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Golfing is getting pretty expensive these days


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We have 5 County courses here in New Jersey, residents pay $ 42 a year for membership, seniors pay $28. daily fees are walking for $ 34 Monday thru Friday & $38 weekends ( walking anytime). Seniors ( 62 & over) pay $22 weekdays & $32 on weekends. Carts are $17 all week, $10 for a 9 hole cart. At last count we had almost 10,000 county members registered for golf, tee times are VERY hard to come by, members can go online 8 days ahead to book times, starting at 8:00 p.m.

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15 minutes ago, mesquite2 said:

We have 5 County courses here in New Jersey, residents pay $ 42 a year for membership, seniors pay $28. daily fees are walking for $ 34 Monday thru Friday & $38 weekends ( walking anytime). Seniors ( 62 & over) pay $22 weekdays & $32 on weekends. Carts are $17 all week, $10 for a 9 hole cart. At last count we had almost 10,000 county members registered for golf, tee times are VERY hard to come by, members can go online 8 days ahead to book times, starting at 8:00 p.m.

Are the county courses subsidized by taxpayer (property tax) money?  I would think so since I've sen this elsewhere.  What really sucks is when you have a muni that the city counsel leased to a golf management company and the company sets the prices.  The city makes revenue, the company makes revenue, the property taxes are still high and the golfers get screwed. 

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3 hours ago, GolfnGatorNC said:

Are the county courses subsidized by taxpayer (property tax) money?  I would think so since I've sen this elsewhere.  What really sucks is when you have a muni that the city counsel leased to a golf management company and the company sets the prices.  The city makes revenue, the company makes revenue, the property taxes are still high and the golfers get screwed. 

The 5 courses make plenty of money to run on their own, in fact some of the money raised is used in other parts of the county.

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41 minutes ago, mesquite2 said:

The 5 courses make plenty of money to run on their own, in fact some of the money raised is used in other parts of the county.

That's interesting.  With those membership prices and the courses making plenty of money on their own, I would then suggest that the memberships are not the majority of the revenue or the tee time problem.  What are the regular fees for non-residents and non-members? 

 

Actually, I was really curious as I've been researching ownership of golf courses, so I believe I found the county and grabbed the last audit report (attached).  Some of the expenditures are in other places (health insurance, no property mortgage, real property, etc.), so I can't get a feel for profitability but I am definitely not an accountant and did not sleep in a Holiday Express, so someone else is better able to interpret the report than me.

 

Also, I looked up the online tee sheets, and they are healthy and it looks like the members grab a majority of the morning times but the big difference is the non-member rates. $40-77 for 18 w/cart weekdays compared to the member rates.  You don't find low rates like that in South Florida.  Our muni right now is $69 weekday for the RESIDENTS. it goes down to $49 weekday in summer but then up to $89 during the winter.

 

Your county seems to do a good job in golf compared to others.  West Palm Beach County down here has a similar golf operation and they do pretty good financially, but they too have the same issue with healthy tee sheets...gotta get the times when they first open up. 

2022_audit_report_-_sc_park_comm_update.pdf

Edited by GolfnGatorNC
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Where I live, I think the daily rates are on the reasonable side, although they have gone up since covid. I'm a member at a semi-private, paid $1795 last year as a first year member and $1810 this year as a returning member. Returning members pay $75 less than new members. Our season is only ~May 1 through ~November 10 which is part of why it costs less than places where you can play more months. It's a nice course, excellent conditions. For non-members, greens fees are $53, add $25 if you want to ride. They have a twilight rate of $35 starting at 4pm which is a sweet deal especially Sat & Sun afternoons when the course tends to be pretty quiet. When I play with non-members I do hear often about how expensive golf has gotten, I tell them about the twilight deal, and often they'll say they'd rather play earlier in the day. There's the tradeoff...

 

I just looked up some other local courses. One is $49 + $25 with a $32 twilight rate. Another is $35 during the week, $47 on weekends + $14 cart with a $30 twilight rate.

 

One other thing most of the local clubs do is they'll have one day a week is "senior day", one day is "men's day", one day is "women's day" and greens fees are ~20% off. And pretty much all the courses here offer what's called a "player's card" that you buy either 5 or 10 rounds and you get 1 free.

 

It's like everything else, you can find deals if it matters to you and you are flexible.

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many municipal courses were traditionally cash cows for other parks and recreation facilities and operations, depending on the locale.

 

now, many are losing money after outsourcing operations to management companies that suck the life and money out of them.

 

can't stop progress...

i don’t need no stinkin’ shift key

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just looked further around my area outside of Boston and not only have most courses raised there rates significantly many are now requiring carts as well which further boosts the cost.  As someone who always walks, even in my 60s, this is really not a welcome sign.  Riding in a cart really takes the enjoyment out of it for me, not to mention you don't get the walking in.  Seems like courses are attempting to squeeze every last dollar out of you to play and yet courses are closing all the time.  Very frustrating situation.

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Inflation in general is incredibly high and has been for 24 months.  In the golf service industry this is also exasperated by the cost of labor (grounds crew, kitchen staff, etc.) which are employed by both public and private facilities which has greatly increased operating costs.  I get as frustrated by the prices as anybody, but the reality is that due to their cost increases many need to squeeze every last cent out of the equation currently just to stay afloat.  In certain states (California - don't get me started) the person flipping your burger at the turn now makes more than EMTs - a perfect example of the absurdity of costs in some areas.  

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1 hour ago, Jgolfer99 said:

Inflation in general is incredibly high and has been for 24 months.  In the golf service industry this is also exasperated by the cost of labor (grounds crew, kitchen staff, etc.) which are employed by both public and private facilities which has greatly increased operating costs.  I get as frustrated by the prices as anybody, but the reality is that due to their cost increases many need to squeeze every last cent out of the equation currently just to stay afloat.  In certain states (California - don't get me started) the person flipping your burger at the turn now makes more than EMTs - a perfect example of the absurdity of costs in some areas.  

You mean the absurdity of the people elected. Common sense has left the nation when a kid flipping burgers ( a part time entry level position ) who is lucky to have a job makes more than an EMT who could save your life at any point during an emergency. 

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Prices in my general area are around $100 w/cart. I play three times a week so I look to play courses for $45 w/cart or less even if I have to travel an hr. to play them.

 

I am in my local forum and people are complaining all the time at the courses charging $100 a round but yet all those courses are full and the people complaining are still going there.

 

Now there are the courses using dynamic pricing. Just the other day a guy in my local forum said they showed up for their 2:12 tee time. It was $110 to play but the people at 2:00 were paying $58. The person said he argued with the check in guy because it was posted on the board it was $89. The guy said we are using dynamic pricing. I always thought when you would have open tee times the day of you might lower them to get someone to book them. Now evidently they raise the prices because of the limited slots available the day of. 

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1 hour ago, Ghostwedge said:

You mean the absurdity of the people elected. Common sense has left the nation when a kid flipping burgers ( a part time entry level position ) who is lucky to have a job makes more than an EMT who could save your life at any point during an emergency. 

The problem isn't that the fast food worker is making too much (especially when considering the profits his or her labor is contributing to); it's that the EMT isn't making enough.

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16 hours ago, Greenie said:

Prices in my general area are around $100 w/cart. I play three times a week so I look to play courses for $45 w/cart or less even if I have to travel an hr. to play them.

 

I am in my local forum and people are complaining all the time at the courses charging $100 a round but yet all those courses are full and the people complaining are still going there.

 

Now there are the courses using dynamic pricing. Just the other day a guy in my local forum said they showed up for their 2:12 tee time. It was $110 to play but the people at 2:00 were paying $58. The person said he argued with the check in guy because it was posted on the board it was $89. The guy said we are using dynamic pricing. I always thought when you would have open tee times the day of you might lower them to get someone to book them. Now evidently they raise the prices because of the limited slots available the day of. 

 

Now I can understand that supply/demand could impact pricing. That's the basic premise of winter rates. But do you mean that they changed the price from $89 to $110 from the time they BOOKED until the time they PLAYED??? That seems outrageous to me. 

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On 4/19/2024 at 3:56 PM, Pepperturbo said:

The OP should see the rates here in California, places in AZ and Maui.  Most courses don't allow walking during prime time, so CART fee is an added factor. 

 

My average green fee is over $100, + cart, to as much as $175, and often pay for two = $225+, we play many times per month too.  Maybe part of lower golf viewership is really driven by the gradually higher cost of golf.

 

Sounds like a discussion on opportunity cost.  

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53 minutes ago, IndyArcher said:

 

Now I can understand that supply/demand could impact pricing. That's the basic premise of winter rates. But do you mean that they changed the price from $89 to $110 from the time they BOOKED until the time they PLAYED??? That seems outrageous to me. 

Rereading the guy's post. His friend booked the time and this person didn't question what the price was because he knew they charged $89 and after 2 the rates went down. He didn't know they went to dynamic pricing. He questioned why he was being charged $110 when their regular rates were posted on the board at $89.

 

I personally stay away from dynamic pricing courses. I actually don't understand how it works. Courses claim it is to save the customer money but I personally look at it the other way. Some years ago I played a local course in the winter for $25 w/cart. That was their winter rate at that course. Temps were in the 40's. Several days later the temps were in the 60's so I called and made a tee time. When I checked in they tried to charge me $65. I questioned why the price gouging just because it was a nice day in the middle of winter and they claimed they went to dynamic pricing. The course didn't green up over night. The course was still in winter condition. I left and went to another course.

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29 minutes ago, Greenie said:

Rereading the guy's post. His friend booked the time and this person didn't question what the price was because he knew they charged $89 and after 2 the rates went down. He didn't know they went to dynamic pricing. He questioned why he was being charged $110 when their regular rates were posted on the board at $89.

 

I personally stay away from dynamic pricing courses. I actually don't understand how it works. Courses claim it is to save the customer money but I personally look at it the other way. Some years ago I played a local course in the winter for $25 w/cart. That was their winter rate at that course. Temps were in the 40's. Several days later the temps were in the 60's so I called and made a tee time. When I checked in they tried to charge me $65. I questioned why the price gouging just because it was a nice day in the middle of winter and they claimed they went to dynamic pricing. The course didn't green up over night. The course was still in winter condition. I left and went to another course.


Why should prices be fixed when demand isn’t?

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6 minutes ago, IndyArcher said:

 

I agree with that wholeheartedly, but from a customer service perspective, the process should be clearly articulated to visitors in as many ways as possible. 

 

Most courses do now when you book tee times or check rates, kinda sucks when planning a trip or something cause a tee time could be $50 or $250 (not serious). Would be nice if they had a price range for dynamic pricing but most know people will pay and the ones that won't they probably don't care about. 

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Do they not have green saver or other type of discount books in other parts of the country?  Some courses do not honor this on the weekend, but many do - usually buy one, get one type of deal.  Of course, golf now is a great app for cheap golf if you don't care what time you play, or where.

 

May is always expensive around here and then the interest wanes when hiking and other outdoor stuff picks up.

 

Prices get better around here in windy, chance of rain, cloudy or colder days.  People are soft and cancel if the weather is not perfect since we have a lot of perfect days.  These days can help out your handicap too.

 

I am amazed about golfers in the US and their understanding of economic principles/systems.  Handicap system is pure socialism.  Fixed pricing a communist principle.  Dynamic pricing is 100% capitalist and supply/demand based.  I guess that any of them are on blast if it doesn't work for the individual.

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3 minutes ago, jda said:

Do they not have green saver or other type of discount books in other parts of the country?  Some courses do not honor this on the weekend, but many do - usually buy one, get one type of deal.  Of course, golf now is a great app for cheap golf if you don't care what time you play, or where.

 

May is always expensive around here and then the interest wanes when hiking and other outdoor stuff picks up.

 

Prices get better around here in windy, chance of rain, cloudy or colder days.  People are soft and cancel if the weather is not perfect since we have a lot of perfect days.  These days can help out your handicap too.

 

I am amazed about golfers in the US and their understanding of economic principles/systems.  Handicap system is pure socialism.  Fixed pricing a communist principle.  Dynamic pricing is 100% capitalist and supply/demand based.  I guess that any of them are on blast if it doesn't work for the individual.

 

spacer.png

 

That's just silliness right there. If the pricing was fixed by the government, perhaps. But a course that simply charges a single rate per person for golfing is NOT communistic! It is simply a pricing structure they've chosen as a private business. It could very well be that they believe their customer base won't respond well to a dynamic system, in which case a single rate would be the very picture of a capitalistic choice. 

I am surprised that golfers don't understand the economic principles they criticize in others. spacer.png

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3 hours ago, klebs01 said:


Why should prices be fixed when demand isn’t?

 

I simply don't understand dynamic pricing. How a golf course chooses to charge someone is their business. Demand is a constantly changing thing. To me having a golf course changing rates hourly, daily is a bit much.  I am older and old school. I am use to posted rates for summer,winter, twilight rates, w/cart, walking, senior rates, etc. I will continue to support that business model. 

 

In my area every time they call for snow a high number of people run to the grocery store to buy milk,bread, and toilet paper. Demand is up but I don't see the grocery stores raising their prices for the day. I could go on but since I don't know what I am talking about I'll leave it at that.

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4 minutes ago, Greenie said:

 

I simply don't understand dynamic pricing. How a golf course chooses to charge someone is their business. Demand is a constantly changing thing. To me having a golf course changing rates hourly, daily is a bit much.  I am older and old school. I am use to posted rates for summer,winter, twilight rates, w/cart, walking, senior rates, etc. I will continue to support that business model. 

 

In my area every time they call for snow a high number of people run to the grocery store to buy milk,bread, and toilet paper. Demand is up but I don't see the grocery stores raising their prices for the day. I could go on but since I don't know what I am talking about I'll leave it at that.


its simply like an auction if demand is higher for a day or part of a day the rates will go up. Same as airline fares change depending on number of available seats, day of the week, time to departure, etc. optimal condition isn’t sold out so prices will rise to get to maintain optimal utilization. 
 

the rush to the supermarket is a great example of the failure to flex prices leading to poor outcomes. People overbuy because there is no penalty and price people with need out of the market, not by dollars, but because they have available time when others don’t. 

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