Golf fees may increase by April 

Greens fees for residents and nonresidents could be increased by April at Harding Park Golf Course — San Francisco’s most expensive public golf course — under a plan that would net nearly $50,000 for city coffers this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Seeking to capitalize on the good publicity generated by October’s successful Presidents Cup, the Recreation and Park Department is proposing a $15 increase to nonresident greens fees at Harding Park, which would bring the cost to $150 for weekday play and $170 for the weekend. If approved by mid-April, the increased fees would earn the department an extra $13,400 this fiscal year.

The department also is proposing a 2.9 percent increase to resident greens fees, a move that would tack on an extra $1 to $2 to most rates. The standard resident fee is currently $46.

Along with the Harding Park greens fees, the proposal includes a $1 increase to play at Fleming Golf Course — the nine-hole course located within Harding Park that currently costs $20 for residents — and extra fees for renting electric carts.

In total, the proposals would bring in $47,800 during a 2½-month span from April to the end of June.

Rec and Park did not release annual projections for the fee increases, but the extra revenue would be used to eat into the department’s
$12.2 million projected shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year.

The greens fee increases at Harding Park would be the first since 2006. In 2002 and ’03, the park underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation bring it to PGA Tour standards. October’s Presidents Cup — featuring stars such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson — provided Rec and Park with $1 million in direct funding.

Harding park and Fleming are two of the five city-operated golf courses in San Francisco. At $46, Harding Park is twice as expensive as the second-costliest public courses — Sharp Park and Lincoln Park.

In 2002, The City established the Golf Fund, a money source derived from golf operations and specifically set aside for course upkeep and management.

San Francisco resident and frequent Harding Park visitor William “Dub” Dorsett said fee increases at the golf course are fine, so long as the proceeds benefit The City’s municipal courses.

“This revenue should not go into The City’s general fund,” Dorsett said. “You can’t balance budgets on the backs of golfers.”Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who was instrumental in leading the effort to upgrade Harding Park, said although he wasn’t “jumping up and down” about the proposal to increase resident fees, the overall plan seems fair.

“The rates haven’t been touched since 2006, and we’ve had a very successful tournament since then,” Elsbernd said. “One of the main reasons to upgrade the facilities was to attract nonresidents who are willing to pay extra money. In these tough economic times, we need to take advantage of all the resources we have, and Harding Park is one of our best.”

The Recreation and Park Commission will vote on the fee increase proposals at its meeting Thursday.


Golfing in San Francisco

Revenue estimate for Harding Park from mid-April to June 30 of this fiscal year:

$15 nonresident rate increase    $13,400
2.9% resident rate increase    $10,400
$1 increase at Fleming    $9,400
Increases to electric cart rates    $1,700
Other cart rate increases    $12,900

Total    $47,800


Public golf course fees for city residents:

Harding Park    $46
Sharp Park    $23
Lincoln Park    $23
Fleming*    $20
Golden Gate Park*    $11

* Nine-hole courses

Source: Recreation and Park Department

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Will Reisman

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