Saturday August 23, 2014

Deer Park fees climb

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Fees are again moving upward for most golfers at Deer Park Municipal Golf Course in Yorkton.

“In 2013, Council approved a freeze on the Deer Park Golf Course fees and charges and further directed Administration to bring back information on the impacts of reducing fees at Deer Park with the intention to make the course more accessible to the general public and increase rounds played,” detailed a report circulated to the regular meeting of Yorkton Council Monday.

As a result Deer Park fees and charges have been the same since 2012 and Deer Park is below the provincial average in a number of areas. Expenses increase each year therefore an increase in fees is necessary to recuperate operating expenses as well as to stay within the provincial average for fees at similar golf courses. Most fees increase by approximately four per cent however there are a number of fees where the increase is greater due to being considerably below the provincial average. In these cases the fees are still below the provincial average, explained Paul Keys, Acting Director Community Development, Parks & Recreation, with the City.

Keys said one focus of the fee structure being maintained is how to keep young people active in the sport.

“It is difficult to raise these membership fees because of this demographics ability to pay. Junior golfers are the future of every golf club and recreation organization so

Administration wants to encourage the development of a strong base from which the game is grown. In the past, the Junior Fees were frozen to try to increase participation however this fee is now below the provincial average. The recommended increase still places Deer Park well below the average and is still an inexpensive youth recreational activity,” outlined the report.

A Junior membership will be set at $185 for 2014.

In addition, a new Junior under-12 fee has been established, said Keys.

This age group normally only plays nine holes, which justifies a lower price point. When comparing similar golf courses, it was noted that other courses are using this category therefore Administration believes that this could increase participation in the under 12

demographic. The numbers of youth participating in junior lessons is increasing but few are returning to play, he explained.

On the adult side a new fee structure to encourage play during non-peak hours has been established for 2014.

“Deer Park has signed up with GolfNow as a pilot project for the 2014 season,” said Keys, adding 18-holes in the 1-to-4:30 time slot will cost $38, compared to a regular round of $42.

GolfNow recommends that we have a tiered fee structure to increase traffic at slower times. This fee structure is very common in the U.S., but not used regularly in Saskatchewan. Golf Saskatchewan information shows that there are a number of golf courses using a tiered structure in Saskatchewan and are very interested in the results. This is why we considered an afternoon green fee (1pm – 4:30 pm), he added.

The regular annual adult membership will be $1,065 for 2014.

Overall the fee structure approved by Council Monday reflects an approximate four per cent increase.

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