Aspen pass prices, green fees on upswing | AspenTimes.com

Aspen pass prices, green fees on upswing

Abigail Eagye

Mark Fox/Aspen TImes file

Aspen, CO ColoradoASPEN Fees at the Aspen Golf Club are going up for the 2007 season. The Aspen City Council approved increases of roughly $100-$130 for locals’ passes, while green fees – the price tourists must pay – will rise to between $45 and $95, depending on the hours of play.Last year, the course dropped green fees to between $45 and $65 because of construction, charging the higher fee during the high season. In 2004 and 2005, greens fees were $45-$90, depending on hours of play, up from $45-$85 in 2003.The season pass and 20-punch pass are only available to locals. Through April 1, the season pass costs $900, up from $800 last year. After April 1, it will cost $1,000, up from $870 last year.The 20-punch pass costs $450 through April 1, up from $350 last year, and after April 1 it will be $500, up from $385 last year.

Director of Golf Steve Aitken said the increases are strictly to keep up with inflation.”I still think it’s a good deal,” said Robert Limacher, who’s been playing the course for about 25 years. He said the course is still quite “economic” relative to other places in the valley – and relative to the cost of a season ski pass.Limacher, 60, was somewhat troubled by the increase in the locals’ 20-punch pass – not for his own sake, but on behalf of younger players.”I’ve been here a long time. I like to play golf. I can afford it,” he said. “As they keep increasing the price on the 20-punch pass, they eliminate the young 35-year-old with a kid. … I’d rather pay $1,000 myself so that those 20-punch passes could be less.”Local John Walla, a “psuedo-professional” with tournament experience, has a slightly different take on the 20-punch pass. He could accept the increase more readily if it didn’t have an expiration date on it, he said. Only once has he used all 20 punches on his pass, and by using it fewer times, he says he ends up paying the same price per round of golf as a tourist.

“It’s always kind of bummed me out,” he said. “If they want to raise it, there should be no timeline on it.”Aitken said there’s never been any discussion of eliminating the expiration date, but “maybe that would be something to consider.”Walla offered high praise for the club’s junior golf program and said the fee increases shouldn’t affect whether local youth can play.But as the city tries to strike a balance between locals and tourists, locals might end up paying higher prices for amenities they don’t necessarily need relative to what they cost, like a new clubhouse, he said.

“Some of the things they did for the tourists, they wouldn’t need to do for locals,” he said.”They’ve made expenditures and built things based on this assumption that they would get those tourists in there. … It’s a tough equation. I’m not denying it. Tourists do sponsor some aspect of the course.”Greens fees at Aspen Golf Club are “at a level that’s very competitive to River Valley Ranch, Vail Golf Club and Breckenridge,” Aitken said. “We want to be competitive in the marketplace. If we overpriced ourselves, obviously we wouldn’t have the business come our way.”The golf course is one of the city’s “enterprise funds,” which means it doesn’t receive a subsidy from the city. Fees generally only increase if there’s a need to keep up with expenses, Aitken said.Abigail Eagye’s e-mail address is abby@aspentimes.com

Aspen Golf Club: Municipal golf course $95 green fees Maroon Creek Club, Aspen: Private Non-Equity golf course $325 green feesSnowmass Club Golf Course, Snowmass Village: Semi-private golf course $175 green fees Roaring Fork Club, Basalt: Private Non-Equity golf course $200 green feesRanch at Roaring Fork Golf Course, Carbondale: Public golf course (9 holes) $15 green fees River Valley Ranch Course, Carbondale: Public golf course $90 green fees $65 twilight fees Aspen Glen Course, Carbondale: Private Non-Equity golf course $255 green fees Ironbridge Course, Glenwood Springs: Private Non-Equity golf course $150 green feesLakota Canyon Course, New Castle: Public golf course $85 green fees $65 twilight fees Vail Golf Club, Vail: Municipal golf course $99 green fees (Source: golflink.com; fees may not reflect changes for 2007)

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