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PLAN SEEKS TO UPGRADE GOLF COURSE

Plans to install pathways for electric carts and set up a computerized reservation system are two of the enhancements that may have Deerwood Public Golf Course users paying a "course enhancement fee" whenever they tee off.

At Tuesday's Common Council work session, three members of the Deerwood Golf Course Committee and Youth, Recreation, Parks & Senior Citizens Director Jerry Whitehead proposed charging a $1 fee per round during the 2003 season to fund improvements to the course that could draw more non-resident traffic to the area, including those visiting anticipated Niagara Falls or Buffalo casinos.

Although an additional nine-hole course was built more than three years ago to accommodate increased traffic, committee members said that the condition of the original course has begun to deteriorate noticeably and could have an impact on attendance next season.

Last season's increase in revenue could be attributed to an increase in greens fees, Whitehead said, while the number of rounds played was down from recent years.

With the establishment of a separate trust and agency fund for enhancements, Deerwood could install additional women's and seniors' tees, renovate sand and water traps, and possibly expand the pro shop inside the clubhouse, which is due for renovation in January.

Without a sophisticated reservation system, Whitehead said, the course is also losing customers who don't want to risk a long wait at the first hole.

"(Deerwood) does have a reputation in the area of having a long line for the tees," he added. "I think we could draw a lot more traffic and better manage the use of our course."

The majority of funding for course enhancements would come from non-residents, who make up nearly 70 percent of Deerwood's business.

A senior season pass costs $170, and the average senior season pass owner plays about 100 rounds per year, according to committee figures.

The Council will likely vote on the enhancement fee in December, Whitehead said.

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