Golfer opinions are sought on course
Municipal officials have some ideas to improve Mt. Lebanon Golf Course, but they're hoping to get more.
A committee formed earlier this year to improve the nine-hole course on the Castle Shannon border is making some short-term recommendations, but also is conducting a survey to get a better picture of what golfers would like to see at the course.
"This survey will be the whole turning point," said Tom Butcher, a member of the committee. "I'm real interested to see where we are a month from now."
The survey can be picked up at the course or on the Internet.
In the meantime, as commissioners prepare next year's budget, the committee has made some recommendations.
Municipal Recreation Director Bill Moore said the committee has recommended a new $395,000 irrigation system. The current system is 25 years old and it broke in 2002, drying out the golf course.
There has been a decrease in the number of rounds played in the past four years, causing declining revenues and subsequent red ink.
Last year, the course brought in $366,703 -- losing just $1,566.
Although fewer than 30,000 rounds were played last year, the course lost less money because of the influx of league play, which brought in another $20,000 in revenue, recreation Director Bill Moore said. But some residents complained about being pushed off fairways by out-of-town golf leagues.
As part of his municipal budget last year, Manager Steve Feller suggested privatizing operations and maintenance of the course to improve the financial condition. The municipality would still own the course.
Residents voiced their opposition to the plan, and a committee was formed to improve the course and get more play -- and more money.
Moore said the committee also recommended more forward tees. There currently are three on the course.
Every hole on a golf course has different places for tees, based on skill and other factors. There isn't much of a difference between tee boxes, Butcher said, which could make the course less attractive to less-skilled golfers.
Moore said the committee also recommended removing some sand traps and generally making the course more playable.
Commission President Dale Colby, who has supported the committee, said the requests are in line with the municipal capital improvements budget.
The committee will conduct the survey for about a month, Butcher said, and make long-term recommendations based on the results.
Butcher said future recommendations likely will focus on customer satisfaction and management philosophy.
There's not much room to add features to the course. Previously, driving ranges and putting greens were suggested.
Colby said something could be done in the future with the clubhouse, which is old and cramped.