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Rates Going Up at Municipal Golf Courses in Evansville

In order to get the Parks Department's golf course fund back in the green, it will cost more next year to get on the greens of the three municipally-owned golf courses in Evansville. After researching the rates of similar golf courses in the area, the Parks Board approved a $1 increase to the weekday rates and senior golfer rates at the city's municipal courses: Fendrich, Hellfrich and McDonald golf courses.

The prevailing reason for increasing the greens fees is to get the golf course fund out of a deficit, said Parks Director Brian Holtz.

According to documents obtained by Eyewitness News, the fund had a year-end deficit of $307,975 in 2014. This was largely attributed to the wicked winter that year that killed the courses' bermuda grass, causing maintenance fees to increase significantly.

In 2015, there was a year end deficit of $189,000, records show. Through November 30th of this year, the fund had a deficit of $178,000.

The golf course fund is non-reverting, meaning it is self sufficient, Holtz said.

With the increase taking effect next year, the standard weekday rate for 18 holes at McDonald golf course will be $20 with a rate of $13 for 9 holes. At Fendrich and Helfrich golf courses, the weekday rate for 18 holes of golf will be $21 and $14 for 9 holes, according to the city's website.

The rate increase comes a year after the Parks Board opted to raise weekend rates by the same $1 amount.

"It wasn't just a number that we pulled out of a hat. We did do some research on the courses in the area," Holtz said. "It's been close to five years since we have increased fees for that weekday rate."

With the recent closures of two courses in the area -- The Players Club of Henderson and Clearcrest Pines in Darmstadt -- Holtz said the golf courses are even more important to aiding in the city's quality of life.

"We do see that attendance is up at a different, various locations and the amount of play is up," Holtz said. "I think it is something that's a service, if you will. It is a recreational service that we as a city can provide the community to allow the community to take advantage of."

Holtz said 2016 brought a mixed-bag as far as the number of rounds purchased. A record start to the year was halted by an extremely wet and rainy month of July. However, warmer weather kept golfers coming out well through the month of October.

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