Friday, August 10, 2012


It never fails. Make a big deal out of a mistake you made in the past and someone will find another one for you in the blink of an eye.

In my last post, "Blinded by the Game" I mentioned that the interim president of Women's Golf at Farmington Woods had stated at the Executive Board Meeting of 7/30/12 that "residents were being "charged back" somewhere in the neighborhood of $350 per year to keep the course open." It didn't take long for me to be corrected.

Today I received an email from that very interim president telling me that she was "misquoted" and asking me to post a correction to my blog. Since my usually reliable sources had all quoted her as saying $350 a year, I asked that she forward her presentation to the board to me so that I could see for myself what was said. I also offered to place it on my blog if she so desired.

She has declined to forward the presentation to me, but in the spirit of fairness I am willing to print the part of her email that dealt with the quantitative difference between the report I received and what she says she said. 


I choose not to send a copy of my statement, however I will give you the numbers I mentioned:

Golf operating losses from FYE 2010 through 2012 equaled $503,000.  Divided by 1084 units and 3 years, that equals approximately $155 per year.  The operating losses are in the financial statements available at the MA.

In the spring of 2009, an amount equaling $47,500 was removed from the golf budget where it had been for many years.  This yearly amount of overhead was estimated and assumed to be attributable to golf by the MA.  It was based on the idea that a certain percentage of the time of MA employees was spent on golf matters.  in 2009, it was determined that there would be no reduction in office personnel whether golf was around or not as we needed the same staff to perform all of the functions related to Farmington Woods.  

It could be argued that with 1/3 fewer members, the amount would be even less today, but for the sake of argument in regard to dues differentials, I chose to cite it.  I rounded up to $50,000 per year, divided by 1084 units, equals $46. So $155+$46 is $201, or approximately $200 per year which is being picked up by each condo unit and which I ask the non-resident golfers to do likewise.  So, we have not reached the level that you cite from the ad hoc study.

(I must say at this point that I do a lot of research and when done correctly it calls for the use of primary sources whenever possible. The above is not the primary source, the original transcript, but a secondary one that I have chosen to publish in spite of that fact.) 

So, if I get this correctly, there's a huge difference between non-golfing residents ponying up $200 rather than $350 per year, but the fact that we're being taxed at a minimum of $200 per year to keep the golf operation going is no big deal. I'm sorry, that's just the way I see it. And let's not forget those club minimums. They amount to $450 per year when you include tax and an 18% gratuity.

But the numbers in the above email represent the past three fiscal years and not the one we're in right now, 2013. In this fiscal year we somehow came up with at least $100K to begin the irrigation system that was voted down in May and we're already projecting a $124,352 loss based on 225 members. 

According to the golf committee we are at 200 members now, if frozen memberships are counted. There are 9 of those and 13 juniors. It takes 300 members to break even.

When it comes to the golf operation at Farmington Woods it's hard to get a handle on what is really being spent. Was the $50K the board spent researching the bond project included in the calculations above? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't.

I was able to get some numbers for the golf operation for you to chew on; I don't know how they relate to what the interim president quoted, but I offer them for your edification. Keep in mind that this does not include any funds contributed by the Farmington Woods Tax District for irrigation systems and cart paths.

Date: August 6, 2012

To: FW Golf Members

From: John Dunham, Golf Committee Chair

Re: Overview of Golf’s Finances

This memorandum provides a brief summary of golf’s current financial status.

Fiscal Year 2011-12. The Finance Committee budgeted for income of $1,053,250; it budgeted for expenses of $1,178,802, including a built in deficit of $125,552. Golf’s actual income was $936,271.77, and its expenses were $1,127,991.59. Thus, in addition to its budgeted loss of $125,552, golf incurred an additional loss of $66,167.82 for a total loss of $191,719.82.

Our income fell short of budget in three areas. First, membership fees were budgeted for $710,000, but produced $650,633.28 for a difference of $59,366.72. Secondly, greens fees were budgeted for $120,000, but produced $103,776.17 for a difference of $16,223.83. Third, cart rentals were budgeted for $150,000, but produced $116,719.02 for a loss of $33,280.98.
Our expenses were $1,127,991.59 which represents a savings of $50,810.41 from our budgeted expenses of $1,178,802.

Fiscal Year 2012-13. The Finance Committee budgeted for income of $1,023,350 and expenses of $1,147,702 for a built in loss of $124,352. Membership income is budgeted for $707,500 ($315,000 for resident members and $392,500 from non-resident members). This figure is based on 225 members. Based on our current membership numbers, membership dues will generate $642,051 for a projected loss of $65,449. When combined, these two loss items total $189,801.

Also, in order to reach the budgeted deficit amount of $124,352, the Finance Committee made
additional reductions of approximately $80,000 by reducing the course superintendent's ground
supplies by $5000, reducing the major equipment purchase account from $40,000 to zero, reducing the contingency account from $20,000 to zero, and reducing the golf operations payroll by $15,000. The effects of these cuts would be felt if the need arises for replacement equipment, additional chemicals or the use of the contingency fund.

Golf's Challenges for FY 2012-13. Our major challenge in FY 2012-13 is the elimination of losses in excess of the budgeted loss of $124,352. Revenue generation is the key factor in pulling ourselves out of this hole and in providing financial stability for golf at Farmington Woods in the future. The major source of revenue is membership dues. Retention of our current members is a top priority of the Golf Committee and, retention, along with marketing Farmington Woods golf to potential new members represent the keys to our success. Your Golf Committee looks forward to hearing ideas and receiving guidance from the membership in these areas as we plan for the future.

Comments? You're welcome to email me at

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