Two nights ago, London Grove Township in Chester
County, the sixth and latest owner of Inniscrone Golf
Course, approved a five-year plan for the course, the first solo design in the
U.S. by Malvern-based architect Gil Hanse.
The plan, which comes on the heels of a contention change in the
management at Inniscrone,
calls for an "infusion of capital" to upgrade in the course, equipment, the
clubhouse and the parking lot, to ensure that the facility does not become a
burden to township taxpayers.
As the Executive Summary of the plan notes, one
telling sign of the flagging golf economy is that Inniscrone has gone from an $11
million property when it opened in 1999 to a $750,000 course in 2009, when the
township purchased it.
Below is the first part of the Executive Summary:
Completed in 1999, the 18 hole golf course was
intended to be the focal point of a large residential development called Inniscrone. The development plan also included the
Township’s first wastewater treatment facility. Upon its completion, ownership
of the course was secured by an $11 million mortgage. Since then, the course
has witnessed a series of owners, with the Township becoming the sixth owner in
its 10 years of existence in 2009. During this 10 year period the market value of
the course has gone from in excess of $11 million, value of mortgage at time of
completion, to $750 thousand paid by the Township for the 283 acre golf course.
Key points of this plan:
township should continue to own and operate this property as a golf course
¥ Inniscrone has not had a significant investment since it
was opened in 1999
Township needs to invest additional monies to:
Rebuild the infrastructure of the property
Modify the course to increase revenue and reduce maintenance costs
Invest in newer, state of the art equipment and consider auctioning off most of
the existing, nonfunctioning
equipment listed as an addendum to this report that has no value to the operation.
¥ It is
clear that without an infusion of capital in the near term the golf course
cannot continue to operate without
placing a financial burden to the taxpayers of LGT.
recommend a second BOS member join the GCAC and also be active in attending the
monthly financial meetings with the operator.
GCAC is recommending that the current Management Company model remain in place
for 2012 and that the model be reevaluated for its efficiency by September of
2012; if the Management Option is still underperforming then serious
consideration should be given to the lease option model.
GCAC will review and process all the information that has been presented to the
Committee from the "Jackson Report", input from the architect of the course,
Gil Hanse and recommendations from the USGA. The goal
will be to specify what priority improvements should be made to the course for
as little cost as possible, both now and for future maintenance requirements.
The best approach is to try and achieve "best bang for buck" regarding
modifications to the course.
Township will have an opportunity to be revenue
neutral, and perhaps even realize additional monies, by continuing this
property as a golf course. Turning this golf course into a park will only guarantee
a loss of over $125,000 per year as the bond service will still require payment
in the amount of approximately $80,000 a year plus additional maintenance at a
minimum of $25,000 per year as well.
the time of purchase in 2009 the golf course was and still is in "playable"
condition due to on-going daily maintenance of the course. Since the initial
construction of the course the major maintenance/capital improvements that are
required of any golf course have not occurred. The primary reason for the lack
of major maintenance/capital improvements can be attributed to the number of
previous owners, five prior to the Townships acquisition, within a 10 year
period. Needless to say the Township must be willing to make significant
investments if they are to meet the objective of providing a revenue stream.
These investments should address rebuilding course infrastructure along with
modifications to the course to provide for increase revenue and profitability.
is the full Five Year Plan