YORKTON - Deer Park Golf Course fees are rising in 2022.
At its regular meeting Monday Yorkton Council voted to approve a 4.5 percent increase for the 2022 season.
It had been suggested by City Administration a six percent increase be approved for 2023 to offset the implementation of P.S.T., and a four percent increase in 2024, to further address the issues of inflation, but the recommendation did not gain much traction with Council.
While Councillor Randy Goulden said that she was ready to go with the recommendation, Coun. Dustin Brears had already made the motion focused only on 2022.
“I like the three-year plan – the concept,” he said, but then said it wasn’t the time for a plan because “we don’t have any idea of inflation.
“We don’t want to lock ourselves into a three-year plan and have things go sideways.”
In presenting the fees to Council, Darcy McLeod, Director of Recreation and Community Services with the City told Council; “Administration’s current direction is to operate the Deer Park Golf course as a community recreation facility similar to other sport, culture and recreation facilities that are typically provided by municipalities, such as ice arenas, swimming pools, libraries, art galleries, ball diamonds, soccer pitches, playgrounds, etc. Therefore, the golf course is provided similar public investment to ensure golf remains a publicly available community recreation activity.”
A golf course has to be managed with a number of factors taken into consideration, said McLeod.
“Ultimately, the success of a golf course is dependent on a number of factors including weather, course condition, service and cost. The area’s market has the most significant impact on the success of the golf course,” he said. “. . . It is important to balance the cost of participation with the community's ability to pay. Recognizing this balance along with the need to stay competitive with similar courses is key to the success of Deer Park. Maintaining fees in the mid-range of similar courses will ensure a balance between the community's ability to pay, and remaining competitive in the golf industry. This will also assist with attracting new golfers to the course, as cost is a significant determining factor on where people choose to spend their time and money.
“The pricing for golf at Deer Park Municipal Golf Course is aimed to be in the mid-range of other similar golf courses in the Province. If the prices are set too high, people will not participate at that course and choose another less expensive course in the area. This is especially true for the casual or social golfer. If fees are set too low, the golf course may be considered undervalued and create suspicion as to why it is so inexpensive. This is true if you are an avid golfer looking for challenges and quality. In both cases, the result could be a poor reputation for the golf course, negatively impacting rounds played, which is reflected in revenue generation.”
Historically, “the Adult Green Fee is the foundation for development of all fees at Deer Park. Other fees and season passes are then compared to the Adult fees and a discount applied to establish the specific fee. The appropriate taxes are then applied to fees where applicable and they are then rounded for ease of accounting and communication,” explained McLeod.
From 2017 through 2021 fees rose a combined nine per cent while inflation was 8.9 per cent.
Costs are going to rise in 2022.
“The 2021 annual inflation rate was 3.4 percent, however it steadily increased through the last half of the year and continues to rise monthly. The January inflation rate was announced as 5.1 percent, February’s rate was recently announced as 5.7 percent and it is expected to continue to rise. Further, the recent spike in fuel costs has an impact on this number, and also impacts the golf course,” said McLeod.
Further impacts to the golf course in 2022 include some disruption in services as the Clubhouse project proceeds.
The good news, 2021 was a good year at the course.
“The total number of rounds played in 2021 again increased slightly from 18,718 in 2020 to 19,885 in 2021. Of note in 2021 was that there were 113 more season passes purchased compared to 2020, along with a slight increase in green fees sold. There were 79 New Adult season passes sold in 2021. 11 of the 21 people who purchased a New Adult in 2020, bought an Adult season pass in 2021,” explained McLeod.
McLeod said moving forward Administration would like to set fees for a three, or four-year period.
“Administration would like to set a fee structure which will allow for better planning and forecasting. A three-year fee structure is in place for all other Recreation and Community Services Department fees, with a review currently underway to consider establishing a four-year fee structure that aligns with a Council term,” he said.
The fees would still be able to be adjusted if required to do so.
“Although the fees are approved in advance, they are reviewed each year as part of budget deliberations and any significant adjustments are brought back for Council approval. We will consider including Deer Park fees and charges in that review, however Administration would like to start with establishing a three-year fee structure at this point since we know that there are impacts to our operation that will warrant fee increases over the next few years, at a minimum,” said McLeod.
With the approved increase for fees an adult annual membership will increase to $1,350 in 2022 from $1,290 in 2021.
An adult round of 18 will be $48 in 2022, up from $46.