City banks on new golfing fees 

The City’s golf course operation will be moving out of the red with a tinkering of the green — increasing the costs for city resident rates and implementing the first-ever discounted rates during times with the least golfer demand.

The Recreation and Park Commission approved an increase for the Resident Golf Card, which allows golfers to pay discounted residential rates, from the current rate of $42 to $45. There will also be new penalties: a $15 charge for a replacement card and a $5 charge assessed if card renewal forms are not correctly filled out and need to be returned. These changes are expected to result in an additional $50,000 a year.

In an effort to attract golfers in the slower months between November and March, non-San Francisco residents could be offered a $10 discount for advance reservations.

"The goal would be an increase of approximately 1,400 rounds of nonresident play bringing in an additional $50,000," although "residents may perceive this as undercutting their preferred status," according to a Rec and Park staff report.

The commission has come under pressure to turnaround operations of its courses. Last year, The City allocated $1.4 million to balance the golf course books.

Some courses are in poor condition, lose money and will continue to put a drain on city coffers unless changes are made, a recent report by the Florida-based NGF consulting firm said. The commission continues to discuss the findings of the report, which recommend turning over operations of the links to a nonprofit.

In another revenue-generating measure, the commission also approved on Thursday a slew of fee changes at The City’s premiere course, Harding Park Golf Course. The changes could draw $137,300 to $235,500 during the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The changes could ensure no green fees, or the price to play 18 holes, will increase at Harding Park. This year fees went up on the average of $10.

Fees increases at Harding Park were approved for so-called shotgun tournaments from $115 to $125 on the weekdays and from $135 to $150 on the weekends. In shotgun tournaments, all groups of players start by teeing off simultaneously from different holes.

The change could generate $43,200 to $77,760 revenue, although it could result in the loss of "price sensitive tournaments."

Other changes include discounted rates at Harding Park of up to 20 percent in most cases for the first hour of the day or for one hour before twilight.

Recreation and Park spokeswoman Rose Dennis said the fee changes are the latest move by the department as it continues "looking for dollars and looking for efficiencies aside from dollars."

The fee changes would ultimately require approval by the Board of Supervisors.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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