Milton-Freewater golf course wants to cut fees

Officials want to charge for nine holes, but allow golfers to play 18 holes if they tee off after 4 p.m.

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MILTON-FREEWATER - Officials with the municipal golf course will ask Council members at their Monday night meeting to approve lowering rates for hours when usage isn't up to par with what should be much busier times of the week.

"Don't ask me why. I guess people in Milton-Freewater want to work in their yards or they have other errands ... but Saturday has been very quiet here," Golf Pro George Gillette said, noting that most golf courses are busy on Saturday morning.

Afternoon usage on Mondays through Thursdays has also been slower than expected, he added.

To increase afternoon play, golf course officials want the city to OK charging for only nine holes, but allowing golfers to play all 18 holes if they tee off after 4 p.m. And to promote more overall interest in the sport, Gillette would like all junior golfers to pay a flat fee of $5.50 for up to 18 holes during summer months, with the hope those juniors will continue with the sport after they graduate from high school.

"We have not had so many rounds played over the last two to three years, and we have been kind of at status quo over the last three years. And over the last five years have seen some dips ... but the fact that our rounds have dropped is not unique to us, they have dropped everywhere," Gillette said.

Course officials are also proposing a discounted college rate, as well as a 10 percent discount at the course restaurant, Shelly's Last Shot, for people golfing during low-use hours.

The Milton-Freewater Golf Course is an enterprise fund facility, which means it must operate off its own revenues. And state law will not allow the facility to operate in a deficit, Gillette noted.

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