Over the past year the Club’s General Committee has been discussing ways to broaden involvement in the Club’s Committee and to integrate otherwise disparate functions undertaken by the Committee and the valuable Sub-Committee network. There are clearly activities that are delivered well and others that deserve attention to elevate the Members’ experience at our Club. We monitor and address any service shortcomings regularly and we are fortunate to have a management team and staff that recognise the need to meet and exceed expectations. It is incumbent on Committees to challenge the way we deal with matters as a Club and to adjust as necessary. This has been happening for well over 100 years and your current Committee is considering further changes as we approach our 125th year celebration.
It is always important when considering change that we consider the key Objects of the Club and how any changes may affect those Objects. These are listed in The Brisbane Golf Club Inc Rules which can be found on our website and are summarised as follows:
- Provide a golf course and clubhouse;
- Obtain a liquor licence;
- Supply meals and refreshments;
- Provide all things incidental to the playing of golf;
- Provide other pastimes and social activities;
- Do everything conducive or incidental to the above.
These Objects are core to the existence of the Club. It is incumbent on the Club’s General Committee and Members to pursue these Objects. We believe proposed changes will enable their pursuit with greater unity and purpose and enhance the governance at the Club. As part of our deliberations we would welcome feedback from members on the changes proposed.
The key changes being considered are:
- To broaden the qualification for election to the Club’s General Committee.
- To ensure ongoing participation of ladies in the governance of the Club through direct representation on the Club’s Committee.
- To ensure ongoing participation of ladies in the operations of the Club and the integration of successful activities undertaken by the Ladies’ Committee through direct representation on the Club’s expanded Sub-Committee network.
1. Election to Club’s General Committee
The General Committee is elected by Life, Full, Senior and Provisional members each year and consists of the following nine members:
- Honorary Treasurer
- Committee x 4
Currently, nomination to positions on the Club’s General Committee is restricted to Life, Full and Senior Members. We recognise that many talented and capable members in other membership categories may wish to contribute to the Club’s vision through participation in the General Committee.It is proposed that the qualification to be elected to the General Committee be extended to include Six-Day and Transition Members of at least two-years standing. It is expected this will provide an opportunity for broader representation on the Club’s General Committee, drawing from a larger pool of suitably experienced members beyond the existing Life, Full and Senior categories. This will give an opportunity for Six-Day and Transition Members who wish to participate in the vision and strategic development at the Club to nominate and potentially be elected to the Club’s General Committee.
While expanding the opportunity for others to join the Club’s General Committee, it is intended that Life, Full and Senior Members will maintain a majority on the Club’s General Committee.
The Ladies’ Committee is currently operated separately to the Club’s General Committee and is elected by lady Members of the Club annually. The Ladies’ Committee has its own By-Laws and is empowered under the current Club Rules to manage ladies’ golf. The Ladies’ Committee does not report to the General Committee but each of its members is indemnified by the Club for actions taken while a member of that Committee. The intention of the proposed changes is to absorb the functions of the Ladies’ Committee into the core Club and under the umbrella of the General Committee. It is not intended to remove any functions or activities currently performed by the Ladies’ Committee or the involvement of ladies with those functions and activities. The goal is to integrate these activities into One Club. Ladies will still be involved in managing Ladies’ golf.
2. Gender Diversity on General Committee
As mentioned earlier, the General Committee is elected by Life, Full, Senior and Provisional members of the Club with nominations coming from those categories other than Provisional. For every year through to 2014 the entire General Committee consisted of male representatives. Over the past six years we have welcomed the contribution of a duly elected lady on the General Committee and it is our goal that representation of ladies on the General Committee in the future will continue to grow. It is important to note that every member of the General Committee is elected to act in the best interests of the whole Club and the whole membership.
To ensure we achieve greater gender diversity, the General Committee is proposing to enshrine a minimum of two males and two females on future General Committees. Further, it is proposed to change the name of the General Committee to the Club Committee and expand its numbers to ten as follows:
- Club Captain
- Captain of Men’s Golf
- Captain of Ladies’ Golf
- Committee x 4
This proposal would ensure a permanent representation of at least two lady Members on the Club’s General Committee. There would be no restriction on roles so any member of any gender from the expanded qualifying membership categories could nominate for President, Treasurer or any other role on the General Committee.
3. Gender Diversity on Expanded Sub-Committees
The Club’s General Committee recognises the special role the Ladies’ Committee has played in the Club for over 100 years. Many of the Club’s functions and events have their genesis in efforts of former Ladies’ Committees. We are not seeking to change any of that but rather integrate the successes into the core Club. Having a separate gender-based Committee in current times is not consistent with a forward-looking contemporary organisation. Having an integrated Club provides opportunity and breaks down gender barriers that have previously existed at the Club. The adoption of One Club expands on the steps taken by previous Presidents and Ladies’ Presidents, Club General Committees and Ladies’ Committees to providing an inclusive environment at our Club. The opening up of membership, the opening up of timesheets, the opening up of functions and events and now the potential to open up participation in the General Committee and working Sub-Committees roll together into the Club we see in the future. An opportunity for all to be involved and for all to contribute.
Should the proposal be adopted by the Club, there would not be a separate Ladies’ Committee but rather a significant representation of ladies across the proposed Committee and Sub-Committee structure.
The functions and make up of Sub-Committees are usually determined by each President as they grapple with the key elements of the day affecting the Club. Many of the Sub-Committees have been unchanged for many years but there have been changes in the past and there will be changes in the future as the world evolves. The key element to be highlighted is the commitment by the General Committee to ensure strong representation of genders and membership categories in the Sub-Committee structure. Currently there is some participation in Sub-Committee work by members from outside of the General Committee. Accessing relevant members to help with this detailed work across an expanded Member Services function, Course, Match, Membership and Facilities will ultimately achieve a great deal more for our Club.
We have discussed the proposed changes with the Ladies’ Committee and other selected lady members and welcomed their feedback. We now feel it is timely to provide the whole membership with an opportunity to consider and provide feedback on the proposed changes.
I know that some members expect that voting rights at general meetings should be expanded to include other categories of membership such as Six Day and Transitional members. The General Committee has not considered this issue as part of its current deliberations. The focus of One Club is expanding the involvement of members on the General and Sub-Committees. It may be that voting rights becomes another opportunity for change in the future but it is not on our current agenda. We expect that any review of voting rights would also entail a review of the subscription fee contributions by the various categories and in the current heath and economic climate we do not feel that is a priority.
As stated above we welcome the views of members to the General Committee’s deliberations as we take and work through a consultative approach to the proposed changes. Ultimately any changes will need the support of members in general meeting. We will evaluate the feedback we receive and propose a reasonable timeframe for implementation of changes to be made if they are to be supported. It is anticipated this will occur during our 125th year. In the interim, please take a moment to provide your input to the proposed changes over the next month.
As always I would be happy to meet with members to discuss any or all of the above, as would any member of the General Committee.
Please direct all correspondence to our General Manager, Geoff Kuehner via email@example.com
Phil Wikman, President