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Weyburn Golf Club in strong position after major irrigation project

The Weyburn Golf Club spent close to $560,000 on the project, with $533,000 on the irrigation part itself and an additional few expenses, said club president Jim Linnell, with a loan of $319,000 taken out to help finance it.
05-11-22-2380-Golf course exec
The board of directors for the Weyburn Golf Club gathered following the annual meeting. In the back row from left are Chad Bailey, Tyler Hollar, Marc Henderson, Chad Fingler and Dustin Murray. In front are vice-president Marshall Bakken, president Jim Linnell and ladies club president Jordan Szczecinski.

WEYBURN -  The Weyburn Golf Club completed their irrigation project on the front nine last year, and are in a strong cash position going into 2022, members heard at the annual meeting held on Monday evening at the clubhouse.

The golf club spent close to $560,000 on the project, with $533,000 on the irrigation part itself and an additional few expenses, said club president Jim Linnell, with a loan of $319,000 taken out to help finance it.

“So we’re in a pretty good cash position overall. We covered off about 65 per cent of the infrastructure costs for the irrigation project in the first phase, and there’s about 35 to 40 per cent left, depending on how we approach it and when we choose to go ahead,” said Linnell, adding the board is hopeful of some more fund-raising to come in before they choose to move to the next phase.

He said another big piece of good news is, before he left the course, last year’s general manager, Dru Bolen, helped the course to approach the RM of Weyburn to talk about the long-standing property tax issue.

“We have a pretty good partnership with the RM,” said Linnell, adding, “In times past there was some animosity and some other things. Now, they are on board to help us out.”

The club president said the current council said they feel the RM has two amenities they have to support, namely Nickle Lake Regional Park and the Weyburn Golf Club.

“These are community amenities and they are here for everyone,” said Linnell, noting the consultant who helped them with this is willing to go with them to the City of Weyburn to help ensure they understand this position also.

In the financial report, Brittany Kerr of Grant Thornton said the club’s revenues overall were up by $114,000 from the previous year, and they ended the year with $121,141 in revenues over expenses at the end of the year.

Due to the timing of the irrigation project, the cash on hand went down from $251,000 to $56,000, and the long-term debt was at $57,825 compared to $15,333 the previous year due to the commercial mortgage coming due.On the revenue side, both membership fees and green fees saw an increase, as did liquor sales and sponsorships, up by $26,000 and $27,000 respectively. On a positive note also, expenses for repairs and maintenance was down by $24,000 with the new irrigation system in place.

Linnell introduced the new course general manager, Travis Schmidt, who came to Weyburn after spending the last four years at Mainprize Regional Park’s golf course.

Schmidt noted the golf club is starting the year with 12 grants, six for the pro shop and lounge, and six for the golf course.

“There are lots of exciting things happening this year, and tournaments are coming back,” said Schmidt, noting with no COVID restrictions this year, shotgun starts can be brought back for tournaments again.

He said there are only a few spots left for sponsorships, with six golf carts left and three holes available for sponsors.

Asked how many members are signed up so far, Linnell said he doesn’t have an exact number, but thinks it’s just over 120 so far. Last year, there were 231 memberships in total.

One change is there were around 11 categories of memberships last year, and that’s been reduced to six categories this year to simplify things.

Jordan Szczecinski, president of the ladies golf club, said they brought in a whole board last year and have revamped their social media. The ladies golf night averaged around 30 golfers with the numbers up to 60 at times, and over the summer they had 120 unique golfers with the club.

She said the board needs more members to help out, and noted she joined as president for a one-year term only and won’t be able to stay in that position this year.

Superintendent Lee Stobbs reported that the irrigation project was finished by Sept. 26, and said it was pressured up as of Monday.

He asked that members be careful in driving their carts in the coming months so as not to damage the areas where they want grass to germinate and grow.

“It’ll be back to normal golf this year. All we’re asking is to play the holes as they’re laid out,” he said, adding he knows scores may go up, but pointed out his are also up.

Terry Creurer issued a “flower bed challenge”, noting that it’s important for the flower beds to look good and attractive around the course.

“This is not a ladies club project. We need men to volunteer, to dig and to help out. What I would like is to get 10 people per flower bed,” she said.

The main ones of concern are the four large flower beds near the club house, a significantly sized bed by the No. 2 men’s tee box, and the one near No. 5 by the bathrooms.

Stobbs indicated that good topsoil has been ordered and is on the way for the flower beds.

In the board elections, there were four vacancies as four directors had their terms come up, and all four let their names stand. In addition, Conrad Pierce said he’d be willing to also serve on the board.

This brought about an election, and the four incumbents were re-elected. They included Jim Linnell, Marc Henderson, Dustin Murray and Tyler Hollar.