Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club membership changes approved

By Karen Billing

The Rancho Santa Fe Association board approved three changes to Golf Club membership at its first meeting of 2012 on Jan. 5. The Golf Club will now have special half-off guest fees from January through April; will allow enrollment fees to be paid in installments; and the age for junior playing privileges has been raised.

Here’s an overview of the changes:

Guest fees

Jim Boyce, golf club board of governors membership chair, said the changes to the guest fees are related to the fact that guest play has traditionally dropped in the winter months due to cost and course condition.

“We want to change existing members’ habits and bring people back to the Ranch and think of this club as a place to play year round,” Boyce said.

Under the new guest program, members can purchase a package for five 18-hole rounds or 10 nine-hole rounds for $350, a 50 percent discount from the standard guest fee. The rates will run through April 20 on a trial basis.

Boyce said a similar program has been successful at San Diego Country Club.

The new fee program passed 5-1 with director Ann Boon as the sole holdout. Boon said although she was excited that the golf club is looking at ways to increase revenue, she wouldn’t approve the change without seeing a cost-benefit analysis.

Enrollment options

New members pay a $50,000 enrollment fee to join the Golf Club. Boyce said when new residents move into the Ranch they typically have a lot of other expenses and may wait two to three years before being able to join the club. The deferred payment option allows them to spread the enrollment payment out over two years. New members would have the option to pay $20,000 up front, with $17,000 due after one year and the balance of $13,000, plus a $3,000 additional charge at the end of the second year.

Boyce said the club has been aggressively trying to market new memberships and the pilot deferred enrollment program may help bring in some new people.

“It is an outreach,” commented director Roxana Foxx. “It’s an effort to keep a vibrant golf community.”

Junior regular playing privilege

The previous age for junior golfing privileges (juniors meaning children still living at home) was 23. Changes in lifestyle and economic pressures have led to more children staying at home longer, which prompted the golf club into raising the age to 26, Boyce said. As there is a limitation on how many times a guest can play a year, many members requested that the junior golf age be raised to allow unlimited play for their older children who live at home.

The membership was notified about the proposed changes and no comments in the 60-day comment period were received.

Juniors with playing privileges are charged an annual fee of $500 plus $150 a month in dues.