Watertown officials look into the costs of running a golf course

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 5:02 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - What will it take to run a golf course? It’s the latest discussion among some Watertown officials as city council looks primed to purchase the Thompson Park course.

From the Watertown ice arena to the fairgrounds playing fields, city crews keep facilities in shape. Next year, crews may add to their to-do list the fairways and greens of the Watertown Golf Club.

“We are obviously doing our due diligence and, you know, we are checking with other municipal courses and finding out how they operate,” said Watertown Parks and Recreation Superintendent Scott Weller.

This all comes as a majority of city council is in favor of purchasing the club for more than $3 million from owner Mike Lundy.

Weller and City Manager Ken Mix have sat down several times since the news, estimating how many employees might be needed and how much it would cost.

Currently, no funds are budgeted for it.

“Is it going to be an enterprise fund like our water and sewer fund? The limited number of municipal courses I have seen, that is how they do it. I don’t know if they all do it that way,” said Mix.

Mix says in their research, they’ve learned there are three main facets to running the course: groundskeeping, the customer service/ business side, and concessions.

How that is all done? Weller says it depends on where you go.

“The one common theme is when it comes to a clubhouse and concessions, that each of the municipal courses I have talked to, they contract that out. As far as the pro shop and grounds, maintenance, some of them do it in-house, some of them contract that out,” he said.

Mix says once the city compiles all of its information, officials are hoping to have a report for city council to look at during its next meeting on November 7.