President’s Letter – Winter 2021

Dear Fellow MVCC Members,

Greetings from Mountain View!  I hope this finds you and your loved ones safe and well during these challenging times.  Snow is deep on the ground in Greensboro but preparations for our 2021 season are well underway.  As always, we plan to open in mid-May once we are clear of snow and ice.  While concern regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect it is having on our family and personal affairs remains paramount, improvements shown in recent public health data, as well as the ongoing administration of coronavirus vaccines, gives one hope. 

Last year presented many challenges for MVCC but, with the support and good-natured understanding of our members, we succeeded in offering golf and tennis activities with relatively little interruption.   In fact, golf and tennis play in 2020 by our members increased by 28% and 19%, respectively, over 2019, and over 900 individual members, guests and visitors took advantage of the opportunity to engage in safe outdoor activities at Mountain View.   

The same cannot be said for our Social programs, however, as we were unable to open our Clubhouse or offer our normal range of BYO cocktail parties, pot-luck dinners, catered meals and other social events.  It is not yet clear when we will be able to resume these activities, but we are monitoring governmental, health authority and leisure industry pronouncements on a continuing basis and will aim to cost-effectively follow best practices for all our activities, as those practices evolve.  We currently believe we will be able to make tennis and golf available on a socially distanced basis, similar to the approach we followed in 2020, and we very much hope to be able to welcome you all back for social events at the earliest safe opportunity.

All that said, I am keenly aware that many of you were unable to visit the Club last year, whether because of pandemic-related restrictions or otherwise. I want to express my deep appreciation for your continued support, which combined with member contributions above and beyond dues is critical to our ability to maintain our financial stability, expand our offerings and continue to realize our founders’ vision of a friendly, family-oriented club that provides access to a broad segment of our community.  Special thanks also goes to those members who volunteer their time and effort as directors, officers and committee members to make our operations possible. 

For dues renewal and payment this year, we are once again relying on a members-only web portal called “ClubExpress” that requires you to log in, update your contact details as appropriate and generate your own customized 2021 dues invoice. Payments may be mailed to the Club or paid on-line by credit card.  If you do elect to use a credit card, please remember that credit card payments cost the Club (and therefore your fellow members) approximately 3% of the payment, so please also consider adding to your payment a voluntary contribution equal to this amount.*  Payments are due April 1, so if you believe you (or the primary recipient on your membership)  did not receive an email containing instructions on the log-in and invoice generation process, please notify Janet Showers Patterson at [email protected]

           The dues invoice generation process also will allow you to select optional extras, including our ever-popular golf package (club storage and driving range privileges), full season golf cart passes, and the USGA’s “GHIN” handicap service. The prices for these remain unchanged from 2020.

Please mark your calendar for our Annual Meeting, which will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 14.  As always, the meeting will include the opportunity to elect a new class of directors, as well as receive reports from our officers and committee chairs, including more detailed discussions of the following :

Members:    During 2020 we welcomed twelve new members but saw a decline in our membership from 233 to 231 members and a 1.6% decline in dues revenue.  We will continue to promote Club membership among our wider community, but we very much rely on you, our members, to recruit new members from among your family, friends and acquaintances.  Please let us know of potential membership candidates and invite them to visit your Club.

Revenues:   Our net revenues in 2020 declined by 1.0% to $272,000. That figure exceeded our budget, however, reflecting the positive impact of higher golf and tennis usage on non-member (guest, visitor, and playing permit) fees, as well as generous additional donations from our members, offset by declines in Pro Shop and rental income.

Expenses:   Our expenses in 2020 increased by 2.0% to $278,700, which combined with gains on the sale of surplus equipment resulted in a small accounting loss of $2,500. On a cash basis, however, we ended the year with $9,000 more than when we started, thus enabling us to hold dues constant for 2021.   Cost and cash control continue to be a major focus and, as necessary, we will make operating adjustments during the season in response to the actual revenues  we receive, particularly as these may be affected by weather and the amount of guest and visitor play.

Capital Structure:  We remain debt-free, with a healthy restricted capital reserve and operating cash buffer, together totaling nearly $183,000 at year end 2020.  Our 2021 budget contemplates drawing down our operating cash buffer by approximately $32,000, which allows us to maintain this year’s planned capital investments while foregoing any dues increase. We believe this is prudent and will leave us well positioned to weather any significant future decline in revenues or increase in expenses.

Facility  Investment:  We continue to make regular and measured investments in our course, courts and facilities.  For 2021, your Board has approved a net capital budget of $54,600 that includes replacing aging maintenance and irrigation equipment, installing the final phase of our tennis fencing upgrade, maintaining our buildings, and refinishing Clubhouse porch furniture.  As in past years, we will evaluate whether to proceed with these expenditures as the year progresses.

Tennis:  At its January meeting, your Board approved a proposal to renew our $350 tennis permit offering, which is aimed at attracting additional tennis players to MVCC. This initiative has led to renewed interest in our exceptional clay court facilities and our enjoyable programs of tennis round robins and tournaments.

Our achievements during 2020 would have been impossible without the efforts of our outstanding staff.  We look forward to welcoming back Brian Titus (our Pro Shop Head), Steve Parker (our Greens Superintendent) and Laura Laramee (our Tennis Pro), and working with them to provide our members with an enjoyable range of golf and tennis activities.

In coming weeks we will continue to provide you further information regarding the Club’s schedule and events. In the meantime, I encourage you to share any concerns or insights you have with me, with any other member of our Board or with one of the committee chairs listed on our website (please also let me know if you are interested in serving on one of those committees!). I can be reached at [email protected] or on my mobile phone (802-363-1355).  I look forward to seeing you all this summer. 

Best regards,

Rick Ely

Club President__________________________________

*  Federal law requires me to say here that payments to MVCC are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.