Lakewood officials roll out new business plan for RedTail Golf Club

LAKEWOOD – Months after reversing course on a potential sale of RedTail Golf Club, village leaders are developing a business plan to increase profits and improve the course's value.

Clubhouse General Manager Chris Neuhart along with Village Trustee Gene Furey and help from other board members developed a 20-page business plan focused on increasing leagues, events and memberships to boost revenue.

The plan includes some modest growth goals for the few solidified leagues at the course and more aggressive growth in developmental programs and new leagues and events course officials plan to roll out this year.

The average revenue per round fell from $44.20 in fiscal 2003-04 to $34.71 in 2012-13, though it has mainted its volume of play between 29,000 and 30,000 annual rounds. The course's assessed value peaked at $4.5 million in 2005 before the downturn in the economy and industry sank it to the current market value between $1.2 million and $1.8 million.

With no payments left to be made on the village's 20-year bond entered in 1991, Furey said the village can reinvest in the course and increase both the value of the course and revenue per round with the right business plan.

"The golf industry hit rock bottom two years ago so we've already weathered the worst of the storm," Furey said. "The goals have to be workable in a good business plan. We have to make sure we revisit every 60 days or so to make sure it's moving in the right direction."

One of the first goals is to attain a 5 percent increase in membership revenue, which came in at $61,764 last year on 60 memberships sold. Of existing leagues, officials want to target the Tuesday afternoon ladies' league and Thursday night couples' league as they see the most growth potential in those areas.

New leagues and programs could also bolster revenue. The plan calls for a 9-hole floating league, allowing players who cannot commit to a set time each week to play a 9-hole round at anytime during the week and submit the scorecard. The clubhouse will keep track of all the results throughout the year to determine the winner.

A team golf league pitting twosomes against each other is also to debut on Tuesday nights.

Youth golf will also be targeted as officials want to expand lessons and reach more people in the Crystal Lake Park District to increase that revenue by 15 percent. A $10 RedTail Golf Club Player Development Pass will allow people to play single holes for $1.25 after 6 p.m.

Local companies could also become more involved as officials want to start all-day course events that could be sponsored by businesses with a portion of the fee to play going to the business. The company could advertise on the course and hold other contests. The business would be responsible for recruiting players but would profit more as more players attend.

The additional revenue would go to help improve the course, with $50,000 earmarked for bunker improvements and sprinkler systems this year. Officials also want to maintain a $210,000 fund balance to avoid any more taxpayer support.

"Some board in the future may opt to sell the course so we want to make it as valuable as possible," Furey said.

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