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7th April 2011

Greetings from Rusape! It is not often that a small village like Mt Temple(four miles from home) appears in the national media. The Irish Times recently did a survey of Irish golf clubs to see how they are faring during the recession. Mt Temple seems to be doing ok while many others are struggling and some may close. The recession bites the leisure industry. I had a good weekend with Mass for the Sacred Heart Sodality on Friday, followed by exposition of the Bl. Sacrament and Benediction. All schools close on Wed. or Thursday of this week for a month?s holiday. I went to Dzvairo on Saturday, not having been able to go the previous week because of the rains. The road was in good condition except for a few rough places. I had Eucharist at St. Simon?s on Sunday. After Mass, I left our old cook, Canisius, to his homestead, where he can supervise the harvesting of the maize crop. He will come occasionally to give the new man a break or a weekend off. Our new cook, Peter, arrived on Thursday to begin work on April 1st. He had worked in Rhodes Hotel, Nyanga, which was sold or taken over by new management. As in all these cases, the staff were let go. He is in his mid 30?s and is a very pleasant man. We had the cook?s cottage renovated: new ceiling, painting, plumbing and electrical work done before his arrival. It was badly in need of a makeover as it had not been painted for years We received news early this week that Fr. Heaslip is not returning to Zimbabwe. Most likely for health reasons. He is assigned to Kinsale, having spent fourteen years here at four different mission stations during some very difficult times politically and economically. He still has a lot of energy as he approaches his 80th year. Golf on Monday was enjoyable. It was very hot for the first nine holes leading to steady rain on Monday night and Tuesday morning. We are approaching the end of the rainy season. Temperatures will decrease as winter sets in for about four to five months. Darkness reigns from 6.00pm to almost 6.00am ZANU PF suffered a setback in parliament last week when they failed to get one of their own elected as speaker. A further set back was at the SADC meeting when Mugabe was presented with the facts about how the GPA was not working or being implemented and that political violence was still a reality. Local media did not give priority report to either event. Air Zim have been on strike for two weeks. The company is almost bankrupt. Workers are owed hundreds of thousands. I will shortly be booking my ticket with BA. After last year?s experience of Air Zim, I will never travel with them again. I offered Mass for Dad on April 1st,his anniversary, and remembered Aunt Oliver over the week. Love and best wishes. ?????..O.Carm., Mount Temple Golf Country Club, Co Westmeath The Questions

  1. What are the biggest challenges facing golf clubs?
  2. Have you initiated any co-operation (equipment, personnel) with nearby clubs?
  3. Has your club experienced any further fall-off/or stabilisation in membership for 2011 (please indicate percentage)?
  4. What promotions have your club put in place to attract new members/retain existing members?

Answers:

  1. Competing against the Nama golf industry and those in receivership with their unfair trading in green fees and services. Decrease in number of golfers both at home and visitors from Britain and further afield.
  2. We have a group of eight golf courses and 10 hotels called Golf in the Heart of Ireland, which is for promotional purposes.
  3. Due to the conservative style on which our club is run with no large banking debts and reduction in running costs we have been lucky to hold our own with regard to memberships for 2011.
  4. We reduced our membership rates for 2011. The club received approval for the National Quality and Standards framework by F?ilte Ireland which enables large promotional exposure with F?ilte Ireland , and also a substantial website of the golf course with up-to-date promotions displayed to attract numbers.