Port district officials were cautiously optimistic last week about the 2013 golf season.
Chairman Orville Scharbach said at the Port District 7 commission meeting Thursday that through a combination of increased membership dues and volunteer labor at the course, the season likely would get underway.
He was optimistic despite the $100,000-plus contribution the port district made to this year’s operation and the lack of any reserve funds for next season.
Scharbach noted that Banks Lake Golf Course is in much better condition now than it was when the port salvaged it from closure last spring.
Membership dues will go from $400 for individuals to $600; the couple and family rate from $450 to $700; and the junior rate from $50 to $100.
Scharbach said if memberships continue at their present number, 84, then it should raise about $48,000 for next season.
Letters to members announcing the new rates and information about spring are going out this week.
“We plan two tournaments this month (October),” Scharbach said. The first, Saturday, Oct. 6, has a $25 entry fee, and the second, Oct. 13, has a $60 entry fee with $50 of that going to purchase needed fairway fertilizer.
“The greens are in much better shape than in the spring, and the plan is to spray them so we won’t have the winter damage we had last year,” Scharbach stated.
Added to this year’s high operation cost was the lease of golf carts and mowers at just over $6,000 a month for seven months of operation. Already, commissioners are making plans to cut that expense down.
The port is looking at changing the number of carts and its source for the equipment, with the possibility of purchasing used carts.
Commissioner Stan Conklin, who has volunteered hundreds of hours at the course this year, said a good team of volunteers will be available for next year, cutting labor costs significantly. Labor costs through September were about $70,000.
Port officials have met with Grant County’s Strategic Infrastructure Program committee, asking for grant funding to finish greens repair and for a 30-pad recreational vehicle park where the old driving range was located.
Scharbach said the port’s engineering firm is designing the trailer park as part of a redefining of the course’s master plan and will submit a request for funding from Grant County’s SIP fund.
“The trailer park project would enable people to stay right at the golf course, provide some operating capital for the course, and increase individual play,” Scharbach stated.
He added, “We have some $20,000 expenses coming up for water, assessments and taxes before we can open in the spring.”
The golf season typically gets underway March 1.