It was another mild, but wet and windy November evening for the Annual General Meeting of
the Press Golf Society at Belvoir Park golf club on Thursday 17th November 2011. But spirits were undeterred and a fair turnout
by previous years standards was recorded. The meeting began at 8.05 pm. The secretary welcomed those present to Belvoir and
thanked Joe Kearney for his efforts in getting the club to host the AGM at and most importantly, no cost. The Secretary appealed
for no further bloodshed at the meeting, as he had already had his fill of death and destruction that evening, having 'ran
over' a rabbit on his way there! Having not had time to stop and examine the entrails he hoped the signs had been good.
Those present were John Haughey, Joe Kearney, Brian Morgan, David Sloan, David Lynas, Des Magee,
James O'Leary, Des Houston, Noel McCartney, Peter Croft, Toby Bradford and George Martin.
Please note the following points.....
1. Reference throughout the report to the 'committee' , this term entails the
Captain, Secretary, Treasurer, Sponsorship and the 4 members who make up the committee.
2. You will find attached to this email three PDF files referred to as documents A,B
and C in the following report ...
Document A.. Minutes of 2010 AGM ( in the form of a summary, full record available should you wish
to read it).
Document B.. Secretary's Report for 2011.
Document C.. Treasurer's Report for 2011.
Should you encounter any problems with the opening of these documents you will find them posted on
the website under the 2011 AGM link on the navigation menu.
Following closely to the agenda, but with an allowance for a bit of latitude, the meeting began with
apologises, read out by the secretary from Paul Kelly, Dominic Cunningham, Rod Nawn, Deric Henderson, Ivan McMichael and Oliver
McVeigh. My apologises to anyone that I may have omitted from the apologises list by mistake.
A copy of the 2010 AGM minutes (Document A) were handed out and after a suitable period of digestion
were passed as being a true record of events. Proposed by John Haughey and seconded by Joe Kearney and there being no objections
were placed into the records of the PGS.
Next out of the blocks was the Secretary's report for 2011 (Document B) which was available in hard
copy for the members present and attached to this email for those of you unable to attend, it was accompanied by a verbal
summary of the main points, these being...
1.Sponsorship... apart from venue based ( K Club) sponsorship it has been another disaster of a
year with not a single commercial sponsor willing to part with the cash from their marketing budget, which I know under the
present economic circumstances, is dire for most of them.
2. Attendances... at outings were up by 11 over the course of the year and the top venues were Royal
Portrush, Belvoir Park and Galgorm Castle. Spa and Massereene were bottom of the table and can expect relegation in the coming
season! Full breakdown of figures on each outing are available in the report PDF (Document B) attached, via pie chart and
3. Membership... was up slightly over the year and this is very good as we have lost a few members
these last few years through failing limbs and the arrival of parenthood for some. We have had a few new members this year
but not as many as we would have liked. The old mantra, ' if you know anyone' still applies! Figures are available in attached
4. Inter-Pro Competition... Warm congratulations to Captain Joe Kearney and his team of Killarney heroes
who brought the Trophy back to Ulster from the dark clutches of our southern counterparts.
5. Other matters...
A... Interactive booking (you email me, I book it and email you back) will continue as it has proved
to be a popular measure.
B... President Norman Drew is to stand down from his position, once a suitable replacement can be
C... Score card marking is better, but still leaves a lot to be desired and could be improved.
D... Adherence to tee times has been an occasional problem this year, please do your best to be there
on time! The secretary would appeal to all those 'tee huggers' among you to get on the tee and get down the fairway (or more
likely into the rough/water) as soon as possible.In the last year the secretary has been on the last four-ball out were, through
no fault of their own, they have been later than the alloted time and had to smooth the ruffled feathers of some club members
who have been keen for the off. So, in the immortal words of kenny Rogers, ' there'll be time for talking when the dealins
done'! Get off the first tee as soon as possible. If the cap fits...
E... Timing of meals causes angst among members, but is unavoidable , given the time between first
and last tee off times at some of the more popular venues.
F... PGS trophies, are in the main, in the secretary's hands, although still seeking the Finlandia
Silver Stag (Ebay might be a good starting point!) and the BT Crystal Shoe (Cinderella, please return it!).
Conclusion... The year ends with the society in good shape, money in the bank, membership up and
a host of excellent venues at superb prices in the offing for the new season, after a series of first class 'wheeling and
dealing' by Vice President Brian Morgan, Joel Taggart, Joe Kearney, Des Magee, Ivan McMichael and incoming Captain Toby Bradford.
Proposed accepted by Toby Bradford, seconded by David Lynas and with no objections has passed into the
annals of the PGS for 2011.
As if the excitement of all this was not enough, we then moved on to the 2012 Treasurer's Report
(Document C) which was handed out to members in hard copy form and is also attached for you to peruse .
The Treasurer, outgoing Captain John Haughey, delivered a verbal summary of the main points of the
report and in Iron Chancellor form declared that although the position was quite acceptable at present, there is always a
rainy day around the corner. You can read the facts and figures for yourself in the attached report. One point that he did
stress, was that the bank charges that we incur each year are still very high, considering the amount of money that passes
through our account. We are not Luxembourg, but the bank seems to think we are!!
This matter was looked into following the matter being raised at the last AGM and the Treasurer
had meetings with the bank and has managed to get almost a 33% reduction in charges this year, but it is still too high. Moving
the account was also looked into, but rates were no better and to try and pass it off as an 'individual account' was a non
starter as the law is very clear on this point. The banks know this and, surprize, surprize, exploit it to the full.
One thing that we can do to 'poke the bank in the eye', the Treasurer explained, was for members
to pay in cash at outings ( in the style of Italy or Greece, no offence intended, more admiration) as the 'ankers charge us
62p for each cheque that they process for us. This, on top of the monthly maintenance money, adds up in the hundreds at the
end of the year.
On the good news front, prize and printing costs were down this year after a frugal Treasurer took
it upon himself to visit Nevada Bobs emporium with a keen eye for a bargain, thus saving almost 8%, the guts of £200, on the
2010 prize costs. On the odd occasion that the secretary does it, he gets carried away and ends up spending more than he should.
This also adds a personal financial loss, as the latest 'wonder' putter usually takes his eye. But he promised to stick to
the latest one for at least three outings, before the next visit becomes necessary!
Des Magee stated that he felt that the front and back nine prizes should be 'done away with' to save
money. He may as well have sacrificed Bambi before our very eyes!The secretary took exception to this suggestion and mounted
a robust and spirited defence of these prizes. "As one who has stood many times on the 10th tee box with all hopes well gone,
the thought of the back nine box of balls is all that kept me going" he explained. "These prizes help the little man" he added
speaking as the recipient of the back nine on a few occasions this year. It was agreed that, were finances allowed, the front
and back nine prizes would be retained. The secretary welcomed this move and stated that he was now "looking forward to the
coming year with a little more hope in his heart".
Printing costs fell to 17% of the 2010 bill following a shrewd piece of work and the use of the new
online printing services that have become available these last few years.
Proposed accepted by George Martin and seconded by Des Houston and with there being no objections
was passed into the records of the PGS for 2011.
The Captain's Report was delivered verbally by the outgoing incumbent John Haughey, he declared himself
pleased with the way his year had gone, barring his wrist injury, sustained in wrestling goats in Greece or some like activity.
This had sidelined him for a few outings including his own Captain's Day, but glad to report that he is now mended after a
therapeutic or was that paralytic few days in Spain. Probably the former as he was in the company of teetotal Joe Kearney!
He wished incoming Captain Tobias Bradford well in his year of office and closed with thanks to all
who had assisted him through his term of office as he accepted his retirement to the back benches again in his, if elected,
role of Treasurer..
The Inter-Pro Captain's Report was delivered verbally by a beaming and still Trophy hugging Joe Kearney
who thanked one and all for their efforts at Killarney way back in mid May. For the record the team were, Joe Kearney
(Captain), John Haughey, Joel Taggart, Toby Bradford, Paul Kelly, James O'Leary, Arthur Allison, Marty Jordan, Darren Steenson
and Michael Cullen.
The members and officers present added their congratulations to the team and a warm glow was felt
around the room, after the long wait for the title to return home to where, barring acts of God, it so rightly belongs!!
The time nearing 8.43pm, it was time for the election of 'those who will serve you' this coming
year on the committee and as office bearers...
A. Captain.. Toby Bradford was proposed by George Martin, seconded by John Haughey and passed unanimously.
B. Vice-Captain.. Damien magee was proposed by George Martin, seconded by Joe Kearney and passed unanimously.
C. Secretary.. George Martin was proposed by Joe Kearney, seconded by Dessie Houston and passed unanimously.
D. Treasurer..John Haughey was proposed by George Martin, seconded by David Lynas and passed unanimously.
E.. Ass Sect/Treasurer** .. Joe Kearney was proposed by Toby Bradford, seconded by Des Magee and passed
F.. Committee ... Des Magee, David Lynas, Joel Taggart were all proposed and passed unanimously. This leaves
a 4th position open and it was agreed to fill this position at a later date and two names were put forward for consideration
and I will inform you in due course of the result.
**... it was agreed that the office of 'Sponsorship' name be changed to Assistant Secretary/Treasurer,
as the term had become a tad irrelevant due to the lack of sponsorship at present, but that the incumbent be charged with
the additional responsibility of still actively seeking sponsors in addition to helping the Secretary and Treasurer.
The proposal for the Inter-Pro team Captain for 2012 at Galway was Joe Kearney. It was proposed by
George Martin and seconded by John Haughey and passed unanimously. It was felt that Joe be given the chance to defend the
title and he was charged with the responsibility of taking over all matters relating to the team and the competition.
This was to include the return of the original Trophy to Galway and hopefully bringing it back again!!
With the sad passing of Vice-President Jack Duddy in July 2010, the position has been left unfilled.
It was felt that the time was right to promote a new Vice-President. After consultations it was also felt right that the new
man come from within the ranks of the PGS this time.
David Sloan, a long serving, oft times sponsor with his Downtown cap on and highly respected member,
was proposed by George Martin and seconded by Brian Morgan. This was passed unanimously. In typical modest fashion, he eventually
accepted the role and with it earned the warmest round of applause of the evening. His request for a buggy at outings called
Air Force Two was turned down! It was pointed out that during the year he would have plenty of bunkers to hide in!!
The time being 9.02pm we moved on to other business and with that the following points were covered....
A... Proposals for 2012 venues...
the following venues were discussed by the newly elected office bearers, committee
and members present, Royal Portrush (Valley), Clandeboye (Ava), Concra Wood, Lough Erne, The K Club, Moyola Park, Fortwilliam,
Belvoir Park, Balmoral, Galgorm Castle (VP Day), Ardglass, Castlerock, Royal County Down (Captains Day),Hilton (Templepatrick),
Ballyclare, Bangor ,Malone, County Armagh, Royal Belfast, Dunmurry and Shandon Park.
The venues that were chosen at the meeting were The K Club, Galgorm Castle (VP Day), Royal County
Down (Captain's Day),as well as three of last year's best attended venues which were also pencilled in. Royal Portrush, Clandeboye
and Belvoir Park.
It was then decided to refer the remaining choice of venues to the committee for further scrutiny
and selection as costs for some of them had not been presented. The venues that were chosen were all excellent and have come
in at the right price. The outstanding fixtures will be addressed in the coming weeks. Account has been taken in choosing
the dates of these fixtures, that ensures no clash with a series of televised sporting fixtures that will be taking place
It was pointed out to members that some venues suggested were non-starters such as Moyola Park. The
difficulty with a lot of clubs are things such as wanting a definite number for next year today, 50% deposit on those
numbers ( you pay for the numbers booked, not played on the day) and other problematic issues that the society are not in
a position to deliver so far in advance. Some clubs are very rigid and this lack of flexibility make them difficult to deal
The meeting agreed that at Royal County Down and Galgorm Castle there may be a limitation on the
number of visitors that each member can bring along, as members will have first choice due to a possibility of limited numbers
available. The Secretary was tasked in keeping an eye on this situation nearer the time and will be sending out emails to
remind members of the situation at these specific outings. If we have the spaces available, then there will be no problem.
Visitors will be most welcome at all other outings, but members are reminded that the norm would be no more than three, who
along with themselves would constitute a four-ball. We must adhere to one member responsible in every four-ball. If you intend
to bring more than four visitors to an outing, an email to the secretary in advance would be advised and he will attempt to
work round this situation, if it is at all possible.
B... Membership drive...
the old chestnut of membership came up for discussion and all members were urged to encourage fellow
workers and acquaintances who are also golfers, to join the society next year. It was pointed out that an effort should also
be made to attract 'old customers' back to the fold.
The secretary instigated a discussion on the introduction of associate membership and some of the
older hands pointed out that this had been tried and failed in the past, due to the fact that at some outings, the associates
had been numerically more than the members and this had lead to problems regarding sponsors among other things. Limiting the
number of associates was then raised but the clear majority present voted to reject the idea but also agreed that the issue
could be raised at subsequent AGM's.
C... Inter-pro grant...
the secretary proposed that the Inter-pro team be given a grant towards the cost of the competition
as had happened in previous years, but this was rejected. Some of those present, who were team members these last few years
pointed out that although the team had to pay for their kit and lodgings, the golf for the three days and food were paid for
by the hosts. They therefore felt that they were getting a good return on their money. It was also pointed out that in the
days of plenty when sponsors were in abundance a grant was not a problem.The secretary accepted the views of those present,
but vowed to raise the issue at the next AGM. It was agreed to put all the arrangements and so on for the competition in the
hands of the Captain for the event, Joe Kearney.
D... Resignation of President Norman Drew...
all present agreed that it was a sad day for the society that Norman felt that he was unable to adequately
cary on his duties and had requested that a new person be appointed to the position. The meeting tasked the secretary with
drafting a letter of sincere thanks to the President for his sterling service through the years and that a gift be considered
for this work. It was left up to the Committee to seek a replacement for Norman and to consider an appropriate gift for him.
VP Brian Morgan suggested two names who may be considered for the post and it was also revealed that a further two names had
been received by the secretary. It was agreed to leave the decision to the Committee to decide at a future date.
Vice President Brian Morgan suggested that in the future anyone elected to the post of President
be given a fixed term of office, say two or three years. This will enable the President to 'leave' his position after that
term if, for any reason, he felt unable to continue in office. It would also allow the Committee a method by which they too,
would have a say in the tenure of the office bearer. Those present agreed that this was a point worth considering and a decision
would be made by the Committee
E... Annual membership fee...
it was discussed as to whether (glad I spell checked this, as 'wether' is a castrated male goat or
sheep) the annual fee be kept at £35 or increased to £40. The secretary suggested that he thought it could be lowered to £30,
but was strongly and on reflection rightly opposed on this point. After a discussion of the pros and cons it was decided that
the cost be kept at the current level of £35. It was pointed out that members get more than the £35 each year in reduced rates
at outings because at very, very few outings does the society ever come out ahead, it is nearly always a loss on the day,
due to prize and reduced to members green fees. Agreed by all those present for the annual fee to remain at £35 for 2012.
It was also agreed, as per last year, that the trip to the K Club would only be open to those who
had paid their annual membership fee. This trip alone recoups the cost of the fee several times over.
all members are encouraged to seek sponsorship opportunities on behalf of this society, be that
through direct or indirect means, ie through direct initial discussion themselves or by passing on to a Committee members
the name of the potential sponsor. The more sponsorship that we can attract will mean a further reduction to members in the
cost of outings. Joe Kearney pointed out that he would be making the usual calls to sponsors past and hoping that they were
in a better position this year to look upon us sympathetically and come back on board. The secretary proffered the wise advice
that no one should hold their breath waiting for this to happen! However, members were encouraged to keep their eyes open
and report should they determine any such opportunities.
It was during this discussion that it was pointed out by James O'Leary that the website was a poor
show and not much more than a social notice board. In a fairly lengthy, robust and good natured exchange the secretary pointed
out that he was responsible for the creation and maintenance of the website and was well aware of it's limitations. He also
pointed out that it served the very limited role that it was created to achieve, fixture dates,tee time booking and a spot
of PGS history. It is free to the society, but with this zero cost comes severe limitations on the amount of web space allowed
by the host, Tripod. He further stated that the cost of a professional website would be in the low thousands and maintenance
would also be costly on a monthly basis. James argued that he believed that a better website with links, commercial and sponsor
based, would help attract money and sponsors for the society and would repay any investment needed.
Those present agreed that the cost was too high, but tasked James to investigate his ideas further,
come up with a plan and report back to the Committee on how a new website could be achieved. He agreed to do this and the
secretary wished him well in his endeavours, as he said that he was all too aware of the very limited and amateur nature of
his own efforts.
G... Vice-President's Day at Galgorm Castle 2012...
The Secretary asked VP Brian Morgan to outline the plans for the VP day at Galgorm. Brian stated
that he had meetings with the other VP's and that a day for the society would be held at Galgorm Castle in 2012. Chris Brooke,
VP, had kindly offered the use of his course for the event. The day would be on the whole, a cost free day for the society
as the VP's would supply the venue, prizes (in the region of £300) and some other ideas and there would be only a very modest
charge to members on the day. The idea was that the VP's would organise and run the day and the Committee would enjoy the
day free from the numerous hassles that come with the stewarding of outings.
H... Delegation of duties at outings....
A general discussion took place around the duties that are carried out by the committee on the outing
days and it became clear that a few problems still exist. Firstly the checking of scorecards, it was agreed that all members
and visitors are responsible for the marking and signing of their own cards.
The time that the card checkers have to peruse and correct mistakes can be very limited, especially
with the very late arrival of some cards, on occasion in the past year this has necessitated a revamp of the prize list with
all the problems that this brings, in terms of getting the correct information to the secretary in time for the awards. The
emphasis will be on someone in each group to ensure that the cards are delivered to someone from the Committee as soon as
possible and not the present system of someone having to scour the locker rooms searching for unreturned cards.
The secretary asked the meeting for permission for the Committee or their appointees to have the
authority to disregard cards that are late, do not have the points/scores filled in or are illegible due to the use of sub
standard writing materials (crap pencils/pens), or have not been correctly signed by player and marker. Des Houston questioned
whether this was allowed under the rules of golf? The secretary replied that he did not know for sure, but that a society
rule needs to be introduced to deal with the situation.
The point was put to a vote and was whole heartedly endorsed by all present. You have been warned
on this point, so remember when you have scored 58 points, but not been bothered to fill in said points, you have only
yourself to blame for being excommunicated from the prize list and this being left empty handed.!
Meal choice was another topic that featured high on the list of gripes from the committee. Incorrect
numbers due to members not ordering their meals and not remembering what was ordered were the two biggest problems. Des Houston
said that he would forward to the secretary a copy of a system used by his club to deal with this problem and that this could
be introduced at our outings. It involves the use of a board where members will be responsible for filling in their names
against the meal they want.
The secretary added that the situation had got to crisis levels and that he had taken to the habit
of seeking out a phone number for the catering staff at outings. He needed on three occasions in this past year, to order
meals from various greens via his mobile, as members had gone out without bothering to order food. He added that this did
not help his putting as he stood on the green trying to remember what the choices on the menu were!
The secretary also recalled that there was a problem around members being able to recall what they
had ordered, this having led on at least one occasion this year, to him having having to endure chicken goujons while someone
else was eating his golfers fry!
There being no other business the meeting was closed at 10.05pm and those present retired to the bar for
some liquid refreshment and apres AGM chat and conversation. A few points were raised in the convivial atmosphere of the bar
and these are duly noted.
The Captain also managed to blag a lift home with the secretary, having already been chauffeur driven
by him to the venue earlier. Drinks in the coming year will be expected Mr Captain!
Here endth the report of the AGM that took place at Belvoir Park golf club on Thursday, 17th November 2011
and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year that I think you will find filled with lots of first class
venues at unbeatable prices. Think I'm catching an advertising bug!!
Best Wishes to you all. George Martin (Hon Secretary PGS 2012).