Bangor golf course member policy pays dividends

Posted May 19, 2010, at 9:28 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The city’s decision to change the membership fee structure at Bangor Municipal Golf Course appears to have paid off so far this year.

Golf Pro Brian Enman told city councilors on Wednesday that the golf course already has increased membership revenue by about 6 percent over 2009. The golf course also has seen a net increase of 32 members from 2009 to 2010, thanks largely to a more favorable rate for those who do not live in Bangor.

“I was initially concerned whether this would actually result in increases, but I applaud you for bringing the idea forward,” Councilor David Nealley told Enman at Wednesday’s business and economic development committee meeting.

Last fall, Enman and Bangor Parks and Recreation Director Tracy Willette brought an idea to the City Council to reduce membership rates for nonresidents. Historically, Bangor residents paid one price, while nonresidents paid a rate that was considerably higher.

After much discussion, the city decided to decrease nonresident membership rates while still giving city residents a discount. The end result: The adult Bangor resident rate remained at $630 for a yearly membership and the nonresident rate was dropped by nearly $200 to $700 for a yearlong membership. For couples, residents now pay $840 and nonresidents $935. For families, residents pay $890 and nonresidents $990.

Enman said last fall that if the new rate structure for Bangor Muni encouraged just 20 additional nonresidents to purchase memberships, it would pay off. As of early May, 95 nonresidents had purchased memberships compared to 49 for 2009.

“It’s been a great start to the season weatherwise, so that has helped too,” Enman said, noting that in April 2009, Bangor Muni logged 2,454 rounds, while this April, the number jumped to 3,813.

The golf course, a division of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, is operated as an enterprise fund, which means it does not use taxpayer money. In fact, half of any net revenue generated by the golf course goes back into the city’s general fund.

In the last several years, Bangor has seen the number of nonresident memberships decrease steadily from 86 in 2004 to a low of 49 in 2009. Competition for area courses, specifically the newly public Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono, as well as nearby Hermon Meadow, prompted Bangor to re-evaluate.

“I want to thank the council for trusting us to implement these new rates,” Enman said Wednesday.

“It’s nice when it works,” Councilor Cary Weston replied.

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