Despite being forced to delay its opening in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Delaware’s Hidden Valley Golf Course is getting along just fine. Ted Miller, the City of Delaware’s director of parks and natural resources, updated city council on the course’s success this season during council’s meeting held virtually Monday.
“We’ve been having very large numbers out at the gold course this year and getting a lot of new people,” Miller told council. “We’ve been extremely busy this year, and it’s just been well-received despite everything that’s been going on. We’re still moving along well.”
Hidden Valley opened on May 10, more than a month later than when the course opened last year. Although the course lost more than 40 days of potential revenue at the beginning of the season, the course budget is on track to match or exceed last year’s figure. Miller said the course is averaging $1,470 per day, up from $880 at this time last year.
Typically, Hidden Valley will close on Oct. 31 each year, giving the course more than 60 days to meet the projected 2020 revenue budget. Based on the 2019 numbers, an additional $30,000 in revenue is expected for September and October, although Miller called that estimate “conservative” and is hoping that figure is ultimately higher.
Miller said the demand for public recreation is up 80% this year, with golf courses, in particular, “making a big comeback this year.” Hidden Valley has excelled in a niche market, he said, as it is defined as a short course. Short courses, which are typically well under 6,000 total yards, don’t take as long to play, and they are beneficial to youth golfers or those just beginning to play the game.
In addition to the benefits of a short course, Miller said the competitive pricing of a round at Hidden Valley has also played a significant role in keeping the course viable this year. “It’s one of the lowest prices around, so that’s been keeping a lot of people coming out to the course,” he said.
Additions to Hidden Valley have also helped in keeping the course as a viable option for golfers in the area. Miller said a goal this season was to increase league play, which they were able to do. A Special Olympics league was also added this year, which he said has gone “really well” and will be continued next season.
More improvements are on the docket for next season, Miller went on to say. Among those improvements are an increased level of maintenance in regards to turf maintenance and landscaping, something all who play the course will be glad to hear. Miller said they are going to look at improving the driving range as well, mentioning the possibility of adding target greens to make the range experience more attractive.
Hidden Valley will see a natural boost in 2021 with the return of the Little Brown Jug youth tournament that is held annually at the course but was forced to cancel in the midst of the pandemic. Miller said the tournament was really beginning to pick up heading into this year, and the event usually draws 70-80 participants.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.