Minutes of the Members’ Committee Meeting held at 15.00 on 9th March 2015

Minutes of the Members’ Committee Meeting held at 15.00 on 9th March 2015

In attendance:

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)

1. Opening

The meeting was opened by JM, who thanked all for attending and apologized for having to delay the meeting from its original scheduled date of 23 February.

2. Minutes of Previous Meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting were unanimously approved.

3. Course/Clubhouse Update:

MM reported that:

The beer price increase that was planned for 2014 but postponed will now be implemented with immediate effect. The new price will be 3.50 Euros per pint.

Cleaning and tidying of the course has continued with some further tree pruning, repairs to some of the cart wear near the paths, expanding the cart turning circle at the 16th Tee.

The fairways are undergoing a comprehensive maintenance programme for the first time in many years.

This involves aeration, sanding, feeding, herbicide treatment and irrigation. This is being carried out one hole at a time and is about 60% complete with work about to start on holes 10, 18 and then 12.

A number of greens have white dots painted near the edges. These represent the new mowing line and will result in a wider ‘collar’ to these greens in critical areas where the lack of a fringe is resulting in very punishing run-offs. In many cases this will simply result in taking the putting surfaces back to where they were originally as, over time, the mowing has eaten into the ‘collar’ and gradually made the greens larger.

Projects currently planned for the summer months are:

The toilet facility at the cortijo.

Building some banking at the left edge of the fairway on Hole 1 to prevent too many balls running out onto the driving range.

Adding a 1 metre first cut of rough to define the fairways.

Making the 1st green deeper by cutting into the bank at the rear of the green – at present the green is too shallow and good shots are being punished due to the landing area being very small and making it extremely difficult to hold the ball on the green.

4. Green Committee (GC) Report

SC reported that since the last meeting, the only activity of the Green Committee was to review the stroke indices. The new Stroke Index proposals were provided to the main committee by email and were approved. The new stoke indices will take effect from the next scorecard print run which should start to be used towards the end of the month of March.

Other Green Committee activities were not pursued due to the planned works for Feb/Mar 2015 that included the greens maintenance and the aforementioned fairways programme.

There was some discussion on items that were referred to the Green Committee for recommendations: The bunker at the left below the 1st green that, in some parts, is almost impossible to make any sort of recovery.

The exact location of proposed new ladies tee on hole 10 and whether or not this needs to be a ‘raised’ tee box. It was agreed that, for the time being, a temporary tee box be created just for the members competitions that are played from the Members’ Competition Red discs. After a trial with this temporary tee box, a view will be taken on whether or not to go ahead with the new ladies tee adjacent to the ‘satellite box’ and when finalized the Federation will be called in to reassess the slope rating for the ladies.

5. Captain’s Report

SP mentioned the recent letter from MGCC to members reminding them of their responsibilities in entering their names on the competitions lists, in registering with the organizer in good time on the morning of the competition and in providing notice in the event of having registered but being unable to play. Since that letter, we are still having frequent problems with entries, timely registration and some un-notified no-shows. This makes it very difficult for the organizer to make arrangements for the flights for the shotgun start.

It is acknowledged that, for example, a sudden illness or an accident on the A7 creating traffic jams could lead to a no-show but, as far as is reasonably possible, members must do all they can to notify the club that they will be unable to attend.

SP proposed that members who do not follow the required procedure should be issued with a letter referring to the specific incident and that unless the member in question has some mitigating rationale, then the letter should be taken as a warning letter that would lead to a one week ban for another failure to comply with procedure in the future. Should the member be able to provide a reasonable explanation then the letter – and the implied warning – would be withdrawn. It was unanimously agreed to proceed in this manner.

SP suggested that as there are tournaments in place for St Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving and Independence Day, it would be desirable to have tournaments to mark special days for other nationalities, especially as England and Scotland are both well represented amongst the membership.

MM responded that some thought has already been given to this and more. A St George’s Day tournament will be arranged for the nearest Friday to 23 April and a ‘Burns Day’ in late January in lieu of St Andrew’s Day. (Since the latter falls in November when there is already a busy schedule of well established tournaments). Furthermore, it is planned to hold a monthly tournament on the last Friday of the months where there is no clash with major events such as Presidents Day, Captain’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Members’ Day. TR was asked to produce a monthly competition schedule and some suggested formats for the additional ‘last Friday of the month’ events.

For these ‘last Friday’ tournaments there would be a 10 Euro charge for lunch in addition to the 5 Euro entry to the ‘Swindle’. Lunch will be a simple affair such as a Pasta dish or Burger and the 10 Euro charge will include a first drink.

6. Any Other Business

a. Honours Boards.

SP suggested that more Honours Boards be added to the clubhouse walls that could include winners of major tournaments at the club, especially the Club Championship and perhaps others such as the Match Play.

MM pointed out the Honours Boards currently in the hallway come at a price of 1,200 euros per board, a price that all felt was excessive. Consideration will be given to alternatives such as a less costly display of champions/winners of major honours in the downstairs hall between the storage room and men’s locker room.

b. Tee shots on Hole 15.

Not for the first time, the issue of players (almost exclusively male members) aiming their tee shots from the 15th tee onto the 14th fairway was raised. The main concern is for the safety of players coming down the 14th fairway and very recently there was another near miss. When discussed in previous meetings, the decision was made not to have an internal out of bounds but the committee does understand the problem and takes it very seriously. Various options are to be considered including the erection of a net and/or a ‘curtain’ of taller trees that would block attempts to play to the 14th fairway. It is understood that taking the 14th fairway out of play will make the 15th hole considerably more difficult for some players as, particularly from the competition tees, the carry over the lake is too far and the gap between the lake and out of bounds on the left is very narrow, especially as a ball played down this slender ‘alley’ is prone to bounce to the right and into the lake. One way to alleviate this would be to fill in part of the lake to create a fair and reasonable landing area for the shorter hitters. These issues will be taken up by the Green Committee and recommendations will be presented to the main committee.

c. Internal walls – Immovable Obstructions?

There has been much debate – and a number of arguments! – as to whether or not relief may be taken if a ball comes to rest close to or on one of the course’s internal stone walls. In the R&A Rules of Golf, relief without penalty is available if an artificial or man-made obstruction interferes with the lie, stance or swing – unless the Club has designated the object as an “integral part of the course.” Many clubs have structures that are defined as integral parts of the course; structures such as timber in bunker faces, retaining walls built up the side of greens, tee boxes or fairways, or walls wrapping trees.

In order for the internal walls at MGCC to be designated (and understood by all players) as integral parts of the course, there should be a local rule stating that this is the case. In the absence of such a local rule, players will refer to the official rules of golf and reasonably argue that the walls are man-made structures and, as such, are immovable obstructions and therefore relief without penalty is permitted.

The committee decision is that these internal stone walls are an integral part of the course and therefore the ball must either be played as it lies or relief taken with a one shot penalty.

Post-meeting note from SC: A recent rules incident involved a player asking if he was entitled to relief due to one of the green ‘satellite’ boxes interfering with the line he intended to play his next shot (citing “line of sight”). On checking the R&A rules it is clear that no relief without penalty is afforded in this case. If the obstruction is a permanent and immovable structure then relief without penalty can only be granted if the obstruction interferes with the lie, or stance or swing and NOT if it interferes with the intended line of the next shot. Relief without penalty on ‘line of sight’ is possible for an immovable, man-made structure if it is a temporary structure. This is why we see professionals taking ‘line of sight’ relief without penalty from obstructions such as grandstands and other structures put in place for the competition – often to deal with the television towers, other media equipment and the thousands of spectators.

7. Close and Date of Next Meeting

JM thanked all for attending and set the date for the next meeting on 4th May 2015.