BY EVAN WECHMAN
It was a quiet night with few people in attendance at the Ramapo Town Board’s Workshop Session on this past Monday night, January 23, 2012. The town board led by Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence met for approximately two hours. It was the tentative setting of 2012 golf course rates for the Spook Rock Golf Course that gained the most attention at the meeting.
Dan Covert, deputy director of Parks and Recreation and member of the Ramapo Golf Club Committee which meets approximately eight times a year addressed the board, and recommended a slight increase in golf fees for the senior citizens of Ramapo who utilize the facility. Covert, also stated that “Friday is the biggest golf day” and therefore it is “not appropriate” to give a discount every day, especially on weekends. The proposal calls for a weekday increase for senior citizens from $18 to $20 on Monday through Wednesday. The Thursday through Sunday rates also would be increased for seniors from $26 to $28.
When reached for comment on Tuesday afternoon, Covert acknowledged that the proposal which will come before a hearing next month will cause some frustration from seniors. However, he also stated that they are getting a great product and those seniors who golf frequently will be eligible for further discounts. Covert further elaborated that part of the reason for the proposed increase is due to the fact that the golf course is seeing less visitors from other towns, and those customers are the ones typically charged a higher rate.
Councilman Pat Withers who is a liaison from the board to the golf committee acknowledged that there will be complaints from residents in that age group. He further asserted that the proposed increase is “unfortunate but these are things we need to raise the price of.”
He also commented that Spook Rock is a “gem” in the local area, and thus the residents are being offered a more attractive course than those in other towns, specifically mentioning the Patriot Hills Golf Club in Stony Point. Officials and residents in Stony Point may beg to differ. The councilman said that “it’s tough times for everyone. A lot of people (in Ramapo) suffering are concerned with putting food on the table.”
He clarified that also contributing to the rise in fees for the local golf course is the increase in fuel costs, among other services. Therefore, since golf is a luxury, it’s only fair to raise the fees on the people that use the course, rather than allowing all of the residents, many of whom do not golf, to endure more financial hardships.
St. Lawrence agreed with the rest of the board that the fee increase for seniors was not something he enjoyed doing and stated that the “people in the golf community will take heat from the seniors.” The supervisor set the public hearing date for the proposed rate increases for February 8.
Most of the golf site was formerly known as Kanes Open, one of the first Boy Scout Camps in the country. The course, which began initial construction in 1969, has seen many improvements over the past two years. It has undergone a state of the art irrigation design, computerized operation and a system capable of providing water to all aspects of the course. This facility is a Golf Digest award winning site with 18 holes set in the Ramapo Mountains.