Financial update on Bootleg Gap presented to Kimberley Council

The course was only able to open fully on July 17

An aerial view of Bootleg Gap Golf Course in Kimberley. Buletin file

It was a very unusual year for Kimberley’s Bootleg Gap Golf Course, a course which is still city-owned though it has been up for sale as the city divests of non-essential assets.

READ: City of Kimberley to sell Bootleg Gap Golf Course and Riverside Campground

READ: City of Kimberley answers questions about asset sales

The course was unable to open until July 17 this year, due to severe winter damage on the greens.

Trevor Simkins from Bootleg Gap zoomed in to Kimberley City Council on Monday evening to provide a look at where the golf course stands financially with still a month left in the season.

The answer is that it’s not in too bad shape, all in all.

Total revenues, including green fees, cart rentals, retail profit, the restaurant and more are $966,540. At year end in 2019, total revenues were $1,823,398, so this reflects the half year of operation lost.

There were expenditure savings of almost $200,000, the savings mainly found in wages.

This means the course is looking at an operating deficit of $446,836. Last year the course had an operating surplus of $103, 569.

However, it’s not all bad news. Simkins says since the course opened in July, visits are up, although revenue is down a bit because the course is offering discounted rates because of the damage. The restaurant, he says, is doing well. It’s large enough, that even with 50 per cent capacity, as mandated by provincial protocols during COVID, it can still seat a substantial number of people, inside and out.

“Considering we had a course with no grass on it, and a pandemic, and opened late, it’s a decent year,” he said.

He also said there would be some subsidy funding available.

Simkins also explained to Council exactly what went wrong with the course.

He said that on November 18, 2019 ice formed on the greens and there was only an inch of snow on the ground, not enough to protect the grass from ice. Then rain was expected, so the greens were cleared of snow, hoping the water would run off. But the rain turned out to be freezing rain.

Then in late December there was a foot of snow overnight, which caused more damage to fairways and greens. It was hoped that warmer weather toward the end of February would help, but instead there was an extended cold snap.

“No matter what we did, we were in trouble,” he said.

An overseeding of the course was begun but then a long, cool spring delayed germination of the new seed. Then an extended heat wave in the summer slowed it down more.

The good news? The bent grass finally seems to be coming in now.

“Right now we have 14 good greens and four average,” Simkins said. “The rec nine is coming along a bit slower.”

Could it happen again? Yes, he says, although this was pretty much a 50 year event as far as a series of weather phenomena are concerned.

“The whole town was a skating rink,” he said.

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