve our annual budgeted cash flow<br />

projections.<br />

For next year our visitor green fees are going up to<br />

£195 per person however for many of our overseas<br />

visitors the increase in their local currency is likely<br />

to be reduced by the weakness of Sterling.<br />

Looking forward it is likely that our employment<br />

costs will rise higher than inflation both because<br />

local competition for staff is high and we need the<br />

right people to meet our quality of service<br />

ambitions.<br />

Much progress has been made regarding<br />

budgeting, monthly financial reporting and the<br />

production of financial information by<br />

department. Thanks go particularly to Matt<br />

McBride and Martin Lynch for the many hours<br />

they have spent to help achieve this.<br />

The adoption of the accounts was proposed by<br />

Tony Bartlett, seconded by Mr Willie MacKay and<br />

was passed by a show of hands.<br />

37


David Robertson<br />

Surplus in the pro shop and merchandising, how<br />

is it made up and what is it now?<br />

Last year the turnover in the shop was £650k and<br />

this year we set a budget of 750k. To date we are<br />

exceeding that significantly. The profitability is<br />

made up of the gross margin of sales after various<br />

provisions and is around 45%. Besides that, we<br />

have the trolley, buggy and club hire which is<br />

around £60-70k. The costs of running the shop are<br />

not just the shop stock and staff but also the meet<br />

& greet staff so the pro shop figures absorb more<br />

than just the retail element.<br />

10. Greens Convenor Report<br />

The Green Convenor had nothing to add to his<br />

report and there were no questions submitted<br />

prior to the meeting.<br />

Questions from the floor<br />

Ashley Rose<br />

Plans to have solid bases in some bunkers has not<br />

happened?<br />

We will do one at the 2 nd of the Championship<br />

Course and maybe more time permitting.<br />

9. Election of Auditors<br />

The Council of Management unanimously<br />

proposes that the firm of Mackenzie Kerr be reappointed<br />

as club auditors.<br />

Douglas Martin<br />

Championship Course is very good but the Struie<br />

Course is not so good with several parts suffering,<br />

what plans to rectify this?<br />

We have started coring and reseeding.<br />

This was proposed by Tony Bartlett, seconded by<br />

Gordon Davies and passed by a show of hands.<br />

38


Daniel Holden<br />

The practice facilities for the adults are all very<br />

poor, the greens at the bunker and pitching areas<br />

don’t reflect the golf course which make it difficult<br />

to chip and putt and the academy holes are for the<br />

younger players so the adults just have the<br />

aerodrome.<br />

Point taken and we will look into it.<br />

Stuart McAllister<br />

According to the measurements that I have taken<br />

the 7 th hole is not as agreed by the members in<br />

2016, with fairway, greens and tees not in the same<br />

places as set out in the plan. If it is not as the<br />

members passed at the AGM where do we stand<br />

as we seem to be building a different hole to that<br />

approved by the members?<br />

The hole was built under the architect’s<br />

supervision, he is very pleased with what has been<br />

built and the quality of the work that has been<br />

done. All architects will refine their design as the<br />

construction progresses but we will look into the<br />

differences from the original plan with the<br />

architect. The decision to open for play will not be<br />

made until the growing season is complete.<br />

Willie MacKay<br />

There has been good work done and we have a<br />

magnificent hole. Do the members agree?<br />

Sue Smith<br />

The CoM need to take these comments on board<br />

and look into it.<br />

The Captain confirmed that this is what he said<br />

would be done.<br />

Daniel Holden<br />

Will there be OOB on the right of the 7 th hole?<br />

We will wait see what if anything is required once<br />

the hole is open for play.<br />

Ashley Rose<br />

The current line of the GUR does not reflect<br />

where the edge of the new fairway will be.<br />

This was confirmed.<br />

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11. Clubhouse Project<br />

At last year’s AGM the members were asked to<br />

support the project in agreeing to spend up to<br />

£400k in fees to complete the design process and<br />

in doing so the intention was to build a clubhouse<br />

on a new site. The resolution achieved 89%<br />

support in favour of a new clubhouse.<br />

The Captain asked that the focus is on the<br />

resolution and not get side tracked on issues of the<br />

design, site or specific detail. He assured the<br />

meeting that the Projects Team with vast<br />

professional experience have worked diligently<br />

with our professional advisers in challenging the<br />

detail of all aspects of the project.<br />

During the past year and following the two open<br />

meetings and subsequent emailing of the proposals<br />

there has been overwhelming support of the<br />

project and no one has challenged the overall<br />

proposals.<br />

There have been two member meetings explaining<br />

progress made and giving full details of the project<br />

and the financial implications. We are working to<br />

a budget not to exceed £9m, which has been agreed<br />

with our professional advisers and includes a<br />

significant contingency. It is unlikely that on the<br />

cost side we will have significantly firmer numbers<br />

until we tender the project which will be in the<br />

middle of next year when hopefully the Brexit issue<br />

will be clearer.<br />

What happens if the tender costs are significantly<br />

higher than our budget? Whilst this is not expected<br />

to happen the Projects Team and the Council of<br />

Management have agreed that should the costs<br />

arising from the tendering process be more than<br />

10% over the budget and we still wish to continue<br />

we will seek confirmation from members that they<br />

want to proceed. The Captain assured the meeting<br />

that the members would be kept informed during<br />

the next stage of the process.<br />

The Captain summed up by saying “This<br />

resolution requires a two thirds majority to succeed<br />

and I urge you to support in line with the positive<br />

momentum we have received since last year’s AGM<br />

and the two open meetings so we can finally build<br />

40


a new clubhouse to serve the club for the next 50<br />

years and beyond which we can afford without<br />

putting the club at risk.”<br />

There were no comments from the floor.<br />

The result of the secret ballot was 137 for the<br />

resolution with 14 against.<br />

This concluded the official section of the AGM at<br />

8.21pm.<br />

The Captain then opened the forum for members<br />

to bring up items for the Council of Management<br />

to consider.<br />

Nick Harding<br />

We have seen with the Clubhouse project an<br />

appropriate undertaking for subsequent members’<br />

review of the investment in the case of potential<br />

significant overspend: i.e. further approval.<br />

Nevertheless, on an ongoing basis whereas rule<br />

16(f) of the club requires a majority from a general<br />

meeting for fixed and financial investments over<br />

£500k and rule 16(g) for borrowings over £250k,<br />

no requirement exists to specify an approved value<br />

nor restrictions on any overspend.<br />

This means, for example, that an approved amount<br />

of “over £500k” (£501k say) could result in an<br />

actual expenditure of, perhaps, £8 million without<br />

further requirement to seek Members’ approval.<br />

These rules were introduced to ensure that<br />

commitments of a magnitude and nature to<br />

present a possible significant risk to the club<br />

should be appropriately considered by the<br />

members. The potential risk to the Club’s financial<br />

position comes from the amount actually spent<br />

rather than from the estimate presented at the time<br />

of approval and it is therefore fundamentally<br />

important that there is appropriate accountability<br />

for remaining within defined limits. Is it not<br />

essential that rules 16 (f) and (g) be updated to<br />

cover these issues for future investments and<br />

funding requirements?<br />

41


Catherine Bryce<br />

Can we have a proper toilet on the Struie Course?<br />

Captain – We will look into improving the current<br />

facility but we are still not sure of the routing of<br />

the course in the future.<br />

Brian Laughland<br />

How are the negotiations on the lease for the<br />

common good land?<br />

Captain – These are ongoing with the Highland<br />

Council and Community Council and a statement<br />

will issued as soon as we have reached a<br />

conclusion.<br />

Brian Laughland<br />

Will this impact on the costs of the new<br />

clubhouse?<br />

Captain – We are quite certain that they won’t.<br />

42


Alan Farrar<br />

We have lost basic food like pie and chips, sausage<br />

and chips. I used to spend a lot of time in the<br />

clubhouse when these were on offer. What will the<br />

new clubhouse offer a la carte or basic food?<br />

Ashley Rose<br />

Any update on a new borehole?<br />

John Logan<br />

Preferred lies for state of fairways on Struie<br />

Course?<br />

Gordon Lawson<br />

Before you all depart, can I thank on your behalf<br />

the Captain and the Council for all the time and<br />

effort they have put in over the last year.<br />

The Captain thanked everyone, closed the meeting<br />

and invited all to the clubhouse for a drink.<br />

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