Birmingham golf courses continue on upswing
With a combined number of 52,591 rounds of golf at Birmingham's two municipal golf courses, junior golf a success and revenues up slightly in food and beverage consumption, pro Jackie Brito presented a successful golf report on the 2017 season to Birmingham city commissioners at their meeting on Monday, February 26, with plans for more updates for this golf season.
The city of Birmingham owns and operates two municipal nine-hole golf courses. Lincoln Hills is located at 2666 W. 14 Mile Road at Cranbrook, and Springdale is located at 316 Strathmore Road.
“We had another successful year with overall great golfing conditions. We continue to create a quality service culture that promotes a friendly and enjoyable experience for members, guests and the community,” Brito wrote in the 2017 Annual Golf Report. “We believe our clubs have become an integral part of many of our members’ lives and as a result, the vast majority of our members retain their memberships each year. Keeping our members satisfied with their club experience, they will remain loyal and frequent users of the courses.”
Last year, Lincoln Hills open for golfers on April 1, and Springdale followed on April 15, although that course was more saturated. Lincoln Hills stayed open until December 8, while Springdale closed to duffers October 22.
Lincoln Hills saw 29,513 rounds of golf in 2017, up from 29,029 in 2016, but off the high of 31,741 rounds in 2015, likely due to cold and wet weather early in the season, and a cold November. Springdale had 23,078 rounds of golf in 2017, down from 24,811 in 2016.
Brito said the courses have been maintaining a healthy capacity of members, with 1,898 residents, members in 2017 out of a total of 2,797 memberships. Non-residents and business members pay a higher membership and tee price.
“We introduced a new promotion in April called 'Just a Drive Away,'” Brito said. “The tool we utilized was a direct mailer to our surrounding communities outside of Birmingham. Households were invited to play and have lunch during this month for a special price and if they wanted to join they would receive a $25 discount off their respective non-resident membership. There was one stipulation and that they were 'First Time' members to be eligible for this program. There were 78 participants and we are excited to report that we added 23 new members from this promotion, a return of 29 percent. We look forward to implementing this again.”
She said that food and beverage operations were up slightly – four percent – from the previous season. Revenues for 2016 were $82,650; in 2017, food and beverage revenues $85,971. In 2011, when the program began, revenues were just $24,652.
Brito said it was a great year for junior golf. Some new programs were added and others tweaked, as there was increased participation in some categories. “Junior golfers are such an essential part of the golf industry. They are important for the future of the game and they also represent the future of our club,” she said.
There were 484 junior golf participants in 2017, with revenues of $87,357, producing a net profit of $51,201. A PGA Junior League consisted of 24 players from Birmingham, fielding two teams, which competed against other local clubs.
“The strong financial position that we have been building up on from the past years has enabled the courses to move forward with a number of projects,” Brito told commissioners.
Improvements include renovated practice areas at both courses; ADA-adaptive golf cart for handicapped golfers; renovated bunkers and new tee signs at Lincoln Hills; plans for adding a cart path at Lincoln Hills; bridge renovations at Springdale; a golf cart fleet update; and new membership cards for 2018.
Commissioners were very pleased with the improvements and increased finances at the golf program, and unanimously approved the 2017 annual golf report, 6-0, with commissioner Stuart Sherman not in attendance.