January 15, 2009

Presidents Message-Tim O'Connell

January 15th, 2009

President’s Message
5 January 2009
The 2008 golfing season marked Gowan Brae’s 50 year anniversary, and this momentous milestone was celebrated throughout the summer with social events and tournaments, accompanied by a collection of course memorabilia displayed throughout the clubhouse.  The season-long tribute to our course’s history, its pioneers, and its distinguished members allowed our membership and visitors alike to honour and admire Gowan Brae’s illustrious golfing tradition.
The 2008 season proved challenging from the start, with heavy snow accumulation in April and heavy rains in August and October.  However, these unfavorable conditions were overcome by our greens crew with greens manually cleared of snow and in mid-season form by late May.  Contouring of fairways was expanded, the rough well-maintained, and the landscape of the course pruned to accentuate its natural beauty.  The focus of the course maintenance in 2009 will be to further enhance the look of the course, while improving the consistency of the conditions of our bunkers, fairways, greens and tee complexes.
Financially, the course continued to benefit from the diligent work of the General Manager, Dave Brewster and the management staff of Donna Lavigne, Adam Chamberlain, Dave Ross, and Gilbert Vienneau.  Revenues were up and expenses contained as we continued to experience the benefit of careful planning, monitoring and controlling of the operating budget.  The 2009 budget will be given the same attention, with guidance and oversight provided by the executive and its various committees.
2009 will mark the inaugural year for our new Head Pro, Adam Chamberlain.  Adam has now completed his three-year apprenticeship under Dave Ross, and he will take over the management of the Pro Shop and its related services exclusively.  As members, we can only hope that 2009 marks the first of countless years with Adam as our Pro.
Our Board of Directors will be changing in 2009, as several members of the executive have completed their terms with great distinction, namely Kathy Grebenc, Scott Ferguson, and Margie MacDonald.  We thank these members for their years of service, their dedication, their efforts, and their commitment to the continuous improvement of the course.  Ed MacDermaid has completed his two-year term as our President, however Ed will continue to serve on the Board for another term as a director.  Ed was pivotal in establishing the Strategic Planning Committee and revitalizing the Finance Committee, and under his stewardship these committees have helped ensure the future sustainability of the course.  We thank Ed for his vision and his tireless commitment to Gowan Brae as its President, and look forward to his continued support.  The Board also welcomes its newly elected directors:  Aurele Hachey, Jean-Marc Fournier, Brian Fitzpatrick and Chris Fisher.  These members will join the existing directors to form a diverse, multi-disciplined team ready to serve the membership.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire staff at Gowan Brae, the Board of Directors, and most of all the membership for making 2008 a very successful golfing season.  In closing, I would like to reiterate the sentiment of past Presidents:  the course belongs to you, the member.  The success of the course depends upon your participation and cooperation.  Last year, Gowan Brae again enjoyed the largest membership in the province, and hopefully with your continued support in 2009 the course will continue to grow and prosper.  I look forward to working with you to address the challenges and opportunities that the 2009 season presents.  Have a great winter and see you all in the spring!
Tim O’Connell