Good afternoon everyone and welcome to our annual end of the year membership meeting.
Although these meetings mark the end of a season – definitely sad for some.. it is a great opportunity for not only myself but the board of directors and our staff to express our thanks to you as members for supporting our club but also an opportunity for us to hear from our members for suggestions and ideas you have for the upcoming 2019 season so that we can factor this into our forecasting and planning.
Our vision and focus for Bridgewater has always been to increase membership but also improve our facility, the course and the grounds.
Our membership sat around 315 for 2018 and with the new membership drive we have ramped it up to 330 and still striving for the 350. Even though we are attracting new members we generally lose a few every year as well due to health, age, family etc … so this is always work in progress.
We work diligently to save money when we can and yet still promote and improve Bridgewater. Our most recent investment was spending $9000 ($7000 grant) replacing all of our lighting to led lighting to try and save money.. Yet our hydro bills continue to increase. __see attached list of expenses__
In 2017 a few of the shareholder injected $400,000 for some major capital improvements.
The results of this investment are starting to be realised. Our new fairway equipment has made our golf course absolutely fantastic. Probably in the best condition in years. Our investment into this banquet facility has helped us increase wedding functions and private parties a lot .. I think in 2015 we did one wedding, 2 in 2016 .. 2017 we did 5 and this year we were at 10. Plus lots of private functions … we are going in the right direction and are happy with the current improvements we have done and the ones we continue to do.
I am sure you have seen an increase in local advertising looking for new members, promoting our club house. We have a number of billboards scattered around town, also a new sign on the corner of Gilmore and Thompson which we change often depending on the events we are promoting.
We have recarpeted the main hallway leading to the pro shop
We have put new asphalt and drainage system in front of the pro shop
We have also put on a new roof on the bathrooms on course and will continue to work on this through the remainder of the year and into the new year.
So far plans for 2019 continue with the costly tree removal, tee block improvements and bridge repairs.
We have also been working continuously on making the entranceway / lobby welcoming, keeping our course in tip top shape.
A Special Thanks to Mel and Kathy Annett and countless hours of labour the bathrooms on course have all been improved for our enjoyment.
I want to mention that to date, none of the shareholders have taken any profits or dividends from Bridgewater .. and I use the word profits loosely because even though we look super busy all the time, we are still not in a profit situation .. and every business should be for profit. I should actually correct my statement .. the share holders received free golf for them and their family up until I took over as President of the club. This benefit has been altered and the shareholders that use the club and facilities have to pay, but at a reduced rate. In general terms we have shareholders that have over $100,000 investment in this club receiving 0% immediate returns… we keep reinvesting them back into this fine place.
We have been actively looking for ways to increase revenues and utilize our facility, continuing with BAC upstairs, KIS Business Management and now with the Life House church here on Sunday mornings every week.
We have offered a trial membership for 9 hole users mid week which has been well received and looks like we are continuing for the 2019 season limiting it to 42 golfers which will be going off the back 9 to not affect the front 9 tee times. 2018 we had 20 golfers
It has been important to us … our board that we give back to the community that supports us here at Bridgewater. Heart Niagara, Douglas Memorial Hospital, Fort Erie Corporate Challenge are tournaments’ which we donate our golf course. Part of our community support. It is important for us to be recognized as a community supporter and not just a stuffy club that no one can visit. We are more than just a golf course, we want memories made here.
We have the brunch with santa which has been sold out for the last 2 years …December 9th. Mark your calendar. It has been quite a few years since I have seen the look on my kid’s faces seeing santa. It is a community event as far as i am concerned offering everything at a very reasonable price. We have a fantastic santa, crafts, cookie making, rides on the course. Already close to 100 have prepaid for this wonderful event .. a partnership between myself and Bridgewater. Not a money maker but what a great community function and gathering of not only friends but members too.
The big topic of conversation and I am sure what most of you are here to discuss is the increase again in dues for 2019.
At a board level .. it is a requirement. I continue to make the share holders pay for golf, our aging shareholders are not willing to dig into personal savings to support the club any longer mostly because they are not using it as much.. the wage increase from last year was only covered by the dues increase .. that increase added nothing to the bottom line of bridgewater.
I apologize for the increase .. no one wants to pay more, but if we cannot cover our operating cost .. we all lose.