The opportunity presented itself last year to amalgamate with a like-minded club; City Diggers, Wollongong, in order to strengthen the financial security of both clubs. As discussions continued it became apparent that it was a natural fit, with both clubs sharing a proud history in Wollongong, have strong community values and a commitment to their members.
Key Factors and considerations
The boards of Wollongong Golf Club and Wollongong City Diggers commenced amalgamation discussions based on what was important to each club and their respective members. Namely, that both clubs are:
1) Member owned organisations
2) Share similar long standing values
3) Will be stronger together
4) Generate profit for purpose
Financial challenges for clubs in NSW and Australia
Wollongong Golf Club and Wollongong City Diggers are what would be referred to as Small clubs. Small sized clubs across NSW and Australia, be it sporting clubs like Wollongong Golf Club or service clubs like Wollongong City Diggers, are under mounting financial pressure. This is mainly attributed to increased costs, declining memberships, more competition and increased member expectations.
Golf Clubs in particular, Australia wide, face increased challenges due to maintenance costs, regulatory obligations, environmental factors and dropping participation levels. Many are struggling and some have even been forced to close. Fortunately, Wollongong Golf Club has a healthy membership and is well positioned financially due to the recent successful clubhouse renovation, however that doesn’t mean we are immune to any unforeseen future challenges.
With the amalgamation, the two small clubs of Wollongong Golf Club and Wollongong City Diggers, will become a Medium sized club. Medium sized clubs have a greater financial capacity to meet future challenges via a larger membership, improved revenue streams and operational cost savings. In doing so it puts less stress on the membership to carry all the future financial burdens. Such as additional membership fees or increases in service delivery.
By becoming a Medium size club also creates other advantages such as a larger staffing pool and additional expertise.
Benefits of the amalgamation?
Wollongong Golf Club currently:
Assets of $19,000,000
Revenue $7,800,00 p.a.
Wollongong Golf Club & City Diggers Wollongong combined:
Assets of $24,000,000
Revenue $13,300,000 p.a.
Specific benefits and outcomes for Members
- A larger capital budget that allows for expenditure on club facilities, member activities and entertainment
- Improve our capacity to deliver quality golf product services and deliver on our five-year golf course improvement plan
- Improve our ability to sustain quality food & beverage at club prices
- Two venues, One membership. This will enable:
- Members of both clubs to automatically become dual members of both clubs
- Members will be able to patronise each club without having to sign in
- Members will enjoy members benefits at each club
- Member’s existing loyalty points will be retained
- Loyalty points will be able to be earned and redeemed at both club venues
- Wollongong Golf Club Members will have access to the City Diggers Easy Card program which allows Members to redeem points outside of the club, such as Fuel or Groceries
- Combined club history of 200 years
- Each club will retain their current names and identities
- Each club will retain it’s current staff. This will provide a larger pool that both clubs can draw on to serve members, such as additional staff expertise, flexibility and personal development
Staff and boards from both clubs have conducted exhaustive analysis on every factor of the amalgamation. Each club has sought their own independent financial advice. The result has overwhelmingly shown that the amalgamation is a positive step forward with minimal risk to either party. This resulted in the unanimous decision by both boards to amalgamate.
As asked by members to date:
Q. Can I do a postal vote if I can not make the General Meeting.
A. No. Our constitution states that you must be present on the night to be able to vote.
Q. How has Covid-19 impacted on both Clubs and does this affect the amalgamation?
A. Yes, everyone has been impact by the Government imposed restrictions on trade. Now more than ever we need a local partner to help us navigate the uncertain future.
Q. What is the financial position of the Wollongong City Diggers and will they contribute to the bottom line.
A. This has been thoroughly examined. The answer is most certainly yes. Wollongong City Diggers have shown cash profits for the last 3 years. Last year they had an after deprecation loss, which worst case scenario modelling, shows can be turned around with the amalgamation and operational efficiencies. Wollongong City Diggers have no Liabilities and have a strong Balance Sheet. Further information can be found via their Annual Reports which are available on their website. https://citydiggers.com.au/members/
Q. Will the amalgamation change my golf in any way?
A. Most changes will be unseen back office. So running of golf, golf operations and golf membership benefits will be unchanged. However, the amalgamation will ensure that we can continue to invest in our golf services and course.