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Does Your Course Charge Extra to Ride Solo?


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8 hours ago, Double Mocha Man said:

Another way of looking at this:  It is pandemically problematic for two to ride in a cart, at 18 inches apart, face to face.  If your county health department is able to determine that Covid-19 cases are popping up at Course X (or X, Y and Z) then they will probably shut down courses again.  That is not in the best revenue interests of courses.

Under the old rule of never make a complaint without giving a solution I'd suggest that courses allow seniors over 60 (60 is supposedly the age when most people become immune compromised) to ride for the single rider fee.  All others on a case by case basis... sounds silly, but with a note from their doctor if they have health issues likely compromised by the virus.

The unnamed course I've been referring to in my examples has 72-75 power carts available.  Received some insider information this morning.  Their tee times are 9 minutes apart.  They are never fully booked.  Someone here will do the math.  Understand that not everyone will want to go out in a single cart.  In better times I always prefer two to a cart... less isolation and more fun that way.

At some point you just have to bow to 2 undeniable truths of life:

1) Life is not fair, and (with a tip of the hat to Mick and the boys)

2) you can't always get what you want.

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I understand the value of physical distancing, I understand that it might be mandatory in some areas, I understand that physical distancing could require single-rider carts.  I don't know if its the f

Me?  Wrong?  I once thought I was wrong but it turned out I was wrong.

The question is, does the course have the right to charge a person for a demand that needs to be met because the course is experience a shortage of carts due to COVID and is required to rent or buy ne

(edited)
8 minutes ago, turtleback said:

At some point you just have to bow to 2 undeniable truths of life:

1) Life is not fair, and (with a tip of the hat to Mick and the boys)

2) you can't always get what you want.

Speaking of Mick, one of my favorite lines from that song:  "I went down to the demonstration to get my fair share of abuse..."

Kinda what I do here when I go online.  😄

Edited by Double Mocha Man
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9 hours ago, Darkfrog said:

Regarding profit/cost - If a foursome goes out in 4 carts, the course still gets the full amount of cart fees for the foursome, but I suppose the wear and tear on the carts is slightly increased, and maybe if not managed well, carts are not available for later tee times, creating a log jam of people waiting for carts to return.

Four separate carts:

  • More wear and tear (on the golf course and the cart fleet)
  • More gas used (or electricity/battery life).
  • Fewer carts available for later (so they may lose out on not only cart fees but green fees too)

So no they don't get "the full amount of cart fees" because their expenses are higher, too.

9 hours ago, Darkfrog said:

A tangential question to those who may know (perhaps @iacas, @phillyk) - I've always been curious what a golf course balance sheet looks like, are there any books/resources that explain the various financial elements of golf course operation?

You can find some of them. The best thing might be to look at the budget sheet for your local municipal course.

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5 bucks extra at my local course.

Its relatively rural and single riders are rare. There are 1-2 guys in my group over 60 who are “at risk” and worry about getting sick.

 The course doesn’t charge them extra, but people don’t seem to abuse the single cart policy.

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24 minutes ago, iacas said:

So no they don't get "the full amount of cart fees" because their expenses are higher, too.

Agree - I thought the qualifier I included was clearer than it was. I basically meant what you summarized. They take in the full amount of cart fees for the party of golfers, but may have some additional cost due to single rider policy.

32 minutes ago, iacas said:

You can find some of them. The best thing might be to look at the budget sheet for your local municipal course.

I'll try asking, but I doubt the course I play at most often would offer the information because it's owned by a big golf corporation. I've often wondered if their business is viable because it seems like every 6-12 months the fees are increased, and people aren't flocking to this course for food/beverage/events. Seems like a lot of public courses like this might be operating on a knife's edge.

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10 hours ago, Darkfrog said:

A tangential question to those who may know (perhaps @iacas, @phillyk) - I've always been curious what a golf course balance sheet looks like, are there any books/resources that explain the various financial elements of golf course operation?

If you want to view a course's profitability you want to look at their income statement vs. their balance sheet.

A private company likely won't let you view their financial statements.

You might be able to obtain financial info on a muni....likely from city hall and likely a good reason why you want to see this info.

All golf courses are unique and will have different financial viability....a muni likely runs at higher variable costs alone from higher staff wages and benefits perspective.

Many courses run at low margins.

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On 7/21/2020 at 8:45 AM, Darkfrog said:

Regarding profit/cost - If a foursome goes out in 4 carts, the course still gets the full amount of cart fees for the foursome, but I suppose the wear and tear on the carts is slightly increased, and maybe if not managed well, carts are not available for later tee times, creating a log jam of people waiting for carts to return.

A tangential question to those who may know (perhaps @iacas, @phillyk) - I've always been curious what a golf course balance sheet looks like, are there any books/resources that explain the various financial elements of golf course operation?

A cart is typically $30+ to rent. But most courses charge by the half cart fee. So giving out 4 carts for 4 players without an upcharge would lose the course potentially 50% of what they could bring in. 

Golf course book keeping is interesting.  Obviously there are off season's where you just trying to minimize losses and then the in season where you are trying to get as many players (and revenue) as you can.  It depends on what part of the country you are in, for how the off season is taken.   So in season, you are not just trying to make a little, you need to make enough that covers the off season labor and other expenses.

It would be similar to a restaurant budget, I think.  Seasons, busy times, discounts (happy hour), etc. 

The transition seasons are becoming ever more important too.  To keep courses as playable as possible despite weather conditions changing.

Edited by phillyk
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1 hour ago, phillyk said:

A cart is typically $30+ to rent. But most courses charge by the half cart fee. So giving out 4 carts for 4 players without an upcharge would lose the course potentially 50% of what they could bring in. 

Golf course book keeping is interesting.  Obviously there are off season's where you just trying to minimize losses and then the in season where you are trying to get as many players (and revenue) as you can.  It depends on what part of the country you are in, for how the off season is taken.   So in season, you are not just trying to make a little, you need to make enough that covers the off season labor and other expenses.

It would be similar to a restaurant budget, I think.  Seasons, busy times, discounts (happy hour), etc. 

The transition seasons are becoming ever more important too.  To keep courses as playable as possible despite weather conditions changing.

Has your course had to rent extra carts for short term use, maybe a large outing?  Someone suggested that would be an option to augment the resources if a course's current fleet isn't large enough to cope with busy days and single riders.  I don't have specific numbers, wondered if you might have seen something.

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19 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Has your course had to rent extra carts for short term use, maybe a large outing?  Someone suggested that would be an option to augment the resources if a course's current fleet isn't large enough to cope with busy days and single riders.  I don't have specific numbers, wondered if you might have seen something.

We haven't yet.  Our course is very walk-able and our regulars do tend to walk more.  On weekends, with more non-regulars, we have gotten close to running out, but we haven't yet. 

One of the local club pros has his own rental fleet.  You must rent in groups of 10 carts at $50 a day per cart.  Easy to do with a tournament group, but not very realistic for daily play.

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The un-named course I've been referring to that in effect requires a power cart because of the steep hills/cliffs has 72-75 fully functional carts.  Young guys tend to walk but they oftentimes beg rides up the two steep cliffs.  Normal fleet is 60 with the extra dozen carts used in big scramble tournaments.  9 minute tee time intervals. 

You rarely see 4 carts for a group... arbitrarily I'm going to say 2.5 carts per group during the Covid-19 pandemic (normally 1 to 2 carts per group).  That comes to 15 carts going out per hour with an average round at this course being 4.5 hours brings cart usage to 67.5 per round.  Based on a fully booked tee sheet, which is rare. 

So that leaves enough turnaround time to clean and refuel the carts and not run out.  No need to go the expensive route and rent carts.  I doubt they ever have.

And they can still accrue revenue, while taking a small hit for folks like my Covid-fearful 69 year old friend who insists on his own cart.  And gaining lots of good PR and not having customers switch to more adaptive courses.

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So your course is special in that it has excess carts that they own. Yea, for them they can be the lucky ones to get good PR. In my area, most courses are scrapping by and a handful have closed over the past 5 years. 

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4 hours ago, phillyk said:

A cart is typically $30+ to rent. But most courses charge by the half cart fee. So giving out 4 carts for 4 players without an upcharge would lose the course potentially 50% of what they could bring in. 

 

I wouldn't assume what happens in your area is how it is done everywhere.  I'm sure your 'typically', and 'most' apply in your area, but they don't apply in my area or other areas I've lived in or visited.

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11 minutes ago, turtleback said:

I wouldn't assume what happens in your area is how it is done everywhere.  I'm sure your 'typically', and 'most' apply in your area, but they don't apply in my area or other areas I've lived in or visited.

I've seen rider fees range from $15 to $25 per seat, making it $30-$50 for the whole cart.  I assume most courses would want the full rental fee when giving out a cart to someone who doesn't want to share, not half of it.

Edited by phillyk
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2 hours ago, phillyk said:

You must rent in groups of 10 carts at $50 a day per cart.

Holy cow.

1 hour ago, Double Mocha Man said:

And they can still accrue revenue, while taking a small hit for folks like my Covid-fearful 69 year old friend who insists on his own cart.  And gaining lots of good PR and not having customers switch to more adaptive courses.

You seem to be putting a lot of weight on this one guy. And yet, if this one guy got to take his own cart… everyone else would want one too.

The course made a choice. Many others have made the same choice, and while almost everyone here agrees that "it would be nice" (as consumers) if they didn't do it… they've done it, and so have most other golf courses.

Also 2.5×(60/9)×4.5 = 75 carts, and that doesn't count the people who are there before their tee times, people who drive to the range to hit some balls, etc. Your true "cart round time" is almost surely over five hours.

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19 minutes ago, iacas said:

You seem to be putting a lot of weight on this one guy. And yet, if this one guy got to take his own cart… everyone else would want one too.

I'm using this one guy as an example.  Where there's smoke there's fire.  No way to prove it but I bet a lot of other golfers, fearful of cart mates, are switching courses to avoid (large) upcharges on single carts.

Not necessarily on the argument of everyone else wanting to do the same.  Guy goes out in the morning, afternoon guy doesn't know guy#1 got his cart without an upcharge.  Though there's a lot to be said for consistency of pricing.  

I was just at another un-named course this morning and talked to the pro.  He said in certain situations he makes exceptions.  I think that is the right approach and I applaud the guy.  He understands the times we're in and is self-aware.   

If I was assigning carts I'd make that kind of exception with the caveat that you need to be over 60 or immune system compromised.  Otherwise it's pair up or pay up, and I'd explain why.  Now, if you just want a single cart because you're selfish... (not because of any pandemic fears) then I've got the number of a therapist I'll give you.

34 minutes ago, iacas said:

Also 2.5×(60/9)×4.5 = 75 carts, and that doesn't count the people who are there before their tee times, people who drive to the range to hit some balls, etc. Your true "cart round time" is almost surely over five hours.

Yes, I was off by one group in my math.  But remember, this particular course is never fully booked.  Although the tee sheet tends to be crowded between 8AM and 10:30AM on nicer days.

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2 hours ago, saevel25 said:

So your course is special in that it has excess carts that they own. Yea, for them they can be the lucky ones to get good PR. In my area, most courses are scrapping by and a handful have closed over the past 5 years. 

No longer "my" course.  I have switched to another course.  I love the course (not the management or ownership) and will go back after the pandemic is under control.  I prefer to ride two per cart.  But I want to ride with a healthy person, not with a virus. 

Two courses in our area have closed and another one is rumored to be closing. The one shut down is pandemic related and the rumored one would be pandemic related. 

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22 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

I'm using this one guy as an example.  Where there's smoke there's fire.

And sometimes it's an actual fire. Sometimes it's someone roasting marshmallows in their back yard.

22 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

Not necessarily on the argument of everyone else wanting to do the same.

Right. Look, you're just insisting that your point of view is the only one that is "right." And that's fine, but the course disagrees. Give a "free upgrade" to one guy and others will expect it, too.

22 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

If I was assigning carts I'd make that kind of exception with the caveat that you need to be over 60 or immune system compromised.

I bet someone who did that would be amazed at how many immune compromised people they'd find!

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