I was sitting in Butlers cabin (back of the ProShop) with about 10 longtime members this morning waiting for the frost to thaw out so that we could get to work/playgolf. It can be amazing what discussions come out and one of those was about the current condition of our clubs finances.
As most know I refuse to lie to our membership about or lie for anyone, because my word means alot to me, so I told them the truth in my opinion. Frankly we are hurting right now. There is not any good news about it. In my opinion we are at our lowest point in my 16years of service to our members. Our membership is now at 330 members. Our current bills to operate the club consumes every dollar we take in. Our Board of Directors have cut everything possible to the bone in their efforts to try to turn things around. They have done a great job of finding spots to cut or save in order not to have to raise your dues. It has been very hard on them to try to make the right choices, those that affect the clubs future. This may be one of the best, if not the best Board of directors in my 16 years of service. They have been committed in trying to move this club in the right direction while trying to right the ship. My hat is off to all of these Board members, many of whom have pulled money out of their own pockets to help out in some way or another. They have solicted donations in order to do some sort of improvements to either the club or golf course just to show it members/owners that we are still trying to move forward in some way, because they feel very strongly about "thei club".
Riverlands Golf and Country Club is owned and operated basically by it's membership, which is you. That is right, You, as a member are a part owner of Riverlands Country Club. Maybe not in the same way of a person owning his or her private business, but rather in the way of a family owning a home or camp. What it all boils down to is Riverlands is currently owned by roughly 330 members. Not the type of ownership that is worth a percentage of something if it was sold but rather the type of ownership that would miss a camp if a hurricane was to wipe it out. While you can go out and enjoy the camp when you need to get away you would miss it dearly if it just disappeared. You would feel a part of you was missing because it was no longer there.
My point is, "This is your club" and every single one of you should take pride in the fact that you are a part of it, as it is also a part of you. I hear from time to time that this person does not want to spend money here for one reason or another. Maybe the merchandise is cheaper at a discount store or there is more people to drink with at that other bar or many other excuses I have heard. In reality though, "This is your Club" whenever you take your business elsewhere you have taken a little away from what you own. What you are ultimately responsible for. It seems like in todays society everyone wants something for nothing but those small somethings also add up to a lot of cost that your club is paying for. A cup if ice which is currently free at "your club" still cost the club money. You may say it is only one cup but when you figure out that there may be 330 cups being given out then the cost add up. Maybe just buying a coke to put in the free cup would be a better proposition. I know that coke may cost $2 and you can buy one cheaper down the road, but that does not help your club pay its fixed bills does it? The small things add up, especially when you consider 330 members doing small things. Maybe, just maybe that type of thinking could be "hurting your club".
My wish for this coming year, (after everyone of our members good heath) is that we can change the attitudes we all have towards our club. That our new motto is "This is my club and I am proud to be a part owner". What can I do to help my club get through these hard of times. Then ask yourself another question, What would I do it Riverlands was no longer a part of my life. That could be a grim reality somewhere down the road. Maybe, just maybe buying one coke to go with you cup of ice could make a difference I mean if 330 members bought that one coke things might get a little better, because it is the small things in this world that make a difference. So for me I ask that you put aside whatever reason you may have not to spend your money at "your club" and think about buying something from "YOUR CLUB".
I also want to say that these last 16 years of service to Riverlands and it's owners has been the best 16 years of my life, so far. I hope and pray for another 16 years of enjoyment and fulfillment working at Riverlands. Like many of it's members who have been around from it's 1st day, who had a desire of building a place in which to enjoy the rest of their life I would not have a problem retireing from work at Riverlands, way down the road.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. You will see a lot more of my new slogan "THIS IS YOUR CLUB" throughout next year.