Minneapolis: Mini apple big on golf

Minneapolis golf czar Don Siggelkow used to play 30-to-40 rounds a year. However, today the parks & rec. general manager has narrowed his golf focus to getting course revenue up rather than getting up and down.
While golf course operations aren’t his only duty with the city, Siggelkow was kind enough to share a few numbers and some quick thoughts regarding the city’s five public courses for 2010. Among other things, Minneapolis is attempting to broaden its courses’ appeal by Twit-booking, the addition of new irrigation at Columbia and disc golf at Ft. Snelling and Wirth par-3.

What has changed at the five Minneapolis city  courses for 2010?

TC Teebox: Have greens fees gone down or up? Siggelkow: Minor increases in round rates and cart rates but have held the line on fee increases for the past 3 years.
TCT: Any (new) promotions? S: new e-mail marketing campaigns and less marketing in traditional outlets.  Sending e-mails to our database (best customers) and really only giving them any discounts.

Siggelkow

TCT: New carts? GPS? S: new carts in 2010 and 2012.  No GPS and no plans to do so.
TCT: How has adoption of social media helped or challenged staff and management of courses? S:We are trying Facebook and Twitter this year.

Rounds played.
TCT: Do you have numbers available on rounds played last year? How do they compare to 08, 07? S: 2007 – 237,013, 2008 – 233,101, 2009 – 237,533. Pretty constant.
TCT: Is Minneapolis still No. 1 in per capita golfers in the U.S.? S: In rounds played, yes, according to the NGF.
TCT: How has the early start (or how to you envision it will) effect your bottom line this year? Help? S: Too early to tell but anytime you ring the register, it can’t hurt.

Strengths and challenges in Minneapolis.
TCT: I can only assume revenue was down in 08-09, and therefore golf courses’ budgets may have been trimmed. Is this correct? S: Average net income over the past 4 years is $847,000.00 for all golf course combined. 2009 net income was down $111,000 compared to average. The rain in October is what hurt us last year. No dramatic cuts have occurred in the past 4 years – we continue to spend about the same amount in maintenance as we have in the past to keep course conditions excellent.
TCT: Any reason why courses wouldn’t be kept in top shape this year? S: No.
TCT: Any redesigns or changes to courses we (the golfing public) should know about? S: New irrigation system at Columbia Golf Club this season and adding disc golf to Fort Snelling and Wirth Par 3 golf courses this year.

In Twin Cities Teebox’s humble opinion, the city’s courses are in good shape and offer options for just about every golfer. Hiawatha’s fairly new range and practice facilities are a personal favorite (best part is you can bring your own balls to chip, pitch and putt).

How about you T.C. golfing public? What’s your opinion on the state of the city courses? Anything you’d change if you could?

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