The Salt Lake City Council doesn’t want to shut down any more golf courses, but the mayor’s office says it might be necessary to ensure the golf program is sustainable for the long term.
The Salt Lake City Council decided last month to close Rose Park’s Jordan River Par 3 course. It will remain open through the end of this golf season. They also approved a $1 green fee hike. Another potential money saver, they say is to buy up some of the property on the periphery of the courses—land that would not affect play, and repurpose it for other green space uses like trails and ball fields. District 6 Councilman Charlie Luke says the council doesn’t want to close any more courses.
“For me it’s the last resort,” Luke says. “I think if there is a way that we can get the golf enterprise fund in a position of sustainability where we’re not having to revisit this issue every year, every couple of years and we can do it without course closure, that’s certainly the best possible scenario and that’s why we need to take such a deliberative and in depth approach on this.”
The mayor’s office agrees with some of the councils proposals. But Mayor Ralph Becker’s Chief of Staff David Everitt suggests eight golf courses is a lot for a population of 180,000 people.
“I would say the mayor is open to ideas, but at this point after years and years of trying things and not moving the needle on where we’re at with the budget for golf courses, we don’t see yet, any other compelling options other than to I think what we would consider right-sizing our golf program for the demand,” Everitt says.
Mayor Becker has asked the council to close the 2014 budget gap and devise other long-term solutions for the golf program—giving them a February 1st deadline. The council will continue its discussion about golf at its September 2nd meeting.