What do you do when you inherit an organisation that hasn’t made an operating profit in over a decade?
That was the challenge facing the management team when it was appointed in August last year.
Montrose Golf Links has failed to make an operating profit since 2009/2010 and it was clear that decisive action – and some difficult decisions – were needed.
Six months on, we asked them to pause and reflect on their achievements against what has been a tumultuous background.
Back in August, there were two clear priorities:
- to reduce costs, examine the structure of the business and make it sustainable
- to make the business profitable, reduce its debt and secure finance to develop and improve the facilities
Approaching the first priority first, the team adapted the Montrose Golf Links Limited structure to allow the team to have day-to-day control over operations and decision-making.
This allowed them to:
- tighten up cost control and expenditure and create a purchase procedure
- manage finances during the pandemic with low visitor income
- work closely with staff during the Covid pandemic and manage the golf courses in a quickly-evolving situation
- engage a new HR advisory company and manage staff changes
- streamline staff contracts, making changes to suit circumstances and operational requirements. Paul Teviotdale was appointed temporary head greenkeeper and Claire Penman was given day-to-day control of the company with support from the management team
- identify and implement changes needed in IT software to improve efficiency for administration of the golf reservations & memberships
- rationalise categories of golfers for the 2021 season
- set season ticket prices to a level that balances income and expenditure for the 2021 season
- address communication between management and members, with regular direct updates on the company’s position and plans
And when it comes to making the business profitable, and developing and improve the facilities, the team has:
- created a robust expenditure budget and cashflow plan for 2021
- communicated with stakeholders and started discussing plans to make the company sustainable
- engaged clubs on the vision of golf in Montrose in the long term
- increased the level of golf tournaments for 2021 to increase income and exposure
- begun to look at other new income streams
We once more thank all our members for the loyal support they have already shown up to this point and hope we can rely on their continued support and commitment to the future of the Links.
This week we held the first online discussion with our advisory panel, made up of members who volunteered to help us on this path to recovery.
As Jeff King of the management team said: “We’re not interested in breaking even or making small losses year after year. We’ve got to get Montrose Golf Links Limited to the stage where it’s viable and will continue to be viable.”
The management team
The management team was appointed in August 2020 to rescue the company from imminent financial danger, to put in place a solid business model and get Montrose Golf Links back on a sound financial footing.
Made up of business experts with a love of golf and the town, they have volunteered their time and specialisms to map out a sustainable future for the links.
A qualified chartered certified accountant with over 30 years of experience both within public practice and within industry. Christopher has worked within roles as group finance director of a multi-million-pound construction group, managing director and finance director of an Aberdeen company providing support to the offshore oil industry and partner of north-east firm of accountants.
In 2016 Christopher set up his own accountancy practice Axiom Business Consultancy Limited, a dynamic independent firm of Chartered Certified Accountants providing professional accounting and business services to a wide range of clients both locally and within the UK.
Former owner of The Astute Group with over 20 years’ experience as a managing director. Alastair recently sold the group and now dedicates his time to helping other businesses flourish using his past experiences. For five years Alastair was also Chairman of Forfar Athletic Football Club and is still a current director on the board as Vice Chairman.
Alastair has experience of supporting other boards across organisations at both a local and national level and he currently works as a freelance consultant for Business Gateway in Tayside and Grampian.
A professional engineer by background, Wayne has over the past 20 years led a number of business strategic initiatives of significant scale both in the UK and internationally; supporting business transform and grow through efficient operations, diversification and creating a clear differentiation.
Wayne is currently managing director of Kaizah, a digital transformation consultancy and a member on the board of Absafe, a non for-profit safety awareness-training organisation.
Wayne is a dedicated member at Montrose Golf Links and has been since a junior golfer and is passionate about the success of the 5th oldest golf course in the world.
Born in Aberdeen, Montrose has been home since 2002. Jeff was an electrical engineer for 19 years in Aberdeen and then set up his own business, KVA Limited in 1998 which he then sold in 2010.
Jeff retired in 2011 and is a keen golfer who wants to ensure Montrose Golf Links celebrates its 500th birthday.
Hamish is a retired solicitor with a wealth of experience advising and assisting businesses throughout Tayside. He continues his involvement as a director of several local companies and is also a director/adviser to several charities. He continues to work within his own organisation as a lawyer and business consultant.
His vision now and in the immediate future is to help to totally revamp Montrose Golf Links and bring it up to date as a viable trading and profitable golf provider for golf playing Montrosians and visitors alike.