In its year-end summary, the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department scored the 2016 season a birdie.
The city-owned golf course ended the year $113,000 better than budgeted, Tina Werner, Parks General Recreation and Support Services Division director, said in an end-of-year financial report to the Oak Hills Advisory Committee.
Oak Hills also exceeded its budgeted 58.5 percent cost recovery, with an actual cost recovery of 69.4 percent.
A component of the positive budget was the impact of beer sales on total concessions at the golf course, which the Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission approved in March 2016.
In the fiscal year running November 2015 through October 2016, concessions revenue rose from $37,770 to $78,773. The Parks Department's cost analysis indicated beer sales amounted to $41,047 in the past season.
"Our goal for all recreation facilities, including Oak Hills Golf Center, is to operate with minimal subsidization," Parks Director Todd Spalding said. "The revenue produced from beverage sales allows more efficient use of sales tax dollars, which benefits our entire park system."
The net profit from beer sales was $19,901, after these expenses: cost of product sold, $14,222; start-up cost for coolers, $6,704; city liquor license, $100; county liquor license, $50; and state liquor license, $67.67.
Concessions were categorized by: food, $19,816; non-alcoholic beverages, $17,910; and beer, $41,047. The comparable results in 2015 were: food, $18,156; and water, soda, Gatorade, etc., $19,614, for the $37,770 total.
Other good news from Oak Hills in 2016 showed total rounds played at the 18-hole course were up slightly from 2015 but down from 2011-14, Werner told committee members.
Recreation Specialist Stephanie Bruemmer, the working manager at Oak Hills, said golf in general is seeing a decline. She said she "will work this year to try some new programs and special events to try to bring in more and new golfers."
The course hosted 30 tournaments during the season, six of which were new to Oak Hills, Bruemmer said. Rowden suggested Bruemmer "touch base with those new tournament sponsors and work to get them to schedule their tournament at Oak Hills again in 2017, especially the larger tournaments." Among the tournaments Oak Hills hosted in 2016 was the Missouri Golf Association juniors in June.
Oak Hills also was home to the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) cross country meet, as well as the Capital City Cross Country Challenge. Werner reported to the Parks leaders that both meets were successes and collectively generated more than $6,000 in revenue. MSHSAA does not share any gate receipts with Oak Hills, Werner explained, but the course collects $125 per race over the verdant hills and grass, long a popular site for cross country.
Oak Hills Superintendent Kevin Wieberg reported the grounds were prepped for the winter with only a continuing battle with leaves distracting staff from cart maintenance.
Committee and commission members are working with Oak Hills staff to improve Hole No. 4 and old Green No. 9.
"There has been some discussion on some possibilities, one being making it a practice green and then building a cart barn where the current East practice green is, which could also be used as a pavilion for tournaments. No definite plans or decisions have been made at this time," Parks Resources Division Director J.J. Gates said.
Scheperle was curious about the prospects of obtaining new single-person golf carts/boards "to entice younger generation golfers to come out and play to generate additional rounds and revenue.
"This would be something new and fun for maybe millennials to try to get them interested in golf," Scheperle said.
Oak Hills staff agreed to look into the cost of leasing a few of the units to try.
Committee members and commissioners also suggested Oak Hills staff try a beverage cart on the course during busy times to generate additional revenues.
The Oak Hills committee will meet again April 5.