Kenosha County would increase the price of daily and seasonal passes to generate yearly revenue of more than $300,000 that would pay for $4 million in needed capital improvements at both Brighton Dale Links and Petrifying Springs Golf Course. Projects include replacing 40-year-old irrigation systems, overhauling practice areas this year and a bunker renovation next year.
Kenosha County, Wis. plans to help fully fund $4 million in budgeted capital improvements to its two golf courses—Brighton Dale Links in Kansasville and Petrifying Springs Golf Course in Kenoshaw—that will take place through 2025, the Kenosha News reported.
Dan Drier, General Manager of Golf Operations, oversees the county’s two golf courses and said he and public works staff have done “a lot of research” in creating a plan for the operation’s first comprehensive increase since 2008, the Kenosha News reported.
“We did increase some good golf cart fees back in 2010. And we’ve added taxes since then, but really the rate structure hasn’t changed too much since then,” he said. “We feel that with the rising cost of everything and with the projects that we’re putting together – and we’ve put together a good proposal on our golf rates – we think will meet the requirements of making that extra $300,000 a year to cover the loan that we need for those irrigation and renovation projects.”
Specifically, the projects include replacing 40-year-old irrigation systems and overhauling the red nine and practice areas this year and a blue bunker renovation next year at the courses, the Kenosha News reported.
In 2025, crews would construct a new maintenance shop at Petrifying Springs Golf Course and a new storage building at Brighton Dale Links, the Kenosha News reported.
In November 2022, the County Board approved the golf division’s plan with the 2023 budget, which requires no tax levy or bonding, but will be funded by golf course users, the Kenosha News reported.
In paying for the improvements, the golf division has established a “sinking fund” and will be using money in its reserves, which are currently at more than $1 million, while paying back the fund in increments of nearly $300,000 a year for the next 20 years with principal and interest, the Kenosha News reported.
According to its 2023 budget, the golf division’s revenue has steadily increased over the last five years from $2.8 million to well over $4 million, turning profits of about $1 million each year for the last three years and has been operating self-sufficiently, the Kenosha News reported.
Drier told the committee to anticipate “some feedback” from older adults who play golf on the county’s courses, as the age for senior golf passes would also go up from 55 to 60 years, the News reported. He said at most golf courses, 62 years of age is the requirement for an adult to qualify as a “senior.” The relatively younger age requirement for seniors at the county’s courses was already in place before he came on board in 2009, he said.
“I feel that 60 years is really a fair age,” he said. “It’s still less than many of the other courses that are [of] our comparison.”
Supervisor Zach Stock wondered whether long-time golfers who have paid for passes annually would be “grandfathered,” allowing them to keep the lower rate, the Kenosha News reported.
“If they’ve had the [annual] passes, yes,” said Drier.
Stock also wondered whether the golf division had explored the feasibility of charging higher rates for out-of-state residents, the Kenosha News reported. While the non-resident demographic comprises about 40 to 50 percent of the golfers on weekends the county has maintained providing the “great value” to everyone who wishes to use the courses, said Drier
“We haven’t included any out-of-state increases for our facilities,” he said.
Supervisor Mark Nordigian, the committee’s chair, has called on the golf division to be self-funding since he was elected to the County Board, the Kenosha News reported.
“I think the idea is now that Dan can run the golf course, set the rates that they need to do to do the things that he wants to do at a time that he wants to do. They’re still going to have to come to the board, they’re going to have to get it approved, but it’s not dependent now on the [county] Capital Improvements Program [funding],” he said. “It’s going to be dependent on them financing themselves through their rates. I think they’ve done a really good job of putting them together to make it … affordable.”
The county’s Public Works and Facilities Committee unanimously approved daily play increases that will range from $2 to $5 based on weekday, weekend and holiday per nine or 18 holes, the Kenosha News reported. Monday through Friday 18-hole play rates would remain the same at $26, according to the proposed 2023 fee schedule for the golf division.
The committee also favored increasing the price of season passes for golf, including senior rates with the largest jump from $335 in 2022 to $695 this year, or nearly 52 percent, the Kenosha News reported. The new senior golf rates, however, would include the “greens fees” that were previously charged at $5 per use and league play, according to Drier.
A “young executive” pass would decrease from $1,195 to $695, but would not include the $600 seasonal cart pass, according to rate schedule, the Kenosha News reported. A special senior seasonal rate of $1,295 for unlimited weekday play and cart use would also be available. Other adult passes would see $200 to $300 increases depending on cart or non-cart use.
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