The city-owned course shut down for a week in April 2020 as staff made changes at the start of the pandemic, chief financial officer Kent Pfeil said at a City Council work session Dec. 6.
Among the operational changes were closing down the course’s clubhouse, moving tee time bookings online and spacing them out as well as pausing tournaments held at the course, Pfeil said.
The staff worked a lot of extra hours to establish the new protocols, but Pfeil said the city didn’t hear any complaints.
“Golf was really gaining a lot of momentum,” Pfeil said. “There’s continued to be a lot of interest in golf.”
According to data presented to the council, Sherrill Park averaged 94,500 rounds for the last two years compared to the 73,800 rounds during the previous three years pre-pandemic.
The course also needed a lot of work after the winter freeze in February. The greens had a protective covering for 15 days, but due to the course’s age, the city needed to re-sod after assessing the damage, Pfeil said.
“What we found most effective was growing sod in our own nursery,” Pfeil said. “It actually took six to seven weeks–almost two months–to re-sod our playable areas.”
The course is 90%-95% recovered, according to a presentation to the council.
Pfeil said Sherrill Park is beginning to work on new improvements and look at future projects. Recently added to the grounds is a four-faced clock, which Pfeil said is becoming a key feature of the course.
Staff is also looking to improve the drainage, the greens design, barn maintenance and the golf course’s older bathroom, which may mean adding some prefabricated bathrooms.
Pfeil said there are also conceptual plans to add a training facility with a hitting bay.