Making Money At Guilford Golf Course
Towns and cities need to be more creative than ever these days when thinking of potential new revenue streams. Sometimes it’s luring new business to town – but sometimes it’s taking better advantage of an old one.
The Guilford Lakes Golf Course has always been a popular spot for golfers on the shoreline. More than 13,000 golfers used it last year. One of the main attractions is its more affordable than the higher-end country club golf courses.
But that’s the problem. Currently it doesn’t make money for the town – which owns the course. In fact, it actually runs a little deficit. This year, in an effort to turn that around, The Guilford Lakes Golf Course Commission recently hired PGA Golf Professional Mike Papp.
Papp, an independent contractor and Master Golf Teaching Professional, will be available to give lessons to kids and adults. He will be working with Parks and Recreation Director Rick Maynard to create a Junior Program.
It’s that Junior Program that town officials are hoping may turn the golf course from a program that runs in the red into one that makes money for the town.
In his career Papp ran many junior programs, which had participation rates of 85-100 kids. He would put together a year-end tournament and hand out trophies and awards to all the kids. Mike was also voted Best Teacher in a Connecticut five years in a row by Golf Magazine from 1998-2002.
“That’s how you keep people coming back to the course,” said Papp. “You teach the learners and turn them into paying customers.”
Future plans for course back to top
Papp also plans to create a teaching area in the back of the course and is planning on developing a co-relationship with area driving ranges. He said he is also looking to create a ladies program and build an after work league.
Papp also plans to manage a fully stocked golf shop, with clothing, and accessories. His plans for clubhouse improvements, which include grab and go food from the Little Store, will also be selling items from the grill on Mondays and Saturdays and the addition of tables, chairs and a second television so players can relax before or after their game.
“I am very excited about being a head pro again and moving here from New Milford,” said Papp. “Guilford is a beautiful town and I hope to do great things for the course.”
Papp’s services have been retained for six months from April 1st through September 30th. According to First Selectman Joseph Mazza, having Papp serving as the golf shop attendant, among his many other duties will eliminate the need for one of the current attendants.
“We are very excited to have a pro of Mike’s caliber to teach the kids how to play golf and to help us market this beautiful course,” said Golf Course Commission Chair Chris Hodgson. Papp is being paid $25,000 and will from April 1-November 15th.