Longshore's golf fees unfair to youth, seniors
Published 4:44 pm, Thursday, November 4, 2010
One of my sons decided to get his children started early in sports.
He started giving golf lessons to his 7-year-old son; and a year later, he felt that he had made him proficient enough to take him out to play at Longshore. He was told that his son (now 8 years old) would not be allowed on the course. He was told that his son will need to take lessons, tests and get certified to qualify to play at Longshore. This made sense. He agreed to comply.
Accordingly, my son prepared the boy as directed, and had him put through all the required tests and got him certified and qualified to play at Longshore.
A couple of weeks ago, we got a time to play at Longshore. I, along with my son and my grandson, showed up at the check-in window to pay our greens fees. The clerk at the window asked for $54. I asked why $54? He said $18 for each. I asked if an 8-year-old boy also had to pay $18 to play only six holes of golf? Yes, he said, those were the rules. He went on to say that he doesn't make the rules; the Town makes the rules.
We paid; and went on to play. We played eight holes. The boy played well. He kept pace with his father, grandfather and others on the course. In fact, the youngster was the only one to have shot a par on one of the holes.
I am writing this to ask our town's politicians, selectmen, administrators, managers and commissioners if it is appropriate to make an 8-year-old child pay the same $18 greens fee as paid by grown-ups or adults who would play nine or 18 holes on this town-owned public golf course?
I want to know if the aforementioned policy-makers, regulators and rule enforcers really believe that an 8-year-old child who gets only a $5-a-week allowance from his parents should be made to pay $90 for a hand pass and $18 greens fee -- the same as an industrial executive or a Wall Street financier making $250,000 or $2,500,000 or more in salary -- to play at this town-owned public facility? That's insane.
That's not the only thing that angers me.
I am also concerned about escalation of fees and reversal of benefits previously given to seniors for playing golf at Longshore. I have been complaining about sudden taking away of discounts previously given to seniors for use of the same facility. Until four or five years ago, seniors paid only half (50 percent) of the adult charge for a golf hand pass. A few years ago they not only escalated the fees, they also took away the 50 percent discount previously given to seniors. Now we are asked to pay $90, the same as younger adults in their 30s or 40s or 50s.
I want to know if the same aforementioned politicians and rule makers really believe that seniors and older people who live only on Social Security or other fixed income should be charged the same as those who are still fully employed in high paying jobs or are actively engaged in income producing industry or commerce.
I want to tell these politicians and rule makers that I am one of those old-timers who actually paid for the purchase of this golf club. If nothing else, us old timers should at least get little more consideration for being the "payers" of this facility than the new-comers who moved in here only yesterday to use and enjoy all the benefits of our labor.
Also, it should be noted that generally, seniors play once a week or once a month, whereas younger adults in their 30s, 40s or 50s may play at least once every week if not twice a week. In the last several years I have played only once or twice in a whole year. It is not fair to older people to pay the same as younger active adults.
Also, it should be noted that older folks generally play only nine holes and quit. Younger adults in their 30s, 40s or 50s almost always play the full 18 holes. The reduction in greens fees given to older people for playing only nine holes is only 2 or 5 dollars, which is not quite fair either.
All in all, I feel that the hand pass and greens fees structure at Longshore is grossly unfair to both the juniors and to the seniors. I feel that prices charged to elementary school children and to old-timers in their 80s are grossly and outrageously obscene. I think that politicians, administrators and rule-makers in Westport need to revisit, re-think and revise the entire pricing structure of golf permitting and playing at Longshore.