DOUGLAS — The current state of the Douglas Golf Course on Leslie Canyon Road was discussed at a Sept. 30 special Douglas city council meeting.
Bosco Selchow, volunteer president of the Municipal Property Corporation (MPC) that was formed in 2015 and Luis Pedroza, Douglas’ Management Services Director/City Treasurer, both addressed the council in regards to the current state of the golf course.
According to Pedroza, the MPC is a seven member board that was appointed by the mayor and council.
“These people manage the golf course,” Pedroza said. “The city has a concessionaire agreement with the golf course MPC that allows the MPC to use the city’s golf course and buildings to operate the golf course, RV park, bar and event hall. The agreement includes the use of the city’s series five government liquor license.”
Per the agreement, the MPC provides building maintenance while the city provides green and fairway maintenance. Pedroza noted that currently however the MPC is taking care of the greens and the city is mostly taking care of the buildings.
Pedroza informed the mayor and council the golf course is an 18 hole course equipped with a driving range, a bar, event hall, pro shop and 28 RV park space where visitors from as far away as Canada have stayed.
Selchow added the RV park has been full since May thanks mainly to the construction workers working on the border wall outside of Douglas.
“That’s been a Godsend for the golf course,” he said. “It’s helped keep our revenues up. From March until about a month ago we had closed our bar down. Our bar sales are down but our RV park revenues are way up which helped us stay open.”
The Douglas Golf Course recently hosted the 85th annual Labor Day Golf Tournament and as of June 30, over 5,000 rounds of golf have been played at the course not counting tournaments or the rounds played by the Douglas High School golf team which, when totaled in, would be an additional 600-700 rounds of golf being played.
Selchow added there have also been a number of new faces at the golf course lately. He attributes that to COVID-19 and the fact people are tired of staying in doors and wanting to get outside for some kind of recreational activity.
Regarding the financials, Pedroza noted the MPC collects all revenue associated with the golf course that includes golf, bar, RV park rentals and event hall rental revenue.
“They are in charge of hiring the staff that currently includes grounds maintenance workers and bar and pro shop staff,” he said. “They pay those employees as well as costs associated with the maintenance of the grounds at the golf course and the operations of the event hall, RV Park and bar.”
Pedroza stated the City of Douglas provides the MPC a subsidy that includes covering the following costs: DOC Labor (when available), portable toilet service, building maintenance costs such as electrical and HVAC, pest control, golf carts gasoline, golf carts lease, alcohol for resale, liability insurance costs and helps with other costs.
Pedroza reported that for fiscal year 2019/2020 the MPC collected 21% more or $37,117 in revenue than originally projected. Revenue sources include golf green fees, cart use, RV park sales, event hall rentals and beverage sales.
“Overall, combined city and MPC expenditures came in 6% or $20,562 over than expected,” he said. “Of that amount, the city put in $10,119 more than the $170,000 budgeted subsidy.”
Selchow provided the mayor and council with some pictures that show parts of the golf course in good condition while other parts in poor condition.
“In April we were asked to cut back on our water usage at the golf course,” he said. “We were told we could water the greens and tee box area which we are still doing now.”
Selchow added the fact there was no monsoon this year has also significantly impacted the condition of the golf course.
According to information presented at the special meeting the most pressing capital needs of the golf course are an irrigation system on the back nine and pump system control panel which would cost approximately $45,000.
The RV park needs an electrical upgrade from 30 to 50 amps which would cost $42,000. The mowers and other greens maintenance equipment are old and in need of replacement and the maintenance shed is also in poor condition.
“We currently have two full-time employees and one part-time employee outside and two full-time employees and one part-time bartender inside,” Selchow said adding inmate labor has been unavailable since March due to COVID-19.
“Why we invited you here and wanted you here this evening is to give us an idea of what’s going on out there and you have done a good job of doing that,” Mayor Donald Huish told Selchow and Pedroza. “I think we as a council need to sit down at a future date and have a good long hard talk as to what it is we want to do. Do we want to invest fully into the golf course or do we literally want to let it waste away? I challenge each of the council members to speak with your constituents to see how they feel about the need of the golf course? I think it’s a valuable asset and a jewel of our community but we need to talk about the investment in it. There’s no need in having it if we’re not going to invest in it.”
Selchow added that with the golf course in Naco being closed there are a number of people that do golf at the Douglas Golf Course.
“What would help the golf course the most to get back where it could be is irrigation,” Selchow said. “It just needs water. The grass will grow if we could just get water to it. A majority of the people that play golf out there on a daily basis are senior citizens. It benefits them and in turn benefits the golf course having those people out there. People want to play golf on grass, not on dirt.”
Selchow concluded the presentation saying the best marketing tool for the Douglas Golf Course is done through word of mouth. Right now the DGC is known to not be in very good condition and that’s because of the lack of water.
“It’s not in the greatest of condition right now but we are working real hard to get it back what it used to be, maybe even better,” Selchow said.