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Staying out of the rough

A decade-long decline in membership and increased restaurant costs have forced the Rogue Valley Country Club to tighten its fiscal belt, including delaying the hiring of a general manager for another year.

The golf club's board of directors approved a budget with a $30,000 surplus after taking a series of cost-cutting measures, according to David Cuttrell, president of the board. He said he couldn't disclose the budget amount but said annual revenues are in the $5 million to $7 million range with plenty of reserves.

"I don't think the members are going to be impacted negatively," Cuttrell said. "We have a balanced budget with a surplus going forward. We're in better shape than other country clubs."

The board started out with a budget that would have created a deficit of $475,000, with $370,000 of that related to increases in food and beverage costs. A 5 percent increase in the minimum wage that went into effect July 1 also boosted the expenses.

To partially deal with the increased costs, the club has devised a simpler food menu that will rely on more fresh rather than frozen foods with the goal of generating less waste, Cuttrell said.

Delaying the hiring of a general manager until July 2018 will save $200,000. The general manager position has remained vacant for a year already.

"We've relied on a couple of members of the board to be the figureheads," Cuttrell said.

Over the past 10 years, membership has generally been declining, Cuttrell said. However, the number of members at the 27-hole club has increased from 460 to 480 this year, and Cuttrell said he expects to see a greater effort to add members going forward.

"The industry as a whole is on the decline," Cuttrell said, while pointing out the club has weathered that decline better than others around the country. RVCC has seen increased competition for golfers and their families following the opening of Centennial Golf Course in southeast Medford and upgrades to Eagle Point Golf Club.

A family membership rate at Rogue Valley Country Club that includes golf, pool, tennis and other facilities runs $450 a month. There is also a one-time up-front initiation fee.

Cuttrell said the board will not have to dip into reserves to plug any budget holes.

The board sent out a memo to its members Wednesday explaining the steps it's taking to balance the budget, including:

  • The clubhouse will close Tuesdays from Oct. 3 to May 22, 2018, though the golf course will remain open.
  • From Jan. 2-9, 2018, the clubhouse will be closed for maintenance.
  • Despite a smaller menu, the bar will remain open during all business hours starting Friday, July 14.
  • Evening hours will be extended Tuesday through Saturday starting Friday, July 14, and running to Sept. 30.
  • The lease of a new fleet of golf carts has been delayed until May 2018.
  • If membership is higher than anticipated over the next few months, the increased revenues could alter some of the cost-cutting measures.

— Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm.

Rogue Valley Country Club will delay the hiring of a general manager for another year, one of the ways the club is being forced to tighten its financial belt. [Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch]