Change eyed at course


Recorder News Staff

The city of Amsterdam Golf Commission is plugging away at their plans for a possible structural change at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course in the coming year.

If the changes were to occur, it would involve bringing a general manager in to manage the three main aspects of the course: the pro shop, concessionaire, and grounds.

Both the current golf pro and concessionaire contracts end come Nov. 1.

But before discussion really got started at the Golf Commission's meeting Wednesday, Sandy Roginski, a city resident and former member of the commission, took the podium for public comment and told the group he believes more of the golfing community should be involved in the process.

"I think the golfers should be informed," he said. "This isn't broken. I don't know why we need to make these changes."

He told the commission that he thought the process was closed, leaving the public no chance of knowing what's happening.

"Somebody has to open up."

Roginski added, too, that any more changes to the golf rates could be detrimental to membership.

"I hope you just wake up and ask the golfers what's going to happen."

Following Roginski's remarks, new commission chair Mike Bucciferro told Roginski that he sympathizes.

"I know there's a lot going on," he said. "Hopefully, in the next two or three months, we will see some things come out, hopefully, for the better."

Following the meeting, Bucciferro said that the reason not a lot of information is out there is because it is still a work in progress.

"We're struggling right now to really understand how this structure itself wants to be," he explained. "Until the commission understands how at least we think the structure can go forward, it's difficult to ask people."

Though, he said, he has talked to some members.

"We, as the commission, have a good understanding of what the golfers would like to be."

Right now, the process needs to be discussed with Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis and Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane, Bucciferro said, to see whether an Request for Proposals or job description would be most appropriate to put out for the general manager position, if indeed it were to happen.

In the possible new structure, the course could see a change in carts. Currently, golf pro Joe Merendo takes the revenue from the carts, Bucciferro explained, but if the change were to happen that revenue could go to the course.

During the meeting, Bucciferro brought up that he was contacted by two companies looking to have Amsterdam Muni try out one of their carts for the season. But commission members decided against it and said they would head to other courses to try them out.

Aside from talk on the unknowns for next season, the commission also used Wednesday's meeting to assess where they are as the current 2012-13 fiscal year comes to a close and what they want to do to get more golfers to the course.

As of right now, Bucciferro said, the course is a little short on revenue -- about $158,000 -- with about a month-and-a-half left to close the gap. Bucciferro said they will likely get close.

Starting two weeks later than last year due to the weather didn't necessarily help, said commission member Michele Russo.

Jim Derrick, maintenance supervisor for the course, told the commission that if the course keeps going like it is now, at $5,000 a day, it will be a good thing.

Currently, according to a revenue update provided to the Recorder from Bucciferro, the course has 27 junior members, but the end of season result last year was around 48 junior golfers. Junior memberships should increase in the coming weeks, Bucciferro added, which would help get the course closer to filling that $158,000 gap.

The focus for the coming weeks will be on the juniors, getting more word out about the junior rates and making sure the 18- to 23-year-olds know that the course's referral program applies to them, just as it does to the regular members.

The commission is hoping that more communication about the junior memberships, coupled with Merendo's clinic, and Merendo's $500 donations he gave to the local high school golf programs, will help spread the word.