Posted by John Thomas
The meeting was opened at 12:15 by President Tom Nash and followed by a “Thought for the Day” from Fred Schwimmmer. Then the pledge of allegiance was led by Tony Kambich. Lunch was served and the meeting itself started about 12:40. The lunch meeting was in the Winnetka Community House  with 25 of our 53 members (54%) in attendance. There were 6 guests present.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: President Tom told us we have been approved for a $3600 grant for Kids Against Hunger. This is an excellent start to raising the money needed to have yet another very big program.
He also noted there were fliers on the tables about the Fall Fest staged by the WPD in which Rotary will participate.  There was also on the tables a sign-up sheet for those who can help man our Rotary booth.
DIG & GRIN:  Mark Kotz was again substituting and delivered a low-key list of “Life Observations”.  The attendees deemed his offering quite humorous and gave a solid round of applause.
SPEAKER NOTES:    John Thomas, who is a Winnetka Park Commissioner and has been on the Board since 2004,  introduced the speaker, Matt Johnson. Thomas noted the Winnetka Golf operation is the Park District’s largest revenue generator. They have two excellent courses, an 18 hole and a 9 hole.  Unfortunately, it had long been a financial drain as operations management was inadequate..
Matt Johnson was promoted to Facility Manager & Head Golf Professional in 2014 under new senior management. At the same time, the Board invested in a new Driving range and significant upgrades to the facilities. Matt has led restructuring of teaching systems, flexible single-round play fees, an agreement with Golf Now, and  aggressive area-wide marketing efforts. The operation has been in the black now for several years. He gave a slide presentation, assisted by the WPD Executive Director, John Muno. The presentation noted that this is the 100th year anniversary of the Golf course and carried the audience briefly through highlights of its history. Currently it hosts over 30,000 rounds annually on the 18 hole course and 13,000 on the 9 hole course. It is also the home course for the New Trier H.S. golf teams. Matt has led our award-winning Junior Elite programs and he has coached many junior golfers to successful competitive careers. In the Q&A session Matt noted the cost to play is the same for all comers no matter where they reside. There is no longer preferential rates for Winnetka residents vs. others. Pricing is flexible for single rounds depending on several factors with the lowest often being $32 for 18 holes. He also offered that kids are much easier to teach than adults.  The Q&A ended at 1:30 and the meeting closed with recital of Rotary’s four-way test.