Commission considers rental cart company for Amsterdam Muni

By ALISSA SCOTT

Recorder News Staff

Under the theory that 60 percent of Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course members do not own a golf cart and would rent one from the facility, members of the Golf Commission predict a projected $120,000 profit from hiring a rental cart company.

"It helps the overall golfing experience," said Mike Bucciferro, chairman of the commission, during a board meeting Wednesday.

However, that 60 percent seemed too high to most of the board members. According to Bucciferro, Five Star Golf Cars and Utility Vehicles, the company the commission is considering leasing the carts from, suggested a 45 percent to 60 percent member rate.

Rene Knudsen, a commission member, said he would rather look at numbers on the lower end of the scale instead. Dave Putman, another member, calculated what percentage of members would have to rent carts to break even: 17 percent.

Bucciferro agreed calculating the projected profit at a lower rate would be more beneficial and realistic, though he said the numbers weren't set in stone.

"I wanted to understand where the revenue stream is," Bucciferro said. "That leaves some ideas for what the pay scale can be. ... Because I know what you're going to ask next-- what do we pay a pro?"

Historically, the golf professional is paid with profits collected by golf cart rentals.

"No matter what, you'll make money renting the carts yourself," Putman said.

In a breakdown provided by Bucciferro, if the commission leased a 30-cart fleet, taking into consideration gas, annual service fees, lease agreement charges and taxes, it will run them around $45,000 a year.

After subtracting young adults and juniors, members unlikely to rent carts, about 60 members don't have carts, Putnam said.

Member Michele Russo asked how the commission would combat one of those 60 members just taking the trip with a cart-owning member, avoiding renting a cart.

Bucciferro suggested implementing a charge for people who ride along in other member's carts, at a reduced rate.

He also said he wants to enforce the two-person per cart rule.

Putman suggested sorting out the concessionaire and golf pro contracts, due to expire Nov. 1, before they start making rules about golf carts that haven't even been leased yet.

"I think we're putting the proverbial cart before the horse," he said.

The commission decided against hiring a general manager to oversee the entire golf course, because Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis said it would have to be a city employee.

The commission also turned down an option to hire a full management firm to run the golf course.

Members agreed if they were going to come to a decision about leasing carts or employee contracts, they would have to meet more consistently. Its next "emergency" meeting will be Monday at 6 p.m.

Bucciferro said he wants to finalize cart talks very soon and asked the board if they would be ready to make a motion during that meeting.

Russo said there's no way they would be able to make a motion during that upcoming meeting, Putman adding the information given today was but only a detail of the full scope.

Before adjourning, Bucciferro said the group also needs to discuss fall specials, because the season is quickly approaching. Last year, they offered a $100 special for foursomes including a cart. Bucciferro suggested a $125 special this year for a foursome, with a cart and lunch.