Municipality Owned Golf Course News
Sarasota City Commission decides fate of aging Bobby Jones Golf Club, with major renovation planned.
The article says, “Courses will need to host 140,000 rounds annually to pay for upgrades
SARASOTA — All 45 holes of the city’s deteriorating and financially troubled Bobby Jones Golf Club will be overhauled with the intention of returning it to the profitable destination it was more than a decade ago, during its glory days.
The Sarasota City Commission on Tuesday voted 4-1 to move forward with a $16.7 million transformation of the golf club, which will include replacing the antiquated irrigation system, adding a $3.4 million clubhouse, creating a golf development center, rebuilding all the greens and significantly expanding the driving range. The overhaul approved by the commission came from city staff and golf architect and city consultant Richard Mandell, who hosted a series of public workshops earlier this year to gauge what the community wanted for the aging municipal course, opened in 1926.
“The Bobby Jones facility is in such disrepair that our plans call for rebuilding everything on the site,” Mandell said.
Commissioner Shelli Freeland Eddie believes renovating all 45 holes will give the city the best bang for its buck, especially during tourist season, she said.”
From Hiawatha in Minneapolis to Hyland Greens in Bloomington, it seems a fair amount of municipal golf courses are struggling because they have to be “enterprise funds” under state law. City staff and others then toss out trends and statistics about declining golf and resign themselves to the situation not having any solutions. Some want to sell off the course. Some want to convert it to other uses. It’s crazy.
But perhaps the problem is the lack of business imagination required in any enterprise. Many of the struggling municipal courses also look like they are straight out of the 1980s, offering domestic light beers, Coke products, basic fried food and a few tables and chairs. Pretty boring.
Brookview Golf in Golden Valley blows many city-run courses out of the water. The Three One Six Bar & Grill has a nice selection of food and drinks with affordable prices. Try the “totchos.” When golf and lawn bowling stop, the course offers disc golf instead — which brings me and many other disc golfers out there all through the cold months — and it offers snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, too. The kids come to Brookview all year long for the indoor playground. Brookview is generally imaginative in getting people out. It often offers activities such as bean-bag tossing, comedy and trivia to get people to the clubhouse. The place is family-friendly, clean, modern and not uppity.
The solution to struggling municipal golf courses is diversification, not getting rid of golf altogether. Stop being one-trick ponies.
The story is from a column by Tim Engstrom of the Lakeshore Weekly News. Tim is a regional editor with Southwest News Media.
Cities and Counties All Around the USA and Canada are Giving Up on Their Municipal Golf Courses.
Oh Oh! Now the City of Sarasota, Florida is contemplating the future of the 1926 built Bobby Jones Golf Club, a municipal golf course that Bobby Jones himself personally dedicated on February 13, 1927. It’s a shame if they give up on the Bobby Jones 45-hole complex. Sarasota has always been one of the great positive Florida cities, but now some city fathers are considering alternatives for the golf course lands. Sarasota will join the host of loser cities in the USA and Canada. Link to the story in the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
Here’s another one: The City of Fort Myers, Florida is about to give up on its two municipally-owned golf courses - Fort Myers CC, and Eastwood GC: Link to the Story Here…
WAIT! November 26, 2018, The City of Fort Myers has come to its senses and decided to invest tax dollars to help the two struggling golf course bounce back. I hope other cities are watching. Here’s a link to the latest story.
Once golf course are closed and re purposed - usually paved over - the beautiful open green space is gone forever.
Fort Myers is a Winner Community!