City Hall Proposes $2 Greens Fee Increase, Says ABQ’s Muni Courses Must Pay for Themselves 1 7418

(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) March 22, 2012 — Mayor Richard Berry told the city Golf Advisory Board that Albuquerque’s municipal golf courses must pay for themselves, and his chief operating officer said that will require an average $2 increase per round.

The increase being proposed by the administration affects all classes of greens fees and includes hefty increases in the prices of various kinds of annual golf passes for all ages. The average 18-hole round would go to $24.50 on weekdays and $31 on weekends. An annual pass would increase by $132 to $1,566, a 9 percent increase. A senior pass would go to $1,132, a 13 percent increase.

The proposed rates outlined by Chief Operating Officer John Soladay do not require City Council approval and could go into effect once aired in a public hearing and approved by Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry. “We’re looking at a $2 across-the-board increase,” he told the advisory board at a meeting at Ladera Golf Course.

Soladay said analysis of city revenues and costs shows that Albuquerque loses about $1.78 a round at current rates. It currently books 250,000 rounds a year across 90 holes of muni golf at four facilities. Citywide, that amounts to a $201,000 annual operating shortfall and does not allow the city to set aside about $250,000 a year needed to replace failing maintenance equipment.

The mayor, in remarks before Soladay delivered the financial details, said the golf courses are supposed to be self-sufficient, but over the years they have built up about $500,000 a year in debt that should be borne by the users.

— Dan Vukelich

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1 Comment

  1. Why do we as golfers and taxpayers have to be responsible for making the golf courses pay for themselves when other city recreational facilities are wholly subsidized by the taxpayers? (tennis courts, roller blade and skate board parks, bike trails, family parks)
    To the best of my knowledge, there are no user fees for those facilities.

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Sierra Del Rio to Shutter for Two Months 0 104

Sierra del Rio Golf Course

Sierra Del Rio Golf Course, which restricted play in December to Thursday through Sunday only, will close for two months after the New Year.

The temporary closure of the 18-hole Elephant Butte golf course was announced in an email Sunday. The golf course’s food and beverage operation, also will close. Plans are to reopen on March 1, the course said.

“The course is in reasonably good condition but we want it to be in the best shape possible when we reopen,” a golf shop employee said Sunday. Maintenance crews will devote the downtime to earth and drainage work to repair damage to native areas off the playing surfaces caused by heavy rains in September, the employee said.

Sierra Del Rio, a Richard Phelps design, is the centerpiece of a retirement- and second-home community near the Rio Grande in Southern New Mexico. Its director of golf is Guy Wimberly, who retired to Elephant Butte after decades running Arroyo Del Oso Golf Course in Albuquerque. Wimberly had no comment on the closure on Sunday.

Sierra Del Rio reduced playing days earlier this month. Winter is typically playable in Southern New Mexico, where daily highs reach into the 50s and 60s.

Sierra Del Rio is part of the Turtleback Mountain Resort. It opened in 2007 on the footprint of the old Oasis Golf Resort and is the nearest golf course to Spaceport America, where Virgin Galactic plans to fly tourists to the edge of space.

The renovated course and new homes built near it provided a boost to the local economy, but homebuilding and rounds played suffered following the 2008 housing collapse.

Dan Vukelich is editor of NewMexicoGolfNews.com. Reach him at dan@newmexicogolfnews.com.