When the Donald Ross course at Bobby Jones Golf Club opens on Dec. 16, city residents will enjoy a discount on greens fees four times greater than the rate previously approved by the Sarasota City Commission.
During their Oct. 16 meeting, commissioners lamented that Indigo Golf Partners, the company contracted by the city to operate the 18-hole Donald Ross course and nine-hole adjustable par-3 course, recommended a 10% discount off the rate schedule for city residents.
“I was hoping that the residents would have a much deeper discount,” said Vice Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch at that meeting. "Our residents are paying for this course, and they're the ones that we promised the whole time that they would have the deepest discount.”
In the weeks since, Ahearn-Koch got her wish. On Monday, the city announced that residents will receive a 40% discount on the rates at the time of booking. The course will operate on a dynamic pricing model, which will change based on the level of activity.
For example, during peak season — Dec. 22 to March 31 — the adult weekday rate on the Ross course is $74-$114 on weekdays with a target rate of $99, and the weekend range is $84-$124 with a target rate of $109. The target rate is the starting point and rates will adjust up or down based on the bookings of the moment, similar to pricing models for hotels and airlines.
For city residents, that means a weekend price range of $50.40 to $74.40.
“After the initial fee schedule was presented to the City Commission, we heard from residents and commissioners who said the new fees were out of reach and they would no longer be able to afford to play Bobby Jones,” said Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Fogle. “That was concerning. Bobby Jones Golf Club is a municipal course and should be affordable for residents. We asked Indigo to sharpen their pencils and the result is the much steeper 40% discount for residents playing the Donald Ross course. We appreciate Indigo’s partnership and look forward to seeing many residents enjoying the course.”
Although the tee time booking function has not been activated more details — including course photos, scorecard and more — are available at BobbyJonesGolfClub.com.
The rate sheet for the first year of operation can be viewed in the City Commission's Oct. 16 agenda packet. The rate schedule does not reflect the city resident discount.