The city-owned golf course cut expenses and increased revenues to end the year profitable, according to city staff.
The course did not need a $75,000 transfer from the city to operate this year. The original golf course budget projected a $94,000 operating deficit. Instead, preliminary budget figures show a $23,385 operating gain, according to a city staff report.
The golf course team changed "the management, marketing and operational strategies of the course in an effort to increase the play at the course and keep expenses down," according to a city report.
The golf course budget year follows the city's budget, with Fiscal Year 2012 ending Sept. 30. The budget figures will be reviewed again during the annual audit, staff said.
Golf Course Manager Chip Potts said managing the course is a great deal of hard work and weather dependent.
The golf course plans to continue to find ways to increase revenue. Potts said they plan to add midweek golf lessons. They are looking into having business networking events at the course and possible new revenue streams such as advertising on cups on the greens and golf carts.
In April, the city commission considered proposals to have an outside company lease or manage the Largo Golf Course because revenue at the golf course had been decreasing since 2009. But the commission decided to have the city continue to operate the course, which it has done since 1979.
Potts credits the turnaround on several factors, including:
- Reorganizing the staff to allow for greater flexibility and less overtime
- Modifying the golf course rates based on the season
- Increasing programming efforts such as summer camp and evening leagues
- Continuing marketing efforts at beach hotels
- Increasing promotional efforts including use of social media
- Increasing efforts to attract youth players
- Eliminating "free" golf coupons and contracts that did not result in a positive return for the golf course
- Recruiting and keeping league play throughout the year