A sustainability assessment for the city’s municipal golf courses, conducted by a citizen golf committee, determined that at least one course may need to close unless the courses can control spending and increase revenues. Even if one course does close, the $900,000 payroll expense for the other courses would still need to be reduced.
A citizen golf committee determined in a sustainability assessment that at least one municipal course in Springfield, Ohio may need to be closed if expenses cannot be reined in and revenues increased, the Springfield (Ohio) News-Sun reported.
The National Trail Parks and Recreation District operates two 18-hole courses at Reid Park and one at Snyder Park. The city of Springfield has subsidized golf operations at an average of $208,000 per year for the past eight years, the News-Sun reported.
“I looked at it as [though] there are basically two paths we could go down,” committee spokeswoman Mel Marsh told the district board. “One path is keep all golf courses operational, but to do that, we have to bridge that gap of the average of $200,000.”
“Option number two is if we can’t do that, then [we need to] take a look at what golf courses should be closed, if any,” Marsh said. As part of the second option, he added, payroll (the operation’s biggest expense at $900,000) would also need to be reduced.
The News-Sun reported that the committee recommended that the board:
- agree to a three-year trial period;
- hire a business manager charged with growing the number of rounds;
- adjust fees and packages to drive appropriate revenue per round and attract more players, and
- implement an enhanced record-keeping system for better analysis of the rounds being played,
The committee began meeting in early summer, after golf rounds at Snyder Park Golf Course declined sharply last year because of poor greens conditions and the consequent loss of revenue. In February, the parks board suspended foot traffic on the course until its greens could be repaired.
Officials reopened the course at Snyder in late June, after it spent between $5,000 and $6,000 to repair the course’s greens. Rounds have declined for several years over all three courses, down from 75,000 per year in 2004 to 51,000 in 2011 among the three courses, the News-Sun reported.
“Even with the subsidy, the budget has not reflected the full costs,” Marsh said. “There has been some deferred maintenance, equipment that’s been kept longer than it should be operational, and there haven’t been cash reserves for times when we have emergency situations.”
The board accepted the committee’s assessment and is expected to discuss it in executive session at a later date. The board expects to have a series of work sessions before taking any action, the News-Sun reported.