DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — With its Eagle Springs Country Club exceeding expectations, the Walton County Commission is prepared to invest nearly $1 million to upgrade the club‘s golf course irrigation system.


Plans approved at the commission’s Tuesday meeting call for the design and installation of a fully automatic computer controlled irrigation system.


The county will pay the Winterberry Group $961,266 to replace an existing system that Walton County Commissioner Danny Glidewell estimated to be between 40 and 50 years old.


"This will allow us to make improvements to the overall appearance, be more functional and save us in repair costs down the road," Glidewell said.


The county won‘t borrow to pay for the irrigation system, Glidewell said.


By voting to go along with the Parks and Recreation Department proposal, commissioners authorized payments of $300,000 from the FY 20 budget, $600,000 from recreational plat fees, $50,000 from the general fund and $11,266 in contingency funds.


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The expenditure will be the largest infusion of cash from the county to the golf course since it opened last April 1, said Walton County Finance Director Melissa Thomason.


The course is the primary feature of a DeFuniak Springs country club the commission purchased last year for $1 and an agreement to assume the $48,000 in debt held by the previous owner.


The golf course generated $130,768 in revenues between April 1 and the end of 2019, Thomason said. It has already brought in $88,353 this year.


"The course is doing better than we anticipated as far as use," Glidewell said. "We have plans to do more with it in terms of usability. "


Walton County Parks and Recreation Manager Shane Supple did not return phone calls seeking comment.