WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
GOLF OPERATIONS COMMITTEE MEETING
Date: June 8, 2013
Place: Golf Course Clubhouse
Time: 8:30 am
Commissioners: Chair James Brault, Bryan Abbott, Amy Wolfe
Staff: Bowen, Eppelheimer, Matchen, Locke
Visitors: Commissioner Crowley
Topics of Discussion
1) Meeting Called to Order
2) Approval of Minutes
a) May 11, 2013
3) Recognition of Visitors
4) Communications and Correspondence
5) Managers Reports
6) Old Business
7) New Business
8) Adjourn to Closed Session: Review of Closed Session Minutes
1) The meeting was called to order at 8:30 am.
2) The minutes from the May 11, 2013 Committee meeting were approved by general consent.
3) Recognition of Visitors: None
4) Communications and Correspondence: None
5) Under Managers Reports, Assistant Manager Jamie Locke introduced himself to the two new commissioners on the committee – Bryan Abbott and Amy Wolfe. He also reported the weather has not been conducive for playing golf this spring. As a result, the course is down approximately 3,500 rounds as of June 2, 2013 compared to March of 2012 when the course experienced record numbers. In general, we are down in almost every category although the driving range is up by $2,000. A “Demo Day” has been scheduled for today beginning at 10 am. This event is held every year and involves golf companies coming out to the course to exhibit their products. Four more of these events have been scheduled.
There are currently 256 junior golfers enrolled in our golf camps compared to 229 juniors last year at this time. In general, the entire junior golf program has been very successful and a lot of that success is due to instructor Kim McCombs who has done an outstanding job. In addition, the Illinois Junior Golf Association (IJGA) will once again be conducting the Al McLean Junior Tournament and it will be the tournament’s 49th year at the course. Mike Matchen added that Al McLean was captain of the Northwestern golf team but unfortunately lost his life in a car accident. It used to be a three-day event but because the juniors have such busy schedules, it was reduced to a one-day event with the IJGA basically running most everything although we collect their per-person fees.
Jamie also reported that the annual Family Golf Clinic was held on Sunday, May 19 and included hot dogs, games, and golf. The participants all had a very good time and at 6 pm the course was packed. Staff also received a lot of positive feedback. Jamie added that staff is considering whether or not to run this event again since our youth programs have already filled to capacity and there are currently 70 people on the waiting list.
Commissioner Wolfe asked if there were any events in the evenings that would encourage families to play together. Jamie replied staff would consider that for the future. He added that Kim McCombs conducts most of the instruction at the course for those children age 5 and older and it has turned out to be one of our most popular programs. Chair Brault stated maybe we could also do something for older people and Jamie replied we have adult group lessons at our facility which is already a very busy place but staff could look into possibly creating other options for the adult golfers as well.
Jamie reported that yesterday, Friday, June 7, was the “first day” of the season because the weather was nice and there was a lot of business with 251 golfers. Today there are 262 players scheduled which may indicate we are getting back to normal. In addition, 75% of available tee times have been booked for today and we are booked solid until 4:30 pm.
Mike Matchen stated that his staff is catching-up and there is a lot of work to do in terms of finishing the mulching, cleaning up around the club house to make a good first impression of the club. The crew has been cutting the grass and rolling the greens three or four times a week to create extra speed. He added that staff has also been preparing to take down more diseased ash trees. We have been successful in spraying a few other trees but once the ash borer infestation starts, it is too late to do anything for the trees. Flowers have also been planted by the fountain on the first tee.
Mike Matchen gave a brief history of the development of the golf master plan project to the new committee members. Jeff stated that the permitting aspect of the project was a year-long process that which involved six different public entities from the Village to the Army Corp of Engineers.
Mike stated in regard to water management, the sand traps had increased in total from 41 to 51 but are half of the square footage of what we currently have so they are easier to maintain and more strategically placed.
Chair Brault asked what the role was for the Ouilmette Golf Club (OGC). Mike responded that the Men’s Club and the ladies league have been involved in the master plan process over the course of the past four years and staff has had several meetings with them. They have also been involved with all of the different drawings and staff has continued to keep them informed.
Commissioner Wolfe asked if the course was going to be more challenging. Jamie responded that the architect designed the course to be more challenging for the better player but at the same time easier for the more intermediate player. Mike then provided some additional information on the changes being made to enhance the course while making it enjoyable for everyone.
Chair Brault stated that when this project began we wanted to upgrade the course to keep it at an even standard. When the members became involved they wanted to add enhancements so ultimately we agreed and the members bought into a 25% fee on each round of play which would pay for the upgrades the players wanted to see. At first the members were hesitant but when they saw the enhancements no one really complained about it. The process was a very good one and it evolved as members came back with ideas for the Committee to review.
Commissioner Abbott stated that when he was talking to the public and inform them that the members were paying a percentage, he thought the public was impressed which is why the Board ultimately approved the scope of the expenditure because of the additional user fees.
Chair Brault stated that we usually have our members in attendance since out of all the other committees, this committee has the highest number of people who are engaged in terms of providing input It is their golf course and it is amazing how much they care about it and how much they help us out. Jamie added that this is their main form of recreation and this is their home. Chair Brault added that it is people like Jamie and Mike who make people feel comfortable and this project is a perfect example of people becoming part of a community and wanting to be involved.
Mike stated that in the past the Boy Scouts have worked with the men’s club on several projects. The men’s club has also organized and helped to recover the course from the storm which occurred in 2007 including raking out the sand traps.
6) Under Old Business: None
7) Under New Business:
Jeff reviewed rounds history 2009 through 2012. He stated the spread sheet compares 2013 to the three year average of 2009 to 2011. He stated the he did not include 1012, because it was not a normal year due to the extremely good weather. Commissioner Brault suggested to Jeff that he should include 2012 and make a four year average for comparison.
Jeff reported that the course through the end of May was down 12% fee paid rounds and up 7.8 % in unlimited rounds. Rounds total for the year are down almost 12%.
8) The Regular Committee meeting adjourned to Closed Session at 9:31 a.m.
9) The Closed Session meeting adjourned at 9:36 a.m. and the Committee returned to Open Session.
There being no further discussion, the meeting was adjourned at 9:37 a.m.
MINUTES APPROVED ON JULY 13, 2013.