Lions Club Gold Course revenue trending up

Weather conditions may oscillate “from one extreme to the other” in South Arkansas, but overall, the spring and summer seasons have been good for Lions Club Municipal Golf Course.

While reviewing the financial report for the golf course on Aug. 23, Ken Goudy, chairman of the El Dorado Parks and Playgrounds Commission, noted that rain was in the forecast for the next couple of days and skies were expected to clear by week’s end.

Goudy reported that Lions Club income totaled $35,682 in July, representing an increase of more than $200 over July of 2021.

Year-to-date revenue at the golf course is trending $20,000 ahead of the same period last year.

As of Aug. 21, the monthly revenue intake stood at $25,159.

“Which sounds wonderful but we won’t make any money, probably, if we’re lucky, by Friday (Aug. 25). Maybe by Friday we’ll have about four days but we can’t do anything about the weather, so…,” Goudy said.

Added Commissioner Greg Harrison, “It’s been a beautiful summer, though.”

Goudy and Danny Carelock, LCMGC manager, both said that though summer temperatures have largely been sweltering in El Dorado, they have been topped off by plenty of rain in recent weeks.

“We’re going from hot to flooding,” Goudy said.

Carelock made similar statements moments later, saying, “We’ve really gone from one extreme to the other. It’s either extremely hot or it’s wet.”

“I think we’ve done pretty good, considering the weather we’ve had. Of course, our revenue is based entirely on the weather. If it’s not good, we don’t have any play,” he continued.

Goudy pointed out that the golf course did not generate any revenue on July 2 and 3 due to rain-outs that stemmed from torrential storms and flooding throughout El Dorado and Union County.

Lions Club potentially lost out on $4,000 in income during those two days, Goudy said.

Commissioner Alexis Alexander asked how the facility’s drainage system held up during the storms in early July and Carelock said, “It’s doing about as well as can be expected.”

Goudy and Carelock noted that heavy-rain events have spread out over the spring and summer.

“It hasn’t come down a whole bunch at once because you can go out there after it rains and you can see where it runs across and you can see the debris out there in different places,” said Goudy. “But they’ve done a good job getting that channel out of the fairways.”

Carelock said a new culvert that was installed last winter near the 15th hole has “worked excellently.”

He said more drainage improvements are needed at the golf course and made statements indicating that the work is on the Department of Public Works’s to-do list.

Carelock reported that two trees need to be removed from golf course grounds, explaining that one tree, which was already dying, was recently struck by lightning and the top is rotted on the other.

He said a local tree service is expected to remove the trees “as soon as weather permits.”

Harrison asked Carelock if LCMGC crews have had the opportunity to use a weed sprayer that was recently purchased for the golf course.

Carelock said the sprayer has been used once since it arrived at the golf course in May, telling commissioners then that crews were awaiting drier weather to use the piece of equipment.

He also reported that LCMGC is preparing for several upcoming tournaments, including the 29th annual First Financial Bank/SHARE Foundation Benefit Golf Tournament on Sept. 17.

Carelock said the one-day event is expected to draw about 70 teams.

He said it will be an all-hands-on-deck affair for the Lions Club crew and volunteers, including some members of the EPPC.

“It’ll be a morning and afternoon and it’ll be a hectic time getting them changed from morning to afternoon because you’ve got to get them out of carts and into carts,” Carelock explained.

“There’ll be several of us that’ll go out there before daylight and bring up all 40 carts and get the names on them and get them lined up,” added Goudy.

Terri McCaskell, co-manager of the golf course, said crews will start the day at approximately 6:30 am and will wrap up at about 9:30 or 10 pm

Carelock said he was not sure how many golfers are expected to participate in a tournament on Oct. 1, prompting Commissioner Karen Hicks to inquire, “What is a good turnout at a golf tournament?”

“About 35, 36 teams,” Carelock said.

The group also continued discussions on how to promote the golf course during the 49th annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

The event is slated for Feb. 26 – 28 in El Dorado, marking the first time the city will host the annual conference.

Hicks said commissioners previously discussed offering a discount to help drive conference attendees to LCMGC during their stay in town.

Commissioners said Lions Club is one of few municipal golf courses around the state.

Alexander suggested a rack card with a coupon attached, noting that the cards would serve as advertisement for the golf course and the city, even if the recipients do not golf.

“They can go back and say, ‘Hey, look at what El Dorado has,'” she said.

Goudy also said the golf course could offer a group discount.

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