The expenditures for maintaining Bradford Creek Public Golf Course has been an area of debate since the course was acquired by the city. Focus groups, an ECU graduate class (MTKG 6822) and a consulting agency (Golf Convergence) have all offered opinions on its operation. Eventually, the city contracted with Billy Casper Golf to manage Bradford Creek. With Billy Casper’s withdrawal we find ourselves back where we started. As such, some points should be considered moving forward.
According to the Carolina Golf Association there are 29 North Carolina municipal golf courses. Each of these courses receive a subsidy from the city, county or military branch of service in which they reside. These subsidies run from $15,000 to $300,000 annually.
Under city operation Bradford Creek sponsored year-round programs such as: Drive, Chip & Putt for Juniors, Junior Golf Team, Practice with the Pros for Juniors, a United States Golf Association (USGA) Rules Seminar, Starting New at Golf (SNAG) Clinics, (PGA) Play Golf America, and Special Olympics Pitt County Golf practice. Not to mention the yearly Coastal Plains Junior Amateur Tournament, which the city’s own estimate said brought $75,000 of economic impact.
When considering only direct operating expenses, Bradford Creek Public Golf Course revenues exceeded direct expenses in seven of its pre-Billy Casper years.
The mission of the Greenville Department of Recreation and Parks is to “advance parks, recreation, and environmental conservation efforts that promote mental and physical health, serve as a deterrent to illegal or inappropriate behaviors, and enhance Greenville’s quality of life.” In doing so, the department recovers approximately 43 percent of costs for programs like youth soccer and youth softball. Bradford Creek has returned a much higher percentage than many of Recreation and Parks programs.
I join with the Daily Reflector (02/12/17) to call upon City leaders to fund Bradford Creek “not to generate a profit, but to profit the people with the services they provide.”