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RECREATION/Brown Deer Sees Red
Coralville Golf Course Ends Up Costing City

Jamie Nicpon

The Gazette

August 28, 2005

[Note: This material is copyright by The Gazette, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of The Gazette.]

    CORALVILLE — After a full year with new digs, including a $3 million clubhouse, nine newly constructed holes and another nine renovated, the city-owned Brown Deer Golf Club is operating below budget expectations.

    Golfers may feel the impact, with possible increased fees.

    No specific decision on fees has been recommended. However, the city’s general fund had to cover a fiscal 2005 operating deficit of around $23,000 for the golf course, City Finance Officer Terry Kaeding said.

    Golf course expenditures were anticipated to be closer to $1.7 million than the actual figure of $1.735 million.

    The more alarming statistics dealt with the revenue for fiscal 2005, which ended June 30.

    Kaeding said total golf-related revenue, including line-items such as the pro shop sales, concessions and greens fees, dipped to just below $1 million, at $999,052. City officials had expected the revenue to be $1.5 million.

    The City Council heard the figures in a report Tuesday night. ‘‘Part of it is probably (that it’s) the first year of operations,’’ City Administrator Kelly Hayworth told council members.

    ‘‘You look through the numbers and it’s all related to golf,’’ he said about the deficit. ‘‘The rest of the operations — the clubhouse, et cetera — are doing fine.’’

    Golf-related items such as cart rentals, greens fees, driving range fees and tournament fees were expected to pull in about $1.2 million but wound up more than $526,000 short at around $623,000.

    Hayworth also said sub-par pricing strategies for the golf course were partially to blame and should be revised.

    ‘‘It sounds great, some of the discounts that we’re doing, but that’s not going to help the bottom line,’’ Hayworth said. ‘‘We’ve got to do a much better job of attracting the golfers, and we’ve got to charge for the services that we provide.’’