I received the newsletter in my inbox this morning and have read through it a couple of times. It seems the golf course direction is taking a turn away from the fairway and heading straight to the out of bounds markers on hole 17. I have been a long time member of Hillcrest and enjoy my time spent there. I do not disagree that rates have to increase as time marches on. With your Mission Statement and the Guiding Principles in mind, I do have the following questions, and a closing suggestion or thought:
1) For the past several years, the golfers have been paying a trail fee, $2 for 18 holes, $1 for 9 holes. When these fees were initially implemented, they were supposed to be used for upgrading the trails around the course. Last year, we were informed the trails fees were used for outdoor furniture and other frivolous amenities which had nothing to do with golf. Will the new increased trail fees be used for similar non golf related expenditures? Where has all the money gone from the trail fees collected for the past several years? (Guiding Principle: Fiduciary Responsibility)
2) Hillcrest discontinued range passes for the past 2 years. Hillcrest is the only course in the area not to offer this service to its members. It is my understanding from talking with previous directors, and directors of other courses, range costs are relatively low and pay for themselves relatively quickly. Why does Hillcrest not offer a range pass similar to Pinon, Riverview, Conquistador? (Mission Statement, Guiding Principles Inclusivity, Fiduciary Responsibility, Integrity)
Every decision made regarding the golf course should be made with the following consideration in mind: Is this best for the golf course, and is this best for the golfers in our community.
Thank you for your time in considering these questions, and answering with the Vision Statement, The Mission Statement and the Guiding Principles in Mind.
Thanks for reaching out. You’ve brought up some very important questions and the Hillcrest Board of Directors would like to address them. I appreciate that you’ve framed your concerns through our Mission Statement and Guiding Principles, and I’ll do the same in my response.
In 2010, the Board recognized a growing backlog of deferred maintenance and several projects that would be required in the future. These expenses could not be addressed through regular operating expenses and, to maintain our Guiding Principle of Consistency, the operation needed to set aside funds for those needs. The trail fee was implemented at $1 for 9 holes and $2 for 18 holes (and raised to $2/$4 in 2021) to address a number of capital expenses.
Although they’re called a “trail” fee, these funds were not intended to be set aside exclusively for the cart paths. With regards to our Fiduciary Responsibility and Integrity, these funds are segregated and designated for capital projects. Capital expenses are reviewed by the Board annually at the budget session and they’re scheduled and implemented as appropriate.
Our Mission Statement charges the Board “to provide a superior golf experience for golfers by offering outstanding course conditions, quality amenities, and friendly, personalized customer service at an affordable price. To provide seasonal recreational activities for our community.” As such, capital projects may have direct impacts on the golf experience (i.e. the cart paths) or indirect impacts to improve course conditions (like the backhoe purchased in 2021). They may also contribute to Hillcrest’s expanding list of amenities (like the improved dining room furniture or the outside lounge areas).
Our guiding principles of Inclusivity and Dignity & Respect remind us that the golf experience means different things to different golfers. There will always be a place for the golfer who walks 18 holes, eats the peanut butter sandwich they brought from home, and never uses any additional services provided by the club. As Hillcrest has grown into a multi-use facility, we must also provide for the golfer who wants to rent a cart, supports the restaurant by eating and drinking while at the Clubhouse or on the course, takes lessons, or enrolls their kids in Junior Camp. The golfer who walks may not appreciate the need to invest in the cart paths but, as a Board, we have to consider both perspectives while planning for the long-term health of the club.
Some decisions (like discontinuing the unlimited range pass) may be unpopular as we balance the use of the facility with the revenue it provides. Shifting from an unlimited benefit to a pay-as-you-go model does decrease the value perceived by those members who hit balls every day, but decisions like this allow Hillcrest to provide value to a greater portion of our golfing community. The range has seen several improvements in the past few years, like new target flags and flag distance markers and the installation of a permanent tee line with an improved turf line (coming in spring 2022). Additional range enhancements are planned, including expanding the back tee line, adding a teaching tee, and additional short game enhancements.
We understand that individual golfers may not see the value in every aspect of our multi-use facility, but Hillcrest’s Guiding Principles instruct the Board to see our entire golfing community and “make decisions that reflect our commitment to balance the needs of all.” Certain aspects of our facility and offerings may appeal to different groups of golfers and may make the difference in whether they choose Hillcrest as their home.
Regarding your point about turning away from the fairway and heading for the out-of-bounds… I’ve played with the rest of the Board. Playing from the fairway isn’t the strength of our games! With regards to making strong strategic decisions… that’s a strength. We’d love to have you join us for our Board meetings. Public participation is always welcome.
Hillcrest Board of Directors