Granite Pointe is grappling with harsh realities as it tries to revitalize golf in Nelson.
Barry Auliffe, the president of the course, told members Tuesday night at an annual fall meeting that Granite Pointe will be downsizing its restaurant operations after suffering substantial expenses this year. He also said the board will be discussing further property development in order to pay off long-standing debt.
Exact figures weren’t made available, those will come at next spring’s annual general meeting, but Auliffe said the sudden withdrawal of Adventure Hotel as the restaurant’s contractor prior to the season put the golf course in a bind. An expected $40,000 in revenue from a new RV park also never came to fruition after the city failed to finish necessary electrical work.
“We’re still facing the same challenges. You learn from it,” said Auliffe. “This probably couldn’t be done in one year, that was a pipe dream for people who have never opened an RV park before, and we certainly have never run a restaurant before. I tend to be an optimist and I guess I didn’t see that things were going to take a bit longer than we thought.”
Auliffe also warned the course would consider further property development in order to pay off an outstanding loan of just over one million dollars from the Nelson and District Credit Union dating back to 1992 when Granite Pointe expanded to 18 holes. Golf revenue, Auliffe said, is not nearly enough to make up for annual interest payments.
The course will receive a final payment from West Creek Developments in March of $223,000 for the purchase of 1.3 acres of land on which townhouses were built adjacent to Choquette Avenue.
Auliffe said there is more land that can be sold, although the long-term effect it would have on golf gives him pause.
“It’s a blessing, but it hurts,” he said. “There used to be just a bush there. Now there’s people sitting on their balcony looking out. When you go down the other way you used to just hit into the trees. Now there’s going to be a fence or a parking lot.”
Granite Pointe is having success, however, in marketing itself to new golfers.
Membership dropped significantly from 289 to 216 this year, which cost the course $69,000. But that was offset by a new custom program aimed at golfers with busy schedules added 71 members and $25,000.
Green fee revenue also climbed $26,700, the pro shop made $17,000 more than the previous year, and a new club storage brought in $15,600.
“If you look at those sales figures you can see that green fees, which is the [millenial] generation, were getting increased play,” said Auliffe. “Memberships from my generation are going down. People get older and they just can’t get out as much, so they can’t justify buying a membership. That’s a switch that’s happened.”
Poor weather forced Granite Pointe to open almost a month late in May, and Auliffe said smoke from wildfires also turned tourists away.
Still, the course successfully held the B.C. Juvenile Championships in August, and general manager David Belling told members Tuesday he plans on adding more events including a club championship and weekend corporate functions.