Valleywood Golf Course business plan approved | Apple Valley

Architect firm hired to study possible improvements

Valleywood Golf Course has a business plan that Apple Valley city officials hope will make the golf course more profitable and guide other changes in the next 10 years.

The City Council approved the document by a 4-1 vote during its July 22 meeting. Mayor Clint Hooppaw and council members John Bergman, Tom Melander and Tom Goodwin voted in favor of the plan. Council Member Ruth Grendahl was the dissenting vote after saying she did not support the plan and had concerns with funding requests in the document. The council initially reviewed the plan at a work session earlier in July. A task force for the golf course composed of City Council members, golf course staff, Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee members and other city staff drafted the 2022-31 business plan for Valleywood with revenue projections, potential capital improvements and other goals.

This isn’t the first time the golf course has had a business plan. The first plan was developed in 2008 and was updated in 2011.

Apple Valley voters approved purchasing land for the golf course and its construction with a $1.47 million referendum in 1973. The first nine holes opened for play in 1976 and the second nine holes opened in 1977.

Today, the 190-acre golf course also has a 30-station artificial turf mat driving range, 55 battery-operated golf cars, two practice putting greens, golf pro shop, food and beverage service with a full liquor license and banquet space for large outings and receptions.

An estimated 50,000 to 60,000 people visit the course annually and the course averages 30,000 rounds of golf in a typical season. The course is used for golf practice, the driving range, lessons, cross country skiing, dog walking, cross country running and private events. Valleywood is the largest public open space in Apple Valley’s park system, representing about 21{8a924211cc822977802140fcd9ee67aa8e3c0868cac8d22acbf0be98ed6534bd} of all city park property, according to the city.

The business plan proposes to have the city retire existing capital and operational debt of about $3.75 million with funding sources other than golf course revenues. The debt is related to the construction of the clubhouse and banquet facility in 2012, a parking lot upgrade and sanitary sewer connection.

“The council is not being asked to address the past operating debt or the clubhouse construction debt at the meeting as these issues will be brought back to the council at a future meeting for review and consideration,” the July 22 city report states.

The business plan proposes to replace the irrigation system, which is over 40 years old; install an electronic board monument sign on McAndrews Road and update the monument sign on Pilot Knob Road and reconstruct existing cart paths and extend them where it’s feasible. Parks and Recreation Director Eric Carlson said the city expects to reduce water usage at the golf course by 35{8a924211cc822977802140fcd9ee67aa8e3c0868cac8d22acbf0be98ed6534bd} within a year after the irrigation system is replaced.

The plan also asks the city to transfer $150,000 from the liquor fund annually to support capital needs at the golf course. The city currently uses funds generated from its municipal liquor store profits to support other parks and recreation activities and to purchase equipment and vehicles for the police and fire departments.

Carlson said the plan has an expectation that the golf course will generate operational revenue over operational expenses. It sets a goal to host 15 private banquet functions in 2022, increase private functions to 25 in 2023 and up to 40 by 2024.

Carlson said the golf course intends to move to a simple food operation that would serve menu items like hot dogs and be complemented by beverages that include full liquor service. The city would also seek vendor agreements with third-party caterers for private functions at the clubhouse. The city would take a certain percentage of the food sales and 100{8a924211cc822977802140fcd9ee67aa8e3c0868cac8d22acbf0be98ed6534bd} of the beverage and liquor part of these events.

City staff will regularly monitor several “key performance indicators” including rounds played, revenues and expenses per round, tee time utilization, pro shop sales per round, effective weather days and gallons of irrigation water used to help make operational and financial improvements when necessary, according to the July 22 report.

In a separate vote, the City Council also approved an agreement with Norby Golf Course Design at an estimated cost of $11,500 to review Valleywood and provide a renovation plan. Improvements would be prioritized if they improve drainage, customer satisfaction and playability, reduce maintenance costs and increase driving range revenue.

“Valleywood is facing a major replacement of the 40-year old irrigation system planned for 2022. The Strategic Business Plan suggests, prior to that replacement, a professional golf course architect be retained to look at the course for opportunities to improve layout, playability, driving range locations/size, forward tees, etc.,” the July 22 city report states. “If approved, the Renovation Plan would be finalized by the end of the year and the city would bid out both the on-course renovations and the replacement of the irrigation system.”

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