Salt Lake City will not be closing down its municipal courses

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - Salt Lake City’s eight golf courses will not be closing, at least for now. That’s the recommendation from the City Council Tuesday night.

For years the city's municipal golf courses have been running at a deficit. Currently they're $1 million dollars in the red.

According to the city, the cost to maintain a golf course is significantly higher than the cost to maintain typical parks or playgrounds, in some cases it's a difference of thousands of dollars per acre. That's why city leaders were considering changing some of the golf courses over to open spaces and even dog parks, but that cost-saving plan didn't go over very well.

"I'm passionate about dog parks and open space, but I am also passionate about my golf,” said Salt Lake City resident Spencer Terry.

Instead golfers offered up a different option.

"I'd rather pay a couple more dollars a round than to see it go away,” said golfer Justin Hobbs.    

Tim Weiler agreed. "Everyone I know would pay higher green fees to keep the course open."

Tuesday night the council proposed a plan for a one-year pilot program in which golfers would see increased fees and fewer discounts.

Councilman Charlie Luke explained, "Increase the 9-hole fees by a dollar for every 9 holes, and we would also limit each golfer to one discount per round."

The council also voted to send out another ballot by mail to registered voters to get their feedback on how their tax dollars should be spent.

"If it comes back that the public is more than willing to help supplement the enterprise fund with general fund money, great, we need to know that,” said Luke.

Council members also want to tackle the city's water bill. Currently the greens are watered with culinary water, but the council is considering looking into what it would cost to switch over to secondary water.

Luke said, “Right now we’re paying a very high culinary water bill to water the golf courses. So what we’re looking at is finding exactly what the cost would be not only to switch golf courses over to secondary water, but regular open space as well.”

Seeing the value in what they bring to the citizens of this city, it appears Salt Lake is not giving up on its golf courses; a decision that many seem to agree with.

"To me, there are more important things than making a buck, but you have to consider quality of life for the citizens and residents and people that pay taxes,” said Terry.

The next council meeting is scheduled for July 29th.

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