Granite Pointe suffers drop in members

The golf course revealed the loss in membership revenue during its annual general meeting.

Granite Pointe president Preston Zeeben addresses club members at Wednesday night's annual general meeting.

Concerns about the financial future of Granite Pointe loom over the golf course following its annual general meeting.

Unaudited financial statements released by the club Wednesday night raise several red flags, chief among them a drop in membership from 259 on April 30, 2015 to 240 members as of the same date this year. That led to a $16,524 drop in membership fee revenue.

Granite Pointe president Preston Zeeben conceded lower membership fees didn’t draw in new golfers.

“This has been an ongoing issue over the years,” said Zeeben. “That’s why we run early bird season. If you make money one year, it’s less money that comes out of the early bird to pay last year’s debts. Down the road we have bigger problems and part of the ongoing problem at this stage is the board put in an initiative. They thought if we got more members at a $1,000, we would improve. The first year they got 90 new members. The second year only half of them came back.”

How much trouble the golf course is in is difficult to tell by reading the financial statement.

Granite Pointe suffered a net loss in operating expenses of $48,224 last year, but the actual change in non-cash working capital was $11,692 loss before depreciation. The losses are mitigated by $15,866 in untapped mortgage interest gained by condo development on the golf course’s land.

“You don’t want to lose money,” said Zeeben. “It becomes a point of getting people to show up, use the restaurant, get their friends to come up. People have too many things to do. If you have a membership, people tend to come and golf when you’ve paid it up front. … If they join, they’ll play more.”

To that end, conversation at the meeting tended to veer towards the club’s efforts to boost revenue. An agreement with Nelson hotels to provide visitors with a free round of golf, selling sponsored golf carts and the possibility of dedicated RV parking were each mentioned.

Zeeben said the board’s difficulty comes from managing an aging fleet of golf carts, increasing maintenance costs, competition from nearby courses in Balfour and Castlegar, and a membership that isn’t getting any younger.

“Our biggest problem is our aging population,” he said. “The young guys, they have too many things to do. Too many options, and in this area, there’s not a lot of high paying jobs, and then they get a family.”

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