Golfing fees go up when the snow comes down

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    By Jeff Gehring

    Provo”s cold winter may lead to an increase in fees at the East Bay golf course. However, East Bay”s fees will still be competitive with other courses in the area.

    “This winter has been extremely cold from the time snow fell in November and the course has not been available for play until very recently,” said Bob Stockwell, Provo City”s chief administrative officer.

    Due to the cold winter, the number of rounds played at East Bay decreased from 1,700 rounds in one month last year to 70 this year.

    Because of that, cash reserves – rather than revenues have been used to pay for fixed costs at the course, Stockwell said.

    Ken Cromwell, vice president golf operations, has requested an increase in fees at the course. The proposed increase would become effective April 2002.

    Current green fees at the East Bay golf course are $10 for 9-holes on weekdays and $11 on weekends. For golfers who wish to play the entire 18-holes, fees are presently $20 on weekdays and $22 on weekends, Cromwell said.

    The proposed increase is one dollar for 9-hole games and two dollars for 18-hole games.

    The need for this fee increase has become more important due to unexpected expenses that were incurred in the past fiscal year. The cart paths for the front 9-holes were replaced in the fall of 2001 at a cost of $30,000, said Cromwell.

    BYU students and Provo residents are happy about the improvements that have been made to better the course, but no one is excited about paying more to golf.

    “I think it”s asinine,” said Scott Bean, a BYU graduate from Seattle, Wash. “That was the only low-budget golf course still around and this will force me to golf less often or maybe more in my backyard.”

    Stockwell said he agrees that most golfers don”t want to pay more. However, he does see the increase as moderate and necessary.

    “Our commitment to the contractor and the public was that we would agree to maintain fees that were fair and competitive while generating revenues sufficient to properly maintain and improve the course without additional subsidies from the general fund,” Stockwell said.

    When the issue was proposed at a council meeting Tuesday, council members expressed concern that the increase in fees may account for a further decline in golfers at the course.

    That decline in golfers would lead to a continued decrease in revenues for the course, Cromwell said.

    “I”d be very surprised if it has much of an impact,” Stockwell said. “One of the self-policing mechanisms is that if it”s overpriced, the situation will have to be reevaluated.”

    The price increase, if approved, will bring prices in line with the prices of other competing courses in the valley.

    The proposal, along with any surrounding details, has been placed on the council agenda for March 19. Stockwell said members from the golf course management will be present at the meeting to answer any questions.

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