President’s Report 2017
As reported in last year’s AGM the club remains in a strong financial position. We have continued to maintain the Club’s financial viability despite a much tougher trading environment. Membership has been maintained with only a very small drop in numbers and the Club has made progress on a number of fronts that I will detail later in this report.
Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow members of the executive committee for their hard work throughout the year. In particular I would like to thank our Vice President Dick Warberg for his untiring efforts throughout the year. We did not fill all positions available at last year’s AGM and Dick took it upon himself to fill many of these holes whilst doing an excellent job with both other sports and the discount book. Ron Gale who served his first term as Golf Chairman has refreshed the role and brought many new ideas into golf as well as adding wise counsel to the Executive Committee. George Bennison who continued his diligent work as the Club Secretary, Noi Emmerson our Charity Chair continues her good work and old hands like Geoff Couch continue to provide valuable input into the management of the Club. During the year our Treasurer Jim Bryan returned permanently to the US and his role was successfully filled by John Player and I thank him for his tireless efforts. As always our Founder Member continues to provide both experience and wisdom and this role was filled excellently by William Marsden (A.K.A. Kiwi Bill) with Lumpy Russell standing in when Bill was away.
Secondly, I would like to thank our staff who provide an excellent service to members and whose dedication in sometimes trying times is without doubt.
Lastly, I would like to thank all members, whose generosity and support of events and charity has been at times inspirational.
Financial and Membership
At last year’s AGM I reported:-
“These two facets of the Club’s operations are so entwined and interdependent that it is impossible to separate them. At the start of our term the Committee had a negative view of the prospects of Pattaya maintaining its previous tourism numbers. The Committee also noted that there was a general shift in the origin of tourists from western countries who are more likely to play golf to China who generally do not. The Committee projected that last year’s “high” season would be a “mid” season at best (and so it turned out). There had been a trend of declining membership over the previous three or four years and our concern was that this would continue if not worsen.”
This is still true and accurate as of today’s AGM. The Committee has continued to closely monitor costs and with the implementation of the online membership system we expect that declining membership will be addressed.
At last year’s AGM I reported that we would pursue sports other than golf with a view to expanding membership. Dick, as detailed in his report, has pursued this vigorously but he has met a number of obstacles, membership apathy being at the forefront. Despite this the Committee is determined to continue its attempts to expand the sports available through PSC.
At last year’s AGM I reported that we have done:-
“a programme of fiscal responsibility was put in place. Monitoring costs and cash flows to maintain cash reserves was of the highest priority. We place great emphasis on maintaining our cash reserves to ensure the continued existence of the club in the long term.”
This Committee has successfully followed this doctrine and the Club’s cash reserves have been maintained.
Golf still drives the Club’s revenue with well over 90% of income derived from golf associated areas and last year I reported:-
“Accordingly, the Committee is looking at driving other reasons for membership. We have identified the discount book as a key driver for membership. It will take a complete revamp and determined effort to promote this as a reason for membership, but we are confident that this is imminently achievable. After the expansion of the discount book is complete it our intention to implement a promotion of the discounts available as a reason to either join the Club or retain your membership if you cease playing golf.”
The Committee has pursued the discount book which was fully reviewed and updated. It has been significantly expanded through the efforts of our Vice President (see his report).
We continue in our efforts to expand our Thai memberships but we haven’t met much success and our Thai membership still remains limited in numbers. I reported last year” We have no doubts that this will be a long, slow and arduous process but it a process that should be undertaken.”
The Committee has successfully implemented the online membership and renewal scheme and in the short time it has been operational its results have been very promising. We are still very optimistic that this will have a positive effect on membership numbers and intend to promote it fully in the coming year.
Our website banner advertising which I reported on last year has continued to grow, we have used it to expand sponsorship of our major events and it is proving to be an excellent marketing tool.
Last year I reported that “The Committee can see some tough years ahead and as a result we are strictly controlling costs.” and so it proved. We have maintained a strict control over costs limiting the effect on our bottom line. I cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining our cash reserves whilst the economic outlook remains bleak.
Last year I announced that it was the intention of the Committee to implement our own Handicap system. To not only provide great savings but more importantly, allowing us to tailor the software to meet our unique requirements. This software was rolled out in early March 2017.
This requires further explanation:-
There are times in life and in business where you have a convergence of circumstances that give you an opportunity to make genuine leaps forward and major progress. You either grab it or it is gone. This was one such time. The handicap system was part of this.
Throughout the year we had been working on a three phase plan to update PSC management systems, being the membership database, implement online membership and renewal and create our own handicap system. These three systems although distinct and separate items are totally interdependent upon each other. One cannot operate fully without the other.
At the end of February 2017 our subscription to our handicap system had expired. At about this time we had updated the membership database and re- written this software and finalised our online membership with the handicap system just about ready to go. The handicap system had lagged behind due to data transfer problems. We were faced with the decision of paying out 450,000 baht for a further year’s subscription and more importantly not having the membership system plus the online renewal communicating with the handicap system therefore retaining an inherent flaw in our management systems. I took the decision to go ahead and make the whole system live. I take full responsibility for making this decision, it was unilateral and nobody else is responsible for the consequences.
The system was tested but as it turned out not thoroughly enough and a number of issues arose. Firstly, a number of data transfer errors were discovered these I have explained before but needless to say these have been corrected. Secondly, our membership database has been maintained for 38 years and has been changed or shifted a couple of times during that period. A number of issues were highlighted in this database. Previously handicaps and membership were separate, members only accessed the handicap system and were not affected by errors in the membership system. Names were incorrect in that data base, surnames and christian names reversed, years of birth wrong etc etc. These issues affected many members logging onto the system. An error in the membership system made 30 years ago was highlighted and affected that members account. We transferred millions of bytes of data and ended up with a relatively small error rate.
Although I’m not trying to justify the errors, errors were anticipated especially when you consider the volume of data involved. What is important is not that errors occurred but the speed with which you fix them. To this point we were inundated during the first three weeks and we solved them in a timely fashion to where we stand now with negligible errors . The handicap system can now be described as a working work in progress with many enhancements to come. The system is ours, we own the source code and no further subscriptions need paying.
It is very difficult to convey the magnitude, difficulty and complexity of the task we undertook in early March 2017. I hope that this explanation goes some way to quieten the confederacy of dunces whom despite a thorough ignorance of the facts continue to spread innuendo, falsehoods and mistruths.
The benefits are huge and we will reap the rewards for years to come.
My special thanks go to Aiden Murray our handicap Chairman who has worked tirelessly with our external software developer towards total USGA compliance which will be achieved by early July.
Our charity donations are greatly reduced in line with our conservative policy of maintaining our cash reserves.
Charity is an interesting conundrum in that it is easy to dump a couple of million baht into this cost but what is important is what you do with it and where it will do the most good. I know that in the room at the AGM there will be many differing opinions as to who our charity donations will go to. What we need to remember is that the need is limitless but our funds are not. We cannot assist everybody.
What we have is a system of donating which was approved at the 2015 AGM where all applications are in writing, submitted to the monthly Executive Committee meeting and either approved or not. The majority are approved. This system of checks and balances ensures that our donations end up in the hands of those with needs. What we cannot do is go back to the days of unaccountable cash donations.
Recently the club held its inaugural charity bike ride. This was well attended (350 riders) and sponsored by mainly Thais and fulfilled two goals of the club in that it raised our profile within the Thai community and provides a second major fundraiser to complement golfs charity classic. It is our intention to build this into a major event.
The Years Financial Results Highlights
The following table (in Baht millions) reflects the performance of the club for the year with a
comparison to the previous year:-
|Cash on Hand/Deposit||10.40||10.89|
|Member Fees Received||4.61||4.21|
Notes to the above table:-
Cash on Hand
Up 490,000 which has grown due to the decrease in donations. The Club has an ongoing liability to members in prepaid subscription fees and at balance date this liability was 5.7 million Baht.
Down 800,000 Baht but in the time since closing of the books a further 150,000 has been given.
This was monies approved by the Executive Committee before April 30 .
Members Fees Received
Down 400,000 which is a sign of the tough economic times and a continuing strong baht affecting both tourism numbers and expat numbers.
This is what it costs for us to open the doors and provide the service levels, parties, golf tournaments and other member benefits. We will continue to monitor closely these costs as they are extremely close to our membership fees received but do contain many costs associated with the software development. During the year we upgraded much of our computer hardware, purchasing new equipment including an in house server and backup system. We have also paid for our software development. We replaced our telephone system and upgraded our internet capability.
Up 90,000 baht which would reflect the increase in voucher sales.
The Club is living within its means. Nett profit is up 680,000 baht which is basically the reduction in donations.
It is the view of the Committee that we maintain the information flow to the Elective Members. Due to the poor attendance at the mid-term information meeting where the Committee has decided to cancel this meeting but instead will provide a written progress report and will be happy to respond to any written questions.
It is with great sadness to report the passing of three great stalwarts of the Club. Jim Montgomery, who served on the committee for many years, filling many roles. Jim was a golfer and a stalwart in the 10 pin bowling. Maxwell Matthews served on the committee for a number of years , mainly as club secretary. Thirdly was Alan Stephens, a long term member of the club and a great help to the golfing section. We respect their legacy and will ensure it continues by preserving, protecting and continuing to build the Club.
The Committee has implemented the following policies:-
- Fiscal responsibility control costs.
- Respect and value the traditions of the Club and the reasons for its establishment.
- Integrate more fully in the Thai community.
- Raise the profile of the Club.
- Develop new income streams.
- Preserve and protect current income streams.
- Expand the range of sports we are involved in.
- Develop membership other than golf.
- Ensure joining the Club is easier, quicker and simpler.
- Develop proprietary handicap software for large ongoing savings.
- Effectively use social media in promotion of the club.
- Continue to donate generously to worthwhile causes.
- Have total transparency with membership.
- Continue to develop and enhance the Handicap System.
- Continue to expand the discount book.
- Maintain the cash reserves of the club .
For those of you who intend to attend the AGM I thank you in advance for your attendance, for those who cannot I hope you find these reports informative. The full set of audited accounts will be available at the meeting as usual.
It is not our intention to read our reports at the AGM, merely to move their acceptance. We will of course answer any questions on the reports either at the meeting or in writing.
Finally, it has been an honour to serve on your Committee.
President Executive Committee
Pattaya Sports Club