By Karen Ann Cullotta
11:42 AM EST, January 21, 2014
Bolstered by a busy season that saw an uptick in senior golfers taking advantage of discounted rates, Glencoe Golf Course was able to make significant improvements to the public greens, officials said.
Stella Nanos, director of the circa-1921 public golf course, said sales of senior membership cards generated $23,215 last year, a 7 percent increase from the 2012-2013 season. In total, revenues increased by more than $114,000, reflecting 2,000 more rounds played than the previous year, he said .
"When the golf course was created, it's partially on [Cook County] forest preserve land and needed to be available to all Cook County residents, so the rates have always been equitable with no special discounts for Glencoe residents," Nanos said. "We also have to invest any remaining capital we have each year back into the golf course, which is self-sustaining, and uses no taxpayer funds."
The course netted $400,000 more in revenue once expenses were taken out last year, she said, with about $225,000 of that used for capital improvements. The remainder was set aside for a proposed new clubhouse.
"Our biggest improvement this year was at the 15th hole, where we restored a bank that had eroded into the pond and created a new landscaped path at the green, which was a pretty big project," Nanos said.Other capital expenditures included purchasing new mowers and equipment, as well as renovating additional greens and making drainage improvements, he said..
Still, with $1 million remaining in capital reserves, Nanos said members of a task force established in 2011 to guide the clubhouse proposal are hoping to soon hire an architect to draft preliminary plans that will help determine the total cost. It would include demolition of the current clubhouse and pro shop.
While Nanos declined to speculate on the cost or scope of the project, she said any future development would need to comply with the golf course's mission as one of only 799 golf courses worldwide that are Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries.
Since that certification was granted in 2011, she said an environmental plan that includes wildlife and habitat management, water conservation and the reduction of the use of chemicals on the grounds has been created.
"We had some enormous changes, like reducing the amount of water we use by using our existing ponds for irrigation and using organic fertilizer," Nanos said. "As an Audubon site, it's now all part of the golf course's mission."
Glencoe Trustee Dale Thomas said Nanos and her staff should be commended for running a golf course that he described as highly successful from both a financial and operational perspective.
"Other golf courses in the area close while they're making capital improvements, but Glencoe was able to integrate all its improvements while continuing to play golf," Thomas said.
"The golf course is also the most playable course after a rainstorm as any public or even private course on the North Shore," he said.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC