City golf course fees to rise

Published On: Jun 17 2013 06:12:13 PM HST   Updated On: Jun 18 2013 09:14:49 AM HST

Prepare to pay $2 more for a round of golf at city courses.

The current  $18 and $22 dollar green fees will be raised for the third year in a row.

The city council approved the hikes a few years ago. Besides the green fees, senior passes will jump from $85-$90 a month.

"I think it's outrageous. We are senior citizens. This is the most played golf course. I think the state or the city is making a lot of money off of here," said Homer Kuroda, who played at the popular Ala Wai Golf Course Monday.

The city's figures show that since the fees kicked in, golfers are played 11,000 fewer rounds. But revenues went up $400,000.

“It's a fine balancing act to make  sure we have enough revenue as well as making sure we keep it as affordable as possible," said Gerald Saito, director of city enterprise services.

Golfers said with the cost of living on the rise, they have less money to play with.

Barbary Joy was looking forward to testing out a birthday gift of new clubs at the Ala Wai Golf Course Monday.

"I love to play golf and if I could I would play three times a week but its finances, there is no way I would be capable to play three times a week," said Joy.

One thing that a number of golfers said is that some days  play is so light you can actually walk on and get a tee time.

Joy has noticed fewer players on the course, which had one time had the distinction of being the busiest public course in the country.

Now, golf play is down at all city courses with the exception of Ewa Villages.

Some golfers say if they pay more, they want to see more improvements.

"We recently put in some improvements on the greens at the putting greens at Pali Golf Course. We put in paspalem. It's a heartier grass. It requires less maintenance and the best thing about it is that it improved the putting surfaces," said Saito.

Saito estimates the golf play drop for this fiscal year may be close to 5%.

But he says golf play in general even at private courses is down. Golfers wonder if the new hikes will mark a new tipping point.

"We will have to see how it goes in the long run. Sometimes there are unforseeeable things that make the play to be less. Time will tell," said golfer Paul Hamilton.



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