November 3, 2011

Golf Course Hoping to Stay 'Green' Over Off Season

Two things often associated with the color green, are golf courses and money. Local volunteers are continuing their efforts to ensure fans of the sport will continue to see those colors in Memphis, the growing scarcity of the later source of green.

Timber Ridge Golf Course is hosting a Fall Festival fundraiser at the course on November 5th at 7 p.m. Guests will be treated to a dinner of Iowa pork chops as part of a fun-filled event that is open to the public. The ticket cost is $20.

"This is really more of a social event than a fundraiser," said one of the event's organizers, Suzie Lister. "Our community has been more than generous in the past few months with fundraisers. Instead we just want this to be a way to socialize, have fun, yet make a few dollars here and there for the golf course."

Organizers indicated if the social event is a success others will be scheduled around holidays and other popular dates that no other community functions are currently planned around.

The course already has capped off a couple of successful events this fall. A recent fundraiser raffle drive featured a $1,000 cash prize. Andy Mallet was the lucky winner of the drawing held October 27th. Proceeds from the event were used to pay for aeration of the greens and other course improvements.

Earlier this fall, the course hosted the Ag Day Tournament, an annual fund raiser golf tournament that benefits the course's fund drive.

These types of efforts are warranted due to ever increasing costs of maintaining a golf course. The annual maintenance budget for the 9-hole course is approximately $90,000.

The main revenue stream for the golf course is membership fees. A family membership costs $400 annually. Golf cart storage space is available for $100 annually.

With roughly 70 to 80 members each year, the course is forced to generate well over half of its operating costs through tournament revenues and a variety of fundraisers.

The course does generate some revenue from daily greens fees paid by non-members, who travel from outside of the county to Memphis to play golf.

The country club has expanded its offerings to include croquet events as well as a twice monthly Texas Hold'em league.

In 2006, the golf course hosted a fundraiser banquet and auction that raised more than $25,000. That huge night triggered a $20,000 matching grant from a local donor. The bulk of those proceeds went to cover the cost of the installation of grass greens at the course. The club's existing debt of more than $32,000 from the project was retired.

A second, similar event, was held in 2010, with proceeds used to boost the course's operating budget.

Earlier this month, the Missouri Division of Tourism unveiled a study commissioned by Golf 20/20, the World Golf Foundation and the Missouri Alliance for Golf. This study, titled "The Missouri Golf Economy," details the impact golf has on the economy of Missouri.

With 352 golf facilities across the state, golf is a key industry in the vitality of Missouri's economy, according to the report. In 2010, Missouri's direct golf economy was approximately $888.6 million. Golf brings visitors to the state, drives new construction and residential development, generates retail sales, and creates demand for a myriad of goods and services.

When the total economic impact of Missouri's golf-related activities is considered, the golf industry generated approximately $1.7 billion to Missouri's economy; $485.1 million in wages; and 21,000 jobs.

Timber Ridge Golf Course employs a full-time greens keeper as well as several part-time maintenance workers and part-time pro shop vendors.

A number of local retailers sell golf related-products ranging from clubs and balls, to shoes, apparel and golf carts.

TRGC is utilized as the home course for the Scotland County R-I golf team.

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