A group of volunteers at the Diamond Mountain Golf Course are helping the course reduce expenses and move toward profitability. File photo

Golf Course Advisory Committee makes a big difference

A dedicated group of local golfers is busy raising money and offering suggestions to help make the Diamond Mountain Golf Course a success. And the good news is, they may be winning.

Kim Erb, a member of the city’s Golf Course Advisory Committee said an idea to sell advertising on the flags at all 18 holes was so popular and successful with local merchants, they sold out in no time.

“We’re just trying to think up ways to make some money for the golf course — specifically for the golf course — not for the swimming pool, not for Riverside Park.”

Kim said he’s ordering 18 new flags for the flag sticks representing 18 local merchants. He said the flags will be up all year long. He estimated the program will generate more than $2,500 after expenses, and the money will go specifically to golf course expenditures — funding the course will need due to its late opening this year.

And he said there are other merchants who want to advertise at the golf course as well. In addition Kim said two or three private golf tournaments are in the works, too.

Despite opening a few weeks later than usual this year, Kim said the committee has reduced the projected operating deficit at the course.

“We’ve made a huge, huge dent in it … cutting out things that were unnecessary,” Erb said.

For example, he said the city could save about $1,500 a year just by cutting out the direct TV to the clubhouse.

“Why do we have it out there?” Erb asked. “We don’t have a restaurant. We don’t have a bar. Why do we need it? There were just a lot of things they were paying that they shouldn’t have been. We cut a lot of fat out of that budget, so with the new fiscal year beginning July 1, hopefully they’ll be on a pace where they can show a profit.”

Erb said a group of nine volunteers works with the paid city staff to keep up with normal, day-to-day maintenance operations such as watering, mowing, ranking the sand traps.

Erb said he, the committee and the city are all looking toward the future.

“The majority of the city council is behind us,” Erb said. “Two or three months ago they were talking about closing half the golf course.”

But then about 100 golfers attended a recent city council meeting and expressed their opinions, he said.

“We all said we’re going to try,” Erb said. “We’re going to hold fundraisers, hold events. We’re going to do that, we’re going to volunteer to cut some of the costs, and they said OK, give it a try. I think right now they’re real happy with what we’ve done.”

According to Erb, Kevin Jones, the interim city administrator, helped establish the committee. He said while Jones acknowledged he doesn’t know much about golf, he has lots of friends who do, so Jones worked closely with the group to see what could be done to help the golf course be successful.

The future of the golf course has been troubled. Several years ago, during the Jared Hancock administration, Erb alleges a friend of his offered to buy the golf course from the city, and Hancock threw the offer in the trash can and didn’t pass it on the council, even though at that point the city was considering selling it.

“A couple of years ago I think they would have been happy to lease if for $1 a year just so they didn’t have to deal with it,” Erb said, “but I think they’ve changed their mind now. They’re pretty happy we’ve kind of got it going in the right direction.”

For more information on the committee, call Erb at 310-1507.

For more information of the golf course, call 257-2520.