Redesign upgrades golf club

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Benson Golf Club Board Chair Jerry Peterson, at left, gives the Benson City Council a tour Monday night of the improvements recently made to the exterior of the clubhouse and the grounds.

When it completed its regular agenda Monday evening, the Benson City Council drove to the city-owned golf club and course to see the recent improvements to the clubhouse and grounds.

While the city owns the facility, it is operated by the membership through an elected board of directors. As the population of the area has fallen over the past several decades, and as more golf courses have been built, it has been harder for the club to make ends meet.

Weather during the playing season and the health of the area’s economy can also have an impact on revenues earned and expenses. Unusually heavy rainfalls in past years have flooded the course while severe windstorms have downed numerous trees, causing it to close temporarily for short periods. A near record cold April this year led to little play that month.

Benson’s council sees the golf course as an economic development asset that draws people to the community, and as the owner of the facility, has ultimate responsibility for its upkeep and care.

A couple of years ago, the city council agreed to subsidize the course with an annual capital expenditure payment of $25,000 for equipment and an annual payment of $35,000 toward operations. At the same time, the club has made efforts to cut expenditures, increase membership, and raise funds from its members.

One of the significant financial challenges the membership has faced in recent years has been the upkeep of the clubhouse. With money tight, it has not been able to put funds into the replacement of peeling siding, worn out carpet, and broken windows. It didn’t have the money to address a sagging foundation, outdated bathrooms, and kitchen.

It also didn’t have the funds to take down and trim trees that had overgrown to the point of affecting play on the course.

However, over the past couple years, a dedicated effort by the membership to address the issue with the clubhouse and course, helped by the funds from the city has turned around conditions at both the clubhouse and course.

Most visible to those driving by the clubhouse now will be the new siding and new, larger windows installed around the building. New doors were installed and the rotting sill plate on the south foundation replaced. On the front of the clubhouse, a lower stone wall has been added to match the stone wall along the highway....

 

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Pictured: Benson Golf Club Board Chair Jerry Peterson, at left, gives the Benson City Council a tour Monday night of the improvements recently made to the exterior of the clubhouse and the grounds.

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