Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club sees increased memberships, play

The Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club is weathering the pandemic with increased play and memberships.

The Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club is playing through the pandemic with increased memberships and more activity out on the course.

“The game of golf is booming,” said RSF Golf Club General Manager Brad Shupe at the Rancho Santa Fe Association’s Sept. 3 meeting.

When the course was forced to close in the spring, Shupe said they were bracing for the worst and trying to create a realistic budget. Now they are re-forecasting their budget $500,000 stronger mainly driven by increased member usage—green fees, cart fees and dues— and increased use of the club restaurant, which added take-out services for all Covenant residents during the pandemic.

“It’s hard to be happy with all these things going on in the world but at the same time we’re thankful that we can be a little bit of a silver lining,” Shupe said.

Due to the pandemic, the golf course was closed initially for a month and a half and they took a $315,000 hit. Since reopening, member usage of the course is up between 25-30%, which Shupe said is a little better than the national average. Shupe said it feels completely different out on the course than last year, with more families and people utilizing their memberships more than ever, wanting to be outside.

Membership-wise, the club is performing strong. From February to June, there were only seven membership cancellations and in the months of June, July and August, the club sold nine memberships.

While COVID-19 took a huge chunk out of the club, Shupe said they were able to finish the fiscal year just $153,000 behind plan.

At the neighboring Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club, General Manager John Chanfreau said he is seeing the pandemic have a similar effect.

“The word is out that being outdoors and being active is a safe and positive thing to do,” Chanfreau said.

He said most mornings and afternoons the courts are busy with member play, the junior program is going strong and lessons and clinics are full (with restrictions on the number of people allowed on the court). He said like the golf club, interest in memberships is also up. The tennis club’s membership is 255 with 223 tennis members and 32 pickleball members—in the last month they are above budget by $8,000 in memberships.