DENHAM SPRINGS - Some deals are just too good to pass up, especially if you have the means to make an opportunity a reality.
The board of Parks and Recreation District of Denham Springs (PARDS, District 3) made the call to purchase the old Denham Springs Country Club in March of this year for $186,958.54. The real estate included a 9-hole golf course, pool, and clubhouse.
The commercial appraisal for the club came in at just shy of $1.5 million, while Assessor Jeff Taylor's website had the property valued at roughly $35,000.
Taylor listed the lack of homes around the course, just nine holes instead of 18, and the poor state of the pool and clubhouse as the reasons for low appraisal. Both Greystone Country Club and Carter Plantation sport modern homes around 18-hole golf courses, with updated club houses and pools.
The land which currently holds Greystone's clubhouse and pool is valued at roughly $240,000; Carter Plantation's for nearly $150,000. Those figures do not include home values in the area.
The course's value, however, is a situation that the park and Gary Templeton, superintendent, hope to change.
Crews have spent the last 60 days cleaning the grounds, manicuring the course, painting the clubhouse, and trying to fix the pool.
"We want it to be just a nice as the rest of our parks (in the district)," Templeton said, "a place the community can be proud of."
Templeton said the course is open for play, and has already seen increased traffic since being cleaned by the park - especially thanks to Wednesday golf 'Scrambles,' Templeton said, where the club invites a local restaurant to provide food while offering lower cost tee-offs for players.
The regular cost to play, for one-to-four golfers, is $22 per round which includes a cart rental.
Fees play a large part in PARDS' overall budget - nearly 50%, so the course will be no different in that regard, he said. The $22 fee will help pay for course and pool maintenance, while the remainder will go toward rehabilitation of the clubhouse.
"We want to get it in shape, be able to rent it out for parties and events," Templeton said.
To expedite the rehab process, and for some on-course hydration, the Pines applied for an alcohol license to sell beer and wine. The fees for which will go straight into the clubhouse rehabilitation and salaries.
The sale of alcohol at publicly-funded golf courses is not new. BREC currently offers alcohol daily at three of their golf courses in the Baton Rouge area - Santa Maria, Beaver Creek, and Dumas Memorial. It is also available for special events at Webb Memorial, Historic City Park, and Howell Park.
First tee is at the Pines is 7:30 a.m., seven days a week, with last tee at 4:30 p.m.