May 18, 2017
A recent audit of Denver’s Golf Enterprise Fund showed that the golf program lacks a strategic plan that incorporates customer feedback, financial analysis, and contingency planning. “Generally, the Golf Enterprise Fund has sound practices for recording and reporting financial transactions,” explained Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien, CPA. “However, we identified areas for improvement.”
Denver owns and operates seven golf courses and one water driving range, Aqua Golf. All except the Evergreen Golf Course are open year-round. The golf courses are managed by employees in Denver’s Department of Parks and Recreation, but the golf program budget is segregated as an “enterprise fund”. The City’s enterprise funds are designed to be self-sufficient, similar to a private business, where the costs of operating are covered by user fees. The Golf Enterprise Fund was appropriated about $11 million for operations and $850,000 for capital improvements in 2016, amounts that were expected to be recouped through user charges. The capital improvement budget is based on the amount of excess revenues the fund had in the previous year.
“Although Denver Golf collects customer feedback surveys through both paper and electronic forms, we recommended that they formalize the process to incorporate the feedback into its strategic planning,” said Auditor O’Brien. “Similarly, we thought the program could do a better job of analyzing financial data to forecast future trends.”
The audit team also recommended that the process for prioritizing capital improvements be formalized and documented, and that the fund’s capital asset listing be updated. The capital improvements fall into six categories: (1) Asphalt/Concrete, (2) Building/Mechanical, (3) Communications/Security, (4) Course Construction, (5) Reserve/Contingency, and (6) Water Infrastructure.
Each of the City’s eight golf facilities have different amenities. While each has a pro shop, the size and content of the shops vary by location. Putting greens, practice space, and rental carts can be found at many of the locations. Denver has granted concessions to third parties who run the restaurants at six of the courses.
DPR Executive Director Happy Haynes agreed to implement all the audit’s recommendations. Some are dependent on the rollout of the City’s new financial system.