The price to knock a small ball ‘round the old golf course is going up in Pierre.
The City Commission voted 5-0 on Tuesday to give golf pro Carin Hayn, manager of city-owned Hillsview Golf Course, an 8.6 percent raise of $3,000 in 2020 to make her annual commission $38,000. She’s been the course manager since 2013 and done a good job, Tom Farnsworth, director of Parks and Recreation, told the City Commission.
At the same time, the price of season passes will go up 6 percent in 2020, raising an estimated $15,280 more in revenue than the $242,060 raised from 413 season pass holders in 2019. Figuring the same number of pass holders, the projected revenue from them will be $257,340, according to figures provided by Farnsworth on Tuesday.
He said it’s the first time in three years the season pass fees will increase.
Hayn is not a city employee but an independent contractor which the Commission voted to extend a new three-year contract, raising her basic commission to $41,000 in 2021 and to $44,000 in 2022.
Hayn’s contract allows her to keep the income from operating a food and beverage concession at the clubhouse and pro-shop, including beer and wine sales, with her responsible for obtaining a license, and earn income from giving private golf lessons.
Hayn also receives 10 percent of the gross income of all green fees and 25 percent commission on the gross income of all cart rentals, all of locker rental income, driving range and practice greens revenue, and the income from the city’s recreation program youth and adult golf lesson program revenue.
Hayn, in turn, is responsible for the cost of providing instructors for lessons.
She also receives up to $4,000 to hire starters and marshals for enforcing golf and course rules at special golfing events; and up to $8,000 for a single health insurance plan.
The contract also spends several pages describing Hayn’s responsibilities in managing the clubhouse and golf course.
Hayn told the Commission Tuesday she wished she could say that 2019 was a banner year, but that the wet weather — while good for the grass — kept golfers off the course for many days.
She said 2016 was the best year on record, beginning with the earliest start date, March 16, since the 2011 flood shut down the course for two years of repairs. The season typically ends about Veterans Day each year. That meant 2016’s golf season at Hillsview stretched for 243 days and the weather was uniformly good so that only six of those days saw fewer than 10 people on the course, Hayn said.
This year, the snowy spring meant the course didn’t open until April 19 and with a span of only 207 days until closing about Nov. 11, it saw 32 days which saw fewer than 10 golfers, she said.
“So if you do the math, that’s 62 days difference in playable days,” she said: 175 versus 237 between 2019 and 2016.
This year there were 249 individual adult season passes sold for $535 a piece; 34 individual adult with children passes for $650; 66 married couple passes for $900 each and 19 married couple with children passes for $1,015 each. There were 14 young adult passes at $135 apiece; 22 individual junior passes at $125 and 9 individual child passes at $100 each.
Each category will go up 6 percent, so the most expensive one will be $1,075, a $60 increase; the most common one — individual adult pass — will go up $35 to $570.
Dr. Mike Bartlett, a Pierre optometrist who chairs the Hillsview board of directors, sees great things at the course.
“It’s a gem for Pierre. I play a lot of golf, I play a lot of places. Pierre is as good as any and better than most,” he told the Commission, which asked about how green fees compare with other municipal courses in the state. “ I think our fees are good. Probably a bargain.”
City Commissioner Jim Mehlhaff told Hayn: ”I seldom have time to golf much but I do talk to lots of folks. I got lots of great reviews about the course . . . and how things are operated. I’m sure it’s due to your work, so I appreciate that.”