Evesham approves engineering studies on land for potential township-owned miniature golf course

Officials recently discussed a five-year financial projection for the course and other details.

It was another “fore”-ward step last week for Evesham Township’s dreams of owning and operating its own miniature golf course.

Evesham Township Council used a portion of its meeting to approve a contract for engineering studies for a potential miniature golf course to be located on lands in front of the Gibson House Community Center, next to the municipal-owned-and-managed Indian Spring Country Club and golf course.

Bob Hennefer, director of golf, recreation and open space for the township, presented on the idea in detail at last week’s meeting.

Should the course become a reality, it would include 18 holes and measure about 19,000 square feet.

While Hennefer and other officials originally envisioned the course’s location directly along East Main Street/Tuckerton Road and adjacent to the Indian Spring driving range, Hennefer now said plans have moved the potential course inward and away from the road to a location between the parking lots for the driving range and community center.

“Safety concerns, road concerns, just available space, wetlands concerns — we moved it inwards,” Hennefer said.

For his presentation, Hennefer said he mainly wanted to outline a five-year financial projection for the project and give a concept of the course.

Through the presentation, Hennefer showed the number of rounds of golf he predicted for each year at the potential course from 2019 through 2023, along with daytime revenues, nighttime revenues and concession revenues, along with the expected annual expenses for operating the course in a given year.

Hennefer said his revenue calculations were also based on an expectation of about 15 percent course capacity usage during the day and 35 percent capacity usage at night for a period of 120 days per year, with hours of operation from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Hennefer also noted that using 120 days of operation per year was a “very conservative” figure, as the Indian Spring driving range is open anywhere from 270 to 320 days a year, depending on the weather.

For prices, Hennefer said a miniature golf course consultant and a vendor he spoke to suggested a price range of somewhere around $8 during the day and $10 at night.

Hennefer’s overall projections are as follows:

· For 2019, the course would see 20,000 rounds of golf, with total revenues (rounds and concessions) at $166,080. With projected expenses at $87,240, Hennefer projected $78,840 in net revenues.

· For 2020, the course would see 28,320 rounds of golf, with total revenues (rounds and concessions) at $320,160. With projected expenses at $95,969, Hennefer projected $224,191 in net revenues.

· For 2021, the course would see 35,000 rounds of golf, with total revenues (rounds and concessions) at $326,563. With projected expenses at $97,888, Hennefer projected $228,675 in net revenues.

· For 2022, the course would see 35,700 rounds of golf, with total revenues (rounds and concessions) at $333,094. With projected expenses at $99,846, Hennefer projected $233,649 in net revenues.

· For 2023, the course would see 36,414 rounds of golf, with total revenues (rounds and concessions) at $339,756. With projected expenses at $136,843, Hennefer projected $202,913 in net revenues.

However, Hennefer noted his projections were calculated without factoring in any debt service from the cost of the course.

To that point, Hennefer also showcased projections on course profitability depending on different bonding options the township might use.

With a five-year bond, Hennefer expects about $162,599 in debt service per year. With a 10-year bond, Hennefer expects $89,048 in debt service per year.

With a 15-year bond, Hennefer expects $66,282 in debt service per year.

Speaking to other costs, Hennefer said that since the course would be near the Indian Spring driving range and pro shop, the current building, with some modifications, could also be used for miniature golf purposes.

“The infrastructure is already there,” Hennefer said. “Additional expenses are pretty limited — we did budget for additional staffing, some landscaping, general repairs, utilities, maintenance, cleaning and irrigation supplies.”

Hennefer also noted that expenses jump up in year five (2023) of his projections because vendors working with the township suggest re-carpeting every five years.

Overall, Hennefer said he expected construction of the course to cost about $365,000 for vendor supplies and $356,500 in township supplies, with a total course construction cost of $721,500.

Those figures also include a 15 percent project cost for unforeseen contingency needs.

Altogether, Hennefer projects a three to five year return on investment for the project.