Commissioners Present: Anne O’Connell (Chair), Andrea Johnson (Vice-Chair), Carl Blanchard, Jeff Odell, and Wyn Morton. John Kissida and Dave Valcourt were absent.
Others Present: Mark O’Brien (Director of Golf Operations), Jay Packett (Assistant Operations Manager), Bill Meehan (Fin Comm. Liaison), Bill O’Brien (CCMGA), Donna Potts (Women’s 9-Hole Assn.), Paige Ferraguto (Women’s 18-Hole Assn.), and Orin Segall.
This meeting was held at the Captains Golf Course and was not televised.
Call to Order: Anne O’Connell called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.
Correspondence and Suggestion Box:
Director of Operations Report (Mark O’Brien):
- Mark O’Brien reported that the January financials were strong and that the mild weather in January contributed for higher than normal play for the month.
- Mark O’Brien reported that the Retained Earnings at the end of FY 2020 is projected to be $153,000. This is after capital projects which were originally planned to be funded by a short term borrowing. With the influx of the two-year membership revenues, we are able to pay for this capital from FY 2020 revenues.
- The FY 2021 budget was presented by Mark O’Brien and Anne O’Connell to the Select Board and the Finance Committee on February 8. It was well received by both boards. The Retained Earnings at the close of FY 2021 are projected to be $61,119.
- Jeff Odell requested a breakdown of the Indirect Costs assigned to the Golf budget for FY 2021. Anne O’Connell distributed a spreadsheet outlining the costs. It was decided that Mark O’Brien, Anne O’Connell, Andrea Johnson and Jeff Odell will meet with the Town’s finance team to get a more detailed explanation of how the costs are determined and then report back to the Commission at the next meeting.
- Mark O’Brien reported that the maximum revenue of $500,000 from the two-year membership program was achieved on February 2. There have been 26 applications received for the two-year program since the maximum was reached. The idea of accepting applications above the $500,000 maximum was discussed. Mark O’Brien stated that accepting these additional memberships would reduce the FY 2021 Retained Earnings projection by about $30,000. He also stated that the Retained Earnings from FY 2020 could not be used to fund FY 2021 operations. Therefore, all were in agreement that this reduced Retained Earnings reduction places too large a risk to the ability of the golf department to remain solvent for FY 2021 and it was decided that we cannot accept any two-year membership applications above the maximum originally adopted by the Golf Commission and the Select Board.
National Golf Foundation Report to Yarmouth Board of Selectmen – Possible learnings:
- Carl Blanchard reported gleaning the following information from the NGF report:
- It is important to provide an exceptional golf experience to attract golfers.
- Fixed costs for municipal courses on Cape Cod are high.
- 2/3 of all municipal golf courses, nationally operated in the red.
- The NGF noted that the Town of Yarmouth would be better off leasing out their food and beverage operation.
- The Captains Golf Course’s tee time allocation was cited as a model for the Yarmouth golf courses to adopt.
- It is important for the Town of Yarmouth to have a Director of Operations to have ultimate responsibility for the golf operations.
- There is a lot of competition to attract the public golfer on Cape Cod.
- Having a dedicated person to market to golf groups is desirable.
- It was recommended that the Town of Yarmouth increase their member fees.
- It is important to cultivate relationships with area lodging establishments to attract play.
- The biggest downfall of most public golf courses is high debt.
- Jeff Odell also mentioned that the consultants pointed to Bayberry Hills championship yardage of over 7,000 yards is an attraction for certain high end events.
- The following ideas from the recent membership survey were reviewed:
- Preseason Play Packages – Mark O’Brien stated we already have many discount programs, i.e. the Frequent Player Program, Discounts for guests of members, etc. and he is worried about cannibalizing our rack rates.
- Reciprocal Rates – Mark O’Brien stated we have reciprocal rates for anyone who is a member of another Cape Cod municipal course to play in the off-season.
- Lifetime Memberships – No one had a good idea how to price something like that.
- Carl Blanchard brought up the idea of eliminating residency requirements for membership and pricing the memberships somewhere between the resident and non-resident rates. Discussion followed and it was decided that this will be discussed further in the future.
- Some membership promotions from other towns were discussed and these will be examined further in the future.
- The Town has missed the deadline to participate in the Phase 3 portion of the CVEC project and is now in phase 4, which reduces the potential revenue to the Town.
- Jeff Odell reported that the Eversource connection costs for the driving range portion came in at about $198,000. Much higher than expected.
- The net revenue that we can expect from the golf course solar canopies is now estimated at approximately $75,000 per year as oppose the $100,000 originally estimated. The Golf Commissioners felt that this amount was still worthwhile to pursue.
- Carl Blanchard floated the idea of renting out spaces under the solar canopies in the off-season once they were in place. All felt this idea was worth pursuing when and if the canopies are constructed.
Carl Blanchard asked about the possibility have having club storage as a way to increase revenues. Mark O’Brien stated that there are many issues to consider in relation to club storage, i.e. liability, insurance, staffing, security, etc. However, it is worth looking into down the road.
Wyn Morton reported that he and Mark O’Brien are going to be meeting with Jen Defoe, our social media consultant, about future marketing plans. We may invite her to the April Golf Commission meeting. Anne O’Connell stated that the Finance Committee asked about measuring the ROI from our marketing efforts. Mark O’Brien stated that he will discuss how to accomplish this with Jen.
Review and Approve Minutes:
- There was one change to the minutes regarding those in attendance. Carl Blanchard made a motion to approve the minutes as amended, seconded by Jeff Odell. Motion approved 5-0-0.
Future Agenda Items:
- Solar project
- Recycling program
- Strategic planning
- FY 2021 Golf budget indirect costs
Topics the Chair did not reasonably anticipate:
Andrea Johnson made a motion, seconded by Jeff Odell to adjourn the meeting. The motion was approved 6-0-0. The meeting was adjourned at 5:50 p.m.
Director of Operations