Golf courses

Palm Springs-area golf courses may not see green fees drop as much this summer

For many desert golfers, summer is the time to play their favorite recreational game. Not only have snowbirds and tourists left the wilderness, opening up more tee times, but declining golfer numbers mean courses are slashing their green fees to entice players out in the heat.

Well, that’s how it usually works. But for summer 2022, May Day doesn’t necessarily mean more affordable golf.

While demand for golf has remained high Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the laws of supply and demand have driven green fees up. With the belief that demand will remain high in the summer – but certainly not as high as in the winter – golf courses are likely to keep their prices higher than summer golfers might expect.

“It’s probably safe to say that prices will be lower than they were in February and March, but I think they will be higher than in previous years,” said Randy Duncan, general manager of SilverRock Resort in La Quinta. “Just because the demand is still there.”

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Duncan said he made a traditional price drop in mid-April, but not the same type of drop he normally would. The reason is simple: many people still play golf. Course prices for May range from $118 on weekdays to $127 on weekends for tee times, but will drop to $65 and $75 by July, according to the SilverRock website booking page.

“Looking ahead in May, the weekends are very, very busy,” Duncan said. “I am already full several weekends, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I keep an allocation of tee times for our local residents, I have to. So yes, I lowered the prices.

Not so at another busy desert golf course, Indian Wells Golf Resort.

“We are delaying our price drop until mid-May,” golf manager Joe Williams said. “So we’ve pushed things back a bit because we know the first three weekends are going to be busy. Not this weekend with Stagecoach, but the next two will be very busy. And our price drop won’t be as big. than years past.”

For Williams, that means charging $149 to $159 on Players or Celebrity courses at Indian Wells Golf Resort through May 15, then up to $119 weekdays and $129 weekends beginning May 16.

“We will see another decline in June, but let’s put it this way, nobody’s going to get used to it because they’re used to paying $55 or $65 (in the summer),” Williams said. “Well, inflation is going to increase that by $10, just that. And with this golf boom, we’ll be at $79 or $89 (this) summer.

Pandemic golf boom

This boom in golf, with people picking up the game or coming back to it because golf was one of the things people could do outdoors at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, continued to fuel the game for the past two years. Duncan said SilverRock had its best earning season for the 2021-22 season. Williams said that despite billing $199 to $209 in season this year, his classes still drew more than 400 players on weekends, which made him wonder if he might not be charging enough.

“When I was budgeting with COVID, I projected that we would do 50% of what we normally do,” Duncan said. “And exactly the opposite happened. It was 50% or more of what we normally do. So it was the first summer. COVID is awful, but it’s been really good for the game of golf for sure.

Of course, prices will have to come down as there will be fewer golfers in the desert in the summer with the departure of the snowbirds, and many golfers who live in the desert full time will avoid golf when temperatures start to reach 110 degrees or higher. . Mid-range to low-end courses can still drop their usual fees to less than $50 per round.

But Williams, for his part, thinks the boom will reverberate through the summer again, noting that a nearby hotel in Indian Wells is already booked at 60% capacity for the summer and its tee sheet of 7 May already has more than 200 tours booked per week. before playing.

“I think there’s still a pent-up demand for travel and people are still traveling,” Williams said. “And we are planning a big summer there.

Larry Bohannan is The Desert Sun golf writer. He can be reached at larry.bohannan@desertsun.com or (760) 778-4633. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter at @larry_bohannan. Support local journalism. Subscribe to Le Soleil du Désert.

Larry Bohannan Larry Bohannan (Richard Him The Desert Sun)