Outsiders pay the price

By Laura Grandt

The DeKalb Park District will reinstate the sale of nonresident season passes at its two golf courses this summer.

Last year, in response to overcrowding at Hopkins Park Aquatic Center, the park district discontinued nonresident season passes to Hopkins, 1403 Sycamore Road; Buena Vista Golf Course, 131 Buena Vista Drive; and River Heights Golf Course, 1100 S. Annie Glidden Road.

When the measure to eliminate the passes went through last year, the board agreed to reexamine the effectiveness this year, said Jay Randolph, golf operations administrator at the park district. Upon this reexamination on April 10, the board decided pool passes will remain suspended.

Since neither Buena Vista Golf Course nor River Heights Golf Course experienced overcrowding, the board decided to reverse its decision.

Park District President David Mason said the issue will be revisited in October.

“The reason to revisit [the issue of nonresident passes] is not to eliminate it, but to redefine it,” Mason said.

The nonresident season passes will cost double that of resident season passes, ranging anywhere from $200 to $375 for residents and $400 to $750 for nonresidents, depending on the package. This allows the park district to compensate those who pay taxes, but still allow those who don’t to have the opportunity to buy the passes, said Dave Emanuelson, executive director of the park district.

Nonresidents still were allowed to use the facilities last year. They could pay the fee to play on a daily basis, or they could buy a punch card.

Randolph said the punch card is a unique alternative the board came up with for nonresidents who may be affected by the season pass elimination.

The punch cards are sold in 20- or 40-punch denominations. Each punch is equivalent to nine holes of golf. The 20-punch version costs $200, or $10 per nine holes, which is the cost a resident pays during the week. The 40-punch card costs $375, which averages slightly less than $10 per nine holes.

“It was a good alternative for those who maybe weren’t going to play 60 times a year, and I had a lot of nonresidents buy the punch cards,” Randolph said.

Randolph said he already has sold some nonresident season passes this year, but not many people were affected by their absence with the presence of the punch cards last year.

In addition to the reinstatement of nonresident passes, there are some other new features at the golf courses this summer.

Randolph said he will help run a junior golf camp and league in conjunction with DeKalb High School.

Golfers can enjoy a new pitch and putt course at Buena Vista. Emanuelson said the course offers nine 40 to 60 yard par three holes, which is good for teaching children, as well as practicing the short game.

Also new this summer is the addition of more outings and improvements to the Corn Fest City Championship, an all-ages tournament held at Buena Vista and River Heights that takes place during Corn Fest. A pitch and putt tournament also will be held.

The golf course has undergone physical improvements as well, Emanuelson said.