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City eyes liquor license at course

 

Brewton officials are considering different options to boost use of the city’s golf course at Dogwood Hills.

The nine-hole course sits on the property that was the former Brewton Country Club. The park also includes a pro shop, children’s playground and splashpad. The city pool was closed and filled in two years ago.

A city council committee met last week with Scott Pate, director of parks and recreation and manager of the pro shop, to discuss ideas. Among them: selling beer at the clubhouse; offering a reduced price for children to play golf with their parents; and finding a pro to offer golf lessons.

Dogwood Hills is operating at a deficit, but its fund also pays for repairs and operations at other parks, Pate pointed out. And golf does bring in revenue.

“Cutting the golf course will not save as much money as everyone always thought it would,” Pate said.

The clubhouse at Dogwood Hills used to have a restaurant, but the city has not had a tenant in some time. Attracting a restaurant and selling beer may help bring more people, city officials said.

Pate said the city course’s numbers went up until 2003 — then went back up in 2008 and 2009, when the economy was down.

“They started dropping again when other courses started dropping their prices,” he said.

Pate said he has seen private golf courses in the region drop their prices to attract more players and members. But it would be difficult for Dogwood Hills to drop its prices, he said.

“Without beer and with only nine holes, it’s hard to cut the prices any lower,” he said.

Mayor Yank Lovelace asked Pate to research selling alcohol and finding other ways to bring more players to the course.

In the region, there are not many public golf courses, Lovelace said. Andalusia, Montgomery, Mobile and Cantonment, Fla., do have municipal courses.

Councilman Pat Poole pointed out that one problem is that many golf courses and country clubs do not have young members.

Lovelace suggested trying to get parents to bring their children by offering lower fees for youth.