• New fee schedule includes greens fee increase

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    The agenda item which received more public discussion than cuts to library funding at the recent City council meeting was the proposed fee schedule for the golf course.

    Golf pro Joe Riekena and Director of Management and Budget Jim Becklenberg presented a recommendation to increase fees for golf at the City’s municipal course and offered a “new model” for golf rates. They recommended that the daily fee for 18-holes be increased from $40 on weekdays and $45 on weekends to $42 on weekdays and $48 on weekends. This increase is expected to generate approximately $70,000 per year.

    Seeking to maintain Pacific Grove’s position in market as “the best golf value in the area, despite rate increases,” they proposed two new “frequent player annual cards”:

    • “Lighthouse Card” is aimed at frequent players and provides the steepest discount from

    the standard fee (at least 42 percent, more discount at non-peak times) and allows for golf at no

    additional charge in the slower months. The card would cost frequent resident golfers $600, ($500 for resident seniors). With the “Lighthouse” card a resident could play for at $28 on summer weekends, which is the time of highest demand for golf, instead of the standard rate of $48 which is proposed for less frequent players. “The $28 may be more than the current “annual pass” players pay,” said the staff report, “But the card offers a steeply discounted rate for frequent players.”

    • The proposed $20 “Monarch Card” is aimed at residents and less frequent players. It provides a significant discount from the standard fee (at least 27 percent, more discount at non-peak times). Non-residents would pay $120 for the card.

    This change may represent a significant increase in the rate paid per round by very frequent

    players. For example, a Pacific Grove resident who currently purchases an annual card and

    plays four times per week pays approximately $5.41 per round. The recommended rate model

    could cost the same resident $10.38 (assuming play once per weekend and three times per week).

    However, this rate remains extremely competitive with other golf courses in the area.

    Many members of the public protested the new rate schedule, some suggesting that it would present a hardship for seniors while others said that it would price Pacific Grove out of the market. It was suggested that only average golfers would play the course,  as pretty as it is, if the fees were raised.

    Councilmember Bill Kampe, a golfer, said that he had done an independent survey of area courses and that the proposed fee schedule was very fair.

    Riekenaa was confident that the new fee schedule would be very competitive with other area golf courses. He said that he fully expected reservations for tee times during the U.S. Open to be full. He also pointed out that the clubs involved with play at Pacific Grove had all been consulted on the new fee schedule despite protestations by members of the public that they had not been advised.

    Staff estimates that the pricing structure will generate approximately $400,000 in additional revenue. Of this amount, $200,000 would be transferred to the General Fund to support City services.

    The advance reservation policy for card-holders which was suggested had originally called for four days, but Council amended it to seven days. There was also a change in the policy which currently prohibits play before 7:00 on weekdays and 6:45 on weekends to allow for play beginning at 6:00 am, when sunrise allows.





    posted to Cedar Street Times on May 21, 2009

    Topics: Current Edition, Front PG News, Marge Ann Jameson

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