CBGC MAY NEWSLETTER 2023

From the Pro Shop

Chris Tomlinson

Upcoming Events
Seniors Tournament – The Cobram-Barooga Senior Amateur will be played over 54 holes stroke (Men) and Stableford (Women). Date: Monday 8 – Thursday 11 May 2023 (No tournament plays on Wednesday).

Registration is through Golf Australia at THIS LINK, however, if you need assistance in filling out the GA registration, please come into the Pro Shop and one of our team will be more than happy to help you register!

Vic Men’s Country Champs & Cobram Barooga Men’s & Women’s Open Amateur – Entries for this event open on March 31st.

Click Here to enter online.

2023 June Tournament – Entries are now out for 2023 June Tournament
2023 Edna O’Brien Ladies Open Championship – Entries are now open, visit the Tournament Page of the CBGC website to download the registration form
Shop News
We had another busy period especially during the school holidays with lots of families coming out and enjoying a round of mini golf and using the bunkers. We’ve got another busy few weeks coming with lots of packages coming up before the winter season begins.

We ask that all members who go out for a social hit to please report to the pro shop or give us a call to say you are going out for a hit. It just helps us monitor who is out on the course at all times.

We are starting to display all our winter clothing with lots of jumpers and pants coming in. So, if you need a nice warm jumper or even a new pair of pants leading into winter, come see us in the pro shop and we will show you our winter stuff.

With winter coming along fast it’s always good to start the cool season with some brand-new grips. We have a variety of grips to choose from. Here’s a couple pointers to see if you need new grips.

Over time (and rounds, plus practice sessions), heat, dirt, and oily residue on wet or sweaty hands combine to degrade the grip. You’ll feel less traction between your hands and the club, which will cause you to grip it more tightly to keep it from slipping. This creates tension in the hands, wrists, and forearms. As a rule for when to replace golf grips, think every 12 – 18 months or every 30 – 40 rounds.

Monthly Medals
April Men’s Monthly Medal Winner – Play off next month (Scott Haswell & Sam Trembath)
April Ladies Monthly Medal Winner –  Di Pearce
Easter Tournament Wrap up
Good Friday saw 109 players play in the individual stableford competition of the day in cool conditions.

The Mens Winners for the day were:
A Grade: Freddy Barton 39 Points
B Grade: Ben Morrison 37 l points
C grade: Scott Ryan 36 points

The Ladies Winners for the day were:
A Grade : Heather Briggs 37 points
B Grade Michelle King 37 points

Easter Saturday saw 150 players compete for the Annual Mens and Ladies Easter Cup. It was a cold and blustery day which favoured those willing to grind through the tough conditions. Helen Pascoe from Buninyong Golf Club prevailed in the conditions to win the Women’s Cup by an impressive 9 shots over local favourite Rowena Wallace. In the Men’s it was Brad Lovitt from Lang Lang Golf Club who had 77 of the stick to take home the trophy by 2 shots over Corowa’s Kieran MacNamara and Cobram Barooga member Mark Corradin. Best nett score of the day and the only person to beat their handicap on the day was local Jason Stephens with 70 nett.

Easter Sunday we had a mixed 4BBB stableford and a Individual stableford. With the conditions cool and windy, it was due to be a hard day for scoring and a close one we had.

The winners for the mixed 4BBB stableford was Matt Haddrell & Lee Mayo with a score of 45 points. Runners up and finishing on 44 points was Peter & Robyn Morrison. Finishing in 3rd place on a count back was Michael & Cathy Kean with 43 points. 4th place was Derek & Sue Herbison. The individual stableford was won by Alastair Robbins 34 points on a count back from Chris King.

Easter Monday we had another great field of 122 players taking on the course with the best conditions of tournament and some of the best scorers were coming.

The winners for the day in the men’s sections were:
A Grade: Michael Peters 36 points
B Grade: Simon Donovan 37 points C/B
C Grade: Cal Leighton-Daly 37 points C/B

The Ladies winners were:
A Grade: Helen Pascoe 40 points
B Grade: Lucie Conroy 36 points
C Grade: Helen Gauci 40 points

We would like to thank everyone for their support in the Easter tournament and we hope everyone had a safe and happy Easter.

Casey Chandler:
Casey played in the Bendigo Junior tournament which was played at the Bendigo Golf Club. Casey went over there with playing some good golf and manage to win the junior girl’s tournament by 7 shots in the end.  Casey recently played at The Sands Torquay in their Junior tournament. Casey came 3rd with 80, 1st and 2nd were both in her group and it was close all day. 1st had 78, 2nd had 79.

Commonwealth Golf Club have made the 2023 Div 1 Pennant finals in Melbourne which Casey this season has won 5 out of 6 Matches which is a fantastic effort considering this is her first year playing pennant down in Melbourne. We wish Casey the best of luck in the pennant final which is on the 30/04/2023. They are playing The National at Cranbourne GC.

Club Championship
The 2023 club championships finished up with the last 2 rounds being played on April 1st and 2nd. The men’s club champion for 2023 was won by Chris Tomlinson with rounds of 74,79,76,75 with a total of 304 winning by 1 shot from 2020 Club champion Mark Corradin. Mark finished with 74,76,79,76 with a total of 305. B Grade champion was won by Jon Milovitch with rounds of 83,83,87,89 for a total of 342 winning by 8 shots.Michael Millar finished runner with rounds of 89,83,91,87 for a total of 350 with Bruce Edwards finishing 1 shot behind Michael with 351. C grade champion was won by Richard Lavery with rounds of 90,91,90,96 for a total of 367 and winning by 13 shots from Tim Mynard. Tim had rounds of 91,95,99,95 for a total of 380.

In the Ladies section, the 2023 Club Championships have been successfully completed with all grades being very close and going down to the final hole, the following are the winners and runners up

A Grade winner: Tracey Clouston 254
Runner up: Rowena Wallace 256

B Grade winner: Terry Mentha 296
Runner up: Jan Curran 298

C Grade winner: Helen Adkins 333
Runner up:Jenny Gould 336

Slamen Cup: Jan Curran 146
Putting: Gai Mitchelson 91

Singles Knockout:
First round of the singles knockout is due to be played by 29-04-2023.  The draws can be located on our website or in the Pro shop
Winter Pennant Interest sheet.
Winter pennant is fast approaching us and the club have entered 3 pennant sides again this year. We will have a Div 2 (SCR), Div 3 and Div 5 (Both HCP). The sign up sheet is next to the score card printer. We are a proud club and would love to have as many players to put their hand up to CBGC in the upcoming season.
Junior Golf Update:
A regular schedule for the junior golf program effective Sunday 7th of May, 2023. The proshop will support the program by providing weekly instruction via Steffi, Chris and Michael. The initial program will run similar to previous, utilising the my golf – kids program supported by Golf Australia. This means that we will look at beginning via the usual Sunday clinic format beginning at 10am on the West Course Practice Fairway on the 7th of May.

If you would like any further updates, keep up with what’s happening with the juniors please go over to the Cobram Barooga Golf Club juniors Facebook Group and join it as any new updates and what’s happening will be posted in this group.

JOIN CBGC JUNIORS FACEBOOK GROUP

The Super Report

Terry Vogel

The past month has been disrupted through a series of short weeks via Easter, Anzac Day public holidays and unfortunately outside illness and injuries. Short weeks and short numbers in the crew have meant some of the projects we have planned to start have been delayed until we have closer to a full crew available. We had hoped to have completed more turf replacement in the damaged areas of the surrounds, some other areas will be tackled this week.

We have decided to cart directional lines around the greens and surrounds, far too often carts by members and guests are seen very close to the edge of greens. The line will make all cart users accountable to each other as to how they operate carts on the courses. On the same point carts are being driven off the paths to be closer to the tee please stick to the paths as that is what they are there for.

From Easter works have started on the sound and light show / walking track on the west course, you will notice some traffic in and out of the bushland, no disruption to gold is expected.

Over the last few years a disease called ” fairway patch disease “, there is no registered cure for this disease at present and the only advice on how to help the turf is to keep the grass as healthy as possible. The fairways will have an extra fertilise before they head into dormancy, and we will budget for some extra attention in the upcoming season.

As mentioned last newsletter I’m hoping to have a full tree prune of both courses this winter and was hoping to have some volunteer help. Only one person has indicated their interest which is disappointing. If you would like to help, please let me know through email at terry.vogel@sporties.com.au

2023-2024 Membership Review

and Membership Fees

As part of our ongoing program of review of all our operations, we have recently undertaken further analysis of golf membership fees to complement the reviews that took place in 2021 and 2022.

By way of context, it still costs around $2.2m every year to provide the 36 holes and complimentary services such as pro-shop and carts at the standard that we do. Our course, currently rated in the Golf Guide’s and Golf Australia Magazine’s Top 100 public access courses of Australia, is far from a local standard course. Membership revenue offset around 10% of these costs, casual green fees, pro-shop operations, cart hire, and golf tourism visitors around 75%, and the remaining 15% or around $200,000 is subsidised by the broader operations of the Sporties Group.

In addition to understanding the annual operating cost to provide golf facilities at this standard, we also need to continue to consider the likely investment required over the next 5-10 years to firstly maintain our course at this standard, but also to undertake improvements, both to enhance facilities for our members but also to stay competitive with other courses and regions in the increasingly competitive golf tourism market. We anticipate the course will require around $6-8m invested over the next 5 years on things such as water security, irrigation, and mowing equipment renewals, upgrades to the works shed to meet non-compliance, a new greenskeepers shed, greens & bunker renovations, OHS issues and path renewals.
In planning for the provision of golf as well as all of the other community facilities, infrastructure, and programs we provide or support, such as the Barooga Bowls Club, Barooga Aquatic and Recreation Centre, Bridges Villa’s, The Beach Cobram, the Barooga Sports Club and any required works on the old Golf Club Building (pending future direction) we must constantly review and adjust our programs with a focus on sustainability, including asset maintenance and renewal.

As part of the review, we again undertook a benchmarking exercise of both comparable courses located along the Murray River (and locally) as well as comparable courses by rankings in the previously mentioned top 100. Based on these, our membership fees are still lower than the benchmarks. We have the lowest membership fees of all and generally, our fees are around half or less of others, almost all of whom are providing only 18 holes.

Following the 2021-22 review, we set a target to get our full member membership fees to $1,000 per annum by the 2023-24 Financial Year. This has been done in increments, to as best as possible minimise the impact on members, with the 2022-23 full membership fee moving to $1000. Over the coming years, we will continue to explore ways to maximise value and ensure golf remains accessible to our local members and residents. It is anticipated this will still have us amongst the most affordable membership fees for a course of this standard anywhere in Australia, but importantly bring our fees into a range to support the long-term sustainability of our golf facilities and program.

We thank you for your understanding of the need to implement these required changes, to ensure we can not only provide one of the best golf courses in Australia to you, our members – but also continue to provide and support the other important sports and community facilities and programs that make Cobram Barooga a great place to live, work and play.

BACKGROUND

The Sporties Group incorporating the Barooga Sports Club, Cobram Barooga Golf Club, Nineteen81, The Bunker, Sporties Mini Golf, Barooga Bowls Club, The Beach Cobram and Barooga Aquatic and Recreation Centre remains a key driver of attractiveness and liveability to the township of Barooga as well as the broader Berrigan and Moira Shire Regions.

We have over 6,000 members and own over $33.5m in assets. With over 200 employees, we are the largest employer in the Berrigan Shire. Over the last 10 years we have invested several million dollars in other community facilities and programs, everything from supporting physical activity in local schools to supporting the building of the Cobram Community Cinema.

Our purpose is to support these facilities, services, and programs owned by us as well as continue to invest in our community indefinitely, ensuring Barooga and our surrounding communities remain fantastic places to live, stay and play.

Ongoing review of all our programs and implementation of change where needed are key strategies to ensure we can deliver on our purpose.

GOLF

Through the vision and commitment of firstly the Cobram Barooga Golf Club for over 100 years and now all of us together, we are fortunate to have one of the best golf courses in Australia in our own backyard. It is a 36-hole, championship, destination course that now has a PGA event and is currently rated in the Top 100 Courses in both the Golf Guide’s and Golf Australia Magazine’s ‘top 100 public access courses in Australia’. This is far beyond what would generally be provided as a ‘local course’ in a town with a population of 1,500 (or even 7,500 including Cobram/Barooga).

CURRENT SITUATION

The following is based on averages over 4 years, to lessen the impact of any single year anomalies:

Providing our course at the current standard costs over $2.2m every year. This includes mowing grass, irrigating (water and sprinkler maintenance), fertiliser and weed control, equipment, golf cart, basic path maintenance, and providing the pro-shop. Our investigation and benchmarking against similar facilities suggest that this is comparable and that we are certainly not being wasteful in these areas.

We also average around $1.95m in revenue annually. This is generated through memberships, casual green fees, sponsorships, golf package visitors, and pro-shop sales. In 2022-23 Golf Memberships accounted for approximately $200,000 or 10% of our total revenue linked directly to golf.

Overall, this indicates, that to provide golf facilities at this standard, the broader operations of the Sporties Group need to subsidise golf operations by over $200,000 annually.

In addition to these daily operating costs, to maintain the course at this standard and remain competitive as a destination against many other areas, most of which have much more significant catchment populations, that are investing heavily into golf facilities, it is imperative that we also continue to review our operations and plan and invest into our course and facilities.

RENEWAL & UPGRADE REQUIREMENTS

To simply maintain our course at its current standard, it is anticipated we will need to invest around $6-8M in renewals and upgrades shortly. This includes projects such as:

  • Upgrading the outdated manual irrigation system to automatic.
  • Replacing aging sprinkler heads (around 800), many of which are around 30 years old and inefficient across the whole course.
  • Replacing grass on 14 fairways with a Winter Green Couch.
  • Re-locate the works shed to address aging, safety, and non-compliance issues.
  • Upgrades to water security either through expansion of onsite water holdings or other means.
  • Renewal of existing cart paths.
  • Creation of new cart paths
  • Changeover of the golf cart fleet.
  • Green & Bunker Renovations.
  • 100 megs of High-Security water.

It is important to note, that these identified requirements do not include any upgrades or improvements to the course beyond maintaining the existing standard.

CASUAL GREEN FEE AND PACKAGE REVIEW

A review of our green fees and package golf fees suggests they are discounted when compared to regional and Murray-based green fees at around $50 for 18 holes. Therefore, the decision has been made to implement a green fee model that is dependent on peak-season and time of week, this is in effect as of the 1st of May. Under this model, during the most sought-after time periods the price will be $60 for 18 holes, while in the low-peak times the price will fall to $50 for 18 holes. Further review of this pricing will take place to assess whether further changes need to be implemented. See Graph showing Green Fees across Golf on The Murray Clubs below:

See updated Green Fees as of May 1st, 2023:
Additionally, a review of our cart hire fees suggests they are also discounted when compared to regional and Murray-based green fees at around $45 for 18 holes. Therefore, the decision has been made to increase this price to $50 for 18 holes to bring us in line with many of the Golf on the Murray Clubs. See Graph below showing Cart Hire Fees across GOTM clubs:

CURRENT MEMBERSHIP FEES

Currently, we have a range of golf memberships including a full golf member ($900), weekday golf member ($700), 85+ Golf Member ($400), Outside 50km Golf Member ($400), Second Club Member ($350), Nineteen81 Golf Member ($400), Junior ($50) and Social ($150 plus reduced green fees). As previously noted, in 2022-23 we generated approximately $200,000 from Golf Membership revenue.

BENCHMARKING

Benchmarking has been undertaken focused on two areas: The first being ‘Murray River Clubs’ or notable close by clubs. This is to provide a comparison, not only with membership fees at comparable facilities but also considering our regional location.

*Yarrawonga is not currently accepting new Full Golf Members*

Noting: Comparing Offerings between Golf Clubs is not a ‘perfect-science’ and each venue has offerings very specific to their own club. Benchmarks have been done according to what is the nearest in offering to the Cobram Barooga Golf Club’s Full Golf Membership Inclusions.

The second is memberships at comparable quality courses. For this, we have focussed on the courses rated between 85 and 95 in the Golf Course Guide’s Top 100 Public Access list.

The benchmarking suggests that our membership fees are still significantly lower than both those comparable Murray/local courses and the courses of comparable quality.

It is worth recognising that of the courses rated between 85 and 95, only us and Rosebud have 36-hole complexes and therefore it would be safe to assume all others would have significantly lower operating and maintenance costs as well as renewal and upgrade requirements.

Overall, it would suggest that membership fees of around $1,000 per annum reflect the fees paid by comparable Murray River clubs and yet would remain significantly cheaper than other comparable quality courses, most of which provide only 18 holes (or less).

An additional observation is that multiple clubs investigated in the 85-95 rankings have begun to address the evident increase in motorised golf cart usage their courses are being subjected to. This is reflected in their memberships and or an additional private-cart levy for their members wishing to use privately owned carts on the golf course. These additional fees would assumedly be used to offset the now essential expenditure of new and better infrastructure necessary to protect these courses against the growing quantity of cart traffic as well as ensure the courses themselves keep the standards their members and visitors have come to expect.

CONCLUSION

We will continue to implement the 3-year plan (of which we are entering year 3) outlined in 2020-2021 to get our fees to a more sustainable level, of around $1,000 per annum for full memberships.

It is anticipated that implementation of the 3rd year of our 3-year plan will greatly contribute towards the annual operational cost as well as required upgrades and major renewals.

Modifications to the 3-year plan include the removal of the Second Club Membership and the modification of the Outside 50km Membership to an Outside 30km Membership.

The Second Club Membership has proven difficult to administer, as it does require members to be full paying members of a secondary club, as well as not reside within designated postcodes. Issues have also been raised about Members legitimacy in this category for eligibility in Club Champs events, as well as representative honours in events such as Champions of the Murray. Its for these reasons we have elected to cease offering the Second Club Membership in 2023-2024.

The modification to the Outside 50km Membership to an Outside 30km Membership was made to address those members impacted by the removal of the Second Club Membership. After investigating where our Second Club Members are primarily located, it was discovered that many of them reside within that 30-50km radius from the clubhouse – justifiably too far away to justify being a Full Member of the Cobram Barooga Golf Club. There are in fact no Full Golf Members residing within 30-50km from the club. While the Outside 30km Membership is $100 more than what the Second Club Membership was, this also includes $50 of in-house credits that will be loaded on to Members Cards when they sign up to this category. It also includes affiliation fees paid to Golf Australia. As a result, Outside 30km Members become a full-voting-rights member of the Cobram Barooga Golf Club and the question marks on eligibility for Club Champs Events and representative opportunities such as Champions of the Murray are removed.

Some of the towns now eligible for this category include:

  • Berrigan
  • Yarrawonga
  • Mulwala
  • Numurkah
  • Finley

Some of the towns that remain ineligible include:

  • Barooga
  • Cobram
  • Yarroweyah
  • Katamatite
  • Katunga
  • Tocumwal
  • Strathmerton

While we continue with and conclude our 3-year membership plan we will investigate the opportunity to introduce initiatives such as rebates on membership based on a percentage of the pro shop and food and beverage spend, introductory memberships, further limited access type memberships, as well as monitor the need to implement an additional motorised-cart levy to offset the additional wear-and-tear being done to the course and its infrastructure.

RISKS

The Risks remain very similar to 2021 and 2022. There are two key risks associated with the continuation of the recommended direction:

Do Nothing

Should no pro-active action be taken on membership fees as well as other revenue and expenditure areas, there is a very real risk of the operational cost of providing golf facilities to this standard becoming much higher. If both income and expenditure increased by 3% per annum, the operational subsidy required may be over $300,000 per annum by the end of our 3-year plan. This may mean savings required on expenditure or little capacity for investment into renewal. Both have adverse effects on the quality of the current golf services.

Member Drop Off

While we haven’t seen the drop off noted as a risk in the previous reviews there is a very real chance increase in fees will result in a level of member drop-off.
A drop would result in a reduction in individual memberships. This would still have total membership revenue at similar amounts to there being no change to the current structure. It is anticipated that this may in part be offset by new members joining who are joining under the new structure.

RENEWAL

Just a reminder that Memberships are due to expire at June 30th, which is still effectively 2 months away. Renewal is now live through the CBGC website at https://cbgc.com.au/membership/ alternately renewals can be processed through reception. If you would prefer to transfer your membership over to direct debit payments please come in and talk to our reception team.