The Parsippany Town Council heard a proposal to amend the fee structure at the Knoll Golf Club during its Tuesday night agenda meeting at the municipal building.
When the Knoll raised user fees in January, it increased fees for members who live in Parsippany by $3 and by $6 for non-resident members. According to Superintendent of Golf Glenn Foesel, this did not sit well with members who live outside of the township.
In order to avoid losing business, the club is proposing a realignment of the fee structure to make it more equitable. Foesel told the council that the plan is to cut non-resident member fees by $3.
If approved, the plan would take effect in 2013.
Council member Michael dePierro spoke up for the plan.
"If we don't reduce fees we're going to lose people from Montville and other towns," he said.
The Knoll proposal contains other items:
- offering pro-rated membership fees that offer 50 percent off the annual fee for those who join the club after July 1
- allowing the golf superintendent the discretion to cut fees up to 25 percent
- allowing the club, for the first time, to accept credit card payments
- establishing an agreement with Golf Channel Solutions to develop a marketing website for the Knoll.
Town Business Administrator Jasmine Lim said an ordinance will be required to put the rate changes into effect for the Knoll facility, which is a town utility.
Foesel said accepting credit cards will make things more convenient for golfers and ultimately will attract more business for the Knoll East and West courses.
Council Vice President Vincent Ferrara asked what the fee would be for using credit card services.
Business Administrator Jasmine Lim explained that the question can't be answered until a credit card company is found to administer the plan.
"We have to bid out for a company that wil handle the credit card transactions for us," she said. "They'll bid something and it probably will be the average. My understanding is that we can charge a convenience fee."
Foesel said whatever the fee, the boost in business likely would offset any merchant fees that would have to be paid.
"It's the cost of doing business," he said, noting that the Knoll clubs are among the very few that do not accept credit cards presently. "We've got to be competitive."
He added that golfers still would have the option of charging their golf fees to personal accounts.
Foesel said having a website on the GolfNow.com site, via Golf Channel Solutions, would offer a great avenue for attracting new golfers to the Knoll.
"It's a national site used by a lot of courses to facilitate online tee time reservations," he explained to Patch. "It will give the Knoll a national presence and attract a lot of people to this beautiful course."
He said that a certain of off-peak tee times will be available via the site, which he offered "cheap advertising."
"It's free for the cost of one round of golf," he said, noting that one tee time per day would be reserved for GolfNow.com to market.
"We'll be listed as we get listed as a new golf course, and we're going to get so many hits," said Foesel. "That's going to give us the ability to expose the club."