10/31/13 — Municipal golf course made more this season

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Municipal golf course made more this season

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on October 31, 2013 1:46 PM

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Seth Mabry

Rick Atkins, left, Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course pro shop manager, shows a variety of golf gloves to John Pate of Goldsboro on Wednesday.

The Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course is on track to cover 88 percent of its operating costs this year, making it the course's best year since the city took over operations in 2001.

The city set a goal of 70 percent efficiency for the fiscal year ending in June, a level that has not been reached since the city took over the course after leasing it for years.

Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard said the increase in revenue is thanks to the new greens installed last year, which require less maintenance, watering and chemicals to thrive.

The new greens are a Champion Bermuda grass hybrid engineered to grow similarity to the Bentgrass greens pulled up last year but with none of the high upkeep costs and down-time.

The old greens also required more watering in the summer to keep the greens from drying out.

"The Bentgrass was a cold weather grass and you had to water it all summer to keep it from burning out. Champion Bermuda loves the heat, the more hot and humid it is the better," Barnard said.

The Bentgrass cost $62,000 to replace and the city is saving $40,000 a year just in chemical costs with the new greens.

"You use about 50 percent of your chemical on your greens at a golf course," Barnard said.

In addition to saving on chemicals, the new greens allow for increased playing time as they don't have to be aerated four times a year like Bentgrass.

"We were losing two days of play four times a year to aerate the greens and then had reduced play while the holes filled in," Barnard said. "It was like putting over an egg carton for a few days."

Barnard said that the course was getting a third of the play in the week following the aeration.

Over the course of a year with the new greens, eight days of play have been recovered along with four weeks of unfettered play.

In the 2013-14 budget, the golf course was expected to pull in $189,200 more in revenue due to the increased play time, reduced chemical costs and labor cutbacks.

Last year the course took in $502,363 -- this year, $638,800.

The projected operating cost for the course is $897,023.

Barnard said the efficiency percentage will fluctuate as the season slows but the current numbers are a good sign for the course.