Weyburn Golf Course in a strong financial position for 2021

The Weyburn Golf Course is in a much stronger financial position heading into the 2021 season than they were a year ago, in spite of the challenges of operating under COVID restrictions last summer, and they will be proceeding with the first half of a new irrigation system this summer.

The details of where the golf club is standing were shared at their annual meeting, held via Zoom on Monday evening.

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The meeting included votes on three items: amendments to the club’s bylaws (passed), a proposal to install a new irrigation system on the front nine holes this year, and an election of board members.

The proposal for the irrigation system exceeded the spending limit that the board is authorized to use, which was $200,000 up until this year. The quotes for the system range from $525,000 to $575,000. In the vote, the irrigation system was unanimously supported to go ahead.

“We discussed this in great detail, and set up an irrigation committee to discuss further ways of fundraising,” said club president Marshall Bakken.

The golf club has been approved for a loan from the Weyburn Credit Union of up to $750,000, and once the project is approved, they will need to repay the loan with payments of $20,000 twice a year. A condition for the loan is to pay down their back tax debt, and repayment of the federal COVID loan of $30,000.

The work will begin in August by J.T.’s Irrigation of Saskatoon, and will take about 40 days for the installation to be completed on the front nine holes.

Bakken noted the price of oil has had an impact on the price of the pipe, as it’s a high-density poly pipe made from petroleum. Since January, the price of the pipe has gone up by about $22,000 as the oil prices have risen.

“I don’t think that will make or break the project,” he said, noting the expense of having down time to repair the old irrigation system will more than offset the cost of the new system. It was estimated the golf course crew spent over 500 man-hours doing repairs last summer to the system.

The golf club has applied for a number of grants, and they are waiting to hear if any of those applications are successful, said Bakken, with applications made to Richardson Pioneer and the Co-op as two examples.

“We’re sitting in one of the best financial positions we’ve been in for quite a few years,” he commented.

In the board election, four board members were elected out of the five candidates, and three of the four are new to the board. Chairman Marshall Bakken was re-elected, and newly chosen were Chad Fingler, Chad Bailey and Barclay Charleton, and J.J. Fisher was not re-elected.

On the financial front, Britany Burnett of Grant Thorson presented the financial statements for 2020, noting the golf club realized a profit of $143,551 last year of revenues over expenses.

“The golf course was really able to turn around their financial position,” she said, noting that for one thing, the club increased their assets with a capital increase of about $196,000. The revenues totaled $788,000, which was a significant decrease from the prior year, but expenses were also down a lot.

The decline in revenues was due to the late start to the golf year due to the COVID lockdowns until June, and then when the dining room was allowed to reopen, it was at 50-per-cent capacity.

Some aspects of revenue were up, notably memberships and green fees, she said. Memberships totaled $185,455, up from $171,137, and green fees totaled $174,165, up from $143,125 the year before.

The golf club was able to take advantage of COVID funding of around $90,000, plus the club sold off some of their golf carts, which helped in reducing expenses for the course.

Golf course pro Dru Bolen pointed out there was some good news received on Friday, namely that shotgun starts will be allowed for tournaments this year (they were not allowed last year), and wait intervals between tee times was reduced from 10 minutes down to eight minutes.

The course saw 125 rounds of golf on Saturday, he added, as the weather enabled an early start compared to last year, until the rain and snow came on Sunday and Monday.

The number of paid memberships was up to 175 as of Monday, Bolen added, so they are well on the way to matching last year’s membership of 230.

In the area of grants, he said he’s engaged an Ontario company that will hunt up any available grants, and they will take a percentage for any successful grants they are able to line for the Weyburn golf club.

In the report on the ladies club, Andrea Corrigan reported that due to the COVID restrictions, they weren’t able to start until June 9, with 12 ladies nights held over the summer, and they weren’t able to hold the Ladies Open. That tournament has now been set for July 24, and the annual meeting for the ladies club will be held on April 27 at the golf course.

The ladies club has also decided to donate $7,000 to the golf club.