A Report to the Membership from Big Fish Golf
Submitted by Will LaPointe
Big Fish General Manager
Our June numbers have outperformed last June (2022). Our revenues, rounds played, Memberships, have all been ahead of last year’s numbers across the board. We are currently on track for another record year. YTD are a little behind as this is the first season we staffed through the entire offseason, as well as taking on additional expenses installing the Golf Zon simulator, renovations throughout the property, as well as staffing our food operations in preparation of offering additional menu items like Pizza and such. Keep in mind we still have an outstanding $7k balance of tourney dues and cart fees, from the LCO Scholarship tourney, which will bring our “Greens Fees” and “Cart Rental” ahead of last June.
We currently have 66 employees, with 40 of those employees being Tribal Members, Descendants, or Tribal affiliated.
We currently have 244 members, twenty three more members than last year (221) and 193 more members than when I arrived in May of last year (51). Keep in mind, last year, we did 23,000 rounds, the most ever (which 75% were by non-members), and we are on pace to surpass those numbers again this year. We have a chance to take over the top spot locally, and are poised to do so. We are most certainly the premier golf destination in the Northland!
The course itself is in the best shape it has ever been in. Our greens damage from the recent hail storm, was a blessing in disguise. As a result of this storm, we were forced to roll the greens, punch/aerate, roll again. As a result of this Spring Aeration, the greens are immaculate. The course is at a stage where we can now start “fine tuning” areas. From letting the originally designed Fescue grass grow, to reshaping bunkers and getting them back looking how it was originally intended. In golf course years, this course is still only a teenager (18 years old), with its best years yet to come.
Our newly purchased Radio-controlled irrigation watering system is now fully operational, and we will no longer have to worry about lightning strikes affecting our watering cycle. Our irrigation systems is watering at 100% Capacity.
There are no major issues to report other than our main well pump kept tripping, and shutting off. This pump fills our main reservoir along hole #7. We had Froemel well come take a look, and he in turn brought in an electrician from Spooner to assist. The conclusion they came to was that the control panel was not set at a high enough amperage, thus tripping the motor. They increased Amps in each phase of the 3 phase control panel, and that seemed to fix the problem. They will come back in a week or so to retest the system, and make sure that amperage is sufficient. We will continue to keep an eye on this as well, as the pump in question is 19 years old, and was the originally installed pump back in 2003 by Butterfield Well Drilling.
We also re-shingled the pump house on Hole 6.
We have ordered new sprinkler head covers, which will show “yardage to hole”. Each sprinkler head was lasered to the center of each green. This goes a long way in enhancing the player experience as those yardages are critical.
We have not received word on the group claim for the Hail Storm although we did get our roof estimated, and submitted.
We have been using a “growth regulator” fertilizer, as a way to limit growth on the fairways, as well as the first cut of rough. This allows for us to only have to mow once per week, versus 3 times per week. This is a huge savings in time and allows us to delegate those employees to other areas. The fairways and tee boxes still remain in the best condition ever.
Number one of the “To do” list is to reshape our bunkers, replace with beautiful white sands. We will edge all the bunkers, weed, remove gravel, and replace all bunker sand. We will accomplish this in phases, starting with the green side bunkers first, then the fairway, and secondary bunkers, then to the waste areas like on the left of Hole #7. Our new rough mower is working great!
We are in the process of signing a new lease agreement for the 80 new carts from Yamaha, 4 new Utility Carts, and 2 new Beverage Carts. To date, we have received the Utility, Beverage, and 30 of the 80 new carts. The other 50 remaining carts are on order. However, a clear delivery date is not yet certain. Our existing/old lease holder has allowed us to keep 56 carts, from the old lease, until our new carts arrive.
The term of the new lease is 30 payments over five years, in the amount of $1578.54 (May thru Oct). The lease will run from July 2022, to June 2027.
Our pro shop is doing extremely well over years past. We made the swtich this year from Callaway, to Taylormade, as far as a club vendor. We still use other smaller vendors, like Srixon and Cleveland too. Taylormade has been amazing and we are currently one of the top performers in sales throughout the Midwest as a TM Vendor. The technology is second to none and continues to be sought after.
We also just implemented a credit card policy for anyone that books online or at the course. One of the trends we have been seeing is “no shows”. This not only takes revenues from the course, but prohibits us from booking another tee time for that slot. Now, when customers reserve a tee time, they will be required to use a credit card to secure it. This way, we can charge on our end, if there is a no show, or 24 hour advanced notice is not given. This policy is at our discretion.
Food & Beverage
Both of these departments have been consistently outperforming last year’s numbers. Our food numbers finally hit the breakeven point in late May, as we had to invest a lot of time and money into perfecting our Pizza recipe. Now we can expect to maximize our ROI on all the food sales. We are proud to report our menu is dialed in and firing on all cylinders. The two new pizza ovens are game changers. We recently consolidated our menus and it is going over very well. We purchased a 2011 Ford Fusion Flex vehicle for food deliveries. This vehicle was $7771 and will be registered with LCO PD. It’s working well for our deliveries, which is a huge hit among the local community.
Our beverage sales are also trending upward. This area is one of our most profitable revenue streams. With the addition of top shelf drinks, like Tito’s and Crown Apple, and local vendors like “Angry Minnow”, as well a wide selection of Cigars, our sales continue to do very well. Having a beverage cart(s) on the course daily will continue to pad those numbers too.
As you know, we have completed several renovations. Our first and major project, was installing the GolfZon Simulator in place of our liquor storage room. From there, we enhanced the bar area, including renaming the bar area to “Dye Hards”. We also created a new storage area, as well as an additional storage room externally. We also added windows to “Dye Hards,” created a reception desk for Takeout orders, as well as creating a more appealing bar atmosphere overall. We completely renovated our breakroom into a new Pizza Kitchen. We also completely overhauled our bathrooms in the pro shop. Our last step of that phase is to add turbo flush, commercial toilets to all facilities, up until now, we had had basic residential grade toilets which have been giving us issues.
We also built a new Caddy Shack, which will go a long way in expediting the outside services duties, like washing carts, turning them over quickly so they are ready for re-use.
We have new signage being manufactured for above “Dye Hards” as well as when guests are leaving the course “Thank you for playing Big Fish”. Also we will construct two new signs that will hang on the highway sign and will read Mulligans and Dye Hards.