GOLF / MAL FLORENCE : Price to Play in City Increasing

The price for a round of golf on Los Angeles city courses is apparently going up.

The board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners is recommending an increase in fees, starting May 1.

Golf fees have steadily increased over the years, but in relatively small increments.

The latest proposal on regulation courses is a 25% boost on weekday rounds from $12 to $15, and a $3 increase on weekends, from $16.50 to $19.50.

So, golf figures to become more expensive for players at Rancho Park, the Wilson and Harding courses in Griffith Park, the San Fernando Valley courses--Balboa, Encino and Woodley Lakes--and Hansen Dam.

Fees on Los Angeles County courses were raised $3 last Oct. 1 for both weekday and weekend rounds.

Marty Tregnan, president of the Municipal Golf Assn., met with the Recreation and Parks board last Monday and was granted a three-week continuance on the fee issue.

Tregnan said his organization conditionally supports the raise in fees, but asks the Recreation and Parks staff to consider such matters as these:

--Giving exemptions from the proposed fee increases to all MGA tournaments and functions.

--Allowing clubs to provide input for the selection of home course improvements.

--Forming an advisory committee of staff and MGA members to study senior citizen rates and fees.

According to a report by Jackie Tatum, general manager of Recreation and Parks, the increased fees will create a funding source for a citywide marshals' program to speed up play, and for improvements such as concrete cart paths, asphalt service roads and rebuilt greens.

There is a perception that golfers are affluent enough to absorb the increase in fees. However, many players on city courses are retirees with fixed incomes.

Craig Kessler, public affairs chairman for the Southern California Publinx Golf Assn., said golf is being singled out disproportionately to bear a financial burden.

"(Municipal golf) is being treated as something like playgrounds for the privileged, and if it keeps up much longer, they'll be right," Kessler said.

"When the economy picks up, then what will happen?"

Tegnan said: "Recreation and Parks wants to build a $7-million clubhouse at the Woodley Lakes course. The reason for that originally was to cater to golfers. Today the big thing is to put destination restaurants at the course. They want to build clubhouses with big banquet rooms to make money along with golf."

Fees for golf carts have steadily increased, and the latest rise on city courses is from $17 to $18. Handcarts are going up from $2.50 to $3.

Then there are the little increases associated with municipal golf, such as the price of tees at the Griffith Park golf shop. A package of tees once cost 25 cents. Now the same package costs 40 cents.

Kessler said if fees continue to go up, "golf will return to the 'rich man's game' that it was prior to 1950. Municipal courses will be the enclaves of only the 12% of the population with sufficient income to play the game."

Even though John Daly went through an alcohol rehabilitation program, he was seen sitting at a bar recently.

However, it wasn't just any bar. It was "Cheers" in a recent episode of the television series.

"I just sat at the bar drinking Diet Cokes," Daly told Golf World. "I was down a couple of chairs from Norm."

Danielle Ammaccapane, who is playing in the Nabisco Dinah Shore tournament that ends today, suffered a serious concussion and was hospitalized when she fell off a horse near her home in Phoenix last November.

Her recovery was slow, but she said she hasn't had any problems for more than two weeks--and, certainly, horseback riding is not in her future.

Ammaccapane also made some negative news when a Golf World survey identified her as the least favorite player to be paired with on the LPGA tour. A reason was not given.

Other findings by the magazine: favorite player to be paired with--Meg Mallon; most intimidating player--Dottie Mochrie; best swing--Beth Daniel; best player who hasn't won a tournament--Michelle McGann; favorite tour course--Mission Hills Country Club, site of the Dinah Shore tournament.

Golf Notes

Patty Sheehan, the latest member of the LPGA Hall of Fame, and Shelley Hamlin will conduct a clinic for executive women Monday at the Los Coyotes Country Club in Buena Park. . . . The eighth annual NutraSweet tournament to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation will be held April 19 at North Ranch CC in Westlake Village.

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