December 7, 2009
Committee lowers cost of golf pass for county residents
Johnson Park Golf Course is located in the middle of Caledonia, but is technically in the city of Racine. Soon village residents can play it like it's their own.
The City Council's Finance and Personnel Committee voted unanimously Monday night to offer a season pass to Racine County residents at the same rate city residents pay. With final approval from the full council, the pass, which covers unlimited play on city courses, will be $715 in 2010.
Non-city residents paid $1,040 for a season pass on city courses in 2009. The city courses include Shoop Park, Washington Park and Johnson Park golf courses. Johnson is the gem of the three and is considered one of the top public courses in the area.
The committee voted unanimously to lower the rates, but only after a vigorous discussion of alternatives. Alderman Terry McCarthy wondered if an intermediate rate could be set for county residents living outside of the city. His proposal would have set a three-tier pricing system for city, county and non-resident passes.
McCarthy also wondered if the city should lower the cost of the pass, because Johnson Park is already booked solid during the year. A lower cost for the pass could increase pressure on the course. He suggested some kind of pass to encourage play on Shoop or Washington, but the suggestion didn't take hold.
The hope is that lowering the cost of the season pass will generate more revenue for the city's golf courses next year. The city will have to sell at least four more passes to break even. (Officials also noted selling more passes to people from Mount Pleasant, Caledonia and Sturtevant could generate more revenue by bringing along guests, renting carts, buying food, etc.)
Any additional revenue generated by the passes will benefit Racine's golf courses. Greens fees pay for operations at the city's three courses, which are not funded by taxpayer dollars, Finance Director Dave Braun said.
Season pass holders need to play at least 34 rounds of 18 holes at Johnson Park (about $21 a round) to break even on the pass. Shoop and Washington Park are about half that cost.
McCarthy amended the resolution to require a review of the lower rate at the end of next season.
Alderman Mike Shields voted for the reduction, but expressed his disinterest in the issue.
"Not being a golfer, I don't care what they charge," he said.
Alderman Bob Anderson said he didn't expect the change to have much of an effect.
"I have my doubts this will increase revenue," he said.
Parks Director Donnie Snow said he supported the reduction, and the only way to test it was to put it into action.
"We don't know until we try it," Snow said the potential for additional revenue.
The reduced pass rate now heads to the full City Council for approval.