With budgets tight and tax collections down, governments across the state are struggling to find paces to trim the fat. Here in Memphis one of the areas on the chopping block are three municipal golf courses.
The Memphis Flyer talked with John Malmo, former chair of the Memphis Parks Commission about the proposed closures. One of the proposals he put forth was making Overton Park Golf Course, the smallest of the three, free. From the article:
Malmo said the city should close all the golf courses except for Galloway, Fox Meadows, and Audubon.
“Give Audubon and Fox Meadows the same treatment we gave Galloway, and, as Galloway, they’ll operate in the black,” he said. He suggested adding a driving range, which is a good revenue producer, at Fox Meadows because there’s room for one.
As for Overton, which is scenic but has rough greens and short fairways, Malmo suggested eliminating all equipment, golf labor, and greens fees.
I’m a crappy golfer, but despite my crappiness, I do like going out and chasing the little white ball around. The three courses currently on the chopping block are courses I frequent regularly. They’re not great, but neither am I. I’d be willing to pay a little more to play them (God knows I probably do enough damage to them with my hackiness).
I don’t know that there’s a way to make these courses economically viable, but I do know that millions of dollars have been spent over the years to improve amenities at these courses. It would be a shame to walk away from that investment.
Honestly, I don’t know what the answer is, but free golf sounds good, at least until revenues increase.
We’ll see what the City Council decides on in the coming weeks.