David Cederholm to CHAIR OF HOUSE
I’m writing to suggest a better alignment of service around peak times for golfers. There seems to be an attitude to stop service as early as possible, a couple of examples of this are below :-
I appreciate on Saturday 26th Feb the clubhouse was to close early for the rearranged staff Christmas dinner, a one-off and I’m sure supported by all members that the team have the opportunity to enjoy a thank you from the club, but strangely the decision was taken by the house manager to shut the bar an hour earlier at 17.00 – this meant the last 3 groups playing the 18 hole Stableford went without post-round refreshments and saw the members departing the clubhouse early during the 6 nations rugby, a good 45 minutes before the advertised close.
There was opportunity for the bar to remain open at least for another 30 minutes until 17.30 to still allow for the previously communicated 18.00 close and would have meant that all on the tee sheet had the opportunity for service.
Several members present were questioning why this event would have been booked for a Saturday when perhaps a Friday could have been more appropriate given how much lower the demand would be compared to a Saturday afternoon.
The above being a one-off, something that is perhaps a more pertinent example is that on many Thursday nights through the playing season of 2021 there was an encouragement of members to make last orders over an hour before 23.00 so the clubhouse could be closed early, and during the height of the summer when Thursday competitions are played up until sunset, there’s big frustrations every week with the final orders for food being as early as 20.30.
When discussed with the house manager last year the reason for this was cited as the long day for the chefs starting as early as 10am, there’s perhaps a question on adjusting this as I’m sure there’s a greater opportunity for profitable activity for the clubhouse on a Thursday evening vs a Thursday morning.
On the longest nights in mid-summer there is at least another hour that could be maximised if food service was extended to match the tee sheet, so perhaps a review of how these times are resourced would be wise.
The Thursday nights at Heswall have always been fantastic and there are stories from years gone by of great long nights enjoyed by many, perhaps it was due to the pandemic, but last year there was a noticeable decline in the atmosphere on Thursday nights leading to the numbers dropping off week by week as the summer went on.
There are other examples too, over the years running the club men’s team, where we host other Wirral clubs for a post-match meal there was a sense this was an inconvenience rather than an opportunity to provide great hospitality as is provided by the other participating clubs when we visit for the return matches.
Also, the evening following the 36 hole club championship is always well supported by the competitors, but the clubhouse team always need a reminder this event is happening, perhaps planning for and advertising extended food service or even organising a championship dinner would encourage even more support for the evening.
I look forward to hearing back on these points.
As you recognise, the early closing on Saturday was to accommodate the Staff Night Out, which had been deferred a few times already.
It is important that the staff have this opportunity, of course, there was a mix-up with times, we acknowledge, but as it happened, the House Manager stayed beyond the earlier close time of 5:00 anyway and did not close the bar until the last member left, which was the Handicap Guys closing the comp.
It is difficult keeping the balance of providing a service required by the members and also not having staff here unnecessarily.
As you will appreciate, we have to monitor the balance of revenue with the expenditure of keeping staff on. Surprisingly, the ‘bar and catering’ at HGC struggles to try and break even every year and we do have to make every effort to work efficiently, whilst still providing that very important service to members. Achieving this efficiency helps to keep the member’s annual fee’s from increasing.
As you say, Thursday is a better example. We did move the chef hours last year so that the kitchen stayed open and food orders could be made up to 9:30 pm.
This will be implemented again this year. In the few events, where a player is running late, then an option to phone through an order remains available.
We have struggled for many years with trying to get a reliable No2 chef; we hope to have this resolved as this will greatly enable split shifts to accommodate long days, such as Thursdays. Obtaining quality staff within catering is not easy at this time, as you will be aware.
We certainly want to encourage the great atmosphere that can be achieved on a Thursday night and your own contribution to that is greatly appreciated.
The point that you make about the men’s team matches and Club Championship dates is valid and this has been discussed and will be addressed.
Many thanks for your valuable comments and I hope that this response is acceptable to you.
Alan D Jones
House and Premises Committee.