The business of golf – More on the benefits of a Par 3 Executive Course for Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course

By Alan Prescott
February 3, 2021

“I don’t know of any Executive (Par-3) golf course that is NOT very profitable.”

It seems that there is more to discuss when it comes to the Re-Development of Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course. And, that’s a good thing. In presenting these articles, my ideas and proposals are directed to do good things for the golf course. The primary purposes are to make the golf course operation profitable as soon as possible, to improve the overall condition of the golf course, and to expand the number of positive experiences that those who use the facility can enjoy. All of this comes with keeping the facilities affordable for the residents and to making the Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course a destination for visitors to Amelia Island.

It is especially important for me to expound on the development of a Par 3 (Executive) Golf Course at your facility. Looking at my area in Upstate New York, there are several Par 3 golf courses within a 50-mile radius, all of which are very profitable. Some have golf practice ranges attached to them and others are free-standing 18-hole Executive courses. Over the past 30 years, those golf courses have been extremely profitable. In fact, I don’t know of any Executive (Par-3) golf course that is NOT very profitable.

Fernandina Beach is very fortunate in that you already have a 9-hole course that can be developed further. When you consider that other cities, that have to purchase the land, etc., you are far ahead of them. With the proper management from the start, expenses can be lower and development can be done correctly. There are a lot of discussions ahead before proceeding accordingly. Let there be no doubt about a Par-3 Executive Golf Course. The million-dollar cost number that I have heard being thrown around may not be an accurate one. In spite of this number, the audience that you will attract will rival the revenues of the regulation golf course. I also heard, at last evening’s meeting, that the number of rounds played last year were 46,000 in number. The addition of an Executive golf course will increase the number of rounds of the regular golf course to at least 50,000 rounds. The short course will generate another income stream from the first year and should pay for itself within 12-24 months after completion.

So, this is what to expect. Through proper development, the new short course will attract both local residents and visitors to your facility. There are many people who want to learn to play golf. There are others, who don’t want to play on a regulation golf course because they’re not adept at playing golf. There are others who don’t have the time to play a round of golf on a regulation golf course because they don’t have enough time. There are people who want to form golf leagues on a short course.

The golf course professional will benefit from extra golf equipment sales and the golf range will see more activity. On rainy days, the golf lessons can be offered inside the Top Tracer facility for additional revenue. In sum, a Par-3 Executive Golf Course is a WIN, WIN, WIN developmental opportunity that will most probably increase your revenue between 60% and 100% in a very short time. AND, the increased costs of maintaining the new short course will be proportionally minimal in relation to the net increase in revenue.

Next article: Finally, a discussion of the Ultimate Golf Testing Center.

As always, I am Alan Prescott and reachable by email at [email protected].

Be safe

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DAVID LOTT(@dave-l)
3 years ago

The idea of converting the North 9 course to a 18-hole Par 3 course has been talked about for decades and suggested by other course designers. The undeveloped golf course property on the north end was designated to serve as the additional property needed to “fit in” all 18 holes. I never saw any estimates of what it would cost to develop such a course since the construction of new tee boxes and a number of greens would be required. There was also the question of whether such a design would impact the space of the current driving range. It would be interesting to see a detailed conversion plan with reasonable financials as like the TopTracer plan, becoming profitable in year 1 seems to be a very lofty goal.

One question that I haven’t seen addressed is how many rounds (9 holes being a round) can an 18-hole golf course reasonably support given seasonality usage and still allow for proper maintenance?