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Shawn Pickens

After municipally-owned Juniper Hill Golf Course lost $350,000 in 2019, the City of Frankfort is looking for ways to close the gap.

And golfers in Frankfort are being asked for their opinions on how that can be done.

“We’re looking at different ways,” Shawn Pickens, director of Frankfort Parks, Recreation & Historic Sites, told golfers during a public meeting last week at the golf course. “Fees is one of them but we’re also looking to see if there’s a different operation, maintenance operation, day-to-day stuff, we can look at closing the gap that way as well. We’re looking at other options and not just an increase in fees.”

The plan is to gain $50,000 in revenue in the next year or two.

“That’s our goal,” Pickens told The State Journal. “It’s not necessarily a hard number we’re absolutely held to, but it’s where we’re trying to get to.”

Surveys were available to the public at the meeting, and they will be live until at least Nov. 22 or when the city commission votes on plans for the golf course.

“They could decide in their November meeting, or they may pass until they meet in December, and that’s perfectly fine,” Pickens said. “We typically try to get this nailed down by November because people like to buy passes as Christmas gifts.”

Surveys are available at www.frankfortparksandrec.com, on the main page. Those interested can email info@frankfortparksandrec.com and a link can be emailed to them, or hard copies are available at the Juniper Hill Golf Course or the Parks Office, also located at Juniper Hill Park.

Juniper Hill golf pro Kirk Schooley said about 22,000 to 23,000 rounds of golf have been played at the course this year.

“Last year was such a crazy year,” he said at the meeting last week. “One thing I know from feedback Shawn has gotten is that last year when we went to 15-minute tee times we turned down a lot of golfers.

“This year, I do think our outings have started to come back this fall, so things are starting to feel a little more normal, plus I think we’ve had a lot of new golfers. I’m feeling pretty optimistic for next year. We’ve got a pretty good base starting, hopefully," Schooley added.

As a rule, golf was kind of fading the last decade. It was in a little bit of a lull for everyone. I think we went with that also. It seems there’s some renewed interest now.”

Among the items mentioned at the meeting were charging higher fees for non-Franklin County residents and going to an online system for tee times.

One problem the course has is turning people away because there are no tee times available and then people not showing up for their scheduled tee times.

“That adds up over time,” Pickens said.

Another issue is rising costs for seed and other supplies, and one option being considered for course expenses is to look at buying off state contracts to save money. Picken said some items are already purchased off master agreements.

“It’s not just golf courses,” Pickens said. “Nearly everything has become more expensive in the last year.

“I don’t expect in the first year, the second year to really see a whole of change. I think eventually the economy will even out and if we raise rates a little bit, it’ll take a year or two to see a big difference.”

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