Changes at Walton County’s Eagle Springs Golf and Recreation Center

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (WMBB) — Changes are being made to the Eagle Springs Golf Course in Walton County. 

The changes follow a push to make the county-owned recreation center more financially stable. 

“The golf course is an economic asset,” said one member Steven Miller.  

It was 2019 when Walton County bought the DeFuniak Springs Country Club, changed the name to Eagle Springs Golf and Recreational Park, and took over operations. 

The county has lost money every year. 

“Looking at all years of operations, which were at about four years. The total expenditures over revenues is $4,314,752,” said Melissa Thomason, chief financial officer.

After recent public interest in the recreational parks operation, the staff is cutting hours and raising prices. The grill shortened its menu.  The restaurant is now open 8 am to 3 pm for sit-down dining, with a limited menu from 3 to close.  

Drinking prices on and off the course are increased.  

“We made no adjustment to mix drink prices because like I said, he had recently done so. However, we did increase the pricing on beer I think we applied about a 25% increase there,” said Stan Sunday, county administrator.

This property is the only county park with a for-profit restaurant attached. Some commissioners said since it is the only county park bringing in any sort of revenue, it needs to be left alone to run and evolve over time.

“We’ve updated the economic impact report that we’re doing on every park. But we did it on the golf course first and it’s close to $900,000 a year in economic impact,” said Parks and Recreation Director Shane Supple.  

“Stop the discussion of we’re losing money because you’re not. You’re spending my tax dollars and I thank you for it. And the many people who golf and live in this county, thank you for it as well,” said Miller.

The grill operating changes started this month. Golf course staff also presented proposed changes to golfing fees. The board would have a vote to change membership rates and greens fees in the future. 

The board decided against hiring a consulting firm to further look at golf course revenue patterns. And the board made no other motion about the site. 

To read the full financial report of the golf course and grill, go to page 372 on the May 14 agenda packet.

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