Castleknock Golf Club
Review of 2016 & Outlook for 2017
Sincere thanks to Captains Rosaleen Geaney and Johnny Craven and their Committee for their cooperation during a busy 2016. I know one of the priorities for the year was the development of the junior section and this really was one of the great success stories of 2016. Johnny and his team of volunteers which included Derek Finnegan, Noel O’Shaughnessy and Helena O’Dwyer, not to mention the professional input by Gillian Burrell, Ryan Donagher and especially Ciaran Hegharty, ensured a very successful 1st year in the development of a vibrant junior section and offers a great legacy for the Club and management to build on. The nomination and appointment of a new President was another milestone and continued best wishes to Pat O’Donnell in the role.
Another success story of 2016 was the ladies get into golf program driven by Rosaleen and her committee which saw over 70 ladies take part in the introductory coaching and almost 40 took up the 3 month option. There was very positive feedback and success was largely due to the collaboration between the ladies committee, volunteers and Ciaran. A number of these ladies have joined already as full members between the 5 and 7 day options and we already are seeing a keen interest in the program for 2017. The ladies club in Castleknock truly are renowned for their friendliness and it is a credit to all members who welcome both new members, visitors and guests to the club and ensure that a good time is had by all.
2016 was a mixed year for the business; weather over the first 6 months, the extremely slow return of growth in spring 2016 and the Euro’s in June all had a negative impact on the business. Despite this there were many great developments. These included;
- 142 new adult members in 2016
- Ongoing investment in the facilities with another 16 greenside bunkers renovated and much of the kitchen equipment replaced
- Improved communication and reporting on golf course conditioning on the Club website which hopefully most of you have seen. We continue to receive fantastic feedback on course conditioning and sincere thanks to John Jennings and his team for their tireless work on this front, supported by Paul Walsh, Regional Superintendent. While the climatic conditions in the early part of the year presented significant issues for the maintenance operation, the improved conditions this winter have allowed the team maintain high standards in recent months
- The new website was launched in 2016 and we have recorded a significant increase in traffic to the site since. The addition of the members section for news and updates is a welcomed addition and will serve to build the community that is Castleknock Golf Club
- New key personnel including Ryan Donagher; Director of Golf, Robyn Tocco; Finance Manager, Ashika Kuar; Head Chef, Ciaran Hegarty; Teaching Professional and Gerard Kelly; Sales & Marketing Manager. These changes have provided a great platform for the development of the Club and the standards within and I am confident will have a very positive impact on operations as we set forth into 2017
We were sorry to lose Michael Curran at the end of the year but all good things must come to an end. I am delighted to announce that Tom Isherwood will be joining the team as Bar & Restaurant Manager at the end of January with a priority to drive standards and the offering. He will be working closely with Cristian and the rest of the team, as well as Ashika and her team, to deliver a diverse and improved offering for members and their guests.
Best wishes to incoming Captains Jackie Russell and Anthony O’Connell, all officers and committee members for a successful 2017. As most of you know, we commissioned Goodform to complete research across a wide range of subjects but primarily to understand the view of the members, your priorities and the key aspects we need to focus on to improve your experience. From the focus groups and completed surveys, the 4 areas identified by Goodform as priority for improvement were;
- Speed of play
- Practice facilities
- Community feel
- Improved communication
As a management team, we will be focussing on improving our performance in these key areas during 2017 in order to improve membership satisfaction and your experience. To address speed of play, Ryan is currently reviewing our allocation of resources and researching what technology is available in the market place that can help improve speed of play. While we are very restricted with what can be done to the practice facilities on site, we have agreed favourable rates at the driving range in Elmgreen Golf Centre and all members will be issued with complimentary credit for the driving range in the coming weeks. Gerard, Tom, Cristian and Ryan will be developing a list of events throughout the year to improve member engagement while it is hoped that the new website can assist in sharing information with members. A new member’s night will be hosted each month in order to improve the integration of new members into the Club. Another important factor in improving the community feel will be more competitions and events, greater variety in formats and a busier diary. Ryan is working with the Men’s and Ladies Committee to achieve this in 2017 and provide a platform to build on for future years. More regular communication has already begun via weekly emails, website updates and more proactive use of social media. We would encourage all members to use and explore the Club website to learn more about the Club and what is happening.
While improving the membership experience will be our priority for 2017, other objectives include;
- Completion of the course signage programme
- Investment in new maintenance equipment including a rough mower
- Continued investment in the bunker renovation programme
- Integration of a new IT system which will allow us to create a single customer view and improve our relationship management
- An “adopt a green” programme rolled out to improve green surfaces
- Replacement of the golf cart fleet with new carts for the season ahead
The new team has a clear vision for 2017 and are keen for the season to get underway. We are all looking forward to working with Committee representatives and the wider membership to continue growing the Club and improving the experience. I wish you an enjoyable year of golf and membership and look forward to seeing you around the Club.