White Deer can be turned around with practical solutions

A professional golf course management company recently took a hard look at operations of the White Deer Golf Course.

The report from Billy Casper Golf was unflattering and shed some light on the financial difficulties at the golf course and related operations in recent years.

Far from being the profitable entity Lycoming County government needs it to be, the golf course is costing money in recent years.

The assessment reveals administrative dysfunction, inefficient marketing strategies, outdated maintenance equipment, poor course conditions and declining rounds and revenues.

To change that situation, Lycoming County government is using bond money from 2012 toward needed facility improvements, with recommendations forthcoming in the near future.

That seems like the correct approach, but let’s be careful about assessing blame and streamlined regarding the recommendations.

And the possibility that the best future for White Deer Golf Course might arise from sale of the facility to private interests. Should the county be in the golf business? That’s a fair question.

It appears that a well-intentioned current board has been trying to fix things that have been wrong for awhile. Many of the things that are wrong at the facility can be fixed, but let’s not assume all fault lies with employees and administrators at White Deer. And it’s possible the best way to right the wrongs is through privatization.

Whether the ultimate solution is private or not, the county needs to be careful not to overextend the improvements list, but rather to spotlight precisely what the practical solutions are and stick to them.

The ultimate goal is to improve the facility so that it becomes more attractive and popular, thereby reducing the need for financial support from the county or making it a saleable commodity to private interests.

In a perfect world, the facility becomes a revenue generator in some fashion.

If there are too many moving parts, that probably won’t happen. Consider the recommendations and empower those with a proven track record of sound decision making to carry out the ones that make sense.

That’s a formula to turn around a public golf facility that should be a county asset, not liability.