CLAYTON — City council authorized a rental agreement not to exceed $24,000 for two self-contained golf simulators from Ace Indoor Golf for use at Meadowbrook at Clayton.
The city looked into a possible rental agreement late last year but decided to hold off until this year for consideration.
According to City Manager Rick Rose the city sent out some email inquiries to see if city residents are interested in using an indoor golf simulator during the winter months and received positive feedback from 75 respondents.
“It is another means to help grow revenue that we don’t have otherwise,” Rose said. “There probably isn’t a tremendous amount of revenue to be gained out of it the first year, but we do believe we can more than break even. There is always a risk in any business venture; however there are some other places around that are starting to do the same thing, but nothing close.”
NCR Country Club has indoor simulators as well as another public course south of town.
The agreement is a lease, but could become a lease to own. If the venture works well Rose has been negotiating a lease to own agreement with Ace Indoor Golf, but he said the issue has become more complicated. The lease agreement would be for a 16 week time period but those units are at least eight years old. Ace Indoor Golf thought it would be better if the city leased to own newer units but would have to order them. Before ordering the newer units the company would like a solid commitment from the city that they would actually lease to own the units.
Rose will be visiting two different sites to look at different simulators. He asked city council to make the lease to own option open because the vendor advised that when these units are leased every winter they go quickly and the company will only hold them for a certain time period before leasing them to another interested party.
“The advantage to the lease to own is we are not stuck with anything if it really isn’t successful,” Rose said. “For the $24,000 to lease the older units there is a possibility that for $70,000 to $80,000 we could own two new units out of a capital expenditure and you would see all of the revenue coming in.”
The units could also be used to simulate other sports such as soccer and baseball to assist local teams.
“I think we are safe to lease to own but it could be financially better for us to actually purchase our own simulators,” Rose noted. “If that would happen it would be a separate proposal and I would not sign a contract to lease to own. In the meantime if we are pushed and it appears it is still in our best interest I would like the authority to sign this contract for a lease to own, and if it doesn’t appear the best option, I would like to bring it back to council to propose the second option.”
Mayor Mike Stevens said he liked the idea.
Rose said some site prep work would have to be done before the simulators are installed. Details on how to staff the units is also being worked out that could reduce the cost by half by using the Heritage Catering staff at Meadowbrook. This would enable the catering service to sell beer and food to those using the simulators.
“If we set it up and do it, we are shooting for a November 5 start date for a league and the intent is to try to run leagues almost every night of the week and some during the day while having the simulators open to the public on weekends,” Rose stated. “It will still take some building and some work, but it also has the potential for food and beverage sales as well and to keep the place open during the winter. When we are talking about additional revenue sources and how to support those, there are two areas that are golf related that we can do. One is the simulators and the other is some improvements to the driving range that could improve to increase revenue from the driving range that we don’t currently get. We are kind of looking at both of those and bite them off a step at a time.”
A marketing plan is in place and could be developed further to attract interested parties to utilize the simulators.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind