Patrick Baird

In 2020 the Hepburn Springs Golf Club achieved some significant milestones and goals despite of the effects of COVID and it has come through the year in reasonable shape financially and membership wise.

Jeff Bain, who is is stepping away from the treasurer’s role, has put the club on solid financial footing.

Tom Pedretti is standing down as Men’s Captain and Colin Richardson, who is stepping into this void, will be ably supported by the match committee.

The club is in solid shape financially although it will be facing a significant hurdle as government support reduces and then stops completely in March. To prepare for this the club will need to make some changes, so we are reviewing costings in areas like competition fees, bar prices, firewood sales, green fees and cart hire. Costs continue to rise in areas such as insurances, affiliation fees, chemicals, fertilizers, fuel and utilities etc. while sponsorship and signage incomes continue to fall. We also need to look at resuming our machinery replacement program. The financial challenges will not stop but the club is determined to maintain its policy of continual improvement.

Despite these imminent challenges we have managed to hold our 2021 subscriptions at 2020 prices in recognition of how members were adversely affected by COVID.

Throughout the entire COVID crisis the club was able to continue to employ all of our staff in some form, albeit on reduced hours whilst also whitling down annual leave liabilities.

Investment in the club and member amenities continues. This year, as well as progressing on our clubhouse and toilet and amenities upgrade project we have

  • Added air conditioning to the kitchen, thanks to a grant from Bendigo Bank
  • Purchased a 65-inch smart TV, which will eventually allow electronic score displays.
  • Completed the fairway couching program with the 3rd and 4th holes now well established and back in play.
  • Added three additional carts to our fleet, thanks to a generous member donation.
  • Purchased a new greens mower as part of our machinery replacement program
  • Committed to an electronic scoring and golf management program
  • Upgraded the website including a professional photo shoot
  • Completed the rebuild of the bunker on the first hole
  • Ran a highly successful round of the Victorian Senior Amateur competition
  • Appointed a professional bookkeeper to assist in administering the ever more complex treasurer’s role.

A couple of members have committed to the supply and building of a new cart shed to be located adjacent to the rear of the clubrooms, which, will be a great asset for the club.

The club continues to investigate the possible sale of the block of land adjacent to the club car park. If we can successfully negotiate the complex caveat, zoning and permit requirements around this it will give the club the buffer needed to secure the next few years of financial security. It will also enable the club to create a fund to cover all current and future staff sick leave and long service leave liabilities. The club also continues to apply for applicable state, federal, local and private grant opportunities as well.

On the golfing front, our two captains, Bev Smith and Tom Pedretti, with the support of their committees have done a remarkable job negotiating the club through the two lockdowns and numerous COVID restrictions. Congratulations to our club champions, Bev Smith, Jan Thompson and Bilijana Krunic in the women’s comp and Tom Hamlin, Ian Rodgers and Andrew Guiney on the men’s side.

Many sponsors have stuck by the club in a tough year including a number of members who have jumped in and sponsored various monthly medals and other key events.

Neil Bruce and his helpers have taken over the all important Junior Golf program since Neil Egan’s move back to Melbourne. With the support of Tony Collier from Golf Australia we will no doubt see the junior ranks slowly but surely increase again.

The house committee under the guidance of Phillipa Wooller, ably assisted by Julie Guiney and Glenda Rozen and team have found a way, despite all the hurdles put in front of them with COVID restrictions, to cater for Monthly Medals, social golf groups and numerous other functions. Graeme Lucas and Kerry Gilchrist have again run the bar and served the club tirelessly and Simon Bevanda has taken on the “wine selectors” role.

Thanks must go to Ian Rodgers for his guidance in overseeing the greens committee as well as to course superintendent Darren McColl and his team for their great work.

When government regulations, licensing, accounting and taxation demands are taken into account it is apparent that for a small club with a modest turnover we are a running an increasingly complex business. To survive and flourish we have no choice but to continue to grow our knowledge base and commitment in these administration areas.


Patrick Baird is the President of the Hepburn Springs Golf Club