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Manager says finances improving at Ledges Golf Course in South Hadley

General Manager Doug Juhasz, a golf pro, told the board that the financially plagued golf course “had the best September the Ledges has ever had, according to the record.”

Despite weather and maintenance issues that tend to depress usage, Juhasz said the Ledges averaged 139 rounds of golf per day during the first three weeks of September. The number dipped to 64 rounds a day during the last week, he said.

Overall, September showed the 18 Milligan Drive golf course had an additional 375 rounds played over last year’s figure, and revenues up $18,000 over last year.

Expenses were also down $6,000, meaning net gain for the course is $24,000 for September, Juhasz said.

New membership fees were introduced this year, including a “twilight membership” for $1,000 for the season, he said. Those memberships limit golfers to 1 p.m. starts.

Select Board members said they were pleased with the positive report.

The golf course has been a drag on South Hadley’s finances, generating less in revenue than it costs to operate and to pay off a $5.6 million loan that was used to develop the course in 2000. Last year’s debt payment was $397,000 and the town borrowed $700,000 in 2007 to build a clubhouse there.

Voters at this year’s annual Town Meeting approved more than $900,000 for golf operations.

South Hadley has had difficulty finding a general manger for the course. Last year, Meadowbrook Golf Management of Champions Gate, Fla., was awarded a management contract for the operation. Juhasz was named general manager in March.

Meanwhile, the Ledges has been named one of the top 20 private and public golf courses in Massachusetts by the online magazine Golf Link. The online citation, where the Ledges is rated at number 14, is available at www.golflink.com or through the Ledges website, www.ledgesgc.com.

“We were the only golf course listed in western Massachusetts,” Juhasz told the board. The golf magazine site said the rankings were calculated through the preferences of golfers who visit the magazine’s website, along with other factors.

The course will remain open through November then close for the season, he said.

Talks are under way with Frigo’s, which took over the food service at the course’s Valley View Restaurant this year. Frigo’s operates a popular restaurant in Springfield’s South End and another in East Longmeadow.

Etta Walsh can be reached at ewalsh.gazette@gmail.com.

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