WHERE VACATIONS START!
This discussion is directed towards the men and women of Boquete who love to play golf. I recently arrived here in Boquete from Costa Rica where I spent 7 months living and playing golf. Prior to that we lived in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina which most golfers consider the premier destination in the U.S. for year round golf. While my wife Robin and I found Costa Rica to be a fantastic place to retire, we found the cost of living to be significantly higher than in Panama, thus our move to Boquete.
During the month or so that we have been here I have had the opportunity to play 27 holes at Valle Escondido and 2 rounds up at Lucero with my new buds Wayne and George (watch out for those two). While speaking with them and a number of the local golfers I've come to find that golf at Lucero is somewhat expensive ($80.00) a round, not to mention the drive up to the course which can be a pain in the ass( literally). Add the price of gas, a six pack of your favorite beverage and a snack and your round can cost $90-$95 dollars; and that is without a doubt an expensive round of golf.
That said, I recently met with Ms. Archer (the Director of Golf Operations) and her staff up at Lucero to discuss the cost of an annual membership for a single player. At present a one year membership at Lucero is $2700.00 plus tax, which includes the cart (couples get a better deal) and not a trivial amount of money. Having played plenty of golf in Myrtle Beach I estimated that on average I payed approximately $40.00 a round depending on where I played and the time of year. To get to the price point of $40.00 a round at Lucero (after purchasing the annual membership) I would have to play a total of 68 rounds at Lucero (an average of 5.6 rounds a month/or just over one round a week) to meet my goal of $40.00 a round. The way I see it some weeks I'll play one round, others I may play 2-3 rounds, and some weeks I may not play at all. When friends come to visit from Costa Rica and the States, I may play 4-5 rounds in a week, who knows. Thing is I have no doubt that I can and will play 60 plus rounds in the coming year.
Bottom line is that for me personally, I am more than willing to drive up to Lucero at least 5-6 times a month to get my golf fix in, particularly if I can get my price point down to $40.00 a round. When considering that Lucero (which has some of the best mountain views I have ever seen) is presently investing many thousands of dollars to upgrade the drainage in the bunkers, and reseeding of all the roughs, I believe we will have a first class golf course here at our disposal. Do your math, think about what you are willing to spend then make your individual choice (Do I or do I not want to play golf). See you on the course.....
I've probably golfed 50 rounds in my life (you can guess the results), but had some pretty serious golfing friends when I lived in San Diego. The thing I have a hard time understanding with any "membership" is how playing the same course more than about 10 times in a year does not get a little old. I know, every round is a new challenge, but things must start to look a little familiar after awhile?
First off $80.00 a round is a bit high if your are planning on playing many rounds per month. I would like to see them have a discounted rate, say if your come with a four some or more peole in your group to play. Maybe on Tuesday and Thursday have a mens day at a discounted rate also. The idea here is to get more people out there and playing and then they can spread the word and get more people to play. Once they get the numbers out there playing, they can bring that $80.00 a round down to say $40 or $50 a round with a lot more people playing out there.
I am a 5 to 6 month resident of Boquete and have been here for almost 7 yrs. Seems that $ 2700 for a membership would only be beneficial if you were a full time resident. At 4 rounds per month x 6 months = 24 rounds x $ 80 = $ 1920 that's a lot of money for golf plus the drive from hell. I think if maybe they would sell 10 or 20 round play cards for those of us that are not here full time they may get more action.
Lucero couldn't entice me with free rounds until the road is re-done. Your math doesn't include the major negatives for playing there. Even with a good road, I'd rather head toward the City to play golf. They have an uphill (literally) challenge to make that place a success.
I visit Boquete 3-4 times a year, and love to play golf as well. The 10-20 round card I think would be the best way to get more play there. Please let me know how this goes. I will be back in Boquete from April 10th to May 2nd, and would love to play Lucero if anyone is interested. I am not that good, about a 18 handicap, but do enjoy playing.