Denver Golf Operations

Golfers in golf carts driving across a golf course.

 

Objective

To determine whether Denver Golf is meeting key mission and performance objectives.

Background

Denver Golf is an enterprise that operates like a business to fund its own operations. Golf is part of the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation and has eight golf facilities throughout Denver with a variety of amenities, including one mountain course in Evergreen. Golf’s mission includes providing “excellent customer service” and “outstanding course conditions.”

Why this matters

To provide a better customer experience for golfers, Denver Golf should improve customer service, maximize revenue, update strategy documentation, and improve its capital planning documentation and financial monitoring.

Findings

Finding 1 - Denver Golf Customer Experience Should Be Improved
  • Check-in for the golfer loyalty program is cumbersome due to duplicate customer accounts.
  • While overall course conditions are satisfactory, several safety and aesthetic issues at certain golf courses may negatively impact golfer
    experience.

Finding 2 - Denver Golf Does Not Have a Current Strategic Plan and Has Not Documented Organizational Priorities and Goals

  • Denver Golf’s strategic plan expired in 2019. An updated strategy would help proactively plan and shape Golf’s future rather than it being led by reactions to current challenges or problems.
  • Denver Golf’s capital improvement planning documents are fragmented and incomplete, resulting in Golf being unable to ensure that project goals are aligned with organizational priorities.

Finding 3 - Denver Golf Is Not Maximizing Revenue

Denver Golf is not maximizing revenue due to a lack of integration between its credit card machine and cashiering system. This means Golf cannot charge customers who do not show up a nonrefundable pre-booking fee for tee times canceled with less than 24-hour notice. Without consequence for no-show reservations, Golf loses revenue to fund its operations.

Finding 4 -  Denver Golf Should Improve Monitoring and Documentation of Daily Financial Transactions

Inconsistent documentation and practices by golf courses could result in loss of revenue through fraud and misuse. Golf should ensure management approval is required for voids and cash refunds and  that Golf staff monitor daily transactions such as voids and rain checks.

Recommendations

1.1 Eliminate Duplicate Accounts in Golfer Database –   Denver Golf should complete a project to assess the golfer database and eliminate or combine duplicate customer and loyalty accounts to improve the golfer check-in process by April 2022.

Agency Response: Agree, Implementation Date – September 1, 2022

1.2  Address Safety Issues – Denver Golf should prioritize safety issues by addressing the following as soon as possible: the storm shelters at Kennedy, Overland, and Evergreen have loose nails, bricks, and/or roof tiles that golf course maintenance should address. 

Agency Response: Agree, Implementation Date – June 1, 2022

1.3  Address Course Issues at Kennedy –  Denver Golf should address these specific issues within Finding 1 to ensure a high-quality customer experience at Kennedy Golf Course by April 2022:

  • Cracks and peeling paint on the clubhouse.
  • Large holes in the outside restaurant wall.
  • Old tables and rusting railings in the patio area.
  • Dead cottonwood tree at Hole 6 that could develop into a safety hazard.
  • Potholes on cart path at Hole 9.
  • Worn starter desk.
  • Weather-worn storm shelter with graffiti.
  • Broken benches.

Agency Response: Agree, Implementation Date – June 1, 2022

1.4  Address Course Issues at Wellshire  –  Denver Golf should address these specific issues within Finding 1 to ensure a high-quality customer experience at Wellshire Golf Course by April 2022:

  • Main entrance sign that does not advertise golf.
  • Worn storm shelter at Hole 13.
  • Dead and dying trees to the right and along Hole 13 and near the tee box of Hole 14.
  • Worn bar and restroom with paint peeling at Hole 5.
  • Some potholes on cart path at Hole 16.

Agency Response: Agree, Implementation Date – June 1, 2022

 1.5  Address Course Issues at Evergreen  –   Denver Golf should address these specific issues within Finding 1 to ensure a high-quality customer experience at Evergreen Golf Course by April 2022:

  • Debris pile at Hole 3.
  • Bathroom at Hole 5 needs repainting and roof maintenance.
  • Graffiti on the storm shelter.

Agency Response: Agree, Implementation Date – June 1, 2022

2.1  Develop and Document a Strategic Plan –  Denver Golf should create and document a strategic plan based on best practices, such as the Government Finance Officers Association, that includes actionable goals by April 2022. Golf management should include procedures to periodically assess and update the strategic plan based on internal and external factors such as safety, customer experience, and economic factors.

Agency Response: Disagree

2.2  Develop and Document an Action Plan  –   Denver Golf should develop an action plan to describe how strategies will be implemented, including activities to be performed, estimated associated costs, designation of responsibilities, priority levels, and time frames by April 2022.

Agency Response: Disagree

2.3  Develop Measurable Objectives to Monitor Progress –  Denver Golf should develop measurable objectives to monitor progress on achieving goals outlined in the strategic plan by April 2022. Progress towards meeting goals should be monitored and Denver Golf should adjust the plan as needed.

Agency Response: Disagree

2.4  Document Comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan  –  Denver Golf should combine capital improvement documentation into a comprehensive capital improvement plan and ensure that it aligns with strategic priorities by April 2022. Denver Golf’s comprehensive capital improvement plan should be based on best practices, such as the elements of capital improvement planning created by the Government Finance Officers Association. 

Agency Response: Disagree

3.1 Integrate Credit Card Capability –  Denver Golf should continue to work with Technology Services, the City Attorney’s Office, and Department of Finance staff on the credit card integration project. If credit cards are unable to be integrated by the end of summer 2021, Golf should work with those agencies to begin the procurement process for a new system with fully integrated credit card functionality, including the ability to charge customers a nonrefundable pre-booking fee.

Agency Response: Agree, Implementation Date – March 1, 2023

3.2 Update No-Shows/Late Cancellations Policy and Procedure –  Once Denver Golf has the ability to charge a nonrefundable pre-booking fee and allow guests to prepay, policies and procedures should be updated to reflect nonrefundable pre-booking fees for golfers decided upon by management. 

Agency Response: Agree, Implementation Date – March 1, 2023

4.1 Ensure Management Approval Is Required for Voids and Cash Refunds – Denver Golf should ensure authorized employees are approving transactions in the point of sale system according to the individual course policies including separating duties between cashiers and supervisors with proper authority to enter voids and cash refunds.

Agency Response: Agree, Implementation Date – July 1, 2021

4.2 Improve Monitoring and Documentation of Daily Financial Transactions –  Denver Golf should document financial review policies and procedures for golf professionals to monitor daily financial transactions such as voids and rain checks, and to ensure financial transactions are appropriate and in accordance with Golf internal policies and the city’s Financial Accountability Rules.

Agency Response: Agree, Implementation Date – April 1, 2022

Auditor's Addendums

Auditor’s Addendum to Agency Response for Recommendation 2.1

Denver Golf does not have an up-to-date strategic plan and has not documented organizational priorities. Denver Golf’s response says that its goals are unchanging; however, as we said in the report, the Government Finance Officers Association says that strategic planning helps organizations use resources effectively to “bridge the gap” between the status quo and future vision by connecting available resources to future objectives. Without documented goals and measurable objectives, it is difficult for external stakeholders to evaluate Denver Golf’s progress in meeting these goals over time.

Denver Golf’s response says that it uses the Parks and Recreation “Game Plan for a Healthy City” as guidance for strategy; however, they never referred to the plan during audit fieldwork, the fieldwork exit, or the exit conference which indicates that it is not used as a strategic document for Golf. Additionally, as the plan is the Department of Parks and Recreation’s strategy and goals for the whole city, it is not designed to be fully comprehensive to Golf’s specific needs as an independent enterprise. As noted in this audit report, Denver Golf does not have a strategic plan because management chose not to update the old strategic plan from 2011.

Auditor’s Addendum to Agency Response for Recommendation 2.2
 According to the Government Finance Officers Association, an effective strategic plan based on best practices should include an action plan with measurable goals and objectives. An action plan outlines how strategies are executed and includes details such as specific tasks, costs, responsibility assignments, priorities, and timelines for organizations to achieve strategic objectives. Denver Golf’s response says that it sets annual goals and objectives related to Golf’s strategies and the Parks and Recreation game plan. However, Golf failed to provide any documentation during audit fieldwork, the fieldwork exit, or the exit conference showing how goals and objectives will be met and how they align with strategies and goals in the game plan.
 
Auditor’s Addendum to Agency Response for Recommendation 2.3
Denver Golf’s reply suggests that its measurable goals and objectives are included in employee performance objectives. While individual employee contributions toward organizational objectives are important, the spirit of this recommendation is to systematically review and document organizational progress over time. Again, the Government Finance Officers Association says that the purpose of a strategic plan and measurable objectives is to shape an organization’s future rather than merely reacting to current challenges or problems. The monthly meetings mentioned in Golf’s reply were acknowledged in the report. However, the notes did not provide evidence that measurable objectives were discussed. As a result, we found that Denver Golf is not creating measurable goals and objectives in line with leading practices.

Auditor’s Addendum to Agency Response for Recommendation 2.4
 According to leading practices issued by the Government Finance Officers Association, government organizations should establish capital planning, budgeting, and reporting practices to encourage efficient spending. In the report, we provide a detailed summary of the elements required by the Government Finance Officers Association for an effective capital improvement plan. Denver Golf’s response says that it does have   a long-range capital improvement and maintenance list for each facility, including a procedure to prioritize projects.
The report contains a detailed acknowledgment that Golf does have some capital improvement planning documentation. However, we also explain in detail how the documentation is fragmented and incomplete. For example, the capital improvement tracker is missing a significant amount of important information, such as projected completion dates for many of the projects. In addition, there is no methodology showing how Golf arrived at its conclusions regarding categories such as return on investment. Even when viewed holistically and compared against leading practices issued by the Government Finance Officers Association, Golf’s current fragmented capital improvement planning documents fall short.

Auditor's Letter

September 16, 2021

The objective of our audit of Denver Golf was to determine whether Golf is meeting its key mission and performance objectives. I am pleased to present the results of this audit.

The audit found that Denver Golf can improve customer service in two areas: golfer check-in and maintenance of facilities and courses. Additionally, Denver Golf also does not have a current documented strategic plan and needs to improve documentation of its capital planning process. Finally, Denver Golf is not maximizing revenue due to lack of credit card integration and needs to improve monitoring and documentation of daily financial transactions.

By implementing recommendations for stronger customer service, greater revenue generation, strategic planning, and financial monitoring, Denver Golf will be better equipped to fund its operations and serve its customers.

I am disappointed Denver Golf has chosen to disagree with strategy and action plan recommendations that would increase transparency, hold the Denver Golf enterprise more accountable to the city and public, and improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness. Further explanation is in the Auditor’s Addenda included on pages 41-42 of the report.

This performance audit is authorized pursuant to the City and County of Denver Charter, Article V, Part 2, Section 1, “General Powers and Duties of Auditor.” We conducted this performance audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.

We extend our appreciation to the personnel at Denver Golf who assisted and cooperated with us during the audit. For any questions, please feel free to contact me at 720-913-5000.

Denver Auditor,

Auditor's Signature
Timothy O'Brien, CPA

Follow-up report

A follow-up report is forthcoming. 

 


 

Tim_mug.png

AUDITOR TIMOTHY O'BRIEN, CPA
Denver Auditor



Denver Auditor´s Office

201 W. Colfax Ave. #705 Denver, CO 80202
Emailauditor@denvergov.org
Call: 720-913-5000
Follow us on Facebook     Connect with us on Twitter
Read our social media policy

Auditor´s Office Logos for Footer