The Columbus City Council during its Monday evening meeting voted in favor of refunding season passes for Quail Run Golf Course that were purchased prior to the disastrous March flooding.
In addition, the governing body unanimously amended the Schedule of Fees so that the daily and punch card fees at Quail Run are the same as the nine-hole Van Berg Golf Course located at Pawnee Park.
The decision was made because the torrential amounts of water and ice that spilled onto the city-owned course left nine holes unplayable for the rest of this season, city staff said. The recommendation was made to the governing body during an April 16 Board of Parks Commissioners meeting.
Those wanting pass refunds must formally file an application with the city no later than May 31. Traditionally, there has been a zero refund policy at Quail Run, but this year’s unpreventable circumstances led the Board of Park Commissioners to reconsider.
Pass prices won't be changing, though. Many golfers with season passes will play enough rounds to still get a good bang for their buck even with the limited course, City Administrator Tara Vasicek said.
Ward 3 Council Member Rich Jablonski said he is concerned that the course – already struggling from a revenue standpoint – would make this offering because it could lead to the course bleeding even more financially.
“The concern I have is that we have already mentioned that even if we have FEMA money (to aid with course repairs) that we are going to be on the hook for 25 percent of the expenses,” said Jablonski, adding that he is a season pass holder. “So we start reducing the cost to play the golf course … It doesn’t seem like a good business model to me.
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“… With three or four people coming forward and saying, ‘well jeez, I bought a pass and I really want my money back,’ I don’t really think we have heard from the public saying that this is an issue and that they don’t want to pay the fee as it stands.”
Ward 3 Council Member Ron Schilling noted he believes the majority of pass holders who purchased them before the natural disaster struck will stand by their investment rather than asking for a refund.
“One of the things that I know, I’m going to say that 90 percent of the golfers out there aren’t going to ask for their money back,” Schilling said. “There’s a lot of support out there for the golf, and the players are going to support this golf course like you can’t believe.”
This is a unique set of circumstances, Mayor Jim Bulkley said, adding that it’s not fair nor possible to make a rushed judgment on the amount of money brought in by the course during the upcoming months.
“I honestly feel like it’s not fair – this season – to judge the revenue, plus, minus or in-between with Quail Run,” Bulkley said. “Just based on what has happened … At some point, we have to have a discussion about what we are doing … (But) I don’t think that it’s fair to Quail Run to have that discussion today based on Mother Nature’s acts.”
Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.