Golf Committee Proposes Changing Cranberry Valley Non-Resident Rates

By: William F. Galvin

The cost of using the Cranberry Valley Golf Course practice range could be increasing for some golfers. The golf committee will consider increasing fees for 2021 in its Oct. 20 meeting. WILLIAM F. GALVIN PHOTO

HARWICH — The golf committee is taking steps to eliminate the special annual rate categories it has established for members of Cranberry Valley Golf Course who live in Chatham, Eastham and Orleans, reducing the annual rate categories to just Harwich residents and non-residents.

Presently there are three categories and four different annual rate fees. Harwich residents pay $810; Chatham residents $835; and Eastham and Orleans residents pay $910. The general non-resident membership for others is $1,110. The committee voted to increase the Chatham, Orleans and Eastham rates over a three-year period to equal the general non-resident rate.

Among the goals for fees Golf Director Roman Greer put forth last week was to raise adequate revenue without increasing Harwich residents annual rates. Another goal was to “adjust annual pass categories with a focus on Harwich residents and to streamline non-resident categories.”

With some Harwich resident golfers concerned about the availability of tee times this summer, the committee was clear that it would not raise Harwich resident rates for the coming season.

The committee focused on the unique procedures established for member golfers from Chatham, Eastham and Orleans, non-resident golfers who receive a lower rate than all other non-resident golfers. Greer said those provisions were put in place six or seven years ago because of sagging revenue.

Members of the committee agreed with Greer’s goal of streamlining the non-resident categories. Greer said the only member rate change he is recommending for this year is for Chatham. He pointed out last year Chatham received a $25 increase, putting that fee $25 above the Harwich resident rate.

“Chatham’s rate is $275 less than the non-resident rate. Tell them to go up $92 a year for the next three years,” committee member Jack Connolly said. “We have to define a strategy with a defined timeline.”

“In retrospect, this amount was too low. I am recommending a $75 increase this year, which will make Chatham’s annual pass rate $100 more than Harwich and put them in line with Eastham and Orleans,” Greer stated.

Committee member Steve Bilotta recommended the committee move forward over a three-year period with the necessary fee increases to place Chatham, Eastham and Orleans in line with the main non-resident rate. Committee member John Wheeler recommended the adjustment be done over a two-year period.

Speaking to inter-municipal relationships between Chatham and Harwich such as the Monomoy Regional School District, committee member Paul White suggested a little more intelligence gathering be done before moving forward. But Golf Committee Chairman Clem Smith said he’d entertain a motion to announce the direction the committee is taking.

Bilotta put forward a motion establishing two rate categories for membership at Cranberry Valley Golf Course, a Harwich resident rate and non-resident rate. The motion, which was approved, included a three-year time line for implementation.

Greer said he thinks the course will lose a little Harwich membership next year because it was hard to get tee times this year. Bilotta said if the course loses membership, it would make tee times more available, and an increase in the Chatham rate would raise revenue.

Greer also recommended removing Chatham residents from eligibility for special rates for “Young Adult” and “Collegiate” categories, which will remain available to Harwich residents. He recommended retaining the “Chatham Junior” membership eligibility as Cranberry Valley Golf Course is the Monomoy Regional High School golf team’s home course and the middle school is engaged in the First Tee Program at the municipal course.

The committee then focused on other rate increases to be discussed in a public hearing set for Oct. 20 at 4 p.m., after which it will make a recommendation to the board of selectmen. The committee proposed keeping the Harwich resident rate at $810. The Eastham and Orleans rate would remain at $910 and the Chatham rate would go up by $75 to $910. All primary greens fees would be increased by $5 and miscellaneous greens fees would go up $2 to $5 depending upon the day. Cart fees, with a change from the older gas carts to new electric carts, would increase by $2.

The practice range annual membership would increase from $250 to $300 (free balls) and the committee proposed to eliminate the course member discount for practice range balls, making the small bucket $5 and the large bucket $8. The recommendations also seek to remove Chatham resident eligibility for special rates for the young adult and collegiate categories.