Minutes of the Members’ Committee Meeting held at 15.00 on 26th January 2015
John McNamara, President (JM)
Stuart Patterson, Captain (SP)
Greg Peck, Vice Captain (GP)
Tom Richardson (TR)
Steve Cullen (SC)
Yumiko Smith (YS)
Mike Munden, General Manager (MM)
The meeting was opened by JM, who thanked all for attending.
2. Minutes of Previous Meeting
The minutes of the previous meeting were unanimously approved
3. Course/Clubhouse Update:
MM reported that recent weeks have been fairly quiet and works have been focused on:
Cleaning and tidying of the course including trimming/pruning of trees, especially those which have been casting shadows over greens and tee boxes or overhanging fairways.
Preparation works for the toilet facility behind the Cortijo by the14th tee.
Week commencing 2 Feb., the fairways will be spiked and top-dressed followed later in the month with aerating, a light top dressing and fertilizer.
When the Bermuda grass starts to grow again in the spring, the fairways will be defined by an edge of 28mm first-cut of rough. The wild grass outside the areas of this first-cut will be killed off and reseeded with a fescue-mix of grass that will grow – and remain green – throughout the year.
Mike Rodgers is now retained as an advisor to MM on special projects that require his expert knowledge of agronomy and ground maintenance matters.
JM asked MM if he felt that we needed a full time, qualified, professional green-keeper to which MM responded that he was now himself overseeing the work of the ground-staff and taking advice from Mike Rodgers on agronomy related matters and groundsman, Pepe is also well versed in grass management. As such, he felt that there would be nothing to gain by hiring another green-keeper. One of the main issues with the course is the condition of the fairways and this is a result of a combination of 3 key factors: several years of poor management of the fairways; the grass is Bermuda which hibernates through the winter months; allowing buggies on the fairways. In any case, it will take a 2-3 year programme to achieve a full recovery of the fairways.
JM asked if the bushes in front of the drop zone on Hole 4 could be trimmed as they are now partially blocking the line to the green. MM agreed.
TR mentioned the trees that are encroaching over the left side of the tee box on Hole 3. MM said he would have these trimmed back.
TR also pointed out that the new tee box on Hole 3 is sinking and requires attention. MM stated that he was aware of the problem and that the last heavy rains had probably caused the sinking. He added that it would be best to wait a few weeks more to be quite sure that the sinking has stopped before rebuilding and leveling.
4. Green Committee (GC) Report
SC reported that the minutes of the last GC meeting had now been circulated to all Committee members and asked if there were any comments or questions.
SP asked only that before recommending any changes or works to the course, the GC needs to bear in mind the potential costs involved. SC agreed and added that this was among a number of important reasons for having MM on the GC.
JM remarked that the white stakes to the left of the fairway on Hole 5 were a little too close to the fairway border and asked if they could be moved further up the slope. MM agreed.
5. Captain’s Report
SP asked if we could prevent overuse and resultant damage to the teeing areas by moving the yellow Members’ competition discs more frequently. He suggested that for the regular Monday/Wed/Fri Members’ competitions, the players first out be allowed to move the yellow discs +/- 10 metres from the distance plate. All agreed.
6. Ladies Tees
SP referred to some research carried out by TR into the course lengths and the differentials in distances between the respective Men’s and Ladies’ tee plates on 20 courses on the Costa del Sol. MGCC is one of the shortest courses on the Coast but the difference between the Men’s and the Ladies is one of the largest.
A number of Members have complained that this represents an unfair advantage to the Ladies in mixed competitions. (The point on the difference between the Men’s and Ladies tees is perhaps more pertinent at MGCC where we predominantly play mixed competitions.)
It was pointed out that there are 7 holes on MGCC where the difference was felt to be too much and that adjustments to these would only make an overall increase of 170m to the length. SC observed that since the beginning of 2015 when we changed to playing our competitions from the plates (instead of the logs) and using only one (Federated) handicap, much of this differential had been neutralized (largely because the red logs made the course even shorter for the ladies) and we are no longer seeing a disproportionate number of ladies among the prizewinners. Consequently this has now become a less contentious issue than it was in the latter part of 2014.
In conclusion it was felt that, at least for now, it would only be necessary to adjust 3 holes:
Hole 3: The ladies tee to be placed near the front of the new tee box behind the lake. MM said that this would be possible and that the men’s tee box could be extended further to the left.
Hole 10: A new ladies tee box to be built near to the satellite in the dip behind and to the right of the current ladies tee box.
Hole 16: the ladies plate to be moved to the front of the blue tee box. Once the changes have been implemented the RFEG would be invited to come to assess the course again and adjust the ‘slope’.
This led to a related discussion on the stroke indices, not just for the ladies but also the men. In general, it was felt that it would be better to go back to the more conventional (and EGA recommended) system of having odd indices on one 9 and even indices on the other 9. Also, that some holes did not properly reflect their level of difficulty e.g., Hole 16 is a par 3 of over 200 yards from the men’s plate, that often plays into the wind meaning the majority of players are having to hit a 3 Wood or even Driver from the tee – and yet is stroke index 16.
It was agreed that the Green Committee would undertake a review of the stroke indices and seek agreement on revisions before the next batch of scorecards is produced in approximately 1 month.
7. Decisions at the Committee
JM reminded everyone that any changes affecting the Club Members or the playing conditions of the course should not be implemented before presenting the appropriate information to the Main Committee for comment and approval. JM referred to the recent placing of white stakes on Holes 5, 8 and 13. JM did hasten to add that he was in total agreement with the changes but just wanted to ensure the clear understanding that Main Committee approval should be sought beforehand.
8. Any Other Business
SC commented that several new faces had recently started to come onto the property to sell golf balls. MM responded that he was aware and had indeed just asked the newcomers to leave the premises and re-affirmed the understanding with the family that has permission to sell balls on course. Marshalls will be instructed to eject any unauthorized persons.
Most, if not all, members of the Committee have been receiving complaints about the batteries on the Buggies not lasting a whole round. MM responded that many of the Buggies have batteries nearing the end of their useful life and that a maintenance program is already underway that includes fitting new batteries.
TR asked that pin positions not be moved whilst a competition round is underway and cited an example when earlier this month a hole was re-cut on the 15th Green during one round. MM responded that the ground-staff were repairing greens replacing plugs in old holes but he will check if a new hole was cut during play and make sure that they stick to the policy that holes are cut only first thing in the morning before – and not during – competitions.
GP noted that the yellow plate was no longer visible on the 15th tee. MM responded that it is most likely overgrown and he will ask the ground-staff to clear the ground over the plate. If it has, indeed, been removed then he will have it replaced.
When numbers are relatively low as during the Christmas & New Year period and in the May-Sept period, there is no difficulty accommodating all members wishing to play competitions with play starting at 10.00am.
However, during the busier periods (Late Sept- Mid Dec and Mid Jan-Late May) when larger numbers of members are active, it is inevitable that we will quite frequently have to start earlier than 10.00am, sometimes as early as 9.40am. We would like to ask all the members to check the start sheet every time they sign up to see what time the competition will start.
In order for play to commence at 9.40 am, players will need to arrive no later than 9.00 am.
This places even more emphasis that at present on:
Getting members to be more responsible with their entries on the list, making sure that they put their name on the sheet as soon as possible but definitely no later than 12.00pm on the day before the competition and making sure that they take note of the starting time.
Getting members who have put their name on the list but who subsequently find (for whatever reason) that they cannot play to telephone the Caddy Master to cancel their entry as early as possible but no later than 8.30am of the competition day.
Members failing to comply with these requirements will receive a warning on the first occasion and a repeat offence will result in a one-week suspension from club competitions.
This will need to be communicated carefully and clearly to members.
9. Close and Date of Next Meeting
JM thanked all for attending and proposed a tentative date of 23 February 2015 for the next meeting.