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Balboa Park golf traffic up 79 percent, Mission Bay up 54 percent

But San Diego will hike fees 3-5 percent

Torrey Pines Golf Course
Torrey Pines Golf Course

The city's three municipal golf courses closed on March 21, 2020 due to Covid-19. When they re-opened two months later, they were busier than ever.

Despite initial losses due to the closures, in 2021 the courses at Torrey Pines, Mission Bay, and Balboa Park bounced back in a major way. Unlike some forms of recreation, golf made it easy to socially distance.

Balboa Park golf course. “This course will challenge your ability to keep the ball in the narrow fairways."

Compared to the year before, Balboa and Mission Bay golf courses saw especially high increases in rounds played, according to John Howard, the city's assistant golf operations director.

Balboa's 9-hole had the highest increase at 79 percent. Mission Bay was up 54 percent, and rose to 102,000 rounds. "Rounds equate directly to revenue," Howard told the environment committee last week in a triennial update on the golf business plan.

"Unfortunately, we don't believe these increases are going to be sustainable."

Neither is the large staffing shortage that now threatens the gains. Meanwhile, the costs to run Balboa and Mission Bay courses have gone up $1.7 million dollars since fiscal year 2019, Howard said.

"These increases are primarily due to the fact that the cost of goods are going up, wages are rising and there's continued supply chain issues."

Footgolf tournament at Mission Bay Golf Course

The golf enterprise fund, created by the city council in 1991, is separate from the general fund, and excess revenue goes into capital improvements, like new irrigation systems that let them control the flow of water.

To help meet the city's climate action goals, they are looking at transitioning their lower horsepower motors for blowers to all electrical.

The cost of providing services is recovered through user fees. But even though the net income to the golf fund for 2021 was over $9.9 million, the budget will have to be stretched to keep up the current service levels in 2022.

Fewer players are expected to use the courses as pandemic fears wane and other recreational options are chosen.

The proposed fee hikes for all courses - three percent for residents and five percent for non residents - kick in January 1, 2022. Residents will pay about $1 more to play and non-residents, anywhere from $4 to $13, depending on the course and time of day.

There will be no increase to the junior monthly ticket or resident I.D. card.

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Torrey Pines Golf Course
Torrey Pines Golf Course

The city's three municipal golf courses closed on March 21, 2020 due to Covid-19. When they re-opened two months later, they were busier than ever.

Despite initial losses due to the closures, in 2021 the courses at Torrey Pines, Mission Bay, and Balboa Park bounced back in a major way. Unlike some forms of recreation, golf made it easy to socially distance.

Balboa Park golf course. “This course will challenge your ability to keep the ball in the narrow fairways."

Compared to the year before, Balboa and Mission Bay golf courses saw especially high increases in rounds played, according to John Howard, the city's assistant golf operations director.

Balboa's 9-hole had the highest increase at 79 percent. Mission Bay was up 54 percent, and rose to 102,000 rounds. "Rounds equate directly to revenue," Howard told the environment committee last week in a triennial update on the golf business plan.

"Unfortunately, we don't believe these increases are going to be sustainable."

Neither is the large staffing shortage that now threatens the gains. Meanwhile, the costs to run Balboa and Mission Bay courses have gone up $1.7 million dollars since fiscal year 2019, Howard said.

"These increases are primarily due to the fact that the cost of goods are going up, wages are rising and there's continued supply chain issues."

Footgolf tournament at Mission Bay Golf Course

The golf enterprise fund, created by the city council in 1991, is separate from the general fund, and excess revenue goes into capital improvements, like new irrigation systems that let them control the flow of water.

To help meet the city's climate action goals, they are looking at transitioning their lower horsepower motors for blowers to all electrical.

The cost of providing services is recovered through user fees. But even though the net income to the golf fund for 2021 was over $9.9 million, the budget will have to be stretched to keep up the current service levels in 2022.

Fewer players are expected to use the courses as pandemic fears wane and other recreational options are chosen.

The proposed fee hikes for all courses - three percent for residents and five percent for non residents - kick in January 1, 2022. Residents will pay about $1 more to play and non-residents, anywhere from $4 to $13, depending on the course and time of day.

There will be no increase to the junior monthly ticket or resident I.D. card.

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