Resilience shines through as Club posts profit for 2022/23 financial year
I am pleased to report that the Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort has delivered a $375,254 profit for the 2022/23 financial year. The result is further evidence of our Club’s resilience, given the significant flood events experienced in October 2022.
This largest Murray River flood event since 1956 forced the closure of our Murray course across an 8-week period, directly impacting our golf, accommodation and Clubhouse revenue forecasts through what is traditionally a very profitable time of the year.
The course closure halted all Member competitions, with our Lake and Executive Courses used to accommodate the overflow of accommodation and green fee players. I want to thank our Members for their patience and understanding during this time.
I also want to thank our management team for working behind the scenes to ensure our successful insurance claim after the floods. Whilst only a percentage of the true losses, the payout provided much-needed respite in recouping some of the shortfall.
Outside of the interruptions, I was delighted with our overall business performance. Our total net revenue grew by over 30%, primarily driven by accommodation and food and beverage, which both produced significant increases across the 12-month period.
The growth in visitor numbers through the Club also translated to solid results on the golf course, with green fee revenue up 23%, despite the course closures.
Both our Murray and Lake Courses were recognised among Australia’s best in Golf Australia Magazine’s annual ranking of the top 100 public access courses. In its new rankings, the Murray Course jumped inside the top 50 for the first time, reaching number 46, and the Lake Course moved up three spots to rank 66th. Having not one but two courses ranked among the best is a significant achievement. It highlights the quality of our courses and is great recognition for our talented ground staff.
From a staffing perspective, the strong results did place tremendous pressure on our team, who performed admirably in the circumstances. Staff shortages are still an ongoing issue for regional Clubs, with retention and access to skilled staff continuing to be a top priority.
We have also continued to invest in our facilities during the year.
The cabin replacement project commenced in April and sees the replacement of five original accommodation cabins that overlook the resort pool and croquet courts. The replacement build of two new villas, similar to those overlooking the 14th tee, is being managed by local builder Jack Riches of Riches Homes & Improvements Mulwala.
The two new three-bedroom villas have a completion date set for March 2024 and, once open, will allow the resort to accommodate more than 170 golfers at a time.
In addition to the cabins, we have several other projects in the works:
- Our new Cart Storage Shed is progressing well after council permit and weather delays and is due to open in October 2023.
- Construction of a new roof covering the driving range hitting area will begin after the shed is complete.
- The ongoing Bunker Replacement project will continue across the courses after ground staff complete the refurbished Lake 15th.
- The new Golf Maintenance Facility is still awaiting development approval from Federation Council. The Club have appointed Robert Luxmoore Project Management to assist with the project – having worked on a similar Maintenance Facility at Royal Melbourne GC in 2019. The Golf Maintenance Facility is a high-priority major project for the Club, estimated to cost around $4.5M. It is a significant investment in the future of our Club and a much-needed one, given the WHS and environmental concerns of the existing maintenance shed.
- The Murray Course Irrigation and Greens replacement project has been put on hold until the new Golf Maintenance Facility is on track.
On the member front, we were unfortunate this year to lose two very valued Life Members.
Graeme Ferguson was integral to many projects across the Club with his engineering expertise. Through my time as Operations Manager and CEO, Graeme was a valued voice and was often the first person I’d consult with. He will be sadly missed.
And Ben Nowell, an absolute giant of our Club over many years. Ben, the most consequential superintendent in the Club’s history, was the guiding hand that took our Club from a modest 18-hole country course to the 45-hole monster resort we have today. What a magnificent legacy he has left us all.
Finally, I’d like to acknowledge the people across the Club for their support and assistance throughout the last 12 months.
Thank you to my Department Managers, kitchen, bar and bistro staff, maintenance crew and reception and accommodation team for their dedication, loyalty and hard work.
To Superintendent Chris Burgess and his ground staff, thank you for your care and attention to our golf course. To Evan Droop and his Pro Shop staff, thank you for another year of outstanding service.
To our incredible volunteers, thank you for playing another huge role in the aftermath of the floods – you should all be incredibly proud of what you do.
To President Laurie Bridgeman and our Board of Directors, thank you for your dedication and support.
And lastly, to our members. From our weekday and weekend golfers, to our lawn bowlers, croquet players, visiting social members and local regulars, thank you for being the lifeblood of our Club. Your support is always appreciated, and I hope you are as excited about the future of our Club as I am.
I am confident that the Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort is well-positioned for continued success in the coming years. We have a strong team in place and are committed to providing our members and guests with an outstanding experience.
I look forward to what’s to come.
Chief Executive Officer