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Golf pro takes swing for larger cut of green fees, fails to connect

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POSTED December 6, 2012 1:03 a.m.

Alan Thomas believes that spending more money on marketing and customer service would increase play at the Manteca Golf Course by 20 percent.

The golf pro’s bosses on the Manteca City Council think otherwise.

The council on a 4-1 vote Tuesday shot down Thomas’ plan to increase play and in turn generate more revenue for the city owned course by increasing his cut of the green fees from 10 to 17 percent. Thomas said it would give him the means to hire more personnel. Such a move would have initially lowered Manteca’s take in annual green fees by $65,583.

The council was lukewarm at best to the idea as it comes after every municipal employee has taken an acculturative 28 percent reduction in compensation over the past three years. Even other contracted employees such as the city attorney and the Manteca Visitors Center have had their compensation reduced accordingly.

Thomas’ pitched wording that would allow the city to get its money all back if he failed to increase play by a minimum 5,000 rounds annually by June 30, 2014. Should that have happened, Thomas was proposing having his cut of the green fees slashed to 3 percent for the final 30 months of his contract.

Mayor Willie Weatherford argued that the real issue is the tight economy prompting people to think more about cost than anything else including service. He also noted the biggest complaint he had heard about the golf course wasn’t service but maintenance. The city, not Thomas, is in charge of golf course maintenance.

Vince Hernandez was the only council member in favor of Thomas’ proposal.

Rounds played in Manteca increased from 54,770 in 2006 to 62,690 in 2008 and 62,085 in 2009 before declining to 59,110 in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2012. Thomas noted at one point they were as high as 85,000 rounds a year. Regardless, Manteca is still the heaviest played course in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

The course is expected to bring in $85,705 above the estimated expenses of $1,056,615 it is projected to cost to operate the facility during the current fiscal year that ends June 30, 2013.

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