A historic first for Manteca occurred earlier this month — for the first time in the 40-year history of the Manteca Golf Course no one protested green fee increases that the City Council approved Dec. 19 without even a whisper from the public.
To understand how monumental the occasion was at one point in the mid-1990s golf politics in Manteca stopped just short of being a contact sport. City managers were directed for years by various councils not to even bring up the subject of green fee increases no matter how justified they were to avoid raising the ire of golfers who hammered elected officials to keep them low and the ire of golf course critics who hammered that proposed green fee increases weren’t large enough.
Golf course politics dominated at least five city council election cycles if not more. Some have traced it back as far as the bitter 1980s recall election that saw Mayor Trena Kelley along with then council members Bob Davis and Rick Wentworth voted out of office because some didn’t like who the late Alan Thomas — who served as golf pro for 40 years — appeared to be aligned with in the recall campaign.
At one point in the late 1990s the City Council appointed a five-member citizens blue ribbon committee to look into alleged mismanagement at the course. After months of meetings and the city burning through what was estimated at the time was $14,000 worth of staff time providing piles of documents after piles of document as well as attending the bi-weekly meetings that went on for hours, the findings were issued. Everyone on the committee agreed the men’s locker room wasn’t tidy enough and that the on-course restroom was a disgrace.
It didn’t help that in the late 1980s the council wanted to make a statement by building the two-story clubhouse — a bit grandiose for a public golf course. That’s when the money issues started piling up. It created a political quandary for backers of the project who said it would be covered by green fees and charges for its use. Instead it became a drain.
The council assumed they could snag a steak house or some other national chain restaurant. Not only was the location bad in terms of coveted traffic for both a lunch and dinner trade but the design failed to include the proper commercial kitchen. When they finally got a restaurant tenant they ended up being taken to the cleaners as the city was left holding the bag for more than $30,000 including unpaid PG&E bills and other outstanding debts. The second tenant was actually worse as they pocketed money the city issued to them to purchase equipment. The second time around led to criminal complaints.
It wasn’t until the late Frank Guinta — a seasoned businessman who was known for his honesty and hard work as much as for his tendency to dress in black — saved the day and put the restaurant operations on an even keel.
Meanwhile, the golf course was considered one of the best in the Northern San Joaquin Valley by golfers but you couldn’t tell that from all of the political infighting. In most years it also led the region in rounds played due in part to its central location as well as how well the course drained after rain.
Starting Jan. 1 the council approved rate hikes they will go into effect. It is projected the hikes have the potential of generating up to $108,849 in additional revenues over 2017 assuming the number of rounds played stays unchanged.
Among the changes besides actual rates are:
ureducing the minimum age for senior rates from 62 to 60. The senior rate applies Monday through Friday.
uadding a “replay special” that provides golfers with a discounted round of golf play for $10 after paying the regular green fee for one round of golf. It is valid only on the same day as the first round is played and would be available seven days a week.
The fee changes are as follows:
18-hole weekday residential fee is going from $19 to $22.
18-hole weekday non-resident fee is going from $22 to $26
9-hole weekday fee is staying at $16.
Junior weekday fee is staying at $12.
Twilight Weekday fee is going from $16 to $18.
Super Twilight Weekday fee is going from $9 to $13.
A senior rate is being put in place for Monday through Friday at $20.
Active military weekday fee is going from $10 to $15.
18-hole weekend residential fee is going from $22 to $25.
18-hole weekend non-resident fee is going from $29 to $33.
9-hole weekend fee is going from $17 to $18.
Junior weekend fee is going from $12 to $14.
Twilight Weekend fee is going from $17 to $19.
Super Twilight Weekend fee is going from $11 to $15.
Active military weekend fee is going from $12 to $17.
Adult resident monthly pass play is going from $85 to $99.
Adult non-resident monthly pass play is going from $98 to $119.
Senior resident monthly pass pay is going from $70 to $84.
Senior non-resident monthly pass play is going from $88 to $99.
Junior monthly pass play is going from $40 to $50.
Disability resident monthly pass pay is going from $70 to $84.
Disability non-resident monthly pass play is going from $88 to $99.