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Largo to beef up marketing for city golf course

A golfer plays Largo Golf Course in the January fog.

ATOYIA DEANS | Times (2008)

A golfer plays Largo Golf Course in the January fog.

Revenue at Largo's city-owned golf course has sagged over the past year, with the number of players hitting the links reduced because of the cold winter and withered economy.

But Tuesday night, city commissioners were presented with a marketing plan to get more spikes on the fairways, and the bottom line out of the red.

"We've obviously made a huge investment in our golf course, and all of us have the same goal: to make that golf course successful," said Joan Byrne, Largo's parks director.

City marketing specialist Kristen Proach said some of the advertisements residents might see in the near future include buying billboard space, offering free club rentals to hotel guests in the area, and discounts like ladies nights, summer specials and a golf tips segment on Largo's public access channel.

Some of the promotions, such as targeting female golfers, was a result of a demographic survey conducted by the golf course.

Golf course manager Don Brannon said 69 percent of golfers were male, and the median age was between 60 and 71.

The executive golf course — larger than a par-3, but not quite championship-size — has come under criticism lately for being a drain on an already reduced city budget.

"I have heard some negative rumbling about the golf course from some people," Commissioner Harriet Crozier said. "What I've been hearing has not been positive from people — that their tax dollars are keeping the golf course running."

The planned advertising push, Byrne said, would, hopefully, rectify that.

"Our goal, very simply, is to convince our target market to spend more of their leisure dollars at our golf course," she said.

Also at the work session Tuesday, commissioners gave feedback about possibly offering fine amnesty for code enforcement violations.

Carol Stricklin, Largo's community development director, said there are about $1.5 million worth of fines the city is still waiting to collect on, and the numbers have grown recently.

"Due to foreclosures and abandoned properties, we've seen an increase in code enforcement liens," Stricklin said.

Under the proposed plan, which could still be tweaked by the time it goes to vote in September, violators' fines would be reduced to 20 percent. The amnesty period would be between Oct. 1 and the end of March 2011.

Most of the commissioners, minus the mayor, who was absent, seemed keen on the idea.

"I support this program," Commissioner Mary Gray Black said.

Largo Golf Course

12500 Vonn Road

Par: 62, executive

Length: 3,335 yards

Par 4 holes: 8 Par 3 holes: 10

In the clubhouse: Cafe, pro shop

Cost: 18 holes (includes tax, per player), cart $22, walking $13.50; 9 holes, cart $16, walking $9.50

Hours: 7 a.m.-sunset

Information: Visit largo.com or call (727) 518-3024.

Largo to beef up marketing for city golf course 07/13/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 8:57pm]
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