Tucson may close Fred Enke golf course
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - If you like to golf at City of Tucson courses, your pastime's about to roll into the rough.
The City's considering closing one course and making major changes to others.
It's a double bogie: tight budgets and a shrinking market for golf.
A lot of the golfers at Fred Enke golf course have been playing there ever since it opened almost 30 years ago.
Peter Glennie says,"I've been playing this golf course since it had a motor home as the clubhouse."
But Tucson's golf operations are 7.5 million dollars in the hole. So the city manager's asking council to okay converting Fred Enke into simple green space---a passive park. The driving range and practice greens would stay open. The city's considering continuing some golf at El Rio but downsizing operations there.
Tucson's mayor says the market for golf is not what it used to be.
Jonathan Rothschild says: "There's a place for Municipal Golf but whether we need five course, municipal in Tucson, we don't and we can't support it. So we're going to look at what we can support. Those are going to be hard choices but we're going to have to make them."
The city would like to see if private companies can operate the city golf courses at a profit but even private courses are having a hard time collecting enough greens fees to stay out of the red.
Especially in the summer, private courses offer discounts deep enough to lure a lot of golfers to fancier players to play.
Golfer Dave Eagleton says, "There's still too many golf courses. There's too much supply and not enough demand right now in the business. Simple economics. It's good for us golfers. We have a lot of selection and good prices but it's not good in the long run. The courses have to be profitable. They have to be able to sustain themselves."
Peter Glennie thinks as a good course, and the only one on the east side, Fred Enke should be a good choice for a private company to run.
He says, "I think the city golf courses should stay. They're beautiful green spots. I like the greenery, the trees, and everything. If you turned them into condos or something like that we'd just end up being Los Angeles."