City commissioners discuss hiring golf course marshals
By DAWNE LEIKER
As they consider increasing golf tournament fees to hire personnel to enforce Fort Hays Municipal Golf Course rules, city commissioners are divided on the topic of golf course marshals.
Parks Department Director Jeff Boyle at Thursday's Hays City Commission work session presented a recommendation from the golf course advisory board to increase tournament fees to pay for course marshals. A marshal on a golf course patrols the course, keeping the pace of play up and ensuring course policies.
"We have folks coming to the golf course that don't play all the time, don't understand the policies and procedures," Boyle said. "So (golf course advisory board members) think it's very important we get some marshals out there during tournaments."
The board voted to increase fees for an 18-hole tournament by $100, a total of $500 for weekdays and $600 for weekends, and increase fees for a nine-hole tournament by $50, a total of $250 for weekdays and $300 for weekends.
The increase would be used to offset the city's marshal compensation requirements.
Each marshal receives one free cart shed rental, one annual single membership and one locker as compensation from the city for services.
One commission member took issue with the advisory board's recommendation.
"I absolutely oppose the whole idea of marshals," said Mayor Troy Hickman. "The last time we said 'OK' (to hiring marshals) thinking these marshals would act like Andy Taylor, and they ended up acting like Dirty Harry."
"And it caused us more problems having them than not having them."
Commissioner Ron Mellick, however, said he favors having marshals to protect the city's investment in the golf course.
"It's kind of like us pulling the police department and letting people in town do whatever they want," Mellick said. "So I'm 100-percent for this."
Most courses the size of Hays have marshals on site, Dougherty said, adding problems the city of Hays experienced when hiring marshals in the past could be attributed to marshals not being taken seriously either by golfers or staff members.
This time, Dougherty said, Boyle would take a more direct leadership role of the marshals.
"Ultimately, Jeff will be overseeing everything and calling the shots," Dougherty said.
Commissioners will vote on the fee increase at their regular meeting Thursday. In addition, they will vote on another golf course advisory recommendation: adding a junior golf greens fee for golfers 17 and younger.
The fees would mirror twilight greens fees at $14 and will increase to $16 in 2014 and would apply Monday through Friday. On weekends and holidays, the fees would apply after 2 p.m. or at the discretion of the pro shop manager.