Golf course rates hiked 5 percent for 2013
October 26. 2012 9:44AM
The price to golf at Brandon’s Municipal Golf Course is going up 5 percent for the 2013 season, while the Brandon resident and early bird discount programs golfers have come to appreciate will remain intact.
The increase was implemented Oct. 15 by the Brandon City Council. This is the second year the City Council has increased golf rates, which took a 15 percent jump for the 2012 season.
The fee increase was put in place to help the golf course’s bottom line. In recent years, the course has lost money, forcing the city to offset the deficit. In addition, the principle payment for the course’s debt is set up to increase over time.
Alderman Bob Bruning initially proposed a 5 to 10 percent increase and suggested phasing out the discount programs. The proposal was intended to bring Brandon’s fees more in line with the area market rate.
“We took a good step forward last year with the 15 percent increase and this will get us closer when we take a 5 to 10 percent increase,” he said.
Bruning said the council garners “bad PR every time we do this, but it’s our responsibility as a council to charge the market rate. … If we sell below what it’s worth, how do we sell that to a taxpayer? It’s our responsibility to set that at a fair rate for all the taxpayers of this town.”
Course manager Zane Swenson said he favors the discount programs, and said golfers tend to frequent the course more because of the discounts, which in turn generates sales in both the pro shop and lounge.
Alderwoman Mindy Hansen was also supportive of the discount programs. “I have a problem with phasing out all of those discounts, especially if other courses we’re competing with have a discount.”
She suggested a flat 10 percent discount through Dec. 31.
“We’re trying to increase our revenue and make the golf course profitable on just raising fees,” Hansen said. “We need to take a look at the full picture.”
And that’s just what the council will do. As part of the approved Resolution No.17-12, which establishes the new fees, the entire course operation will be scrutinized before the 2014 budget is presented.
“I think we’re confusing profitability with setting rates,” Bruning said. “I think we need to get up to the market value and then we won’t need to have this same discussion every year.”
Swenson told the council that golf courses are generally not a “high profit business,” noting he could name five area courses that are struggling financially. He also suggested the nine years remaining on course payments could be extended five years, which could also help keep the course in the black.
Because the golf course, which is an enterprise fund, has shown little to no profit in recent years, one Brandon resident suggested the city declare the course as surplus and put it up for sealed bid.
Former city councilor Dan Mostek, who has taken advantage of the discount programs, said, “It’s an asset, it’s an enterprise fund, which means it needs to be responsible for its own bottom line. As a taxpayer, if it’s a liability, then let’s put it up for sale.”
BMGC 2013 ANNUAL PASS FEES
College (all play): $474.53
Adult (all play): $727.80
Adult (weekday): $564.95
Senior (all play): $618.93
Senior (weekday): $498.60
Sr. couple (all play): $951.17
Married couples (all play): $1,174.77
Family (all play): $1,329.21
Green fees, punch cards, cart (motorized, pull), and range fees all increased 5 percent