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March 2018
Dear Members of the CGC Board,
May we begin by thanking you all for the hard work and thought that you put in to running our golf club for us.
We do not say “Thank You” often enough and we hope that you will accept our very genuine “thanks” even though it precedes a request for you to rethink a decision that you have just made.
We love playing golf at Chelmsford and all the camaraderie and banter that goes with being a member. We know that we are only able to enjoy those things because you work so hard on our behalf.
That said we are disappointed to receive notification that our membership fees for 2018/19 are set to increase by 3% and we would like you to reconsider that decision.
The average rate of inflation over the last 12 months is about 2.7% so the first comment is that we do not believe an increase over inflation is fair.
Secondly and far more importantly, we do not believe that any increase is appropriate at the present time.
In recent times the club has received a significant tax windfall and considerably more new members than in recent history. An increased joining fee of £2,000 per new member and the subsequent income from each new member, plus the part joining fee that people on the waiting list pay, have all contributed to a much improved financial position for our club. We believe that alone would be good reason to freeze membership fees for all members for at least one year.
However we need to raise the issue of the amount of time that we are able to benefit from our membership as a part of our unhappiness with the increased membership fee.
During the last couple of years the course has been unavailable to be played on at all or only playable with restrictions on too many occasions. The net effect of this is that we do not think that we are getting good value for money.
We appreciate the need to keep the course in good condition and all of the problems faced by green keepers in a changing climate. We also appreciate that this can be exacerbated by future development plans and the work associated with those plans.
However, the simple fact is that members who are paying money for that maintenance and development are also paying in lost playing time. This is a “double whammy” that is hard to swallow and especially hard for those of us who can only play once a week due to work commitments.
It has become a standing joke that we too often play on temporary greens, greens that have just reached peak condition only to have more work done on them, in bunkers that are being rebuilt or are not fit to be played out of and then we have the course closed due to weather when we think it could be open. There is also a sense that getting the course in an immaculate condition a couple of times a year is seen as more important than having it in good condition all year round. These are tough decisions for anyone to take and we have no doubt that if any one of us made them there would be complaints that we too had got the balance wrong.
However, the fact remains that we pay twice: once in cash and one by being deprived of the benefits of membership.
The club is in a better financial situation than could reasonably have been expected due to the tax windfall and the new members and in that situation we think that all current members should receive some benefit immediately.
For these reasons our request is that the Board reconsider the decision to increase fees and freeze them for at least 2 years while development work is taking place and that for 3 further years increases are restricted to the average rate of inflation for the previous 12 months.
We do not believe that this should slow the pace of development of our club but if and to the extent that you disagree on that point we would ask the future development to be done to fit the budget that this reversal would create.
Thanks again for all you do for us and for giving our request your attention.
Drafted by Steven Webb
and signed by the following members