Can you believe that this is the last newsletter of the year? Traditionally, in this newsletter, we take a look back at the previous year and share some of its highs and lows and we’ll do the same today.
Before we get into it, we would just like to thank you for being by our sides through a challenging year. We received an overwhelming amount of support from our members and have made many happy memories along the way. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Please be safe on the roads – silly season is underway! In 2020-style, we ask that you stay safe in the shops, gyms, restaurants and beaches too!
It seems as if it was just yesterday when we welcomed 2020, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and oblivious to what was in store for us. We had heard of the coronavirus in China, but we were busy planning a rocking New Year’s Eve party and contemplating our next set of new year’s resolutions to fail at.
New Year’s Eve’s “Legends of Rock with Mike and the Harmonix” was a hit, with over a hundred members dancing into the new year after enjoying a scrumptious buffet and champagne from KWV. The month just got better as we learned that all 19 RAGA matriculants passed, with 12 bachelor passes and 14 distinctions spread them! We then opened our car wash and launched a new wine list, voted for by our members.
Jan Stals van Rooyen ended the month on a high note, winning the Bridge Fund Manager’s Junior Series at King David Mowbray, the Oubaai Junior Open and the Oubaai Bridge Fund Manager’s Junior Series!
February, which despite being the shortest month of the year, is also our highest-earning month, was everything we hoped for. Full time sheets resulted in us ending the month R189 796 ahead of the previous year with 240 more rounds played. When considering that the income generated over our short high season carries us through winter, you can imagine how pleased our Treasurer, Wizz Good, was!
Although incredibly busy already, we added to the bustle by throwing in our AGMs, our Captain vs Vice-Captain Golf Day (won by then Captain, Ian McPherson’s, team!) and our Raymond Ackerman Invitational Golf Day. We also resumed the clearing of alien vegetation in the mountains, which benefits both indigenous plants and reduces the severity of wildfires.
Our Ladies’ and Men’s AGMs were uneventful – a testament to effective Committees – and our Main AGM welcomed incoming Chairman and Captain; Jonathan Ackerman and Greg Daly, after Stephen Thomas and Ian McPherson hung up their boots following an outstanding two year’s of service to Clovelly.
On a sad note, Nigel Read passed away and we bade farewell to June Featonby after 41 years at Clovelly. Recently, June has been popping in to help us with some of our golf days and it almost feels as if she never left. We are still hoping to throw her a farewell and as an Honourary Member of Clovelly, we’ll have to get her golfing!
We also had our first hole-in-one of the year from Eva Dahlvig, followed by hole-in-ones from Richard Shone and Ken Jenkins!
Vuyo Ngonyama’s hole-in-one on the 1st of March seemed a good omen for the month! However, we had already started speaking about sanitising in light of the arrival of coronavirus in South Africa and little did we know that life was about to change for all of us!
Luckily, before that happened we had the chance to sneak in our SWAGS seventh annual end-of-season event and our Clovelly Festival, which included the Senior’s Club Champs (won by Padraic McMahon) and our Ladies ‘Red Hat’ Open Day which was attended by 124 ladies from all over the Western Cape.
The theme of our festival was “Island Vibes” and the live music, wine tastings, and delicious activations on the course made this week one to remember! Another thank you to Lyall Morgan and Associates, Tony Webb of Fine & Country False Bay, Pick n’ Pay Hypermarket Ottery and Pick n’ Pay for their sponsorship.
Before long, murmurings of the military gearing up and a possible lockdown made their way to our ears. The last of our Swallows rushed home and our President announced a National Lockdown, starting on Thursday, 26th March.
Our immediate concern was the maintenance of the golf course, because even though the initial lockdown period was for three weeks, we knew that the greens would not last. Steven Webber and Paul Stoner busied themselves with preparations and permits and Brian Dlutu, Panganai Guruwe and Alfred Staffa volunteered to live and work at Clovelly for the period of the lockdown.
April greeted us with pristine weather and empty fairways. The President announced a further two weeks of lockdown and our course superheroes, Brian, Staffa and Panaganai dedicated themselves to looking after the course in their teams’ absence. John Spyker and Hanko Bothma, whose homes are meters away from the course, volunteered to help, and much to the course staffs’ chagrin, but also to their relief, John and Hanko became fairway cutters. John also became our photographer, giving us a glimpse into life at Clovelly.
One of the best things to come from lockdown was the Lockdown Relief Fund, a heartwarming initiative begun by one of our member groups, the Back Tee Challenge Club, encouraging our members to donate funds towards our casuals, catering staff and caddies.
Within the first two weeks, almost R100 000 had been raised! Our Senior Members, in particular, managed to garner a lot of support. We have always received massive support from our members, but this was an eye-opening reflection of their hearts. All in all, over R 250 000 was raised, making a world of difference to many families in lockdown.
After six weeks of lockdown, we were finally allowed out of our homes in May! Despite only being allowed out from 06:00 – 09:00 within a 5km radius of your home, we celebrated the freedom and rallied behind GolfRSA as they tried to negotiate the re-opening of golf courses in South Africa.
May was a month of change. In acknowledgment of the effect of COVID-19 on our income and the future implications on the tourism industry, Clovelly Country Club had to make some hard decisions. Luckily, our GM, Paul, had the support of our Governing Body and of significant help were our Chairman, Jonathan Ackerman, Vice-Chairman, Richard Goveia, and Treasurer, Wizz Good. Together, they undertook a process of restructuring both the staff and the operating budget. Our staff were offered reductions in salaries or voluntary severance packages. At the end of the month, 18 staff, including our Greenkeeper, Steven Webber, chose to leave us. We also lost Carl’s Catering.
We still see some of these staff from time to time and have good relationships with them all, including Steven, who is as committed to Clovelly as ever in the form of a consultant. The final result of restructuring was lowered costs of 41%, ensuring Clovelly’s sustainability.
Also in the month of May, we partnered with Spotlight Social to create a Clovelly Community where members can chat, view results and news and post photos, all on your cell phone. We have just received the exciting news that Spotlight has been listed as a CMASA (Club Manager’s Association of South Africa) preferred supplier and that Clubmaster will be working with them in the new year to merge some of their functions. If you haven’t downloaded the app yet you can do so for free by searching Spotlight Social in your Playstore. You will need to log in with your email address (please use the one that we have used for you at Clovelly). You should be part of the Clovelly Community already, but it not, just search for Clovelly Members in the search bar.
June, June, wonderful June! The month that gave golf back to us! Returning to Clovelly halfway through June was a joyful experience for staff and members alike. Despite a reduced staff complement, the navigation of changing regulations, the introduction of a ‘sustainability contribution’ fee, and a cold front (Murphy’s Law!), the lockdown had given us all a new appreciation for the outdoors and our colleagues and friends.
We opened a short-lived “drive-through” bar, as the regulations regarding alcohol changed soon after, and we repurposed our bar staff to the Halfway House, where Nono and Florence continue to assist our members today. Initially, our staff were only serving pre-packaged snack items but just before the month ended, we welcomed Craig, Noel, Daniswa and Nazeem to Clovelly to establish a ‘grab and go’-style halfway house. We hope that you agree that they have all made a great team. It goes without saying that the meals are delicious!
July’s figures confirmed that golf had, indeed, returned with a bang! We had 676 more rounds than in July of 2019, although the value per round was lower, with only R 61 465 more generated from green fees. This was despite multiple cold fronts, a major storm and flooding.
Setting off a series of hole-in-ones post lockdown were Nico Snyman and Ferdi de Lange.
Some of the best news to emerge in July was the recovery of our Club President, Mr. Raymond Ackerman, from COVID-19. After battling the virus for weeks, Mr. Ackerman took a turn for the better and started the long journey to recovery. We were reminded just how much we care for him – you can’t find a family man more sincere and kind – and we continue to be appreciative for his health.
Unfortunately, not everyone was so lucky and we said goodbye to four of our members that month; Colin Mason, Andrew Mhlangeni, Deena Chetty and Pete de Bruin. We hope that their families have found peace and we continue to think of them.
By August we were beginning to feel more and more like ourselves. Although you still couldn’t drink alcohol, our tournaments, including the Chammy and Singles knock-outs and our Ladies trophy events, were underway. Preparations already made and rates already discussed for our new financial year, we couldn’t wait to share with you that not only were we not raising subscriptions, but we were also lowering our green fees and wouldn’t be charging entrance fees.
We had another three hole-in-ones from Pieter Coetzee, Gerrit van Zyl and Riaan Spreeth, taking it to a total of five in six weeks!
September, the last of our winter months, presented our first challenge in Hollow Tyning. In the past, we would have had a team of at least twenty-five, but this year we had sixteen!
Led by Brian Dlutu and Shaun McLaren, the team arrived motivated and determined. They blew us away by completing the job, at our usual high standards, in record time. They finished so early that for the first time in history, they were able to join our clubhouse staffs’ braai. This had one of our been a long-time goals!
One of our fondest memories of Hollow Tyning and our most popular post on social media, viewed thousands of times, was when a group of eight seniors, ‘The Divot Team’, gave up their time to fill divots on the course. This is an act that will not be forgotten soon and we hope that it inspired our players to respect the course and the golfers behind them.
Another great memory from September, and an event we plan to repeat annually from now, was our Captain & Greenkeeper’s Revenge. We brought some of the course machinery up to the 10th Tee and Craig braaied nearby. Despite “totally evil pin placings”, we received such positive comments and it was a wonderful way to bring together the worlds of the course and clubhouse.
September also proved itself another incredible month for hole-in-ones, with Lavi Rend, Josh Buchalter, Wizz Good and Rayvin Rademeyer all continuing the trend!
Unfortunately, we lost another one of our dear members, Chris Turner.
This brings us to October. The beginning of our mid-season, usually we would be welcoming the first of our Swallows home. This was not to be this year, however, lifting our spirits were over 100 new member applications!
We continued with operations as usual, applying our biggest annual fertilizer application to the course. We also brought cash back into the clubhouse and re-opened the Bag Room.
Another sign that life was definitely returning to normal was that golf days came back to Clovelly. We held the Ackerman Championships, won by Kaylah Williams, the WP Nomads Golf Day, the WPG Clovelly Open, won by Willie Olivier, and the WP Bridgefund Clovelly Junior Open, won by Jack Buchanan.
More ‘fun” than ‘work’, we also got to be a part of Dawn English’s (unofficially Clovelly’s most-popular member) 95th birthday!
Our ladies completed many of their competitions, with Liz Cameron winning the Haggis Trophy and Sally Jacobs Cup, Clare Williams winning the Mary Dalton Rose Bowl and Bertha Susman Trophy and Helen Bowes winning the Helen Bowes Plate.
Our golf days continued into November, with the Chaeli Campaign Golf Day and Farm Village ‘Pete du Bruin’ Golf Day. We also held Bridget, our past Ladies Captain’s, ‘Final Swing’ as she leaves us for the UK next year.
Monopolizing our time and stealing the limelight in November were our biggest tournaments of the year; our Men’s and Ladies’ Club Championships. Thankfully, it was all worth it, with happy golfers and positive feedback streaming in!
Matthew Cooper and Isabella van Rooyen won A Division and Nico Snyman and Gill Briggs were top of B Division. Winning C Division, were Gerald van Heerden and Jacky White.
Another big event in November, after months of knock-outs, was the culmination of our Chammy and Singles Matchplay tournaments. Ron Dunn, for the second time, although twenty years later, won the Gus Ackerman Cup and Boetie Muzell and Gerrit van Zyl were the Chammy champions of 2020!
Unfortunately, our Clovelly Family lost one of our Vice-Presidents, Brian Michell, in November. The voice that you could count on hearing in every AGM, a contributor to our history both on and off the course and ‘Dad’ to Mike and Alan, Brian is missed terribly.
December arrived with the heat of summer. Luckily for us, the South Easter has been our constant companion, although it often results in wayward balls and damaging salt deposits on our turf.
With lockdowns relaxing, finally we were able to welcome some of our Swallows back! Happy days! Unfortunately, our exuberance didn’t last long. The second wave of the pandemic was upon us and our Golf Manager, Hanko, was tested positive for COVID-19, sending us into a series of actions to contain the virus’s spread. We learned about the new mutant coronavirus, causing concern over whether our Swallows who planned to arrive in January would make it and six of our staff members’ homes fell victim to a terrible fire in Masiphumele.
Clovelly committed to donating R 7000 to each staff member and our Chairman, Jonathan Ackerman, secured PnP vouchers to the value of R 50 000 through the Gift of the Givers Foundation. Despite the fire only happening last Thursday, our members have donated a whopping R 61 000!
To lose your home is heartbreaking, and to lose it a week before Christmas, especially when you have children, is devastating. So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you!
Thankfully, our good news always outweighs the bad and unbelievably, we have had another series of hole-in-ones from Rodney Yates, Jan van Rooyen and Gerald van Heerden!
We also had a wonderful fundraising golf day for My Father’s House and managed to raise over R 25 000 for them to feed the homeless in the community. Well done to Shaddie and his many volunteers for organizing a fantastic day and thank you all for your service to the community!
Although we have been through a lot this year, we look back at it with gratitude and pride. We are entering a new year as a sustainable, united golf club and it goes without saying that we would not have achieved this without the support of our members, Committees and Governing Body. A big thank you to all of you and well done to our Management and Staff! Although we don’t know what the future holds, we are ready for it!