DeBell scores with Groupon deal

A two-day Internet promotion last week for discounted play at DeBell Golf Course proved to be a hit with more than 1,600 people buying coupons.

The online promotion through Groupon offered golf and cart rentals for two and four players at $45 and $90, respectively, about half off the regular price.

Scott Scozzola, golf director at DeBell, said in an e-mail it was the first time the club used Groupon.

“It went extraordinarily better than I had hoped,” he said.

The jolt in business comes as a City Council oversight subcommittee prepares to review how the troubled course fell into a sea of red ink, losing $300,000 annually as the number of customers dropped significantly in recent years.

The City Council approved a $2-million bailout package last month as a stopgap measure, but formed the subcommittee to begin looking at ways to turn the city-owned golf course around.

City officials last week said they were in talks with the nonprofit’s National Golf Foundation to assist with the review and to develop a business recovery plan.

Groupon customers snapped up 1,333 two-player coupons, generating $59,985, Scozzola said. Another 349 four-player tickets were bought, bringing in $31,050. Of the grand total, DeBell will get $45,517, he said.

Scozzola said he will present information on other revenue generators to the oversight committee when it meets Aug. 10.

The Groupon deal — including other seasonal and one-time discount offers — will likely be part of an overall strategy to reach more golfers and broaden the course’s customer base.

The City Council has scheduled a special meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 25 at City Hall to discuss the f the National Golf Foundation proposal and other DeBell issues.

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