Funds will remove deficit at city-owned course
Changes are in order at Centerbrook Golf Course in Brooklyn Center.
The course, owned by the city and located at 5500 N. Lilac drive off Highway 100 and John Martin Drive, opened in 1987 and in the end of the 2009 fiscal year had its first operating cash deficit of $33,422. By mid-November this year, the deficit was $180,083.
“I think the golf industry is just a difficult industry in general right now,” said Brooklyn Center Director of Community Activities, Recreation and Services Jim Glasoe.
City staff determined even if the course had an annual surplus of $5,000 starting in 2013, it would take 36 years to bring the deficit back to zero.
Therefore, according to Director of Finance Dan Jordet, the staff proposed for the city council to allocate $200,000 from the general fund budget to remove the deficit.
The city council unanimously approved the fund transfer at its Nov. 26 meeting.
Jordet said the $200,000 would create some cash flow for the golf course operations and money to pay bills when it opens again in the spring. The new golf course superintendent, Steve Makowske, is working to develop new ideas for revenue, he said.
Makowske started at Centerbrook this year after former Supt. George Jenrich retired, Jordet said.
“That’s part of the reason we can look at this and do some turnaround to make some changes,” he said.
In addition to the golf course staffing, maintenance, marketing and other operations have been reviewed and changed from the model used through 2011, according to the proposal presented to the city council before the Nov. 26 meeting.
Glasoe said the city is planning to concentrate on bringing in more leagues to play at the golf course.
“Those are kind of the driving force as far as green fees so we are taking steps to maximize rounds from league folks,” Glasoe said.
Partnerships with local school districts are also in the works to increase the interest in youth golfing and the city is working on an affiliation with The First Tee program to introduce golfing to kids, he said.
The city has placed a priority on the partnership with school districts and local businesses before Centerbrook Golf Course opens in the spring.
Overall, Glasoe said operating a golf course is challenging because of the competition in both the public and private sector and the decreasing population of people who golf.
“That coupled with the economic downturn, it’s been a difficult market,” he said.
If the operations at Centerbrook start to bring in revenue, the excess funds would be designated to have a cash reserve and then to pay back the costs of the loan used to open the course.
The city used dollars in its Capital Improvement Fund to open the course, Jordet said. The remaining balance is $792,488, he said.
“Our goal is right now to get it back to paying for itself,” Jordet said. “Five years down the road, maybe we’ll be there, and I hope we are.”