Captain’s Report for 2019

 AGM – September 2019

 First of all, I would also like to acknowledge the tireless work of the committee and the members who collect green fees where there is no pro available. They have assisted my transition into the position of Captain and helped me a great deal. Unless you have been where we are you would not believe what goes on behind the scenes to run this event week in week out. We don’t have poker machines or sell drinks or food. We rely on the ball comp fee and sponsorships to provide prizes and golf balls week in and week out.

 I would like to acknowledge and thank all of the staff in the pro shops, of all the clubs, who have assisted me through my first year by collecting the green fees, starting the events, juggling our program, liaising with their green keepers to set up the courses and making us Veterans very welcome.

 My predecessor, Tony Wood, stated in last year’s Captain’s report that 2019 would be a year of price increases in relation to green fees and cart costs. In 2020, there will be a few minor price changes. For example Duntroon will be $20 instead of $19. It’s a change nightmare to find the $1 to give as change. So there will be some rounding’s to make collection easier and change more manageable and less time consuming. At Belconnen there will be a slight increase. On the other hand Gold Creek prices remain the same as does Fairbairn. With new management at Federal we will be paying per player and not needing to hire the course as previously in the past.

 As you would be aware all golf clubs are struggling to make ends meet and we are welcomed due to the fact that we provide income on a Monday which seems to be a slow day and we spend money in the club house.

 Program 2020

 With regard to the 2020 program, I would like to advise that we are not playing at Cooma or Capital. The reason for not playing at Cooma is the general lack of attendance and also the state of the course is below par. Pennants teams this year have avoided Cooma even though they have entered a team. In addition Cooma do not have any financial members in our Association.

 Capital, unfortunately, does not have a clubhouse, therefore it is restricting the opportunity for a refreshment after the game. Directing us to the Harmony German Club was seen by the committee as an ineffective solution.

 On the positive side, Federal have indicated that they would like to host 2 extra rounds next year, and we are negotiating with Royal Canberra to maybe get an extra round as well.

 Once all the clubs have given us their prices and we have confirmed dates, we will issue a 2020 program before the end of October.

 I have generally avoided playing Monthly Medal games on the country courses and have also try and avoid playing those courses in the winter months.

 The 9am start has been extended to include April next year for the winter months.

 The most popular club regarding attendances are Murrumbidgee with an average of 99 (98) followed by Royal Canberra 95 (one game only), Gungahlin 94 (99), Federal 90 (one game only), Yowani 86 (96), Belconnen 85 (87), Queanbeyan 85 (79), Gold Creek 75 (86), Capital 64 (67), Fairbairn 63 (63), Duntroon 61 (73), Goulburn 46 (49), Yass 45 (41), Braidwood 42 (46) Note ( ) are last year’s figures. Also note I have not included any fixture that was affected by the weather conditions.

 Apart from Murrumbidgee, Queanbeyan and Yass with Fairbairn holding firm you can see slight downward trends with the rest.

 Based on these figures, the 2020 program will take into consideration the number of members and the popularity of each course, and issued the number of games accordingly.

 Cancellations and No Shows

 During my first stint as Captain I have noticed a plethora of cancellations during the months I have been checking the fixture sheets.

 I understand we are the most vulnerable age group regarding sickness/ailments but at times I think we must have been hit by the plague! To go from 109 golfers on a Thursday to 84 game day has me perplexed. I am also aware that the numbers for Tuesday’s games are sometimes affected by players playing in Wednesday club games.

 If you are booking the mates in your group altogether, please make sure they are available to play and do not book them in as a ritual. In addition, time and time again when one player in the group decides to pull out the whole group pulls out, which is hard to fathom. This creates gaps in the field and contacting members is sometimes difficult if we need to move their group forwards or backwards to another timeslot.

 There have been incidences where a player has turned up (particularly in the latter groups) to find out they are stranded alone. I am trying to avoid this situation by monitoring the start sheet on Thursdays and Sundays to move stranded players to appropriate times and advise them of the change.

 This is also why it is very important to have contact details for all members. Home phone numbers or mobile numbers are the easiest to contact members on a Sunday. Email is too slow in this case.

 However, I am not always able to do this due to other commitments on some Sundays. Putting the boot on the other foot imagine your disappointment if you get stranded last minute. Anyone should be prepared to play with everyone in the competition. We are golfers, all known to each other generally and all want a good game, good comradery and a nice cold drink to wash done the highlights and lowlights of the days play.

 To try and avoid all of this I have proposed the start sheet times be 1-1/2 hrs front and back and not 2 hours. The country courses stay at 1 hour at this stage. If and when the fixture gets full the reserve system then comes into play. If there are still reserves just prior to the start sheet closing on the Sunday, our start sheet gurus will open up more slots to accommodate.

 It is important that all players check the start sheet just prior to the 12pm close-off time on Sundays to make sure they are not left high and dry by the late cancellations. This also give you the opportunity to move yourself accordingly.

 By doing so it will also help the pro shops and my stress levels by not having to juggle players around prior to the start of the event. It also helps by closing up the start sheet and making sure we have 3 or 4 in a group.

 I would also encourage those members who hire carts to book them religiously and early. For example Fairbairn only has 10 carts. Murrumbidgee has been known to run out of stock. Don’t miss a game when you don’t have to.

 Slow Play

 Since the introduction of the new rules I have not seen any evidence that play has sped up. In fact, I think it has slowed the game down. On the green some players like the flag in the hole and others like the flag out of the hole and some of the previous etiquettes are still being over shadowed. I also think that the perceived fast play is not always good for putting/scoring play. So many times I have seen players try and finish the hole when they are closer than their other group members and miss an easy put. A my home club I play with a golfer who rushes to shots only to play badly and then on the green says I think my putting has gone off!! Sometimes it’s too rushed.

 Players are still taking too long over each shot and are not moving quickly between shots. If you walk a little quicker (where possible) you can spend a bit more time over the ball. I know we are there to enjoy our game but not at the expense of the 5 or so groups behind. Everyone needs to enjoy their game and not the frustration of slow play.

 I have observed that some players are taking more than 3 minutes to find a lost ball. I have also observed that the etiquette of calling a faster group through is no longer adhered to.

 The best rule for a smoother (you don’t have to run) game in my mind is “awareness and common sense”.

 Be aware of the group in front; be aware of the group behind; be aware when to tee off; be aware when to putt; be aware of your playing partners and where they are on the course and encourage them to speed up if your group is falling behind.

 I also believe that putting on the good old golf glove and scoring the card on the tee can delay a game by up to 20 minutes!

 How many times do you see a player get to the tee and then decide to go through the ritual of putting on his/her glove when they are about to hit off?  The glove should be on before getting on the tee and off before getting on the green unless you leave it on for the whole round.

 In Conclusion.

 I want to say welcome to all the new golfers who have joined this year and hope that you are enjoying your golf in the Vets ranks and enjoying playing on the various courses around Canberra.

 At the end of the day we all like to have a good game (score or otherwise), reminisce over a drink and maybe some food and then go home to the couch and dream of the next round of 76 off the stick!!!

 All the best to you and I trust you all keep well.

 Chris Morgan