A golfer runs back to their club bag at Cupertino's Blackberry Farm Golf Course, where fees will increase a few dollars in April.
Fees at Cupertino's Blackberry Farm Golf Course will increase a few dollars in April to keep the course's fees on par with other nearby nine-hole courses. Photo by Annalise Freimarck.

Cupertino is raising fees at one of its most beloved golf courses — and golfers say it’s on par with what the course needs.

The Cupertino City Council on Tuesday discussed the plan to raise fees at the popular city-owned Blackberry Farm Golf Course. The city hopes the increase will help keep the course maintained and open for use after officials voted against closing it last year.

Fees for the nine-hole course will increase by a few dollars beginning April 1, to bring its costs more in line with nearby public courses. Fees for a nine-hole round of golf at other public courses, such as San Jose’s Rancho Del Pueblo Golf and Sunnyvale’s Sunken Gardens, begin at $18 and $22 respectively.

The fees for a first round of golf at Blackberry Farm range from $15 to $18 on weekdays, varying if the player is a Cupertino resident or non-resident. Those fees will increase $1 to $2. Weekend and holiday playing time fees will go up $1 to $5, ranging from $19 to $23 based on residency.

City officials considered closing Blackberry Farm Golf Course due to its lack of revenue, and put out a survey last year asking residents whether they wanted it to remain open or would rather transform it into a nature preserve. Golfers banded together to advocate for the course, and the council unanimously voted last October to keep the recreational facility running.

Los Altos resident Don Halsey helped form Friends of Blackberry Farm Golf to stop its closure. As someone who has been golfing there for 20 years, he said he also supports the raise.

“I’m just happy that they’re moving ahead with something which they needed to do for years,” he told San José Spotlight.

Keith Kreft, 76, has been golfing at Blackberry Farm since 1987 and advocating for a fee bump for months. The last time fees were increased was 2016, according to the city.

Kreft said the fee increases in April are too low and need to be higher to make sure the golf course is well maintained. He said most golfers support the new fees because they want to see the course kept in good shape.

“A golfer doesn’t want to play at a schlocky course,” he told San José Spotlight. “They’d rather play something that’s kept up a little nicer, where the greens are kept nicer and the fairways are watered instead of having them dry out.”

The $61,000 generated in annual revenue from the course is minimal for a city dealing with a multimillion-dollar deficit for fiscal year 2024-25 — roughly $15 million largely due to lost revenue from Apple’s sales taxes after an audit from California’s Department of Tax and Fee Administration. The Cupertino City Council unanimously voted to not add a tax measure to the 2024 ballot to boost revenues last month, after deciding to make service reductions, such as less road maintenance, that could save the city more than $10 million this year.

Councilmember Hung Wei said the revenue from the higher fees will help the city address its deficit, even if it’s small.

“Every little (bit of) money helps with the general fund,” she told San José Spotlight.

Some of Kreft’s favorite memories at the course include playing with his wife before dinner on Fridays or Saturdays and spending one-on-one time with her.

He said he hopes the course will thrive for years to come, after it receives much needed maintenance.

“Being able to just walk and then have a lot of fun and have some social (time) all at the same time is fantastic. You can’t put a price on that,” he said. “They could almost double the price and it would still be worth it.”

Contact Annalise Freimarck at [email protected] or follow @annalise_ellen on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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