Bolado Golf Course officials weigh proposal

Bolado Park Golf Course

The financially troubled Bolado Park Golf Course continues
operating as its board works on finalizing an agreement with its
landlord, the 33rd District Agriculture Association, a board member
confirmed. Bolado Park Golf Course, the oldest golf course in San
Benito County has faced continued deficits for about a decade and
might be forced to close permanently if financial trends don’t
reverse. Its leadership requested concessions on the $25,000 annual
lease
– paid quarterly – and received the proposal from the
district.
Hollister

The financially troubled Bolado Park Golf Course continues operating as its board works on finalizing an agreement with its landlord, the 33rd District Agriculture Association, a board member confirmed.

Bolado Park Golf Course, a member-driven club that allows public play on its 9-hole course, held its general membership meeting Wednesday. The oldest golf course in San Benito County – founded in 1948 after the property had been donated in perpetuity for recreational purposes – has faced continued deficits for about a decade and might be forced to close permanently if financial trends don’t reverse. Its leadership requested concessions on the $25,000 annual lease – paid quarterly – and received the proposal from the district.

While Bolado Park officials mull what member Phyllis Swallow called “one little glitch” in the proposal, the course has remained open after being forced to close for three days in late December.

After that closure, Bolado Park reopened under a temporary loan, expected at the time to get the course through Jan. 11 when the 33rd District agreed to the revised proposal.

“From the best of my knowledge, Bolado’s going to be up and running,” Swallow said.

She noted how two other members are ironing out that “one little glitch” and added, “I haven’t heard that’s resolved.”

The state district has stressed the reduced rent is temporary and the agreement has strict conditions. The proposal from the agricultural district, approved two weeks ago, called for the following:

– Reduce rent from $2,083 to $1,000 per month, to be paid monthly rather than quarterly and in advance, while requesting rent be paid from the past three months.

– The water bill must be paid, and the letter noted how it is a “misnomer” while pointing out Bolado owed for water dating back to August.

– Provide a suitable representative to attend the agricultural district’s board meetings, along with a monthly financial statement.

– By June, the club must have prepared a business plan and projected budget for the next year.

The state district’s letter went on to suggest ideas such as using volunteers, catering and rentals of the clubhouse, and renting or use of the house on the property. That proposal contended that revenue from the mobile home and house alone would nearly cover the club’s entire lease amount.

The agricultural district board’s current president, Ann Hall, has said the three-page letter to the golf club “pretty much spells it out.”

“We want to work with them, but they’ve got to be responsible for their own expenditures and they need to make some changes in the direction they’re going,” Hall said last week.

The agricultural district’s director, Kelley Ferreira, on Monday said he had not heard back on the proposal from the Bolado Park Golf Course.

And while the district appears willing to work with Bolado Park Golf Course and has noted its historic significance to the area, Ferreira also underlined the importance of revenue – and pointed out the governor’s proposal to eliminate the state’s $32 million in funding to 78 fairs in California.

Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this month called for the end of $32 million in annual payments to support the state’s county fairs, one of numerous program cuts and tax extensions the governor has floated to try to close a $25.4 billion shortfall over the next 18 months. County expos have received all of their state funds for this year.

Ferreira said the local fairgrounds’ budget includes 40 percent state funding, and he underscored how the facility hosts around 200 events a year, such as the fair, rodeo, dog shows and many others.

“We’re a $3 billion industry in California,” Ferreira said. “We generate $100 million in sales tax revenue.”

The bad news from the state compounds the difficulties at the golf course. As part of its closure and re-opening, the club’s former operations head, PGA General Manager Steve Janisch, departed from his position.

Club members have attributed the financial troubles to an aging membership, competition from other courses and decreasing demand for golf.

McClatchy-Tribune News Services contributed to this report.

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