Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said the City of Carmel is examining whether to invest millions of dollars in updating the city-owned public golf course at Brookshire.
He said an architectural study has been done to look at redesigning the club house and spending at least $3 million to do so.
“We are looking at various types of club houses and architectural styles,” he said. “We need to decide on the square footage. We’re in that process.”
He said the new club house could include meeting spaces, a café-style restaurant and an improved pro shop.
At the same time, he said it would be wise to invest at least a $1 million to update the course itself, which is north of 116th Street, south of 126th Street and west of Gray Road.
“We had a consultant look at it, and the play is too slow,” he said. “You can’t make enough. And our goal isn’t to make money, but we want to be closer to revenue neutral. We still want it to be affordable and a place where young people can learn to golf. We aren’t getting enough play on the course due to trees on the fairway. It’s a difficult course. There could be improvements made to speed up play. We’ve been making some of those changes year by year, but we could go and make the rest of the changes.”
Brainard said fees could be increased to pay for changes, but he said the goal is to keep the prices low and instead increase the rate of play to allow more golfers on the course each day. He said changes could be funded through city bonds. Currently, players can book an 18-hole tee time online for about $24 to $39, which is much cheaper than many other nearby courses.
“We’d like to keep it affordable so younger players who are learning the game or retirees on a fixed income can enjoy the course,” Brainard said. “We consult with our golf professional as to where to set the rates, and if there are any increases it would be minimal.”
Brookshire Golf Course, which is surrounded by homes, was built in 1970, and the City of Carmel purchased it in 2006 for $2.6 million. Brainard said the City wanted to preserve the course and make sure it wasn’t turned into more development. The move came as Carmel’s Mohawk Hills golf course closed to make room for a $500 million development. Brainard said the Carmel Clay Parks Board was uninterested in taking over the course, so the city manages the property, although there were discussion in 2014 about the parks department purchasing the course.
Originally, the nearby homeowners owned the pool that is attached to Brookshire’s clubhouse, but the city eventually purchased it and now leases the pool to the nearby neighborhood, which charges fees for membership.
Brainard said that if the pool is removed as part of the clubhouse expansion a replacement pool will be built. Overall, he said any changes will be good for the surrounding Brookshire neighborhood.
“Having that investment go into the neighborhood will be good for property values,” he said.