DeBell Golf Club sees revenue jump

Operating revenues at the long struggling DeBell Golf Club jumped 25% in June compared to the same period last year due to increased revenue from fees, cart rentals and concessions that came in after officials made cuts in professional services and contracts, according to the latest financial report.

Operating revenues came in at $236,081 in June — $47,452 more than reported in June 2011, according to the report, which was released to the Golf Fund Oversight Committee last week.

The fiscal rebound is significant for a course that had been losing about $300,000 annually — prompting an unpopular $2-million rescue package and a fresh round of city oversight.

An oversight committee was established and the National Golf Foundation was brought on board to help improve the club's financial vitality.

The work appears to be paying off, and discussions are underway to shift the oversight of the course from the committee to the city's Park, Recreation and Community Services Board.

The improved performance was largely due to a 37.8% spike in greens fees for the club's 18/9-hole course, which made up $41,570 of the higher revenues.

Electric cart rentals increased by $5,313 — or 10% — compared to June 2011.

Concessions saw a 16% rise, generating an extra $1,431, according to the report.

The golf course is benefiting from a prolonged period of warm, dry weather that's resulted in more playable days.

The increased revenues are also tied to a more aggressive marketing campaign during the past year that included Groupon offers and promotions at Costco for discounted rounds of golf, said Johnathan Frank, administrative officer with Burbank's Park, Recreation and Community Services Department.

In addition, DeBell is enjoying increased revenues from a new sport at the course — disc golf, in which players throw Frisbee-like discs into baskets alongside traditional golfers on the club's existing par-3 course.

Club officials have estimated that disc golf could generate about $30,000 annually.

However, Judie Wilke, the city's new parks director, said the club will be in a better position to give firm projections after a few months to make sure the number of disc players remains consistent.

The only area of the golf club's operations that saw a decline was fees for the par-3 course, which reported a 9.7% drop, coming in at $7,507 in June.

To further improve the golf club's financial picture, expenses were slashed by 17% — or $45,284 — in June compared to a year earlier. The cost savings were primarily attributed to renegotiating contracts with the club's golf pro and the company that maintains the grounds.

Their contracts will expire in December 2013, according to Wilke.

“It's showing you have guaranteed savings for a little over a year,” she said.

Golf club staff members are also watching expenditures.

“There's a heck of a lot of oversight going on,” Wilke added.

Staff members project that the fund's year-end cash balance for fiscal year 2012-13 will be $79,862. For the next fiscal year, however, there is an anticipated loss of $181,634 when loan payments begin, according to the report.

Fee increases for the 18-hole course, which took effect July 1, may partially make up for the projected loss. All weekend fees for residents and non-residents, and weekday fees for residents, were raised by $2.

Follow Mark on Twitter @LAMarkKellam

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