Golf course rates for 2016 season approved by council

Golfers will see small increases in some of the rates at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf course this season, while some other fees will remain the same or be eliminated. The common council unanimously approved the new rates for the golf course at a special meeting held Wednesday. The golf commission met the day before to finalize their recommendations for the new rates. Under the terms of an ordinance passed last week, the council has the final authority to approve the fees for the course each year.

Under the new schedule, the cost of a standard membership will increase from $700 to $735, senior memberships will increase from $675 to $695, while junior and young adult memberships will remain unchanged. Weekday greens fees will increase from $26 to $28 and weekend greens fees will increase from $29 to $31. Cart storage fees will remain unchanged, and league dues and additional cart rider fees will be eliminated.

Before the vote, Matt Ossenfort, who was recently appointed to the commission by Mayor Michael Villa, thanked former commission members Pam Ritter, Bob Karutis and Dustin Swanger for their work.

In regards to the new rates, Ossenfort said, “I thought the commission really thoughtfully tried to balance the needs of the members, trying to make sure we keep members, but also trying to understand that we are going to have to raise some revenue by raising rates. And I think we found a compromise. And it was a unanimous decision by the commission.”

In regards to the rate increase, Alderman Ed Russo said, “I think we should have gone a little bit more. We have to look at the future here.”

Russo said he was concerned about the need to replace aging equipment at the course, as well as attracting younger generations of players.

Commission member Matt Beck said he understood Russo concerns.

“The last thing we wanted to do is raise those rates too much where we were going to lose members, and then you’d be further behind the eight-ball,” said Beck.

However Beck said he was looking for creative ways to increase revenue and put aside funds for improvements.

“We want to get a nice little balance for those rainy days where we know we might need a pot of money to replace equipment,” said Beck.

He added that he plans on working with commission member Michelle Russo to hold  tournaments, with proceeds from the events going toward either equipment or capital projects.

In regards to attracting younger generations of players, Villa pointed out the that membership rates for juniors and young adults had remained unchanged this season.

In regards to the commission’s recommendations, Villa said, “I think you guys did a good job, it’s a fair increase. The last thing we want to do is have extreme spikes and lose members and have to lower it.”

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.