Marysville to charge more on golf memberships for publicly-owned course

By Tony Wittkowski | City Reporter | The Times Herald

The Marysville Golf Course has experienced a decline in membership, and that has forced management to make some changes before golf starts in the spring.

Randy Fernandez, Marysville city manager

Randy Fernandez, Marysville city manager

Golf Course Superintendent Brian Lents said the city will raise the cost by $25 for season passes after the number of members from last year dropped by 32.

“We are trying to do everything we can to make money,” he said. “Of course, we lose money after purchasing equipment. We are increasing membership rates 5 percent, which is an additional $25 from 2014.”

Lents said while the number of season pass holders is down, the amount of rounds purchased was up slightly from 2013.

Out of the 222 members at the city-owned golf course, 138 are Marysville residents. However, those numbers are partially skewed, as Lents said more residents choose to pay as they go instead of purchasing a season pass.

Marysville City Manager Randy Fernandez said the golf membership rates will be on the agenda at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

“The golf course does lose money. However, the loss was less than 1 percent,” Fernandez said. “Having said that, we try to break even in the overall budget. The council is aware of that, and we have cut expenses to the bare bone.

“Our job now is to find different revenue sources.”

The golf courseobtained a liquor license in November. Fernandez said the city has considered a food station to sell hamburgers and hot dogs at the course.

“We have talked to some restaurants in the past, and they have fallen through,” Fernandez said. “Our golf course rates are competitive. They’re not the highest, but they’re not the lowest.”

The Marysville Golf Course opened in 1953 and expanded to 18 holes in 1976.

“It’s funny how rounds have gone down throughout the country,” Lents said. “I think that we have lost a whole generation of golfers through technology. Kids aren’t playing outside, and some of the largest membership losses are the students and college players.”

Lents said 73 percent of the current membership are retirees.

Another option is marketing to golfers from outside the county and from Canada.

Fernandez said the golf course also increased the price of items sold in the pro shop.

“The council has informed city administration that we have another two or three years to turn it around to a break-even point, or things will have to change and possibly go in a different direction,” Fernandez said. “If we cut revenue sources any more, we won’t be able to keep it in the condition it is in. Something will have to give.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at (810) 989-6270 or twittkowsk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Dec. 14, 2014)

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