Golf Course

Willow course project nearing completion at Ben Geren Golf Course

The Sebastian County Parks Advisory Board was brought up to speed on the Willow nine-hole golf course during its regular meeting Monday.

Jay Randolph, Ben Geren golf course superintendent, provided the board with an update on the conversion of the greens on the Willow course from bent grass to MiniVerde Bermuda grass. Randolph said Bermuda grass, among other benefits, survives better in Fort Smith summer heat than bent grass and requires less pesticides to keep it alive.

“Tomorrow, like I said, will be a month since we sprigged them, and tomorrow we will mow those greens at 1:50,” Randolph said Monday. “And to put it in comparison on how fast these things are coming along, it took us two months on the Silo greens to get that going.”

Bermuda grass sprigging on the Silo nine-hole golf course took place during the summer of 2016. Randolph said the conversion of the Willow course is projected to be complete sometime between July 27 and Aug. 5, giving Ben Geren all 27 holes available for play, as opposed to the 18 holes available now because of the Willow course project.

Paul Wanstreet, the Ben Geren Golf Course marketer/Pro Shop manager, provided the board with a update on merchandise sales at the Ben Geren Pro Shop.

“In just June, we sold $1,600 of golf balls,” Wanstreet said. “We sold 39 golf clubs, and they’re not cheap. If any of you bought those Titleist golf clubs, they’re over $17 a club after tax, and the FootJoy is a little under $12 after tax. We sold 44 of the golf shirts for over $1,800, which is an average of $40.50 per shirt. … We sold 26 more hats for an average of over $23.61 a hat.”

Ben Geren Pro Shop sales generated more than $4,900 in revenue in June, according to a financial report included in the meeting packet. The 2017 Ben Geren Golf Course revenue/budget plan that was also included states the overall actual revenue from the golf course during June amounts to just under $64,000, which is an improvement over the actual revenue from June 2016 that came in at below $52,000.

The total actual revenue taken in at the golf course for the year so far is above $327,000. Total projected revenue for the year is $615,000, according to the report.

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