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17 July 2019
By DEAN LAWSON
A Horsham Golf Club project to future-proof its historic course has gained traction with officials announcing they have broken the back of potentially crippling debt issues.
Club leaders told members at a review meeting last night that concerted planning, negotiation and community efforts to return the club to a sound financial position were proving successful.
Board chairman Leo Delahunty said a three-way deal involving the club, third-party funding providers including the community and a bank had more than halved a previous debt position.
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“It has placed the club in a much stronger position to move forward. What it means, in a nutshell, is the club is not only going to survive, it has a bright future,” he said.
Mr Delahunty said the club had provided in-depth confidential financial details surrounding how the club was navigating out of danger to members at the meeting.
He revealed the club’s $1.4-million debt position had improved by $739,000 in the past 12 months and cash operations in the past two years had transformed from trading with a $200,000 deficit to trading with a profit.
“We now have a timeline of 10 years to clear the club of all debt and to allow the club to exploit its true value,” Mr Delahunty said.
“We won’t be taking the foot off the pedal in working to ensure the club is in a sound and positive financial position. While it’s already taken a lot of work and effort from many parties, the momentum continues to build.
“It was with confidence and a sense of satisfaction that we were able to present a good news story to members – that we would keep the club’s destiny in their hands.”
Mr Delahunty said an important growth in memberships reflected how the club was moving forward.
“We’ve had a 29 percent increase in memberships, which shows the community, already a significant contributor, continues to back an important sport and recreation asset for Horsham and the broader region.”
Horsham district and broader Wimmera communities responded to an appeal in November last year to help the club to pay immediate bills and prevent it from going into administration.
The appeal ultimately raised $342,000 within a few weeks, providing club leaders with critical financial leverage.
“We can’t thank our community and creditors enough,” Mr Delahunty said.
“We couldn’t help but be encouraged with the response. It was such a great effort.
“When speaking to people around the town and district the question was always, ‘what can we do to protect the golf club?’ It is such a valued community asset.
“We have a fully focused board committed to a plan that is working.
“We also have understanding and committed staff members and have had very patient creditors.
“We also have a really nice array of new as well as existing sponsors and a bank that has been happy to have open and frank discussions.
“We’ve obviously had great community support and a patient member base.”
Mr Delahunty said members at last night’s meeting also heard confirmation that acting club manager Steve Copley of Adelaide would take on the role permanently.
He said there were also other exciting developments unfolding, including a new member partnership with 13th Beach Golf Links at Barwon Heads.
“During the next six months we also have many community and fund-raising events planned, many of them aimed at non-golfers and juniors,” Mr Delahunty said.
“What we will continue to need is for people to pull the clubs out of the shed and to come out and make the most of our fantastic course.”
The entire July 17, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!