King's Walk set for big season
GRAND FORKS -- Hopes are that the revenue at King's Walk Golf Course will be less predictable this year. In the past three years, the Grand Forks Park District-owned course has had annual grosses that ranged from $810,000 to $833,000. "With reven...
GRAND FORKS -- Hopes are that the revenue at King's Walk Golf Course will be less predictable this year.
In the past three years, the Grand Forks Park District-owned course has had annual grosses that ranged from $810,000 to $833,000.
"With revenue within 4-5 percent of each other since 2006, we pretty much know where we're headed in the future," said Dan Tannahill, the club pro.
But 2009 could be a different story because of the flooding elsewhere in the Red River Valley. The Grand Forks Country Club, with much of the course still underwater, may not open until June. Valley Golf Club in East Grand Forks has seven of its 18 holes on the wet side of the dike.
Eighty miles to the south, the Fargo Country Club, Moorhead Country Club and the municipal Edgewood are located along the Red River. A forecasted second crest could not only further delay their openings, but also damage the grass. And Rose Creek, another Fargo course, has a mammoth dike running through its middle.
"If King's Walk doesn't do well this year, it never will," Park Board Commissioner Brian Westlund said after its monthly meeting Tuesday. "Fargo people will be flocking here. And Grand Forks Country Club members will be without a course for a long time."
The extra revenue from increased play would help. While King's Walk traffic is paying the operational costs, it hasn't generated enough revenue to handle its equipment purchases
King's Walk, which is high, dry and several miles from the Red and with exceptional drainage, will be one of the first open courses in the region. If the weather is as good as forecast, its driving range will open this weekend, with a course opening 5-7 days later.
Westlund, a member of the state golf association board and a Country Club member, inquired about the availability of King's Walk for state tournaments. Even with the tournaments not starting until mid-summer, the assigned courses may not be in good enough shape to handle those premier events.
"For sure, there will be some displaced golfers this year," Tannahill said. "But it's still 90 percent weather-driven. For us, a 30 mile-per-hour wind is like a rain day."
An April 15 opening will be later than normal, but nowhere near as late as the opening when the city's 18-hole course was Lincoln Park. Located near the Red, Lincoln is a nine-hole course that has only two holes untouched by floodwater this year.
Chronic flooding and the need to run a dike across Lincoln were the reasons that King's Walk was built on the southern edge of the city.
"We fought the flood enough," Tannahill said. "The reason King's Walk doesn't have any trees is that it wasn't built near a creek or a slow-moving, northbound river."
The Grand Forks Herald and The Dickinson Press are both owned by Forum Communications Co.