Attendees: Stephen Dundas, Alex Medina, Jon Hale, David MacGregor, Liz Griffiths, Frank O´Hara, Lidia Muñoz & Alicia Riquelme.
Stephen starts the meeting by thanking everyone for attending the meeting. He says he is happy to be at San Roque and to have the opportunity to go through all the points stated in the agenda for this commission meeting. These are:
- Golf course and annual fees
- Golf Academy
- Restaurant, TJ House and Clubhouse
- Toilets on the course
- Other works done or agreed
After a lot of discussions, analyse and research, it has been decided to do the renovation works on the Old Course in one year instead of closing the course partly. The plan is to start on 1st November and re open 1st November 2020. This work will be carried out by Manuel Piñero’s Company Target under the supervision of John Clarkin and Turfgrass.
Although this is a lot more expensive decision, it is the best option for all concerned. Some of the advantages is that we will get to the market quicker allowing the club to start to sell according with the new product, also our membership and our visitors will only be affected one year and not near three years if we would have done it how it was first planned (the Old Course would not have been fully renovated till 2022). Yesterday Stephen had a long meeting with the ownership who decided to go for this best option.
The actual design and layout of the Old Course will not change, however after the works, it will look different. The works agreed are: New Greens, new tees, new bunkers, new fairways, new drainage, new irrigation, tree pruning program (which is much better for the game, to find the ball, to look open, cleaner and tidier, and it is also less expensive as far as maintenance is concerned), new fences, new gates, new tee furniture and a gentle re-design incorporating the removal of some bunkers but adding in other bunkers, and there will also be some surprises.
David asks if the Old Course will look as a different course. Stephen explains that the objective is that the difference is remarkable, otherwise it would not make sense to carry out with this type of works. It will be the greens and the bunkers what most change, which will offer different options for different levels of golfers with a more friendly play and slopes gentler (i.e. hole 7). In conclusion, from play will be more friendly; from aesthetic, more pleasing.
Frank asks if although the Course will present championship standards, is there any intention to host big and qualifying tournaments? Stephen explains that there is no intention at all to bring any big tournament. The idea is to attract people and make visitors come back for another great experience and make members feel proud of their club and see them recommending it to their friends to join as new members.
With the idea that from the clubhouse the staff can see the players finishing their game, the 18th will be moved, closer to the existing 9th tee, the existing 18th hole will be the future 17th tee. And the existing gym will be the future caddy master office. This is a good place for our staff to meet people coming to the clubhouse and to be closer to the Proshop which will help to provide a better and quicker service.
After some meetings and discussions, Stephen confirms that 2020 annual fees will remain the same as 2019. Not only SRC members will keep enjoying their same rights playing the New Course but also, they will be able to enjoy, after one year, a full renovated amazing Old Course, clubhouse and golf academy at no extra costs. As everybody know, this investment also implies a lot of internal additional expenses such as staffing, new F&B department, habilitation and equipment of the Tony Jacklin House, among many others. So, Stephen considers that this will answer all the questions from members asking for special deals or discounts on fees next year. Jon thinks members will understand and that there will not be any problems as member´s concerns were when the works were planned to be done partially; now that the works will be carried out in one year and membership rights will remain the same, members will agree.
Jon asks if members will have any special deals in some of the local golf clubs. Stephen explains that Lidia has been working on this getting some discounted prices for SRC members during the works. This will be announced nearer the time.
Frank says that there is a general concern among the members regarding the possibility of a considerable increase of the annual fees. Stephen explains the old memberships will be honoured by the ownership. This means that by contract, annual fees can only be increased by the inflation rate. So, no worries on this matter. Regarding the new memberships, annual fees can be increased by more than the inflation; however, the annual fees will not be increased dramatically in the coming years. The new management team want new and existing members to feel they are getting value for money; therefore, the annual fee will not have any dramatic increases.
The joining fees for the new memberships will be very competitive at first as introductory offer, but they will be increased significantly once the Old Course is renovated. There is a great business opportunity now for San Roque. Looking at our local market, RCG Sotogrande cannot offer guarantee of availability to its members, La Reserva is offering membership only to their homeowners, Taylor Wimpey is offering and bringing potential new members through the selling of their properties, collaboration agreements with Jason Floyd and Peter Gustafsson and partnerships with well known companies such as Safamotor in Marbella or Kempinski Hotel. Peter Gustafsson will be SRC ambassador who will try to bring business to the club and may organize in September a PG San Roque Club Day. He is also available for lessons.
Jon asks if our new Management team has contemplated the possibility of making San Roque a sport association with their old membership, with the aim to avoid the VAT. Stephen says that the lawyers have investigated this matter, but there are no possibilities.
Another important news is that the driving range will be moved further back in order to benefit from further distance (35 meters) to the end of the range. The whole range will also benefit as artificial grass will be introduced. This only brings benefits such as no maintenance, always looks perfect and no need to close for maintenance. This will be carried out by Southwest greens who are the leading company in this field.
Jason Floyd Academy will have his golf academy at the club, where the existing putting green is (to the right of the driving range entrance).
The plan to carry out this work is closing from November 2019 till July 2020. A netting service will be put up by the 1st tee on the New Course during this period of works. Stephen understands that members may not be happy with the works of demolition of the driving range; however, Jon says that the members will fully understand, and all makes sense for a better functionality.
These are the plans studied and agreed on papers. However, Stephen says that they don’t rule out the possibility of further possible improvements which could be done on the progress of the works.
Gonzalo Sanchez, PGA Golf Professional, will be working with us as a teaching pro, considered very good professional and very driven person, focused on his career. He will be a good addition to our golf academy. This will not affect Mark Emery at all. On the contrary, this has helped to create better atmosphere and more services in this club facility.
Liz asks what the situation is in respect to the New Course, now we are facing all these works on the Old Course. Stephen confirms that the debt with the Town Hall is being paid, although there is still a lot to discuss and negotiate with them. In any case, the New Course is safe during the works. And he also would like to assure that much more focus will be put on the conditioning of the New Course in the run up to November. It is also worth noting that we will retain a full complement of greenkeeping staff during this time meaning we will have the same amount of staff looking after one course as we do look after two courses at present. This will drastically enhance the quality of the New Course.
Restaurant, TH House and Clubhouse
Regarding our F&B and TJ House, Stephen explains that the idea is to have our own restaurant to be run in house. The TJ House gardens have been renovated and House full equipped so that from 3rd July, we can start to operate it and to open to the public and members. The investment done is to get a reasonable state. Among the new staff, is Cristina our Chef who is a very well organized and professional person who enjoys her cooking. As F&B manager, Stephen introduces Olivier, that many of the members, know him from his previous stage at the club. At first, the TJ house will open for breakfast and lunch. But if demanded, it will also open for dinners.
Stephen explains that our club bar will offer mainly a very complete and appropriate menu for golfers after the game. And there will be different menus for dinners. Our motto is to provide affordable quality food. Comparing with food locally, SRC restaurant is not going to be expensive. Jon asks about the discounts for members, to which Stephen says that members will keep enjoying their discounts. The levy system will be implemented again, and the club will inform about it in due course.
Stephen would really appreciate to receive from the members any feedback, ideas or suggestions.
About works on renovation of Domecq Clubhouse, this will begin on 3rd July and the plan is to open on 1st November 2019. This work will be carried out in phases, being first phase looking at restaurant and terrace areas.
Jon asks what the situation about the staff who worked for Almazara is. Stephen explains that they are now in negotiations and an attempt will be made to reach an agreement.
Jon asks if there is any news about the Suites hotel. Stephen explains that lawyers are now in contact with Banco Santander. The intention of our ownership has not changed. We do want to buy back the hotel. We will inform of any progress in this matter.
Toilets on the course
It has been agreed that these will be installed once the construction of the golf course has been completed.
Other works done or agreed
- Robert´s Maintenance area has received a big investment in order to provide him and his team with better working conditions plus investment in machinery and materials. He also has 5 extra
- John Clarkin and Turfgrass will be our golf course consultants after the renovation works.
- We have employed a new events manager and an assistant for Lidia plus two new caddy masters. Frank thinks that now it is the right time to incentive and motivate our caddy master for a better and proactive service. Stephen fully agrees and adds that under no circumstances he will accept bad
- We have several sponsors that will provide better prizes for tournaments and discount exclusively for SRC
- We have paid back most of the debts that we had with
NEXT COMMISSION MEETING TUESDAY 27th AUGUST 2019 – 3.00pm (after roll up) at TJ HOUSE