Pipestone Hills tournament to raise money for new clubhouse

• By Kevin Weedmark

The Pipestone Hills Golf Club has purchased this building, the former Tourism Saskatchewan visitor reception centre at the Manitoba border, and plans to move it to the golf course this fall to serve as a new clubhouse.

The first annual Raise the Roof fundraiser for the Pipestone Hills Golf Club is coming up Saturday, August 12.

The fundraiser is planned to help cover the cost of moving a new clubhouse to the golf course.

The golf club has purchased the former Tourism Saskatchewan visitor centre on the Trans-Canada Highway at the Manitoba border, and plans to move it to the golf course this fall.

On Tuesday, August 8, the golf club will host a special meeting to discuss two options for the new clubhouse:
• At the current clubhouse location, remove the oldest part of the building, the south portion, and replace it with the former tourist centre on a new basement; or
• At a new location, place the former tourist centre on a new basement, and add a new seating area, creating a completely new clubhouse.

Under the first option, the work would be done this fall, starting after the Labor Day weekend.

Under the second option, the current clubhouse would be maintained until next season, and the new clubhouse would hopefully be opened next summer.

“The reason why we are having this meeting prior to the tournament is because we want to explain the two different options and get some direction,” said golf club president Brandon Banga. “We want to make sure that there is support behind this, so we want people to come out and provide some input.”

“Having that second option is the real change from the annual general meeting where we went to the membership and said we’re going to take this building and attach it to the existing building,” said Pat McDonald of the golf club executive.

“The building we were going to attach it to is about 30 years old now. The whole structure has been add-ons. The real fear is that if we go with Plan A, which was attaching this building onto the existing building, what are we going to uncover? We budgeted $25,000 to upgrade the portion of the building we were going to leave, which is 30-plus years old, and what we fear is that we might be throwing good money after bad to try and salvage that.

“We got a quote on replacing the existing seating area. We got a base line quote for how much it is to replace this building with no frills. The first quote we got was over $120,000 and you have got to add some contingency onto that. Since we decided we wanted to look at that option we got another quote from the Co-op for just the material to build it and we have that quote in place and then we are going to meet with the builder to see what the cost of labour would be to do this. Normally it doubles up. So it looks like for under $150,000 we can add a new attachment onto this building.”

Brandon Banga adds, “So if we save the $25,000 to renovate and take that off the cost of building a new addition, we are looking at potentially $100,000-$120,000 above and beyond what we initially talked about, to give us a brand new building and potentially a slightly new location so we can do this construction while using the current clubhouse, and not interfere with the operation of the golf course.”

Pat McDonald adds, “Plan B eliminates any risks that we have trying to attach an old building to a new building, and the difficulties that we may have with that. It is just an estimate at $25,000. It would be terrible if it ended up costing us $75,000 to attach to plus having to do upgrades in lieu to upgrading to a new building.”

McDonald said the fundraising tournament came about because the golf club does not want to increase membership fees or green fees to cover the cost of the new clubhouse.

“We want the golf fees to go to maintaining the course and pay wages,” McDonald said. “We didn’t want to bump that regular fee up to do a clubhouse. We want to raise the money separately rather than raise the fees. At the time of the annual meeting we were looking at $250,000 total cost, and we thought we could raise $25,000 a year for 10 years to pay for it. Plan B bumps this up to $35,000 a year.”

“We need to offset those costs,” adds Brandon Banga. “We hope to kick off the whole fundraising effort with this tournament, so we’re hoping this is a big start to the fundraising.”

The tournament would be an annual event to help pay down the costs of the new clubhouse.

“The Pipestone Hills Golf Club doesn’t have a home tournament so we’re hoping that this can be that one and get support behind it,” says Brandon Banga. “We are looking for the membership to come out and put some support behind it.”

McDonald says he’s hoping both golf club members and others in the community support the fundraising efforts.

“We have 150 members give or take, and we definitely want the members’ support. The course is also good for the community and we hope to get some support from the community. When we run tournaments and events it is good for businesses in town. They buy prizes to give away at the tournaments. There is a spin off effect when we have a good and very viable golf course in town. We have reached out to some of the businesses and the community as a whole to say ‘would you like to sponsor as well.’ We have sent out a lot of letters.”

“The golf course is busy all summer,” adds Brandon Banga. “There are tournaments throughout the summer, and we are getting into that really busy time where there are tournaments continually going on, and there are private functions being held at the golf course.”

How much of a difference will a new building make?

“We are hoping that a new facility will attract some more people to the tournaments that are going on, and also attract more private functions,” says Brandon Banga.

Jolene Banga says it’s important for people to come out to the meeting to help determine the direction of the golf club.

“This meeting will very much determine what we do—if we do what we can with what we have financially, or if we get some people to come out and put support behind it and look at doing the more expensive option.”

“There are lots of ideas and opinions on it and this is a time where you can express thoughts and say ‘this is what I would like to see and here’s how I’m going to support it,’ ” adds Brandon Banga.

“The course and the clubhouse go hand in hand,” says McDonald. “The clubhouse generates a lot of revenue and it’s great for tournaments, but we have to have a viable facility to be able to host big events. Whether or not this building came available, we were going to have to spend a lot of money to upgrade.”

“People have been working on this for a long time, so we’re excited to see it come to this point,” says Brandon Banga.
“Nervous, too,” adds Jolene Banga, “because it’s a big financial commitment.”

“We want to make sure that what we do is right for the golf course and for the members,” said Brandon Banga.

He said it’s vital to get the fundraising off on the right foot with a successful tournament. “How successful this first tournament is and this first call for support and donations is really will dictate what we can do. We have to see what kind of support we can get.”

“A good thing we have going for us is that the course is in incredible condition,” says Jolene Banga.

“I shared a post about this meeting coming up and Golf Saskatchewan shared it and replied, and said ‘the course is in great shape! We had someone out there just yesterday.’

“You have to go a long way to find another nine-hole course that good,” says Ferrel Horn of the golf club executive

“Each year it’s been getting better and better,” adds Brandon Banga. “That’s reflected in our financial situation. We feel we are doing well, and we feel that an improved clubhouse would add to that.”

“When you start hosting 100, 150 people golfing on a tournament day, you need some facilities,” said Ferrel Horn.

Horn said the golf club first started thinking about the building after news reports came out about the closure of the visitor centre.

“We heard through news reports that they were going to close the centres. Larry the mayor, Mike of the rec board and us on the board on the golf course began talking about whether we could use the building at the golf course.

“Letters went back and forth, we made a proposal, and it was accepted.”

Horn says the new building will be a step up for the golf club.

“It’s roughly 60x30, about 1800 sq feet,” he said. “The bathrooms are way nicer, the roof is perfect. It has power doors, it has a full cathedral ceiling with windows up top—it is gorgeous. The new building has air and a furnace which the old building doesn’t, so it’s a full upgrade.”

Horn said the golf club had a couple of different building movers look at the building.

“It will be quite a move but nothing that hasn’t been done before,” he said. “They have moved bigger buildings than that.”
The former tourist centre is a wood frame building with brick veneer. The golf club is hoping to be able to move the building with the brick facing intact.

Horn said he’s looking forward to the new building. “Having that furnace, you will be able to have an event out there in the winter. That was the downfall of the old building—there was never a furnace, so then everything deteriorates. Now we can leave the furnace on low in the winter and keep it in much better shape.”

Brandon Banga said he hopes the community gets behind the project. “We are asking for the support of the business community. We are looking for some corporate donations, some business donations. If everyone gets behind it, we can do this, and it will be a big improvement.”


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