Nearly one year and $80,000 later, Bob Mallek is starting to see The Quarry course he envisioned when he began leasing it from the city of Brooksville.
A profit is still a little fuzzy, but breaking even in 2000, maybe.
"Right now we're hoping we can get a little profit so we can go into the summer without having to keep shelling out money," Mallek said. "Maybe next year we can get a little something going."
Refurbishing the irrigation and fertilization systems were the most expensive ventures, he said. Mallek also replaced a greenskeeper, and paid to have the driving range remodeled.
"We had some difficulty with the greens how they were made, with the soils they used," Mallek said. "We had to change that a couple of times."
Mallek said purchasing better signs and renovating the clubhouse are new priorities. He said it is "kind of hard to see where we are," at the 800 Broad St. address.
Mallek leases the course for $2,000. He said part of learning how to carve a niche in Hernando County was discovering how differently local courses do business than in his native Chicago. The key, he said, was to give golfers some breaks.
"In Chicago, there was so much more discretionary income," he said. "It was not so much coupons and discounts. Here, we came into a situation we were not used to. Now I think if we have to play coupon and discount, I think we can win. We're in a better position to win."
A round at the nine-hole course costs $7.
Mallek started jostling for position on Jan. 1 with a customer appreciation day. "We gave away a couple of hundred free rounds of golf, a lot of free buckets of range balls and clinics for about 130 people," he said. "I think people received it well."
Mallek, a certified PGA teaching professional, said he hopes to ease away from administrative duties and get on the course more.
"My stress right now is getting away from operations and getting back to teaching golf," he said. "There's a lot of promotion you can do through instruction. I need to spend my time that way."
HOLES-IN-ONE: Spring Hill resident Ernie Smith aced the 145-yard 17th hole at Rivard with a 5-iron on Tuesday.
Vern Myers aced the 170-yard seventh hole at GlenLakes on Jan. 23 using a 5-wood.