Next FODPG Meeting Monday TBD at Enger Park Golf Course
FODPG has worked diligently over the past year researching the background of Duluth Public Golf, gathering data to gain insight into the ongoing discussion about the future of Enger Park and Lester Park Golf Courses. We will be posting information on a regular basis to help you reach out to your City Councilors and Mayor Larson. Make sure that your voice is heard! Share with others in order to spread the word to the citizens of Duluth and become a member of FODPG to receive email updates.
Did you know…the two courses comprise one of Duluth’s larger and more sophisticated businesses? They are located on hundreds of acres of land with millions of dollars of infrastructure, employ approximately 80 people, produce annual revenues of approximately $1.8 million, and operate in a highly competitive environment. This underscores the need for careful planning, oversight, and management.
3/20/2019 – Did you know…average total revenue per round is a financial tool used in the golf industry? By dividing total annual revenue from all sources by the number of total annual rounds played, the amount the average golfer spends on a single visit is figured. From 2014-2017, the average total revenue per round at Lester and Enger was $25.27. Per the National Golf Foundation, the average total revenue per round at mid-fee public courses in 2009–a full decade earlier–was $30.58. That approximate five-dollar gap, taken against an average of 70,000 rounds per year at Lester and Enger from 2014-2018, would have represented approximately $350,000 per year in additional revenue.
3/4/2019 – Did You Know…golfers typically play twice as often after retiring (an average of 40 rounds per year as opposed to 21 rounds per year), and we are in the middle of the Baby Boomers’ retirement years? Boomers, now aged 53 to 72 years, are retiring at the rate of approximately 10,000 per day or 3 million per year. There are an estimated six million golfers in the Baby Boomer generation. That is a good sign for increased golf participation in the future.
3/1/2019 – Did You Know… two separate golf consultants retained by the City in 2011 and 2013 surveyed golfers to see if they would pay more to fund course improvements? In 2011, 2/3 of the golfers said they would pay an additional $2-$4 per round if the proceeds were reinvested into the property. In 2013, nearly 3/4 said they would pay more for improvements, and nearly 1/2 said they would be willing to pay at least $5 more. Both consultants recommended raising rates to finance capital improvements, but that has never been done in any significant way. Since the start of the 2014 season, golfers have played 346,035 rounds at Lester and Enger combined. An increase of $4 would have produced an additional $1,384,140 in revenue, covering all of the operating losses and leaving close to $1 million for necessary course improvements,
2/26/2019 – Did you know… the City retained a golf consultant in 2013 who advised building a 300-capacity multi-use facility at Enger? A restaurant, bar, banquet/wedding center, and clubhouse located at the eastern end of the driving range would command spectacular views and serve as a center for Enger Park Tower, Golf Course and Skyline in general. The consultants thought it might be an appropriate candidate for financing with tourism tax dollars and/or through a public-private partnership which could greatly reduce the total amount of any bond for necessary golf course improvements. This concept, as far as we know, was never formally pursued.
2/23/2019 – Did you know…two separate golf consultants retained by Duluth in 2011 /2013 believed that tourists were largely unaware of the existence of the City’s courses? Both recommended simple solutions, directional signs on I-35 and Highway 61, and perhaps billboards on those roads highlighting the scenic beauty of the courses, which they described as “spectacular.” There still are no directional signs or billboards. Our courses are overlooked as another vacation activity available in Duluth.
2/19/2019 -Did you know…there were 23.8 million people and 456 million rounds played in 2017? An additional 8.3 million unique people played golf at an off-site facility like a golf simulator. With some investment at our courses, it could be another draw for our community.
2/13/2019 – Did you know… that Ramsey County is looking at significant investment in their courses? A 2018 Star Tribune article stated that Ramsey County’s (MN) three 18 hole public courses average between 29,000 and 37,000 rounds. Enger and Lester Park average 71,000 combined, fitting neatly into those numbers.
2/8/2019 – Did you know… that Lester Park Golf course is 269 acres of City Parkland that could potentially be for sale? Think about the precedent that could set for the future of our beloved City Parks, prime properties set aside for the citizens of Duluth handed over to developers. Say no to the sale of Parkland!
2/4/2019 – Did you know… that the $2,2 million deficit cited in articles and data by the media and city administration has accumulated over a 20 year period and that approximately $680,000 are charges from interest on the debt and additional city administrative services?
1/31/2019 – Did you know…Duluth Public Golf courses have an annual payroll of approximately $1 million and provide 80-82 jobs per year? The courses are providing real jobs for our community and those employees spend their hard earned dollars here.
1/24/2019 – Did you know…The City of Duluth states there are not enough rounds played at the two courses for them to sustain themselves? In 2018 there were 61,000 rounds played at the two public golf courses in Duluth, a short, wet season. Going back the preceding 3 years the number of rounds played were all higher with a high of 80,000 in 2015, for an average of 71,000.
The City has hired a consultant to determine the feasibility of operating both golf courses. This consultant had written a book on golf course management in which he states that the number of rounds played at a golf course needs to be around 30,000 in order for it to be financially feasible. That criteria has been met.
1/22/2019 – Did you know… That the developer interested in purchasing Lester Park Golf Course, Tom Sunnarborg, will be meeting with individual City Councilors this week? Statutes require 8 of the 9 councilors to vote yes in order to sell Park Property.
1/22/2019 – Did you know…that the City of Duluth believes there are not enough rounds played at our public golf courses for them to sustain themselves? In 2018 alone, there were 61,000 rounds played at the two public golf courses in Duluth. Going back the preceding 3 years, the number of rounds played were all higher (80,000 in 2015) for an average of 71,000.
The City hired a consultant to determine the feasibility of operating both golf courses. This consultant had written a book on golf course management in which he states that the number of rounds played at a golf course needs to be around 30,000 in order for it to be financially feasible. That number has been exceeded at both courses.
1/14/2019 – Did you know…that 30 charity events were held at the golf courses in 2018, raising $250,000 for their respective charities? If Lester Park Golf Course is sold, that number of events would not be possible, costing these charities much-needed funds.