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The Country Club has launched a six-month trial reduction in golf guest fees, the club announced Tuesday, limiting non-member play to three tee times an hour for starting times beginning at 11:30 a.m. on both courses.

The announcement, made in a letter to members, said the club now has a business relationship with GolfNow, an online operator that offers deals on golf at thousands of courses worldwide. GolfNow positions its business much like Groupon, offering golf discounts.

“The reason for this decision to open up some access to our courses through Golf Now is simple,” said the letter. “Revenue continues to be the primary financial challenge for the club. Initiatives such as the ‘Our Club, Our Future’ membership preview campaign, the pre-paid dues program, and aggressive marketing efforts to attract outside tournaments have been successful in maintaining the club status quo. The club has also reduced administrative and operational costs and continues to review and implement operational efficiencies. Despite all of these positive efforts, more revenue is needed to keep our club fiscally healthy through the end of the year to give us the opportunity to move forward with improvements.”

GolfNow

GolfNow.com lets users search for golf discounts.

The letter added, “GolfNow offers the potential for generating an additional revenue stream during the prime golfing season with very little impact on members. This is because tee time inventory for our two courses far exceeds member usage.”

The letter was signed by Rodney Muller, the general manager whose resignation was announced earlier Tuesday, and Mike Martel, club president.

Using GolfNow reporting, the letter said from June 1 through 9 the North Course had 2,024 18-hole tee times available, while only 999 were used, and the South Course had 2,233 available and only 1,118 were used.

The reduction in guest fees will also be offered to guests of golf members and social members during the trial period.

Here’s the fee structure outlined in the letter:

Tuesday-Thursday

  • $44 ($22 for nine holes) Guests of RMCC golf members
  • $60 ($38 for nine holes) RMCC social members *
  • $60 ($38 for nine holes) Golf Now and other guests *

Friday-Sunday

  • $59 ($29.50 for nine holes) Guests of RMCC golf members
  • $75 ($48.50 for nine holes) RMCC social members *
  • $75 ($48.50 for nine holes) Golf Now and all other guests *

* Fee includes required cart fee

A check of the GolfNow website shows some prices different than those quoted in the letter, with GolfNow prices lower than the letter lists from 2 p.m. on. It offers a choice of six tee times an hour on the South and five an hour on the North.

The letter said the club board recognizes this is “a big step and that many members will be concerned by this decision.” It added that the board believes member impact will be minimal and that the club’s policy limiting the number of times a guest can play won’t change. GolfNow generated $1,000 in revenue from tee times last weekend, the letter said.

In closing, the letter said the board will assess the cost and benefits of this approach during and at the end of the six-month trial.

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