Friday, June 15, 2018

Temple Terrace golf club reveals improvement plan

TEMPLE TERRACE — The struggling Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club plans to refurbish its greens and bring in the Billy Casper Golf consulting firm to advise it how to become more competitive with other area facilities.

Those were two key steps toward recovery that club representatives, appearing before Temple Terrace City Council this week, said they plan to take. The city owns the golf course and is paying $21,670 monthly on a $3.1 million loan used to make major renovations to the country club. The club is paying the city back on the $11,364 monthly interest, but was allowed by the council to suspend paying principal for three years in order to make improvements, after which it will pay back the principal.

The club was behind on other payments due the city — on the lease, property taxes and utilities — but is nearly caught up on those, said city manager Gerald Seeber.

"They're making good progress.''

Council members congratulated Ed Cole, vice president of the club, and general manager Shaun McCormick on the progress the club has made in the last few months. The club's leaders handed out an outline of steps it has taken since appearing before them Dec. 3 to seek help and guidance from the city.

Since then, the club approved a special assessment on members to reduce debts; established a strategic planning committee; ramped up efforts to rent out the club for banquets, weddings and other events; looked into establishing a partnership with the city recreation department to offer wider variety of activities; and hired Billy Casper Golf.

The club seeks a basic answer from the consultant: If the club makes needed changes, does the marketplace — which has flagged nationally in the last few years — enable it to be self-sustaining?

Billy Casper will study revenues and expenses and come up with a five-year business plan and plans for marketing and restructuring the membership for the club, which now has about 250 golfing members and about 500 lesser-paying members who don't golf but dine there, use the pool and take part in social activities.

Cole said it's advisable for clubs to replace the greens every 12 to 15 years, otherwise changes in the turf alter how golf balls roll. It's been almost 22 years since Temple Terrace has changed its greens, he said.

"We think that will help us with our marketing plan. They'll help us with drawing new membership.''

Philip Morgan can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3435.

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Published: 06/13/18