Rhinelander's Golf Course Advisory Committee heard a first draft of a consultant's analysis of the financially-troubled Northwood Golf Club.
A recent audit showed the municipal course owed Rhinelander more than $1 million.
Green Golf Partners began a city-authorized study in mid-August and ended in October. CEO Matt McIntee says part of what the course is facing is a changing golf environment. He says the golf industry was robust until 2007, but many courses were built and demographics are changing, so each course is getting fewer customers. He said the Rhinelander course is among the finest municipal courses in the nation, Golf Digest rating it four-and-a-half stars.
He says this area though is a tough place to compete...
"....it is, without question, one of the finer municipal golf courses in the United States. The challenge is it is built where it is built. Rhinelander, Wisconsin. I love Rhinelander The surrounding demographics are not rich. You do not have 500,000 people and 40,000 golfers, if you applied the industry average for Wisconsin in terms of participation, within a 20 miles radius, you're lucky if you have 3,800 golfers..."
Alderperson Alex Young says the course is not going to make money, even if it could make more money. He says there are upcoming capital expenditures that factor in...
"...we're not going to be able to run it as a city golf course and turn a profit. If it's going to exist as a city golf course, it's going to have to be subsidized in some fashion. We're going to have to face that choice, whether or not we're going to subsidize the golf course as a city operation or look at a lease or a sale...."
The report is a draft. McIntee says more input is needed by the public before a final draft is made, likely in several weeks.