City council meeting set for Tuesday seeks public feedback on fate of Salt Lake City golf courses

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The game of golf is struggling in Salt Lake City, and the city council is working to save the city’s courses. Council members hope a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday will allow them to get input from golfers.

Councilman Kyle Lamalfa represents District 2 in the Salt Lake City Council, and he spoke about the situation facing the city when it comes to operating golf courses.

“There’s less golfers,” he said. “What are you going to do about that? Any business with fewer customers has to do something to change.”

According to a Bloomberg business report, the number of U.S. golfers has dropped 24 percent from its peak in 2002, and in 2013 alone, the game lost 1.1 million players. Salt Lake County also has a surplus of golf courses, making the problem an even bigger issue locally.

“There’s more of them, more courses, fewer golfers, and this has put Salt Lake City’s golf system in a bit of a financial crisis," Lamalfa said.

Golf courses in Salt Lake City are not paid for out of the general fund--the local game can only be funded from revenue made from golf.

“Just for golf only, and it manages the courses, keeps the greens tight, it makes sure the club houses are doing alright," Lamalfa said.

Lynn Landgren is the head golf professional at the Wingpointe Golf Course, and he said that long-time rule about golf funding is unfair because other recreational activities are funded with tax dollars.

“Tennis, parks, soccer, baseball, running parks, dog parks, bike lanes--everything is subsidized through the general fund but golf,” he said. “If the general fund could come in and help us out then we are OK. Most golf courses in the state, the general fund helps them.”

Lamalfa said many ideas from the public to save Salt Lake City’s golf courses have been pitched, and there are two things the city will not do.

“One: We’re never going to sell off the golf courses, and two: We’re never going to use general fund, general taxpayer money, to subsidize the golf courses.”

The golf fund hearing is for courses in Salt Lake City only. It is scheduled for Tuesday at City Hall, located at 451 South State Street in SLC, at 7 p.m. in room 315.

3 comments

  • Trevor

    I’ve never liked golf courses. We are the second driest state in the nation. This coming year looks to be especially bad. Why not let them play golf on dirt? Close the golf courses.

  • David Thelen

    The following are ideas could be used to replace the existing golf courses. We need more parks to be used as an outdoor exercise facility.
    Given today’s news, parents are afraid to allow their kids to play outside. Thus these kids stay indoors, be on the Internet and snack, they then gain weight. Therefore, we have a childhood obesity problem today. Research shows the best way to manage and lose weight is to exercise outdoors. In addition, these kids feel isolated being at home and are more likely to join gangs.
    Replace these golf courses into outdoor exercise parks, and have the following so parents can rest easier dropping off their kids. Golf courses may have some fencing around these grounds, and few ways to get in. Parents could drop off their kids at these gates, so a parent could run errands, and at the same time their kids would stay safe.
    Lay trails at the perimeter of the park. So it can be used to bike, cross country ski, and snowshoeing. Install things to rent like bikes, snowshoes and cross-country skis at the parks. This way kids may use these items at the park to get that exercise. In the warmer months, the trails would be used for track and field events.
    Set aside some portions of the park to be used for playing soccer, baseball and flag football. Good coaches could teach some of life’s lessons by way of playing the sport. How to win gracefully, or lose with dignity could be part of the learning experience, a few kids could be placed on each team. (Kids who join gangs do this to feel connected. By being placed on teams, they will find that connections, and thus replace wanting to join gangs so badly.)
    Organizers ought to have theme days at these new Parks. There could be a theme day for children of the military, autistics kids, get in fit days, cancer survivor days, kids of incarcerated parents and on and on it goes. This way kids of like background can meet other kids of like background at the Park, especially when playing on a sports team.
    Place a couple of mobile homes to be used to get something to eat and drink. They could contract with an eatery to make and serve healthy foods.
    We need more parks to be used as an outdoor exercise facility with programs like those mentioned above. Then we create healthier communities…

  • M. L.

    Combine the golf courses with sports that are subsidized by the general fund. Such as lighted tennis and pickleball courts. Forest Dale used to have tennis courts. Tennis and pickleball have done a good job at growing their sport. These courts could be bubbled for winter revenue.

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