Aspen Golf Club rounds, sales up | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Golf Club rounds, sales up

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

Courtesy of the Aspen Parks and RecreationA crane helps replace the pumphouse on the second hole at the Aspen Golf Club.

ASPEN – The Aspen Golf Club has had a stellar 2012 season, fueled by a 28 percent increase in the number of player rounds.

Through Sunday, the number of rounds for nine- and 18-hole play grew by 6,440 to 29,467, well in excess of last year’s total of 23,027. Also this year, pro-shop sales of equipment and apparel were about $14,000 more, and sales of the all-inclusive Platinum membership tripled.

The spring drought that gave local skiers and emergency officials fits worked out well for the municipal golf course.

“It was kind of a tough year for snow in Aspen, which got us off to a solid early start,” said Steve Aitken, the facility’s director of golf. “We started on April 5, which was about a month earlier than usual. That’s the big difference.”

The 29,467 rounds so far in 2012 is the highest in many years, even swamping the pre-recession tallies of 26,302 rounds in 2007 and 27,312 rounds in 2008.

The presence of the Carl Rabito golf school at the Aspen course also has helped spur business, Aitken said. The club is in the second year of a three-year contract with the school, which has taken over the job of providing lessons at the course.

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In 2011, the Rabito Golf School recorded $64,323 worth of lessons in Aspen. This year, the school posted $69,383 from lessons. Under the contract, the city keeps 15 percent of that gross revenue.

Aitken said that when the golf course was overseeing lessons, revenue was less than half of what it was this year.

“With this arrangement, we’re doing a lot more lessons,” he said. “We’re making some money, but granted, it’s not a lot. The point of this is that when you’re doing that many more lessons, you’re doing extra rounds of golf, more retail sales and more food-and-beverage sales.”

Rabito typically keeps one instructor in Aspen during the summer. Aitken said there are times during the busy months of July and August when two instructors are needed.

“We need two pros during the high season,” he said.

Once again, the club hosted a few major events in 2012, including the American Junior Golf Association tournament in June and the annual Challenge Aspen fundraiser featuring musical artists Vince Gill and Amy Grant in August.

Changes planned for 2013 include a new pumphouse on hole No. 2 to improve irrigation and the addition of a sand trap near the practice range. Work also is under way on the driving-range tee area to make it bigger and better.

A few price changes are in store for golfers for 2013, Aitken added. The Platinum Pass, which gives holders unlimited golf, motorized carts, range balls and a locker, will cost $2,099 in 2013, a $100 increase. This year the fee for that pass was $1,999. In 2011 it was $1,899.

“We felt the Platinum Pass was a little undervalued,” he said.

The Silver Pass, which allows unlimited rounds with certain time restrictions during the peak period of mid-June to mid-September, will cost $825, a $50 increase. The Punch Pass, which gives players 20 nine-hole rounds, will cost $700, also a $50 increase.

High-season greens fees will rise slightly, from $147.50 this year to $149.50 next year.

Aitken said he’s encouraging golfers to get in a few rounds now, while prices are low and before snowfall starts.

“It’s possible that in two or three weeks the course could be covered in snow,” he said.

asalvail@aspentimes.com

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