Golf fees increased at Smithtown Landing

Left to right, Patrick Clancy and Patrick Cox, Left to right, Patrick Clancy and Patrick Cox, both 21 of St. James, get a round of golf in at Smithtown Landing Golf Course and Learning Links in Smithtown. (April 1, 2013) Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

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The Smithtown Town Board has unanimously approved a $1-per-round golf fee increase at the town-owned Smithtown Landing Country Club.

The cost for residents to play 18 holes will rise to $30 from $29 during weekdays and to $32 from $31 on weekends, said Michael Hebron, PGA Hall of Famer and president of MPH Management Corp., which manages the municipal course.

Senior and junior rates -- available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays -- will increase to $21 from $20, he said. The fee changes will remain for the next two years at the course, on Landing Avenue, Hebron said. The increase will only bring in $40,000 more a year, he said. "It pays [for] one salary and a half a piece of machinery."

Hebron attributed the fee increase -- which the board approved at its meeting Tuesday -- to a decline in play, demographic change in players and rising operational costs.

"Seventy percent of our play during the week is from senior citizens," Hebron said. The cost of insurance, labor, machinery, and fuel have impacted the "daily cost in turning the key in the business of a golf course," he said.

MPH has had a cooperative management agreement with the Town of Smithtown since 1984, Hebron said. The company pays for the maintenance of the course, employees, equipment and contributes to a course improvement fund, while the town is responsible for capital improvements, he said.

Smithtown receives about $261,000 in rent from MPH, regardless of how many people play, town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said. The Smithtown board approved the requested fee increase because, "We have a contract that sets out the fees," Vecchio said. "Golf is certainly on the down. Not enough people are playing."

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