By RICK KELLEY
HARLINGEN — The Tony Butler Golf Course board yesterday approved a resolution seeking to lower greens and cart fees from July 1 through the end of the year.
The proposed fee for 18 holes with a cart from sunrise to noon would be $23 and post-12 p.m. would be $20. The city-owned course now charges $23 all day for its summer rates for 18 holes with cart.
The board decided against a more complex proposal with a more varied fee scale. The change in fees must still be approved by the City Commission before it can go into effect.
Course officials say competition from other area golf courses, which have lowered green and cart fees, make it difficult to compete since the Tony Butler course fees are set by the City Commission and pricing is less flexible.
Many golfers, particularly Winter Texans, are more price-conscious and have turned away from the city course to play other area courses which have lowered green and cart fees.
The golf course board debated the initial proposal to further reduce the cost of a round of golf, saying to do so may draw more golfers to the course but could have a negative impact on the troubled finances of a facility which expects to see a $260,000 operational shortfall for this fiscal year.
“You’ve got to be careful about lowering the prices too much because you kind of diminish the product,” said Eddie Medlin, head golf professional at the course. “But I do think we need to, as I said in the meeting, is to essentially set a common ground mark to see how much of it is a loss because of the increase in pricing or how much is a loss in course conditions and give us a baseline.”