Harding Park course in the red after fee hikes 

Increased fees for nonresidents playing the prized greens of Harding Park Golf Course are not enough to bring operations out of the red, but the PGA Tour could bring relief.

Nonresidents are expected to start paying $15 more to hit the links at Harding Park. Weekday rates will increase from $135 to $150 and weekend rates from $155 to $170, which is about a 10 percent increase.

The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee on Wednesday supported the Recreation and Park Department’s proposed rate changes. The full board will vote Tuesday on the fee increase. The nonresident rate increase would boost revenue by about $87,000 in fiscal year 2010-11.

The proposal also includes making Northern California residents pay a fee for a cart to raise about $60,000. A cart currently is included in the course fee.

The fee increases come as the department has long struggled to break even with its Harding Park operation. During the upcoming fiscal year, the operation will cost $8.5 million. Even with the fee increases, however, the operating shortfall will be about $375,000, which will be paid for out of the city and county’s general fund.

However, the department is expected to bring in the PGA Tour to take over management of the clubhouse, without paying a management fee as it does now, which would reduce the shortfall by $192,000. The PGA Tour also plans to recommend additional rate changes after six to eight months to achieve up to a 10 percent revenue increase.

“What do we subsidize? Basketball, tennis, swimming — the swimming subsidy is huge,” Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said. “The residents of San Francisco get the opportunity to play a PGA-level golf course for $183,000 a year in city general-fund dollars. I’d say that’s a pretty good investment.”

The department also plans to increase resident fees by 2.9 percent. It can increase fees based on the consumer-price index without board approval.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

 

New nonresident greens fees

- $15 nonresident rate increase
- From $135 to $150 weekdays
- From $155 to $170 weekends

 

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