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Continued: Golfers big and small rally around 'The Fred'

  • Article by: MARY JANE SMETANKA , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 11, 2014 - 10:32 AM

At the standing-room-only meeting in January, City Manager Neal said that if the city does nothing, by the end of 2020 the city’s golf fund will be $881,000 in the red, even if the city continues to subsidize golf.

“We would have no way to pay for golf course improvements,” Neal said.

The golf plan calls for making Braemar more attractive to golfers by reinvesting in the original 18 holes, which are 50 years old, renovating the driving range and improving the executive course.

“We’d like to make it more user friendly for people of all ages and abilities,” Kattreh said. “We want to bring the fun back to our course.”

The Clunie nine has been criticized for being too difficult, she said, “and we want to take a hard look at that. It may be a matter of changing tee placements in some places.”

Hoping to please all

Kattreh admitted that satisfying all users is a challenge. But at a time when golf courses are competing for a shrinking number of players, she said, Braemar needs to keep its current players and attract new ones.

The plan calls for altering golf fees to reward frequent players, outsourcing restaurant operations and a renewed focus on customer service. Kattreh said the city would spend about $9,500 to hire a consultant to help with hiring, training and supervision of part-time staff through an entire season.

The city hired such a firm to help with liquor store operations. Kattreh said the consultants use “secret shoppers” who pose as customers and evaluate service and how they were treated.

“With the competitive nature of the golf industry right now, we need to do everything we can to let customers know we value them,” Kattreh said.

A public hearing on the golf plan will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, before the Park Board. The plan then goes to the council on March 4.

Mary Jane Smetanka • 612-673-7380

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