Winter is over or at least that is what they tell me in mid-April as I look out on grey skies and hear the gas boiler firing up continuously to combat the relentless cool temperatures! Ah, but I have it on good authority that warm weather is on the way and on the basis of that reassurance, it is time to come out of hibernation and return to my “Musings” for the 2018 season.
We look back on what has been one of our worst Winters for many years and my sympathies go out to all our Greens Staff who have faced relentless cold, wet weather whilst trying to get all those jobs done that had been deferred to the off-season! They deserve a medal and let’s hope that their suffering of the last few months can be compensated with a warm Spring and a hot Summer. We certainly deserve them after the disappointments of the last few years.
Despite all this, things have been moving apace at Skipton, particularly with the refurbishment of the Clubhouse which has given it a fresh and very modern look. It has been quite a challenge but thanks to the efforts of a small number of people we now enjoy a facility which is a delight to use and which is already resulting in increased bookings for weddings, parties and social events.
Another improvement to the Club has been the conversion of the old snooker room to a meeting and conference facility. Full details of The Dales Room can be found on the Club’s website and even though it is a recent improvement, it is proving extremely popular with local businesses with bookings increasing month on month. Whilst it wasn’t a popular decision with the small number of snooker playing members, the revenue already generated, is vital to the ongoing success of the Club.
I mustn’t forget the other major development that we will see in 2018, the opening of two brand new golf holes, a new 17th green and if that wasn’t enough, some new tee beds. We intend to unveil our new and reorganised course on 1st August and the anticipation and excitement is already building for this very special day in Skipton Golf Club’s history. And talking of history, the Club celebrates its 125th Anniversary this year with a programme of events to mark the occasion.
Unquestionably, I will have plenty of topics on which to muse during the next few months.
Before ending this latest dispatch, I need readers to look back at my post in November titled, “A Time For Reflection”, where I majored on the term, “WELCOMING”. It appears to have struck a chord because I am delighted to report that under the guidance of immediate Past President, Graham Huntrods, we have introduced a Mentoring scheme to assist new members of the Club.
New member welcome meetings & mentoring
I remember when I joined Skipton back in the early 1990s when I had an initial meeting with a Club official which was followed by a welcome gathering with other new members and an introduction to the Captains and Presidents. It was a great opportunity to ask questions about every aspect of Club life but for some reason, perhaps time constraints, this was allowed to fall by the wayside but now, not only is it back, it’s better and with a lovely personal touch.
The welcome meetings are to be reinstated but in addition, a number of volunteers have offered to act as mentors for any new members. This will be done on an individual basis with each volunteer being allocated a small number with the brief to introduce themselves and assist in any way possible. A typical example would be to assist in getting a handicap if they are new to golf. Another would be to outline the workings of the club and the management structure. Rules, etiquette and how to enter competitions also features. To further assist new joiners, a New Member’s Guide has been published.
As one of the volunteer mentors, I am delighted to report the excellent reception received from my first two charges who seemed genuinely pleased to be contacted and made to feel valued and welcome by the Golf Club. It’s a great initiative and one I will return to in future dispatches.
I said previously that golf at the highest professional level is healthy but that at grass roots level, it was less so with a number of clubs ceasing to exist. I do think that this will continue but I am convinced that Skipton has a very bright future and will develop on the back of all the initiatives into a place that members and visitors alike will truly love and enjoy.