Minutes of the Members’ Annual General Meeting of Marbella Golf Country Club 2014

Minutes of the Members’ Annual General Meeting of Marbella Golf Country Club held on Friday 17th October 2014 at 18:00 hours.


John McNamara, President (JM)

Tom Richardson, Captain (TR)

Stuart Patterson, Vice Captain (SP)

Greg Peck, Secretary (GP)

Steve Cullen, Committee Member (SC)

Yumiko Smith, Committee Member (YS)

Mike Munden, General Manager (MM)

And 30 Members


JM opened the meeting and welcomed all members of Marbella Golf Country Club (MGCC), Mike Munden (MGCC General Manager), Monty Bordelon (MGCC Club Professional), Satu Kaariainen (MGCC Director of Golf).

Minutes of Last AGM

The minutes of the last AGM were unanimously approved.

President’s Report

JM related that the year started well with a good AGM and a very successful Captain’s Day.

He then went on to describe the events that unfolded following an email in late December 2013 informing members of a decision taken by Pacific Golf that from 2014 all membership renewals, except for Life Members, would cease. The Committee and Members were very upset by this decision, by its timing and manner in which it was communicated, especially in view of how well things have progressed at the club in recent years. He made special mention of the great camaraderie among Members and welcomed the establishment by Catherine Shiels of a ladies team playing inter-club matches.

After several months of almost weekly meetings and with the support and encouragement of MM, it was made possible to present a good case to Pacific Golf that, happily, resulted in the decision being reversed.

Unfortunately, this came with a very substantial increase in membership subscription rates (20-25%) at a time when the national inflation rate was less than 1%. It is, therefore, a great credit to the Members – and to MM – that almost all decided that MGCC was still the place that they wanted to play their golf and to enjoy the camaraderie that has been built here over that last few years. Let us hope that membership renewals will not be such a contentious issue in the future.

JM also reported that:

Committee Meetings were held, on average, every two months to discuss with MM items of concern to the Members.

Peter Meakin did not rejoin last year due to business commitments and Norman Cameron was unable to be in Spain for much of the time. Consequently, Yumiko Smith and Steve Cullen were co-opted onto the Committee.

JM closed his address with thanks to:

Captain TR for all his hard work over the year and for making JM’s job as President a lot easier.

All the staff at MGCC: Satu, the Caddy Masters, Sandra, Kenny, Bar staff, Kitchen staff, Marshalls and Ground staff for their support, service and courtesy.

Club Professional, Monty, for all his help, adding that Monty and Pat Jones are a great addition to the club and hoping that they will be here for many years to come.

Mike and Heather Munden for all they have done for the club in making it a much better place for members than it was before.

All the Members for their support, patience and respect and hoping that all will renew their memberships next year so that we can continue to enjoy the golf and each other’s company.

Captain’s Report

TR reported that, despite the dramatic events of last December’s notice to cease membership renewals (see President’s report above), it has been a fantastic year.

One source of particular pride and joy has been a year undefeated in the interclub matches. Thanks to all the team.

In coming to the end of a 3 year stint as Captain, TR thanked everyone at the club, with special mention to Heather Munden and her team, also the 3 different Vice Captains who had served during that period: SP, GP and Hugh Craig.

Course & Clubhouse Report

MM reported on the numerous improvements made during the course of the year:

Rebuilding of Hole 3 Tee Box.

New banking constructed behind the greens on Hole 4 and Hole 10 to prevent severe run-off and harsh penalties to good approach shots.

Removal of bunkers at the rear of Hole 1 green.

Turfing of the areas on Hole 2 where stone walls had been removed to provide support for the new Tee box on Hole 3.

Cleaning up of the lake in front of the 6th green has commenced. This will entail draining, dredging and rebuild of the rock wall surround (possibly the addition of a small fountain) Fairway programme is underway. Fairways fertilized twice before the rains. Aeration will be carried out in spring and the bad grass/weeds will be removed from the landing areas Clubhouse: Inside completely repainted; Window frames in the foyer, restaurant and bar rebuilt and refinished.

Pro Shop: Renovation directed by Satu and the Caddy Masters, who carried out much of the work.

Restaurant: Heather Munden continues to improve menus and food quality. We have very good, well trained in the kitchen and bar/restaurant.

MM also announced some of the plans for the coming year:

Toilet Facilities on the back nine, location and type of facility to be decided. Removal of some redundant bunkers, e.g. the pot bunker in the fairway short of the 18th green.

The General Committee had decided to establish a Green Committee with SC as Chair. He then invited SC to provide the meeting with a short briefing on the subject. (see below)

Green Committee

SC gave a short presentation on the formation of a Green Committee.

He explained that the Role of Green Chair would be to liaise and work with Course Management to maintain & develop the course to the satisfaction of the club membership.

The responsibilities of the Green Committee will be to:

Help formulate a Course Management Plan (CMP) that will outline expected standards of maintenance & presentation of the course and any future development plans for the course.

Strive to meet the aims & policies in the CMP within the financial capability of the club.

Meet regularly to discuss conditions and problems and report to General Committee.

Advise Competitions Secretary on conditions that require protection by a Local Rule.

Offer advice on any Health & Safety issues that might arise from the conditions on the course.

Members of the Green Committee must have:

Members of Committee must have:

Time to play course often and participate in regular meetings. 

Ability to express genuine concern for member complaints.

Ability to differentiate between valid criticism and unreasonable expectations.

Commitment to learn the basics of turf management, maintenance standards, limitations of budget, labour and equipment.

Thick skin, patience, open mind and a sense of humour.

The composition of the Green Committee will be SC, Monty & 1 nominee, plus MM. The first meeting will be held in early November.

Election of Officers and Committee Members

John McNamara was unanimously re-elected as President.

Stuart Paterson was unanimously elected as the new Captain. SP thanked TR for his Captaincy over the previous 3 years, his previous Vice Captains, particularly Hugh Craig for putting the club’s interest first in taking the tough and selfless decision to stand down due to the uncertainty of being able to commit the whole year to serve as Captain.

SP noted that MGCC has one of the happiest and most successful memberships of all the clubs on the Costa del Sol. Consequently, there is no need for any drastic changes and his key word for the coming year is “enjoyment”; enjoyment of our club and its facilities, of our golf and of each other’s company.

SP promised to start a ‘Captain’s Blog’ that will be included in the Members’ section of the MGCC website.

TR will stay on the Committee as Competitions and Handicap Secretary and the elections of Committee Members Yumiko Smith and Steve Cullen.

Any other business

Question from Mr. Rod Owen: What can be done about the wild boar and the damage they cause?

MM responded that the license to use dogs to disrupt the boar activity at night had expired but is now in the process of being renewed. Fencing is not practical and doesn’t work very well. It is illegal to shoot the boars and the use of dogs will not completely stop the intrusions but with the disruption to their foraging, the boars will do less damage and may move on to areas outside the course.

Question from Mrs. Sue Owen: Installation of toilet facilities on the course has been requested before. Nothing has happened yet, is there any chance this year? MM responded that some major events took priority last year but the club is now looking at the possibility of providing a facility in the old clubhouse that can be readily accessed from the Tees of holes 12, 14 and 17.

Question from Rod Owen: Is slow play a concern and, if so, what can be done about it? JM responded that slow play is, of course, a concern. Indeed, although we tend to think of this as a problem with visitors, sometimes our own members’ groups can be quite slow. Mr Ian Jarvis mentioned that he plays in many tournaments in the UK in which handicaps are limited to a maximum of 24 and yet the average round is taking around 5 hours. Mr Jim Lockhart added that the 3 game of golf worldwide is currently struggling and in decline, partly because 5 hour rounds have become commonplace. MM acknowledged this and said we should all endeavour to maintain the course standard time of 4 hours and 40 mins per round. MM added that the Marshalls do try to get slow groups to speed up but the current number of Marshalls and their other responsibilities limit the amount of time they can be on the course to monitor speed of play. MM frequently does this himself and MGCC Professional, Monty, also offered to help whenever time permits.

Question from Sue Owen: When we now have 40 (or even more) playing in the Members’ roll-up competitions on Mondays and Fridays, would it not be possible and appropriate to have ‘prizes’ for more than just the first 3? TR responded that the ‘price’ of joining the competitions was reduced last year by 40% to encourage more members to participate. Consequently, even though more members paid, the total ‘purse’ was actually reduced and therefore it is appropriate that the prizes are for 1st, 2nd and 3rd only.

JM closed the meeting, thanked all for attending and announced that the club would be generously providing tapas and drinks.