The following are the minutes of the Brewster Golf Commission meeting held on October 5, 2010. The meeting was called to order at 4:00 PM.
Commissioners present: Rob Harris, Chairman Cindy Bingham, Vice-Chair Jim Ehrhart Lori Arnold Jeff Odell Ann O'Connell Marc Fontaine Joseph Shaw, Commissioner Emeritus
Staff present: Mark O’Brien, Director of Operations
Others present: Su Ballentine, Finance Committee Liaison Ralph Ingegneri
R. Harris called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.
R. Harris introduced John Cleary, who has a background in advertising, to the Commission. He will address the Commission later in the meeting.
The minutes from the September 7, 2010 meeting were reviewed. A motion made by J. Ehrhart, seconded by C. Bingham, to approve the minutes as written. Motion passed unanimously.
- M. O'Brien reported that he received a request for a donation from The Brewster PTO and granted their request.
- M. O'Brien reported that he received a request for a donation from The Cape Rep Theatre and granted their request.
- M. O'Brien reviewed the financials from September. Greens fee revenue was down again by about $30,000 for the month and guest play totals were down by 778 rounds. Most of the deficit occurred in the first week of September as the forecasted hurricane had a major impact on the Labor Day weekend. July, August and September are the major revenue producing months for our fiscal year as far as greens fees are concerned so it is not likely that much of this deficit can be made up. The pro shop for the calendar year is showing a gross profit of about 29% which is close to our goal of 30%.
- L. Arnold asked about the on-line store. M. O'Brien stated that we used to have our own on-line store but that it was not very profitable. We currently contract with a third party vendor for our on-line store that does not produce much revenue, but there is no cost involved.
- R. Harris suggested that we make the on-line gift certificate button on our web site more prominent. M. O'Brien stated that he would look into it.
- M. O'Brien discussed the plans for the new wind turbines adjacent to the driving range that are proposed to be installed next year. The range will probably be shut down from September 2011 through May 2012 for the construction. There is a provision in the bid specs that will reimburse the Town for lost range revenues. The question was raised as to whether the Town would recognize this impact on our budget for FY 2012 and Jim Foley stated that they would. The wind turbines will save the Town and the Golf Department significant electricity costs for years to come.
- R. Harris asked M. O'Brien if he would support further study of the earlier start times in the summer based on the spread sheet that he provided and M. O'Brien stated that he would.
- M. O'Brien stated that the 5-year capital plan and FY 2012 budget are due to be submitted by mid-October and R. Harris appointed a committee of himself, M. Fontaine, and C. Bingham to work with M. O'Brien and S. Mann on these issues with a final budget to be presented to the Golf Commission for the approval prior to submission to the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee.
- R. Harris brought up the thought of expanding outings into the prime season based on our lack of play volume this year. M. O'Brien stated that he was in favor of this and that these outings would be in the afternoon with morning tee times starting on both the 1st and 10th tees. M. O'Brien stated that he started running ads indicating that we are now booking outings for the 2011 season throughout the year.
- In Steve Mann's absence M. O'Brien reported briefly that the course was rebounding well after the aerification and that the fairways were growing in after the overseeding. He further stated that the hot & humid conditions we experienced this year contributed significantly to the disease problems and that we were not alone in this regard. We will be looking at the possibility of a pre-emptive application of fungicide to deal with the summer patch problem, but that this is a costly procedure. The consensus seemed to be that the cost would be worthwhile.
- J. Odell asked if the reeds would be cut down around the pond on Port #14 before the NEIGA tournament and M. O'Brien said that he would talk to S. Mann about this.
- John Cleary discussed selling advertising on the golf carts. He suggested the ads be located on the exterior of the carts so that they would be visible to all golfers, not just the riders. He felt that national advertisers would be likely to participate in program such as this. J. Ehrhart asked if this was permitted in our current cart lease. M. O'Brien stated that he would look into it. The consensus of the Commission felt that this type of advertising would be a good thing for us to pursue if it is allowed in our contract.
- John Cleary stated that he thought we were doing a good job with our web site as far as search engine optimization.
- John Cleary said that we may want to look into upgrading our email campaigns with the possibility of hiring an outside vendor to handle this for us.
- C. Bingham brought up the idea of advertising on our tee signs and John Cleary felt that this might diminish the course to a degree, unless it was done very tastefully. He did not feel that it had as much value as the golf cart advertising.
- M. O'Brien presented a report from the marketing sub-committee which outlined some of the things they were working on, including: renegotiating the yellow pages contract; pulling recent real estate sales data and doing mailings to new owners; work with realtors to distribute Captains information at closings; consider tv and radio advertising; put a brochure together for the NEIGA tournament to try and solicit outings; enhance geo-targeting efforts from web site and at check in; actively seek out organizations that may wish to hold an outing; seek out high profile organizations that may be willing to hold an event here to increase exposure for the course and promote good will; partner with bus companies and/or AAA to provide lodging/golf outings; increase exposure through Social Media; continue to investigate on course marketing efforts such as the golf cart idea; add a web cam so that people could see course conditions in the winter; and ad wi-fi as an amenity to improve our perception as a high end facility.
- C. Bingham said that the web site committee's work was on-going and would have more to report at the next meeting.
Ralph Ingegneri made the following comments:
1. Maintenance workers need to have better etiquette.
2. We should have greeters when guests arrive at the course.
3. Create a handout for hotels to display.
4. Non-resident membership fees should be more competitive with area courses.
5. We should renovate the clubhouse so that it is more inviting to guests in the restaurant area.
6. We should do more discount promotions as have some other area courses.
- C. Bingham said that we should not just change the policy of allowing members to book into non-member tee times from 8:00 p.m. the day before play to 12:00 the day before play in the off-season unless it is written into our current policy. R. Harris said he would work with M. O'Brien on how best to handle this during the less active times of year.
- C. Bingham reported that the 100-yard marker on Port #14 was missing and the 150-yard marker on Port #8 were missing. M. O'Brien said he would take care of this.
- C. Bingham asked if we could look into getting a "solo-rider" cart here at the course. M. O'Brien said he would look into it.
- C. Bingham suggested that since the food & beverage contract was expiring at the end of next year, we should start looking into what we want from the new contract.
- L. Arnold handed out the results from the recent exit survey of past members. This will be discussed further at the next meeting.
- M. O'Brien drew a raffle winner from those that submitted the survey. Dan Orareo was the winner and M. O'Brien will contact him to give him his prize of one dozen golf balls.
- Su Ballentine asked if the Commission would have a problem if she spoke with a contact she had for a possible high profile event at the Captains. All agreed that this would be appropriate.
- 10-Play cards will be discussed at the next meeting.
Since there was no other business, a motion was made by C. Bingham to adjourn the meeting, seconded by J. Ehrhart. The motion was approved unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 6:05 PM. The next meeting will be held on November 9, 2010 at 4:00 p.m. in the clubhouse conference room.