‘It’s an investment’: This course’s new greens fee structure might be a stroke of genius

A Minnesota course is offering free golf for juniors, with hopes it will pay off down the road.

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If you’re a junior golfer in central Minnesota, free golf may be in your future.

According to a story in the Morrison County Record, Little Falls Golf Course will offer free golf for juniors in 2022. The move comes with the hope that the next generation will catch the golf bug as kids and return to the club as adults when they are able to pay dues.

“To me, I think it’s an investment in our community,” city administrator Jon Radermacher told the Record. “If you get people hooked on golf, or at least exposed to golf when they’re in their younger years, they’re going to come back when they’re older and capable to pay. They’re going to be future members for our course. I think, for us, that could yield some great benefits.”

The change comes after a year in which Little Falls Golf Course felt the effects of the nationwide golf boom. With the sport surging in popularity in 2021, Little Falls Golf Course saw its revenues skyrocket. However, the increase in play also resulted in higher expenses.

“We actually had revenues this year for the golf course that vastly exceeded past years for total revenues,” Radermacher said. “However, expenses were still much higher on that front. On the operating side, we’re going to experience another shortfall in terms of what we receive in revenue versus what we pay in expenses.”

The need for fiscal restructuring is consistent with national trends. According to the National Golf Foundation, more than a third of courses in the U.S. raised their peak in-season greens fees last year by an average of 11 percent, the largest such spike in years.

But even with the restructured rates, a round of golf still won’t break the bank if you’re in Little Falls (especially if you’re a junior). Peak greens fees top out at around $45.

“I think that would be in line with where we need to be,” Radermacher said. “I think that really would set us in line for future years.”

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.