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Play picking up at Manteca Golf Course
Manteca golfer David Granado, right, chats with friends at the driving range on Sunday. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Manteca’s golf course is bucking a regional trend of declining rounds played.

Preliminary numbers show play has been increasing steadily since mid-2013 after the Manteca City Council built incentives into golf pro Alan Thomas’ contract and gave him the ability to hire more staff.

“Play is definitely trending upward,” noted City Manager Karen McLaughlin.

 Thomas is attracting more play now that he has the flexibility to market deals more aggressively and in turn step up customer service with increased revenue.

An example promotion is the $25 Manteca Mid-Day Madness that’s valid Monday through Friday after 11 a.m. That price includes green fees and a shared cart. That’s $5.50 less on the combined rates for 18-hole play and cart rental prices established by the city.

The contract modification last March was in response to declining rounds at the golf course that has been attributed to increased competition in the region as private clubs become more aggressive going after players. Even so, Manteca continued to be the most popular course in the Northern San Joaquin Valley in terms of play although its numbers were sliding.

The new deal gives the golf pro 90 percent of everything he generates above $814,044 a year in green fees during this year and 2015. The city would receive the other 10 percent.

It is the flip of what happens with the first $814,044 in green fees where the city receives 90 percent and the golf pro 10 percent. The $814,044 represents what the course generated in green fees during 2012. Green fee revenue has been dropping for the last several years at the Manteca course.

The change has allowed Thomas to employ marketing and making the actual rounds go smoother and faster as it is allowing him the money to hire additional staff.

The deal as negotiated requires Thomas to shoulder all of the risk in hiring additional staff. But if he succeeds, he’ll be rewarded with the lion’s share of increased revenues.