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Paynesville Press - March 20, 2002

Golf club delays plans for new clubhouse

By Michael Jacobson

A proposal to build a new clubhouse and improve the sprinkling system at Koronis Hills Golf Club has been put on hold. The club's board of directors announced this decision at a meeting with club members on Monday, March 11.

During the last month, the board members had conducted a telephone survey of the membership, reaching 55 percent of the 322 members, that is 177 members.

While 70 percent of the members surveyed indicated a willingness to have their membership costs increase by 25 percent to fund the project, and over 40 percent of those surveyed were willing to make pledges for the project, it still was not feasible financially.

One factor in the club's finances is that last summer was not ideal for golf, causing revenues for courses to be down across the state, said club professional Ron Rebrovich. At Koronis Hills, revenue in 2001 was down five percent from 2000.

The club still owes $80,000 from its expansion to 18 holes in 1997, said Rebrovich. The debt is down from $300,000 at one point.

The rough cost projections for the proposed clubhouse and irrigation project was $600,000, according to Rebrovich, $500,000 for the clubhouse and $100,000 for a new pump and the installation of new irrigation lines.

A new clubhouse would be more user friendly and would potentially provide the club with additional revenue, said Rebrovich.

The current club house dates back to the 1950s. The original clubhouse was just one story, now the ground floor, and was built in the middle '50s, according to Wes Nehring, who has golfed at Koronis Hills for over 60 years.

The original clubhouse is marked by the poles in the current pro shop, and the rest is an addition that was put on the front.

The upstairs was added in the late 1960s, said Nehring.

The current irrigation pump has a 13-hour run time, which means the sprinklers must run in the evening and in the morning, disrupting golfers trying to get a round in late or early in the day. This is less than ideal, said Rebrovich.

A new, larger pump would speed up the watering cycle and allow the club to put in new irrigation lines to places on the course that are not presently served.

Instead of proceeding with the project next fall, the club will look at ways to gain revenue in other ways and help make the project affordable in the future, according to Rebrovich.

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