Greetings from Frank
Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 10:24
Saturday, 11 November 2017
With summer just weeks away it’s very pleasing to see the vibrant atmosphere in the clubhouse as many of
our overseas members return – coinciding with the “New look” Terrace Bar & Halfway House.
Though not completely finished, the brighter, refreshing look is long overdue. The refurbished deck is
looking superb and the newly installed air con is most welcome. However, budgetary constraints prevented
us from replacing the flooring in the Terrace Bar – this will be completed during the next financial year.
Hand in hand with the new look, is the vast improvement and consistency in the standard of food prepared by
our Head Chef, Pierre Fourie, and his team. While the challenges we’ve had in the past have been well
documented and discussed, I urge you to try Pierre’s new Clubhouse, Playas Bar & Kiddies menus. The
popularity of the Chef’s Specials on Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday is an indication of the quality and value
available in the clubhouse.
If you are one of the small minority who do not support your “Club” due to previous poor experiences,
I strongly encourage you to reconsider and savour the above menus and breathtaking views. I’d be delighted
to get your feedback on the email address provided below.
Challenges - on and off the golf course
You may notice some new faces in the Terrace Bar – casual waiters and waitresses backing up our full
time staff. One of the challenges we face in the Bar & Catering sector is the cost of fixed term employees
in relation to the diminishing turnover in the bar (a trend which is common to many golf clubs due to the
drink and drive concerns of non-resident members). This issue has been addressed by our
General Manager/Director of Golf, Blyth Reid and the club’s Treasurer, Ian Pennel. The approach adopted
is to “staff for winter and back up for summer”. The benefits of these changes will be seen in the short to
While the golf course is perhaps in the best condition for many years, one of the many challenges lurking
in the back ground is our aging irrigation system. The average life cycle of a golf course irrigation system
is 20 years and Head Greenkeeper, Greg Leckie, has excelled in extending the life cycle of our system
while simultaneously planning and costing an irrigation upgrade. Based on current Rand/Dollar levels,
the upgrade could be in the region of R12-million. How long the present system will last is unpredictable
as line breakages are on the increase year after year. What is inevitable is that we plan for this major outlay
over the next few years.
Needless to say, the annual percentage increase for subscriptions is always a contentious issue.
This year’s proposed increase of 9% is significantly influenced by two major factors, wages & salaries
(they constitute 55% of the club’s total overheads) and water, electricity, diesel & rates. Last year a
three year wage agreement was struck with our Union consisting of annual increases of
7.5% (2016), 8.5% (2017) and 9% (2018).
The above issues and others are being scrutinised by Blyth and Ian as well as other members of the
main committee who offer expertise in various disciplines.
For those who may not know our Treasurer, Ian Pennel – we are exceptionally fortunate to have the
benefit of Ian’s extensive financial qualifications and experience. Ian is a Chartered Accountant and
former CEO of Fintech. He started his career with Deloitte and after 5 years joined Dorbyl where he
held several financial management positions. He became involved in the finance industry through
the ship building division of Dorbyl. He joined the Altron Group as Financial Director of Powertech,
moved to Lascon Lighting where he was Managing Director before his move to Fintech.
Ian was also heavily involved on the Main Committee of Johannesburg Country Club where he held
both the office of Chairman of Finance and also Chairman of the Club.
One of the many challenges Ian faced as Treasurer was financing of the club’s fleet of golf carts.
Some of the carts had deteriorated over the years and it’s the club’s policy to acquire a number
of new carts every year. Several carts have been repaired and we have acquired 24 new carts –
all of which are fitted with advanced GPS software. We now have 44 carts in pristine condition
and another six will be acquired early in the New Year.
Ian Pennel, Treasurer, Erinvale GC
Earlier this year an announcement was made by the Erinvale Advisory Board(EAB) to explore the
possibility of a Lifestyle Centre offering additional and improved facilities to Erinvale residents,
golf club members and future buyers.
The preliminary concept is to extend the clubhouse to provide much improved facilities independent
from the golfing areas, such as a family orientated restaurant, gym area, play area for children,
meeting rooms which can be used by residents and other amenities to enhance the Erinvale offering.
This may include converting the clubhouse basement to a gym and ladies change room, relocating
golf carts to a new storage area adjacent to the maintenance area near the driving range and maximising
the underutilized area known as Legend’s.
The concept is at a very early stage and we are exploring the financial viability of such a development.
We are cognisant of the fact that this should be a self-funded project and that any development must be
measured against what benefits it brings to the Erinvale community.
Golf Club Constitution
Another challenge we face are some extremely outdated aspects of the club’s constitution.
The aging profile of our members is no secret, yet we are handcuffed in our efforts to attract junior
members as the constitution stipulates that one parent must be a full member of the golf club.
This has also restricted us in our efforts to establish a Golf Academy. Other membership categories,
such as social membership, whereby the family of a non-resident member may join the club, also
needs to be reviewed.
In addition, the committee is looking at the anomaly whereby the AGM takes place in December –
yet the club’s financial year commences on September 1st. Effectively the club operates for three months,
in some instances making significant financial commitments to CAPEX etc, on a budget which is not
approved until the AGM.
In keeping with many other clubs we are also researching ways to make subscription payment more flexible.
Nominations are open for the Main Committee of the golf club.
Forms are available from Robynne Payne, membership secretary and nominations close at
17.00 hrs on Friday, 24 November, 2017.
In the interest of continuity and in view of the many challenges we face at the golf club, Dean Milbank,
Captain, Ian Pennel, Treasurer and I will stand for next year’s committee.
The composition of next year’s committee is as follows:
President: Frank Mc Donogh (Second term)
Captain: Dean Milbank (Standing for re election)
Lady Captain: Ruth Hart (Elected by the Ladies Committee)
Treasurer: (Ian Pennel) (Second term)
Brad Manson (Standing for re election)
Johan Mostert (Standing for re election)
Karin Hailwax (Standing for re election)
Erinvale’s new fleet of golf carts with advanced GPS software
Finally, and certainly by no means least, congratulations to Lady Captain Fiona Chandler and her
Committee on a most successful Erinvale Ladies Classic. Ladies from all over the Western Cape
enjoyed traditional Erinvale hospitality, a superbly organised tournament - the Classic continues
to be one of the highlights in the ladies golfing calendar. Seldom have I seen the Legends
Restaurant so beautifully decorated. Well done ladies.
Frank Mc Donogh