It’s a brisk spring morning at the Revelstoke Golf Club. The last pockets of snow have nearly melted from the back nine – the club is hoping to open by April 17, weather depending.
Inside, tradesmen are busily repairing the clubhouse. A new floor is going into the kitchen. Many posts and beams have been replaced in the lounge and down in the basement, where the original wood fireplace resembles a giant stone pizza oven. The work follows city council approval of about $45,000 in funding from the Resort Municipality Initiative grant program.
Upstairs, the Revelstoke Golf Club executive huddles in the cold changing room – it’s a seasonal building.
After a recent high-profile report at city council pointing to deficiencies in the clubhouse and outbuildings totalling $600,000, they’re there to clarify what’s going on.
The change, explains president Dwayne Haaf, started last year when the executive was struggling with finance issues. The members had been hit with a controversial $150 assessment to deal with over-runs and ongoing expenses.
They decided to start fresh, and worked with consultants to run their operations in a more businesslike fashion. They’re developing a five-year plan for operations, a five-year business plan and a capital plan – something they’ve never done before.
Part of that plan was taking a look at the facilities, which they requested the city do – the buildings belong to the city. The result was a report that looked at everything that needs to be done to bring the aging buildings to code.
Haaf explained the club is a tenant at golf course; the city took over as owner many, many years ago. The golf club’s mission is to run the facility, and gain grants as a non-profit society.
“We’ve worked very hard to set up a long-term five-year strategic plan, we’re working on a five-year business plan, and now we’ve started to incorporate a five-year capital plan for the city, for our maintenance buildings, for the clubhouse,” Haaf said. “So that over the next five years, we’ll do a little bit here, a little bit there; we don’t want the city to foot a $600,000 bill – those were just recommendations by the engineering company.”
The executive fundamentally disagrees with the $600,000 price tag. They feel they can avoid about half the cost. Not all the outbuildings are needed, and some can be replaced more cheaply. Another recommendation is to bring the building up to four-season standards – to make it an all-year building. That’s something they’re not sure is necessary, but sure will be costly. “I’m positive it won’t be $600,000,” Haaf said, adding the club couldn’t put a figure on it yet. “The $600,000 was a recommendation by the engineering firm to replace everything we have and bring it all up to snuff in one big go.”
Vice-president Heather Duchman said volunteers have been actively involved in the ongoing work. “It’s important to know that there’s a huge commitment from the membership,” she said. “At the end of the day our focus is to have this golf course here for a long, long time – for many generations to come.”
Coun. Tony Scarcella is the council liaison for the golf club. He said the report to council was part of a process “to put everything on top of the table.” He said the golf course is a public recreation facility that brings in tourism, creates jobs and is needed in the community.
Haaf explains they’re trying to encourage membership. Back in 2008, the course had 370 members, bringing in $298,000. That’s down to 230 members drawing $200,000. A membership drive is one of their key goals. Haaf feels there’s a perception the golf club is an elitist establishment. It may have been years ago, but that’s long gone. It’s an open facility; you don’t have to be a member to play.
They’re driving to bring more youth golfers in. There’s an ongoing attempt to organize a high school team, and they’ve introduced new junior programs designed to bring young members in.