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Phoenix Considers Cutting Hours, Loyalty Program At Golf Courses

Palo Verde golf course
Christina Estes/KJZZ
file | staff
Palo Verde in Phoenix is a 9-hole course located at 15th and Maryland avenues.

Reducing hours and discount fees are some of the ideas Phoenix leaders are considering to save money at city-owned golf courses.

During the Parks Subcommittee meeting Wednesday meeting, the Parks Department presented options to save and raise revenue, including dropping a loyalty program.

“We actually lose money on it to where we only generate $19 a round from the fees generated and the free rounds and it takes $27 to $29 to break even,” said David Hockett, golf director.

Other ideas included selling naming rights and sponsorships, outsourcing management and converting courses into green space. The subcommittee asked staff to return with more research and analysis and suggested policy makers and residents might need to have a broader discussion about the costs and benefits of city-owned courses.

Park Director Inger Erickson said the overall golf program, which includes eight courses, recovered 98.8 percent of costs during the last fiscal year.

The Palo Verde Golf Course at 15th and Maryland Avenues is the city’s only standalone nine-hole course and it’s the biggest loser, with a deficit that topped $200,000 last year.

“It’s way too early to throw in the towel there,” said Councilman Daniel Valenzuela whose district includes Palo Verde. “I think we have to continue moving this forward, looking for options, trying to make Palo Verde more viable.”

In 2013, after the courses had been losing money for years, the city council voted to borrow $15 million from the Phoenix Parks and Preserve Initiative Programto pay off golf debt.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.