The term “water hazard” took on special meaning for both golfers and Wilmette Park District officials this spring, as cool and rainy weather chased duffers and pros alike off the greens and fairways at 3900 Fairway Drive.
The golf-unfriendly weather meant that players at the Wilmette Golf Club completed about 3,500 fewer rounds than expected by the end of April.
Commissioner Mike Murdock reported at the board’s June 14 meeting that the drop of approximately 26 percent in both rounds and total revenue translated to a $61,000 loss in that column of the golf budget.
The good news, Murdock said, was that the loss was offset by a combination of cost-cutting and increased revenue elsewhere in golf operations. The two brought budget costs to within $3,000 of what they were at the same time in 2010, he said.
Part of the offset came from a $35,000 increase in membership fee income to date this year. (Although the golf course is public, the district offers a fee schedule whereby patrons can purchase certain fee packages that provide fee discounts.)
In addition to that, Director Steve Wilson said Monday the district was able to cut back on labor expenses on days when bad weather cut course use.
“When you’re operating a golf course … you understand that you have to deal with what Mother Nature gives you,” Wilson said. “When the weather is bad, certain work can’t be done, so we can send people home.
“You can send home your hourly personnel, and control costs in that fashion.”
The district’s 2011 golf budget, including operations, overhead administration and capital projects, is about $2 million. The 2011 revenue mirrors operating expenditures, excluding overhead and capital.
There is one very tiny thread of silver in the clouds of gray, Wilson said Monday.
“I suppose you can say that when you have temperate weather, and gentle raining pouring down on the greens and fairways, that can be a good thing for healthy green grass. That’s about what you can say, I guess.”