City to lower Eagle Valley Golf Course fees
Woodbury city officials are hoping a decrease in Eagle Valley Golf Course fees will attract more players.
Community Development Director Dwight Picha said the fees have been increasing $1 every year since the municipal golf course opened in 1998 to offset operating costs.
But coupon and discount use has spiked, which defeats the purpose of bumping up the fees in the first place.
And by increasing the fees by a dollar every year, over time, it hurts participation rate, he added.
"The number of participants has gone down over the years," Picha said, adding that $50 is "kind of the limit that people like to pay."
City Council members came to a consensus at a workshop following their regular meeting Wednesday, Feb. 8, that keeping fees consistent or even lowering them would be beneficial to the golf course.
Instead of charging $54.50 for an 18-hole round of golf with cart riding after noon on Saturday, Sunday and holidays, the 2012 fees would go down to $48, the same rate for weekdays as well.
Picha said fees on weekends before noon and on holidays will go from $59.50 to $58.
"The usage over the years has really gone down on weekends," he told the council, adding that business has deteriorated especially with the addition of coupons and discounts.
The city is trying to stay competitive with other courses in the area including Prestwick Golf Course, Oak Marsh in Oakdale and Oak Glenn in Stillwater.
"We don't really know what they're going to be doing for 2012 rates," Picha said. "We try to keep (fees) the same or slightly reduce them to try to keep them competitive with other courses."
City officials are also hoping the new fees and Royal Club membership rates will keep Woodbury golfers at home.
The new 18-hole Royal Club weekend rate prior to noon for members will be $49 instead of $58 for nonmembers.
Annual memberships will be $105 for Royal Club members and $85 for Woodbury residents.
"You get significant price cuts during the weekend here in the Royal Club," Picha said. "You only have to play four or five times before it really pays for itself."
City Administrator Clint Gridley said it's always hard to balance the fee schedule to attract more players without hurting revenues.
"It's an invisible line to find," he said, between the maximum price to charge and getting people to play more rounds.
Council member Christopher Burns wondered if Woodbury's golf course compares apples to apples to other area courses and if reducing the rates makes sense.
"Are we by far the diamonds and the rest are so-so?" he said.
Picha said Loggers Trail in Stillwater is the most comparable in terms of the quality of the course.
It costs $44 for an 18-hole round plus $30 for a gas cart on weekends and holidays, according to the Loggers Trail Golf Course website.
City Council members also encouraged staff to continue promoting the golf course for junior programs as well.
The city will try to get one of the two local high schools to use Eagle Valley as their home course, Gridley said.
When asked whether reducing fees will hurt the club's revenues, Picha said by getting more players and more rounds, while phasing out of discounts and coupons, Eagle Valley's revenues will actually increase.
If formally approved by council, the new fees would kick in when the course opens for the season.