Golf course enters summer with budget in ‘good shape’

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AGAWAM — Councilors had to transfer $77,000 to the Agawam Municipal Golf Course budget this month, but it’s a healthy sign, the golf course superintendent said last week.

“The golf course is in great condition for FY23 and it was a successful year for FY22,” said Tom DiRico.

The effects of COVID-19 meant the course did less business than usual in FY21, the 12-month period that began July 1, 2020. Since the course’s annual budget golf course is based on the previous year’s revenue, there is not enough money to cover the expenses for the last three months of fiscal year 22, because the use of the golf course, the pro shop, snack stand and banquet hall on the Feeding Hills property rebounded.

The transfer authorized by the city council on April 4 was from the golf course’s own retained earnings account – money earned from the golf course’s operations in previous years.

“The money goes to hiring more for maintenance, food and beverage, an increase in pro shop products, and the golf course recently purchased a new sprayer,” DiRico said.

He said the golf course, which for several years before DiRico’s 2018 takeover was a loss-making business that periodically had to dip into taxpayers’ money to pay its bills, is now on solid financial footing.

Before voting 10-0 to approve the transfer, councilors applauded DiRico’s management of the golf course.

“They need more money because they’ve done so well,” Council Chairman Christopher Johnson said. “He really turned the corner on the course. It was only a few years ago that the golf course had no retained earnings.

DiRico said the turnaround over the past five years includes a renewed focus on marketing and frequent email contact with players. This awareness has led to an increase in membership, he said.

“Our prices are competitive with other golf courses around us,” said DiRico, an Agawam resident who already had more than 20 years of golf course management experience before taking his current job.

Although the coronavirus state of emergency beginning in the spring of 2020 initially shut down golf operations — like most other Massachusetts recreation businesses — the sport was quick to recover, DiRico said.

“It’s one of the areas where people felt safe [in], because it’s on the outside,” DiRico said. “The pandemic has brought a number of new people into the game. We continue to benefit from what the pandemic has given us. »

The Agawam Municipal Golf Course at 128 Southwick St., Feeding Hills is open for the 2022 season. For more information, visit agawamgolfcourse.com.

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