Wet spring a water hazard

Jun 8 2011 - 9:47am

Images

(KRISTIN HEINICHEN/Standard-Examiner) 
Making use of Tuesday’s good weather, Jim Sampson chips onto the green at Davis Park Golf Course in Fruit Heights.
(KRISTEN HEINICHEN/Standard-Examiner)
Good weather at Davis Park Golf Course on Tuesday.
(KRISTEN HEINICHEN/Standard-Examiner)
Making use of the window of good weather, Ron Schofield putts during a game with Jim Sampson and Bill Allen at Davis Park Golf Course on Tuesday.
(KRISTEN HEINICHEN/Standard-Examiner)
Good weather at Davis Park Golf Course on Tuesday.
(KRISTIN HEINICHEN/Standard-Examiner) 
Making use of Tuesday’s good weather, Jim Sampson chips onto the green at Davis Park Golf Course in Fruit Heights.
(KRISTEN HEINICHEN/Standard-Examiner)
Good weather at Davis Park Golf Course on Tuesday.
(KRISTEN HEINICHEN/Standard-Examiner)
Making use of the window of good weather, Ron Schofield putts during a game with Jim Sampson and Bill Allen at Davis Park Golf Course on Tuesday.
(KRISTEN HEINICHEN/Standard-Examiner)
Good weather at Davis Park Golf Course on Tuesday.

LAYTON -- The unusually wet spring has put a financial divot in Davis County's golf game, forcing officials to readjust budgets.

The two county-owned and -operated 18-hole courses -- Valley View Golf Course, in Layton, and Davis Park Golf Course, in Fruit Heights -- are down more than 3,000 nine-hole rounds combined.

They're also down nearly $84,000 in course revenues compared with this time last year -- and what's worse, course revenues in spring 2010 were lower than usual, also because of bad weather, Rawlings said.

This year's revenue shortfalls have golf professionals at both locations cutting costs by reducing seasonal help.

They're also praying for weather that allows for play well into the fall.

"There has been a lot of golf that has been missed out on, that's for sure," said Davis County Clerk/Auditor Steve Rawlings.

The county will look at which course costs can be mitigated, he said. An example is not charging batteries on underused golf carts, Rawlings said. There could also be a savings on fertilizer because this spring has been so wet.

Davis Park golf professional Brad Stone said the wet spring created a tough start for the Fruit Heights course, which is down about 2,700 nine-hole rounds and $38,000 in revenue through May 31 compared to 2010.

Valley View golf professional Matt Lyons said his Layton course is down 914 rounds and $46,000.

Although Valley View has lost fewer rounds, the monetary loss is greater because that course gets revenue from cart rental fees, which Davis Park does not.

"It's been so frustrating," Lyons said of the weather, which saturated the grounds to the point that golf carts couldn't be used.

The majority of the missed rounds occurred in May, Stone said, but with a good autumn, some lost revenue could be made up.

"We may not make all the revenue back," said Davis County Commissioner John Petroff Jr.

But the county will come close by cutting back on payroll-related expenses, he said.

Stone and Lyons concede that spring is generally the barometer for determining how the season will go, partly because it offers extended daylight hours for golfers to play 18 holes in the afternoon.

In the meantime, the managers continue to meet budget, reducing operating costs by cutting back on the seasonal help.

"We definitely cut back," Stone said.

The handful of full-time staff who work year-round at each course have not been affected by the slow start, officials said.

About 15 years ago, the two county courses combined were generating revenues of $300,000 to $400,000 yearly, Rawlings said. But that changed with the development of several privately owned courses in the area, he said.

But as the county population grows -- reaching a projected population of 450,000 residents -- Rawlings said, county leaders are confident the demand for its courses will escalate.

"We have no intention of selling the courses," Rawlings said. "There is a great need for green space."

Besides, he said, the two golf courses are part of the county's long-term plan to promote tourism and market the county.

Stone said one upside to the wet spring is, the courses are green, with grass growing in places it hasn't grown before.

From Around the Web

  +