Golfers tee off despite higher fees

This year’s increase in fees at Amsterdam’s Municipal Golf Course didn’t deter longtime members from
Harold Kenyon of Amsterdam watches his putt sink on the 18th hole at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course during his first round of the season Thursday.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Harold Kenyon of Amsterdam watches his putt sink on the 18th hole at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course during his first round of the season Thursday.

This year’s increase in fees at Amsterdam’s Municipal Golf Course didn’t deter longtime members from paying their dues again.

Golfers were out in full force Thursday for the course’s official opening, enjoying the sunny sky and 60-degree weather.

“It’s nice to see the golfers out here,” said Rich Cheney, who runs the clubhouse restaurant. “You know spring has arrived when you hear those mowers going.”

City officials agreed this year to raise fees at the course for the first time in two years. Regular city resident memberships increased by $25. Seasonal playing memberships will now cost $625, senior memberships $600 and senior limited memberships $560. Family memberships for the season were increased to $1,035; a senior family membership increased to $985. Junior membership is $160.

Greens fees were standardized to $25 per round of golf for residents, nonresidents and on weekends and holidays. After 3 p.m. golfers can play for $17.

Cart fees increased to $335 for gas-powered cart storage and $365 for electric-powered carts.

David Niezgoda, a member for more than 30 years, said he doesn’t mind the increased fees at the course and it’s not going to stop him from playing.

“I don’t mind, especially if the city can produce a little money from the course,” he said.

Niezgoda also stores his own golf cart at the course. He said even with the increase in cart storage fees the deal offered by the city’s golf course remains an attractive alternative to paying to rent when he plays.

“With as much as I play, I wouldn’t be able to take a cart if I didn’t own one,” he said. “As long as I can keep my cart, increasing the fees is fine with me.”

Golf course Superintendent Jim Derrick said he hadn’t heard many complaints from golfers about the increase in fees and he hopes the increase wouldn’t deter membership.

“People are always going to find money to play golf,” he said.

Head cashier Ann Marie Raila said by mid-afternoon about 50 people had already played the course. Raila has worked at the course for more than 30 years and said the fees have steadily increased during her time there.

She said returning members have generally not complained about the increasing fees, but there are always a few who grumble.

“Even if we raised the fees a nickel someone would complain,” Derrick said.

Derrick and his team have been working for two weeks to get the course ready for opening day. He said there are still a few tree limbs and leaves that need to be cleared, but the course has weathered the winter well.

A few spots of the course were still wet Thursday, so golfers were restricted to the cart paths.

Nick Pallotta, who has been a member for more than 50 years, played nine holes with his friend Thursday. He also said the fee increase didn’t bother him.

“This is something you’ve got to have in the city,” Pallotta said. “It’s a real asset.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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