WILKES-BARRE – Golfers at both of the city’s golf courses will see fees bumped up a bit this season.
Pro shop manager John Kebles told the board of the Wilkes-Barre General Municipal Authority at a meeting last week that he increased most fees by $ 2 at both Hollenback Golf Course in the city’s North End and Wilkes-Barre Municipal Golf Club in Bear Creek Twp.
With inflation affecting its bottom line, the board, which oversees both courses, is considering adding surcharges when Golfers pay by credit card instead of cash.
Greg McElhattan, superintendent for the courses, said he intended to seek bids on gasoline.
Inflation and higher gas prices could mean higher greens fees and more expensive menu items in the clubhouse at gold Clubs everywhere.
As the region’s golf courses begin to open for the season, owners are paying close attention to costs and are trying to keep any price increases minimal.
Stone Hedge Golf Course in Tunkhannock Twp. is fortunate to have electric golf carts, but mowers and other equipment operate on gas.
The course has increased wages in order to find and keep employees, but the owners will try to hold off on passing the increased costs on to Golfers, said Erika Edwards, general manager.
The Municipal authority board is also considering timbering some of the 545 Acres of woodland around the course in Bear Creek Twp. to make additional revenue.
Board solicitor Don Rogers said the last time the authority did timbering was in 2013 and was mainly done during the winter so the course greens were not hurt by heavy machinery.
McElhattan got frost just left the ground not long ago, and the courses sustained no damage over the winter.
“White oak seems to be a pretty hot thing right now and prices are really up and we have a slew of white oak up there. So, I think it’s time to start that and see where we can go with it because we all know that takes quite a bit of time, and then the logistics of getting the timber out is another issue. But, there are a lot of areas up there where timber could be pulled even when we’re playing, ”McElhattan said.
“If there are places we can target that are not in play, it might help us generate some revenue Quicker and then finish it in the winter months,” he said.
At Rogers’ advice, the board will advertise for bids on a timbering contract, even though seeking bids is not required because timbering is considered a professional service.
The board will also seek a Forester to identify the trees that can be cut and manage the process.
McElhattan said Hollenback is open, the greens there have been cut a few times and there is ongoing cleaning.
He was optimistic that the Wilkes-Barre Golf Club could open as soon as next week, depending on the amount of rain that hit this week.
“Obviously, not every little thing is going to be done, but the greens will be mowed, cart paths will be reasonably passable. We’ll get it up, get it rolling and get some revenue coming in, ”McElhattan said.
In a phone interview on Friday, Mayor George Brown said he was pleased with the work the authority is doing since it took over management of the course last year and was also pleased to receive a check for $ 2,800 from the authority last week.
The payment represents 5% of the profits earned at Hollenback last year, as a lease contract specifies.
“It sounds like it’s fair. The key is we’re saving $ 100,000 a year with the city not running it. This $ 2,800 is the top of that, ”Brown said.