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.