It has come to our attention that non-Keweenaw county residents have asked why the Lodge makes a distinction between golfers that are from Keweenaw County and golfers that are not Keweenaw County as it relates to our green fees.
First, to point out the difference which individuals are questioning: Keweenaw County residents pay $3 and $5 less than non-Keweenaw County residents to play 9 or 18 holes of golf at the Lodge respectively. [ see current green fees ]
Our reasoning for charging Keweenaw County residents $3 (9-holes) and $5 (18-holes) less is that all Keweenaw County residents prior to the change in ownership in 2018 had supported the Lodge operations through their taxes, including the golf course. So we felt it was best to provide those residents with a small benefit when playing the KML golf course.
It is sad that individuals are concerned about this difference, as the green fees are still lower than what it costs to operate the golf course currently.
Average green fees for privately-owned golf courses is $40 for 18 holes on weekends. Our highest green fee for 18-holes currently is $30. If we keep at this rate, then the KML golf course has a higher probability of not surviving — the majority of the golf courses that closed in 2016 charged below $40 per 18 holes.
To better understand this situation, it costs the Lodge more than $500 in labor per day to keep the golf course in its current shape. This means to cover only the golf course maintenance costs, the Lodge needs to have at least 28 nine-hole rounds of golf (assuming the average green fee for 9-holes is $18). And this calculation does not include any other labor costs related to golf, nor material costs, nor equipment costs (e.g. fuel for the greens mower, purchasing a new greens mower, maintaining the greens mower, etc.).
To help individuals better understand how much goes into running a golf course, going forward we want to provide additional information and be transparent in our operational decisions so golfers have a better understanding of the decisions we are making for the golf course at the Lodge.
Note: the staff at the Lodge is looking to grow the entire Keweenaw, and the owner has investment in Houghton county. So this decision is not to create a difference between Houghton and Keweenaw counties. Rather, and to reiterate the point above, the decision is to provide a small benefit to those that kept the golf course going over the years.