June 19, 2018
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Bangor council panel expresses little interest in leasing golf course

Michael C. York | BDN
Michael C. York | BDN
Bangor's Jamie Brooker has the sand flying out of a bunker on the ninth hole during the Bangor Golf Classic in August 2011 at Bangor Municipal Golf Course.
By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Three months after launching a study of the pros and cons of privatizing the city’s 27-hole golf course, members of a City Council committee who discussed the matter last week appeared to have little interest in actually taking that step.

For starters, Bangor Municipal Golf Course is a money maker, last year generating nearly $65,000 in revenues for the city.

The facility also plays a role in bringing golfers from throughout the region to play or compete in one of the many tournaments held there.

During a meeting Wednesday with members of the City Council’s business and economic development committee, Parks and Recreation Department Director Tracy Willette provided a financial update from the golf course, a recap of a survey of contracts for golf professionals at other facilities in the region and an overview of recent marketing efforts.

Bangor Muni Golf Professional Brian Enman and Assistant Golf Professional Rob Jarvis also were on hand for the briefing.

The contract survey indicated that Enman’s duties are consistent with his counterparts at other regional courses, Willette said. The financial update indicated that the course is holding its own and in most years takes in more money than it spends. The only exception was in 2009, when Bangor Muni acquired land on New York Street, he said.

Enman recently took councilors on tours of the facility, which he noted is in “great shape. In the last few years, we’ve improved it quite a bit.”

“Overall, I think we are doing very, very good out there and something that we can be proud of as far as the city of Bangor is concerned,” he said.

Jarvis is seeking PGA certification as part of the steps the golf course management team are taking to strengthen Bangor Muni’s financial position, Willette said. As part of that process, Jarvis developed a document for the general management of the golf course.

“Generally, what it’s going to be is a blueprint and business plan for us going forward at the golf course,” Willette said.

Jarvis noted that golf course marketing is a tricky endeavor.

“Our target market is 18-year-old boys to 70-year-old women,” he said. “It’s just a very large market. I feel like we’re starting to narrow that down better. We don’t have an enormous budget, but we’re using it more effectively.”

In addition to traditional radio, television and print spots, Bangor Muni has been able to get access to lower-cost coverage on Time Warner’s Golf Channel, Jarvis said.

The golf course also is taking the plunge into social media. It created a FaceBook page and more recently added Twitter to its marketing arsenal.

In another step toward improvement, the golf course has received certification in environmental planning from the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses.

The program, administered by Audubon International, aims to help landowners preserve and enhance the environmental quality of their property.

Bangor Muni’s plan was developed by Jarvis.

By joining and participating in the Audubon program, Bangor Muni will be involved in projects that enhance habitat for wildlife and preserve natural resources for the benefit of the local community, according to Willette.

Projects may include placing nesting boxes for cavity-nesting birds such as bluebirds and swallows, using integrated pest management techniques, conserving water and maintaining food and cover for wildlife.

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