Local golfers upset about a recent hike in the cost of annual passes allowing unlimited weekday play at Salt Lake County golf courses apparently will not get a break from the county's Parks and Recreation division.
But handicapped golfers probably will not have to pay a proposed trail fee of $2 for nine holes or $4 for 18 holes assessed golfers who drive their own golf carts.The county fee increases, approved earlier this month on the heels of similar fee hikes at Salt Lake City municipal golf courses, brought howls of protest from golfers. Especially vocal were holders of senior citizen annual golf passes and handicapped-rights activists, who claimed the proposed trail fees unfairly impacted handicapped golfers who must use golf carts.
In response to the protests, county commissioners agreed to review the trail fee proposal and to consider making annual golf passes valid for weekend play at county courses.
The cost of annual adult passes to play the county's Mick Riley, Meadowbrook and Mountain View courses went up from $350 to $450, while the price of junior (age 18 and under) and senior (age 55 and older) annual passes was doubled, from $175 to $350.
Annual pass holders claimed that paying higher prices should entitle them to weekend play privileges. But after review, Parks and Recreation concluded that weekend tee times are at such a premium that pass holders should not be allowed unlimited weekend play.
"We just can't afford to allow weekend play on passes," said division director Glen Lu.
But the division did agree to waive trail fees for handicapped golfers, who will need to submit a physician's letter as proof of eligibility for the waiver. Other golfers driving their own carts will have to pay the fee, which will go to helping maintain cart trails - an expense built into the price of cart rentals.
Earlier this month the county raised greens fees to $6 for nine holes and $12 for 18 holes, up from last year's $5 and $10, respectively. The price of cart rental was hiked to $7 for nine holes and $14 for 18 holes, an increase from $6 and $12 rentals in 1988.
Lu said the increases are needed to help county courses avoid a projected $340,000 deficit by the end of the year. The proposed fee hikes were expected to raise an additional $400,000. County golf facilities must support themselves financially without general-fund subsidies.
The county's fee hikes also brought the prices of its annual passes in line with Salt Lake City's. The City Council recently raised the price of an adult annual pass for weekday play at the six municipal golf courses $100, to $500. The city hiked the price of senior and junior passes from $175 to $400.