What’s next? That’s the question as the City of Watertown prepares to open the Watertown Golf Club this spring

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 3:47 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - What typically takes years of prep for a small business, the City of Watertown aims to do in months.

“There’s nobody in City Hall, on city staff that have ever run or managed a golf course,” said Mayor Jeff Smith.

With the focus off lawsuits and debates, the city can now look to a May opening date for the Watertown Golf Club.

“You can break a golf course down into three components: One is the grounds keeping, another one is the selling of food and beverage. The other is the business operation of the course,” said Watertown City Manager Ken Mix.

When it comes to food and drink, one thing the city won’t dabble in is alcohol sales.

“It’s extremely expensive in terms of potential liability. It’s something our previous city attorney advised us against,” said Smith.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t sip on a beverage around the greens.

“If we do go ahead with that scenario, we’ll put out a request for proposals for hopefully local caterers, local restaurants that might want to try to operate it during the golf season,” said Mix.

As for grounds keeping, Mix says the city will definitely need to hire more people to work on the green.

“Parks and Recs use a combination of union employees and seasonal employees who are not union employees, so it may be a combination of the two,” said Mix.

The big question is: Will the city be able to get a golf club up and running in four months?

“That’s what a majority wants to do, so we’ll have to try and make it work,” said Smith.

As for what’s next, Mix says the city has to put together a budget, make some decisions on how the course will be operated, and set up a fee schedule. Look for a few more answers in February.