Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Securing Municipal Golf as a Vital Community Asset

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Securing Municipal Golf as a Vital Community Asset

Article excerpt

IN WORKING AS a consultant primarily serving municipal golf courses, I learned that preserving the economic health of these vital community assets has become a constant challenge. I find more and more that the very existence of municipal golf courses is being threatened due to government budget challenges. Ali too often I hear the refrain, "Why are we in the golf business at all?"

Municipal golf is very much a part of our industry and a key component to the overall health of golf in the United States. How many golfers would there be today without municipal golf?

Since the addition of Van Cortlandt Park at the turn of the 20th century, municipal golf has played an important role in bringing golf to the masses and providing an affordable entry point for millions of people, especially juniors. I myself am a great example of the impact of municipal golf. I took my first golf lesson as a 10 year-old at the town of Ramapo's Spook Rock Golf Course, and I played my first full 18-hole round of golf at the Village of North Palm Beach's North Palm Beach Country Club, both municipal golf courses.

But developing new golfers is only part of the story. Municipal golf courses help their communities in many other ways. They demonstrate a community's commitment to preserving open space, generate low-cost outdoor recreation for all citizens, and help promote other residential and commercial development. In fact, business leaders often refer to libraries and municipal golf courses as the keys to identifying strong communities.

Challenges and Solutions

Municipal golf today faces growing challenges from many sides. First, courses face pressure from golfers to retain discounted fees and maintain conditions. Second, there is pressure from city, county, and state government leaders to sustain fiscal stability. …

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