Waukewan Golf Club News
2023 Season Newsletter
Jill, I, and the Waukewan Staff would like to start off by offering a heartfelt thank you for your continued faith and trust in the operations at the Waukewan Golf Club. The year took on a bit of a pre-pandemic feel from the start, and it was nice to see that most leagues returned to shotgun starts and our tournaments were able to enjoy their banquets in the Almagra Barn again. We were able to get caught up on Wedding Ceremony and Receptions that were postponed during the 2021 season so thank you to all the brides and grooms that stuck with us through that time. Although the CDC had lifted all restrictions and guidelines, my seat of the pants experience saw an uptick in the number of persons that contracted the COVID that I personally knew, including myself. I can honestly say that I do not believe that any outbreaks originated from the golf club. We at Waukewan will continue into the new year with the safety of our members and guests in the forefront of our thoughts.
This past season again presented some significant challenges regarding the minimum staffing necessary for the golf club to perform at peak efficiency from open to close. We started the season in great shape in all departments but as the season progressed midway, a few employees dropped off the roles and set us back a bit. Attracting mid-season help is often difficult in this industry and this past year proved to be no different. As always, the remaining employees continued to provide exemplary service and we hope that we were able to meet all your needs in a timely and efficient manner.
What about the weather this year? Well, it was a bit warm at times, but the lack of rainfall is just what your golf course loves. We are fortunate to have ample water sources to create our own rainfall in the form of irrigation. Every few years we get lucky with this type of weather, and following last year’s monsoon season, it was welcomed with open arms. Tom and his grounds crew were able to give you some of the healthiest and consistent greens, bunker, and playing conditions in Central New Hampshire and the course was kept as green as it could be all season long. It was sometimes amusing to listen to comments from guests coming in from other courses and states commenting about the fact that our grass is “green”. We just smile and say “yep”. As we lumbered into September, normal rainfall returned to the area and replenished our sources. As we approached the end of our scheduled season, all eyes were on our closing date. After conferring with Bob Santos and Tom Noble, the consensus was to stay open one more week and we hope all that took advantage of that decision enjoyed their extended time. Shortly thereafter, the greens were treated, covers dropped, Jill and I headed to Florida, and the temperatures fell through the floor. They say timing is everything and it is certainly true in this year’s closing date. The day we left it was 72 degrees in Connecticut at 9am, and the next day saw temperatures below freezing in the lakes region.
We have been feeling the pain again this year with supply chain “issues”, huge increases in the cost of fuel and energy, and equipment and parts shortages. On the outside, it would appear that we, as a country, should have these things under control with low unemployment rates and the like, but the trade tensions coupled with the initiation of the War in Ukraine initiated by Russia have compromised our progress. Supply chain issues were a headache as two of our major suppliers for pro shop merchandise, Greg Norman and Titleist, fell far short on deliveries on our orders placed in November of the previous year. We received our Greg Norman shipment around the fourth of July where it was scheduled for April 15th and we flat our canceled our Titleist custom orders as no promises could be made that we would even receive them in the current year. That hurt but we have since established relationships with Callaway and Srixon to hopefully open more purchase options in the future. Other difficulties related to supplies presented themselves in different ways as it was difficult to maintain the consistency of various products in the sense that when it came time to restock, the product brands that we rely on most may not have been available, and we would have to substitute unknown brands to keep things moving forward. Most alarming from our perspective was the cost of fuel and energy, up 42 percent. Equipment parts and labor, up 108%, general purchases of food, beverage, clothing, balls, fertilizer, chemicals, etc. up 11%. NHGA cost of GHIN fees to their member courses has increased 25% for 2023, so some of that increase will be passed along to our customers. Gross Sales and Rents were also up about 10% but you can see by the numbers that we got hammered. Part of the reason equipment parts and labor were up was the simple fact that the units that we need to cycle out of rotation in our fleet are unavailable for purchase in the 1-2 year timeframe so we are forced to keep these older units in service. We will have to change our lead in time for these major purchases moving forward but will make future projections a bit tricky. Hopefully the way these things flow will return to 2019 levels in the future.
As a direct result of not being able to purchase the new equipment that we need, a few expenditures were committed during the latter stages of the 2022 season regarding facilities maintenance and equipment purchases that are notable. We had to re-roof the snack bar and snack bar cart shed roofs as that roofing was at the end of life. We have been performing spot repairs on those areas, but it was time to bite the bullet so to speak. We also paved the parking lot area from the driveway entrance to the flagpole to meet up with the paving that was performed in prior years. We had three tractors to start the season, two 1968+/- Ford 2110’s and one 1988 Ford 1920. Well, the two 1968’s had new issues this season and the 1988 still functioned but couldn’t seem to do all the things that the 1968’s were in service for. It was determined that it would be costly to rehab the 1968’s and ended up selling them to a nice man in Sandwich that restores that type of equipment. We purchased a new 2022 Kioti tractor to keep the investment in equipment moving forward. Everyone noticed that we took delivery of our new fleet of Yamaha golf cars mid-season albeit a bit late but the silver lining there is that we got to utilize the old fleet at no cost until we received the new ones. Our monthly payments for the new cars have doubled when compared with the prior fleet, but it is nice to have new cars roll in every five years. Again, we hope to continue to consider these types of purchases and improvements to provide you with better playing conditions and experiences year after year.
We are still firming up our Calendar of Events. Some tournament events have been booked, but some have not committed yet. To date, all known league dates and inside/outside tournament events have been posted to our website calendar. As we move through the winter months, and as more events are scheduled, we will post them on our website, so please remember to check our calendar on-line as additions and changes to scheduled events will be posted. We will also update our calendar and send that along with our springtime welcome letter to the members that have signed on by that mailing date.
We would like to again thank all our members who commit to join early. This is important to all of us at Waukewan as much of the course improvement, maintenance, and planning is done for the year to come in the off season. These early memberships provide us with the capability to follow through and complete many maintenance projects in the off season. As a reminder, if you do wish to join as a member for the 2023 season, please take note of the discounts available to you for early signup by January 16th and February 20th. After February 20th the discounts will no longer be available to you and pricing will revert to full list price for the remainder of the year. A couple of notes to be aware of before signing on for the 2023 season:
- Please take note of the mailing address at the top right of the membership form. To eliminate the errors that occur throughout mail forwarding, we are requesting that the form and payment be sent directly to our winter address.
- Like last year, twilight members playing before 1pm will be required to pay full rates less five dollars for the earlier tee time.
- Per Diem cart fees are increasing nominally from $15/$20 to $16/$21 for 9/18 holes respectively. Purchase of a season cart membership may net a savings depending on your number of rounds played.
If you choose to continue your membership over the coming years, we hope that you observe and enjoy the playing conditions and improvements that are being provided for you. As always, we are committed to making Waukewan Golf Club the best golfing experience possible! Have a Merry Christmas and a safe, Happy New Year to follow. Looking forward to seeing you all next year.
Tim and Jill and the entire Waukewan Staff