Opening Day 2019

Posted on February 8, 2019

“Change is the only constant in life” (Heraclitus)

With only one spot available on the booking sheet, and with many ladies arriving to have lunch and catch up with golfing friends, Opening Day 2019 was a well attended event, complete with the usual busy agenda. Thanks to all the ladies who attended and tolerated the un- airconditioned room, for the last time!!

President Susie welcomed everyone and alluded to 2019 being a ‘year of change. As they say with change being as good as a holiday, we are all in for one amazing year!.  Special attendees at the meeting were President Steve Walker, Captain Chris Pragnell, Board members Anne Goodrick and Margie Dearlove, departing General Manager Robin Taylor, Rules Aficionado Moya Shepherd and Veterans delegates Kerrie Graham and Hilary Flynn.

Firstly we heard from Steve Walker who definitely reinforced the change that lies ahead.

Steve advised us all to read the comprehensive Board paper, now on the website, which provides the analysis, objectives and strategies for the Club going forward. In summary

  • With a stunning renovated clubhouse to enjoy just days away, we are all encouraged to partake of the many dining and entertaining experiences on offer The reintroduction of Friday night Nine & Dines until the end of daylight savings, provides a great opportunity to skip work early on a Friday, enjoy the new Clubhouse, invite friends, and generally get the weekend off to a good start.
  • Whilst on the course we will see the implementation of a bunker refurbishment program. Of course these will only be ‘enjoyed” by those “lucky” enough to get in them!
  • We are also encouraged to support the Pennant Hills foundation which has been reborn to activate worthwhile projects such as the indoor training facility in the old pro shop and installation of secure gates to the club entrance.
  • Low operating income, over budgeted building expenses, a levy- induced reduction in membership numbers, have all contributed to the urgent need for the Board to re-assess the financial position and introduce measures to stop the flow. These measures in terms of cost increases across all membership categories are well documented in the paper. Bottom line we will all need to dig a little deeper to put our Club in a stronger financial position than is currently forecasted.
  • Comparisons made to our Pack Cup peers, such as Avondale, Concord, Killara, Pymble and Castle Hill, illustrate that we have been fortunate to pay less for both golf club entry fees and in subs over the years, and this is an opportune time to address this disparity to some degree.
  • Faced with an aging membership, the Board also sees the importance of attracting new membership, and is actively considering measures to increase our ranks, prior to Stage 2 of the Clubhouse program.

Just when we had absorbed some of these changes, Moya was invited to the floor to help us comprehend some of the changes occurring on the course, with the new Rules of Golf in 2019. The Club will be holding workshops during the year, but it’s important for us to keep abreast of some of the key developments, which are basically intended to offer less complexity and preserve the essence of the golf game.

  • New dropping heights, reduced time for ball searches, putting with the flagstick in, rules about balls moving on greens, removing loose impediments from bunkers, are probably some of the changes known to most of us. Less commonly known, but an important one nevertheless, is that when you next enter a bunker and you don’t seem to be the only life form in it, you will be pleased to know that “insects and worms are loose impediments”.
  • There is much available to us to become better acquainted with these new Rules of Golf, perhaps none as useful as the Smart App, which as suggested by Moya, can be downloaded on your smartphone and provides an easily accessible and fast tool to check rulings on the myriad of golf rule dilemmas.

Another sad change occurring at the Club is the imminent departure of our highly regarded general manager of five years, Robin Taylor. Robin’s quiet approach, dedication to the job, long hours spent at the Club, and respect he has earned from all who come into contact with him, render his shoes hard to fill. Robin spoke highly of the ladies who he has had contact with on a Board, Committee and player level. Like music to our ears, Robin acknowledged the importance of the ladies of PHGC, the uniqueness of our community in all that we do and bring to the Club. We will miss you Robin but our loss is Wyong Race Course’s gain!

Veterans delegate Kerrie Graham espoused the many benefits of joining the Veterans. A mere $24 initial investment, $12 annual fee, and the outing of oneself as being “just” over 50 years, provides the opportunity to enter State Vets competitions, share in an abundance of prizes throughout the year and be in the running for the much-coveted Merle Travis and Polly Wearn trophies (amongst others). Barbara Haworth, one of our highly regarded vets, has been selected as the honoured Vet for 2019. We send our condolences to Barbara whose husband has recently passed away, and we hope to see her back on the course soon.

It seems that even the Moffatt household has not been immune to change, with the return of a twenty something daughter into the almost empty nest. Sally’s friendly demeanour however doesn’t change, and she warmly welcomed us back to school (oops to the Club!) and reflected on the busy golfing year ahead. Now that doesn’t change!! Some of the highlights covered by Sally include:

  • Fixtures books can be collected from Kim however please be aware a mistake in database selection somewhere along the line has resulted in an outdated members’ listing going to print. Please refer to the members directory on the website as this is current.
  • Four ball Knockout has commenced. The highly valued Lexus Cup will commence next Thursday 14th
  • High Tee Classic, which aside from the great golf culminates in a glass of bubbly, a delicious high tea and a fashion parade, is scheduled for Tuesday 26th February. Please book ASAP if you wish to be part of this wonderful day, which is open to visitors and 2 day players.
  • The first of three Interclub matches, that being the Oatlands Interclub, will take place on 25th March. This requires 25 pairs to play at Oatlands, will feature our new secret weapon (the Club shirt) to overpower any opposition if the golf is struggling. Bookings open on 18th February.
  • Greens Renovation trip to Wollongong from Sunday 31st March to Tuesday 2nd April, has captured the interest of approx. 70 ladies and is certain to be a highlight on the golfing calendar. If anyone is still considering this trip, there is only a short window to contact Lesley or Jenny.
  • Club Championships are again in late August and early September so we assume none of our ladies will be booking holidays at that time. A very convincing excuse note will be required!
  • That rule however does not extend to the Ladies Captain however, who has changed tradition to accommodate her holiday, with the Captains Cup now being played in June and the Presidents Cup in July. That’s ok Sally, you will probably need a break from home by then!
  • Other new initiatives include Green Day on 14th March (replacing St Pats Day), Beanie Day on 17th June (let’s hope after wearing a beanie for 4-5 hours our new hairdryers are installed by then!)
  • Grade team in Division 1 commence their matches in late February, and we wish the team of Hannah Sneath, Deb Bennett, Mimi Elina, Nicki Howlett, Anne Eldridge and Belinda Crane the best of luck. Good luck to all the Pennants players this year, enjoy your games it is a great experience and honour to be involved in Pennants, and if the golf doesn’t impress there’s always a free golf ball, a new shirt and a nice lunch each week to savour.
  • Changes have been made to the 8th tee placement which seem to have been well received. Sally also mentioned a useful strategy was to leave golf buggies on the far side of the 8th tee, to further assist with this issue. Also please us the footpath to get to the 17th tee, as discussed previously.
  • Handicap divisions when three divisions are being played have been modified slightly to accommodate the larger group playing in division three (now 25.8 to 45.4 GA).
  • The new locker room will continue to be a source of important information including rule changes, conditions of play, Open Days at other clubs, monthly updates, the birdie board etc. Of note there will be a Birdie Board exclusively for two day players this year, with competitions commencing Thursday 21st

Presentations were made today to several outstanding players. Our congratulations go to the winners of the:

Most reduced handicap and Most Improved Player for 2018– Stephanie Shuttleworth, who has reduced her handicap from 32 to 21 in just 12 months!

As Sally likened herself to Ellen conducting an interview, we witnessed a lovely exchange with Stephanie who at just 15 has been playing golf since she was 4. With no family history of the “golf disease”, Stephanie has amazed her family and those who see her play with her passion and achievements. Coached by David Reckless at Dural, he did not live up to his surname and suggested that Stephanie join PHGC. The rest is history and we wish Stephanie all the best in her golfing endeavours this year.

2019 Summer Silver Matchplay Winners– Musgrove team, comprised of Bernadette Winters (Captain), Nicki Howlett, Wendy Gresham, Carole Whitehouse, Margot Weinert, Chrissie Grier, Amanda Tucker and Sue Stevenson. The question on everyone’s lips is “Was it Bernadette’s muffins or her passion for the team colour green which gave this team the winning edge?

2019 Summer Order of merit

First place: Nicki Howlett (who ironically won a one hour golf lesson with Neil!)

Second Place: Amanda Tucker

Third Place: Carole Whitehouse

4th Place: Coral Lawrence

Congratulations to today winners:

18 holes:    

First place Div 1: Margie Dearlove (36), Second place: Anne Eldridge (34), Third Place: Anne De Carvalho (33)

First place Div 11: Alison O’Sullivan (37), Second Place: Fran Ritchie (34) and Third Place: Meryll Grace (33 c/b)

First place Div 11I: Caitlin Skillicorn (36), Second Place: Margie Fairfax (35) and Third Place: Bev Thompson (34 c/b)

9 holes 1-9:  Jan Spears (15)

9 holes 10-18: Hilary Summergreen (16)

NTP:   9th Hole; Ann deCarvalho,

Susie then took the floor once again and:

  • Introduced Kristen Ramirez, our Hospitality Manager who has been extremely busy devising wonderful new menu options for the downstairs Café and upstairs Lounge Area. Cheers of applause were heard as Kristen alluded to the end of Sandwich-gate, with SO many new options for us to choose including ‘made to order “ sandwiches. Perhaps the loudest applause of all accompanied the news of the introduction of a new “cocktail menu”. I’m sure we are all excited to try these new food and beverage offerings and thank Kristen for all her work in providing these great changes to the new clubhouse experience. But ladies please don’t forget to get to your tees on time, with the café now open for breakfast from 7am there will be many temptations to resist!
  • Susie mentioned the Flower Roster will be managed ably this year by Marlene Ratcliffe and Adriana D’Orazio, volunteers are still welcome.
  • Assured us that Lisa Hamer and Trish Johnson were once again committing to produce the much anticipated 2019 Christmas concert, and encouraged any closet performers or would be stage hands, stage designers and/or makeup artists, to contact these ladies as soon as possible to register interest.
  • Pennant Hills Golf Club definitely provides a holistic club experience with its offerings of Pilates (Lyn Stanton & Joan Isles), Tuesday Bridge (Carolyn Brereton & Sue Rogge) and Friday Bridge (Kay Temple & Leanne Goodall). We are indebted to these ladies who contribute willingly and freely of their time and expertise to provide great enjoyment to many.

Lastly Susie advised us to be alert (but not alarmed) when making online golf bookings, to check our availability and the event we are booking into. In the same vein as “Happy Wife makes for a Happy Life, it seems also that a “Happy Captain” will also add to everyone’s enjoyment of 2019!

And that wraps up Opening Day 2019. We wish you all a wonderful year complete with good golf and good health. We hope all our ladies make the most of all the wonderful benefits that change at PHGC is going to bring.

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