Highlands University’s golf course reopened last month, but some are complaining about the higher fees.
School officials, however, say they set the rates in a way that the 18-hole golf course would pay for itself.
The Gene Torres Golf Course opened Aug. 23 after more than two years of renovations.
The new annual membership costs $1,100, with a 20 percent discount for faculty and staff.
That’s much more than what municipal courses charge in the region — $400 in Raton, $370 in Trinidad, $422 in Tucumcari and $150 in Santa Rosa. The annual golf membership at Pendaries, a private course north of Las Vegas, costs $1,365.
Terry Maznio of the Las Vegas Men’s Golf Association, which has nearly 50 members, has compared the costs of the other courses in the region and has found that most are significantly less.
“It appears that we the Las Vegas Men’s Golf Association make up at least 40 percent or maybe 60 percent of serious golfers in our community and with the majority of them living on a fixed income,” Maznio stated in a letter to Highlands officials. “I cannot, no matter how I juggle the numbers, see these folks running down to throw $1,100 for a membership.”
But Highlands officials defend the new rates.
“I want to really emphasize that we’re not going to be taking dollars away from education for the golf course. That wouldn’t be an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. You have public courses that are getting subsidies,” said Bill Taylor. the school’s vice president of finance. “We don’t want to take from our core mission.”
Taylor said even a municipal government should want to shy away from subsidies because public safety and streets are bigger priorities.
Sean Weaver, a Highlands University spokesman, also backed the school’s rates.
“The university is not going to get rich running the course. The goal is to keep it self-sustaining.”
Taylor said Highlands would evaluate to see the effects of the new rates. He said that if the school had a loss of revenue because of the higher fees, then it would consider lowering them.
Highlands golf rates
Weekend fees: General public-$35 for nine holes, $49 for 18 holes; 17 and younger and full-time Highlands students-$18 for nine holes, $26 for 18 holes; Highlands faculty and staff-$30 for nine holes, $39 for 18 holes.
Weekday fees: General public-$35 for nine holes, $49 for 18 holes; 17 and younger and full-time Highlands students-$15 for nine holes, $23 for 18 holes; Highlands faculty and staff-$25 for nine holes, $33 for 18 holes.
Twilight fees: Reduced for all groups on both weekends and weekdays.
Carts: $8 for nine holes; $14 for 18 holes; $11 at twilight (same price for all golfers).
Range: $6 for half bucket with 45 balls; $10 for full bucket with 90 balls (same price for all golfers).
Membership: $1,100 per calendar year for general public, with 20 percent discount for university faculty and staff.
For more information, call the golf pro at 425-7711.