Granite Pointe’s bottom line suffered a double bogey last year.
The 98-year-old golf course recorded a net loss of $258,418 for the 2017 financial year ending December 31. If amortization of the clubhouse is included, the actual loss is still significant at $181,508.
The poor financial outlook of the course was revealed at its June 27 annual general meeting. Granite Pointe president Barry Auliffe cited several factors for the loss, including losing the first month of the season to inclement weather, several necessary facility upgrades that included a new clubhouse roof, and approximately $30,000 lost on the clubhouse’s restaurant.
“I call it the perfect storm of a combination of mistakes we made plus things we couldn’t control,” said Auliffe.
Auliffe said he regretted the decision to have the non-profit golf course run its own kitchen. Adventure Hotel had run the food and beverage service for four years at Granite Pointe but opted not to renew its contract prior to last season. The board, in turn, decided to try running the restaurant themselves.
“In terms of actual revenue, it didn’t differ significantly from what the Adventure Hotel did,” said Auliffe. “The difference was, they knew what they were doing.”
Despite the ugly losses, there are silver linings for the struggling course.
Auliffe credited general manager David Belling for increasing Granite Pointe’s membership by 68 new players this season, up to 279, thanks to a two-for-one promotion meant to help pay for the new roof, upgrades to the RV parking lot as well as the purchase of new fuel tanks.
What that’s meant, as of June 26, is a 16 per cent increase to the total rounds played, a 31 per cent jump in cart rentals and a 60 per cent rise in golf shop revenue.
Auliffe said he wasn’t sure if the two-for-one promotion would return next year, but that there would be an emphasis on retaining the course’s new members.
“It has meant a lot more activity around the golf course,” he said. “Because while it’s true that a lot of those new members were people who played and paid green fees last year, they are members this year. … Now that they’re members, they are coming out a lot more.”
The long-term viability of Granite Pointe, however, is still unclear. The course itself has several sections that need upgrading.
“It’s not called Granite Pointe just for something. There’s rock just beneath the surface. …,” said Auliffe.
“There’s some fairways that are extremely rough. They need someone to go at them and level them out so you have a flat lie all the time. Our sand bunkers are not very good and could be much improved. There’s work that could be done on the rough. There’s a couple million dollars of work that could done on that golf course just to turn the user’s improved playability.”
Auliffe said the board was considering its options including selling land for development around the course to help address its debt, which Auliffe said is currently over $1 million. Property owners would pay an annual fee to the course, which Auliffe said is a practice at other golf courses.
Auliffe cautioned, however, that such a plan would likely take decades to carry out.