The Lions Club Municipal Golf Course ended 2021 with nearly 2% more revenue inflow than 2020.
The news was surprising and welcome, Ken Goudy, chairman of the El Dorado Parks and Playgrounds Commission (EPPC), said at a regular meeting earlier this week.
When the virus began spreading in El Dorado and Union County in early 2020 and forced the cancellation of several local events, Parks and Playgrounds Commissioners learned that activity was increasing at Lions. Club (LCMGC).
Revenues and the number of rounds played increased in 2020 and EPPC members, city officials and LCMGC Director Danny Carelock attributed the trend to people seeking safe outdoor activities while many people were in quarantine and practicing social distancing.
The Lions Club golf course offered players the space to social distance and follow other COVID safety measures, they said.
For most of 2020, Lions Club monthly revenue exceeded revenue for the corresponding months of 2019.
The golf course’s revenue fell in January 2020 – $4,896, the lowest amount of the year – compared to $5,594 which was collected during the same month in 2019.
This trend continued through April 2020 – with the exception of February where revenue totaled $10,032, compared to $8,851 in February 2019.
Things took a decisive turn in May 2020 when monthly earnings jumped to nearly $40,000, far exceeding the $21,034 reported in May 2019.
May 2020 saw the highest monthly revenue total of the year at $39,076 and the highest of the past five years for LCMGC.
Previously, total monthly income peaked at $28,324 in July 2017.
The upward trend that started in May 2020 continued throughout the year.
From May to September, revenues remained in the $31,000 to $39,000 range, peaking in May and reaching $31,377 in September.
Revenue more than doubled in November 2020, from $11,022 in November 2019 to $22,405.
Parks and Playgrounds Commissioners have repeatedly said they are impressed with the numbers the golf course is posting throughout 2020.
In November 2020, Goudy noted that many players were visiting the golf course for the first time, so the increase in activity was not just due to regulars.
Word of mouth and the work of Lions Club staff to keep the course in top condition has also helped attract new players, including foreigners, to the facilities, he said.
Goudy said golf course managers Carelock and Terri McCaskell and their team have been “true ambassadors for the city” since taking on leadership roles at the golf course in 2017.
Although revenues declined during the months of February, May, August and November in 2021, the year-end total exceeded that of 2020 by nearly $5,000.
Totals were $288,576 in 2020 and $294,136 in 2021, reflecting a 1.6% revenue increase.
“I never would have thought our revenue would be higher in 2021 than in 2020, but it was,” a visibly excited Goudy said Jan. 24.
“That was up almost $4,500. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but I would have been happy if we got within 90% of what we did with COVID and all that,” he said. he continued.
Last year, the highest monthly catch was $36,953 in September and the lowest of $3,453 in February, when snow and ice storms blanketed the region in the middle of the month.
Goudy said December revenue of $19,464 was the highest ever for December at the Lions Club.
As of November 2021, actual expenditures for the golf course totaled $364,137 against an annual budget of $337,114.
City officials also praised the work being done at the Lions Club, noting that the EPPC and golf course staff have helped close the gap between revenue and expenses at the facility.
Council member Willie McGhee said the golf course is a service to the community and not intended to generate money.
The City Council has closely monitored the golf course’s financial activity in recent years, particularly following a 2016 citing state legislative audit in which the city was flagged for “continuously deferring a negative (annual) balance for the golf course.”
The discovery prompted the council to transfer an additional $106,000 from the city’s general fund to bolster the Lions Club’s budget to ensure the facility would remain clear for the year.
At the time, board members noted that the practice was ongoing because the facility had been operating in the red for several years.
They also learned that although the golf course was under budget in 2016, revenues remained low and the gap between revenues and expenses continued to widen.
Board members considered cost-cutting measures and ways to increase revenue, including hiring managers in 2017, eliminating the long-standing practice of contracting with a golf professional, as well as advertising and promoting the installation, respectively.
Other measures that have been adopted over the past five years include reducing certain fees for playing the golf course, purchasing equipment to better maintain the course and improving facilities, including the public, outhouses and construction of a new pro shop and golf cart. Barn.
And more improvements are coming.
Last year, the El Dorado Works Board and City Council approved funding for several projects, including:
• $38,380 for a fairway mower and two utility carts ($9,262 each)
• $166,250 to pave the existing 2.25-mile recreational trail that surrounds the LCMGC, Union County Fairgrounds and Union County El Dorado Fairgrounds.
• $43,280 for the construction of two new basketball courts at Lions Club Park. The existing field at the entrance to the golf course will be abandoned and the two new fields will be moved east, just south of the LCMGC pro shop.
• $30,000 for new outdoor public washrooms that will service the new Lions Club basketball courts and recreational pathway.
• $12,400 for two new water fountains, one of which will be installed on the north side of the recreational path and the other on the south side of the path near the new basketball courts.
• $1,572 to install a new picnic table near the new basketball courts.
• $16,346 for an electric lawn sweeper.
• $2,417 for five park-style charcoal barbecues to be installed in Neel, Mattocks, Mellor, Mosby and Old City parks.
There are also long term plans for a new workshop/storage shed to protect equipment and allow staff members to carry out repairs and maintenance indoors and out of the elements.
Carelock told commissioners on January 24 there had been a delay in delivering the street sweeper due to “all the bureaucracy and paperwork we had to go through to get it done”.
In November, he explained that the machines are made in Canada and that at the time there was only one such machine available in the United States.
Carelock said the 60-inch sweeper would ship through an Irving, Texas dealership, Landmark Equipment, which said last fall the machine was available from another Landmark dealership nationwide.
He said the process of preparing and submitting the purchase order took longer than expected and the machine was due to arrive this week.
On Friday, McCaskell said the machine was dropped off at the Lions Club on Jan. 26.
“They unloaded it from the truck on the 26th, we broke the crate yesterday (Thursday) and they are already using it today,” she said.
Carelock previously told the EPPC that the machine will help LCMGC crews work more efficiently when picking up leaves, pine straw, gumballs, pine cones and grass clippings.