A Rincon City Council member is asking for the city to take more than a mulligan on its golf course.
Council member Reese Browher asked if the city could explore selling Lost Plantation Golf Club. The city bought the course in December 2009, paying $2.5 million. The course covers 300 acres, and the city also has used it as a place to spray its reuse-standard treated wastewater.
“We need to look at whether or not it’s time to look at selling it,” he said. “My issue is that the golf course, despite our best efforts, continues to operate in the red. It has to be subsidized by the taxpayers. That’s what’s been happening since we bought the golf course.”
The city budgeted the golf course to record a loss of $74,000 for the year and current estimates, based on the first six months, project the loss to be about $30,000. City Manager Wesley Corbitt said that progress has been through reduced costs, rather than increased activity, and the city wants more play at its course.
“If our marketing efforts produce additional golfers, we could break even,” he said. “We have put in a lot of improvements in the golf course so that it is a beautiful course and the best value in the coastal area, hands down. We have just got to get the word out.”
The city adopted a restructured fee rate for the course, bringing its charges into par with area public and semi-public courses. The city also bought 50 new golf carts, to replace an aging, deteriorating fleet of carts, for $141,500 less than 18 months ago.
“We’ve bought new equipment and new golf carts and that’s great, because it’s an asset,” Browher said.
The irrigation project, which allows the city to disperse its reuse water and provides water for the course, was completed in early 2012. The course had nine holes shut down at a time as lines were put in, with the front nine closed first and the back nine closed for work as the front nine reopened for play.
Installation of the irrigation lines took about a year.
“We’ve spent roughly a million dollars, and it’s environmentally-friendly,” Browher said. “If we had bought a raw piece of property, we would have spent $2-$5 million.”