'It's ridiculous': Golfers annoyed with pre-paying rules at city-owned courses
EDMONTON -- Edmonton golfers are getting frustrated before they even take a swing because at city run courses, it's now mandatory to book online and pay for the round up front.
Tee times get snapped up quickly on sunny days, especially during the pandemic.
Like most courses, the city offers online booking at its facilities, but unlike most courses golfers have to pay online too.
"If you're booking a foursome, you pay the whole thing," said golfer Skip Brandon.
Normally, each player pays for themselves at the pro-shop when they show up for their round. Some golfers take issue with the city's rain check policy as well.
"If you don't cancel, the weather changes, I believe you still get charged 10 dollars if you cancel late, so it's like four people it's 40 bucks I think right? So it's ridiculous," said golfer Roland Lussier.
"They should just be running it the way they used to run it, it worked perfect," said Dave Blackburn.
Dave Blackburn is an avid golfer who's also fed up with the refund process. Timely cancellation nets you a credit on your city account, not a direct reimbursement.
"It's just become so confusing, cumbersome, there's so many loopholes that my group of eight or 12 people that golf every Sunday for 10 years, I can't see us finding a way to accommodate that anymore," said Blackburn.
"End of story, they've got to get rid of this pay up front. It’s extremely cumbersome, it makes it very difficult."
A city spokesperson says the new rules were brought in last season due to the pandemic and that pre-paying helps to limit contact between golfers and course staff.
"The city likes to go above and beyond when we do deal with things to do with the health and safety of the public," said Angie Blades project coordinator for the city's horticultural groups.
"Although it's not industry standard, I think a lot of courses will be moving that way."
Regardless, the complaints have been heard and the city will be updating its booking system early next month.
"We are looking at being able to offer that refund right directly back onto the credit card, and back onto the debit card," said Blades.
There will be other changes as well, like a "friends" feature that connects people who play together often. Blades says the city is always open to feedback and constructive criticism, to help improve the system.
But she adds that pre-pay will be here to stay at least through the next season.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson.