EDITORIAL – THANK GOODNESS FOR MUNICIPAL GOLF

It wasn’t that long ago that many golf course owners considered anything under $75 per round as “cheap,” and they priced their courses accordingly.  Of course, this was understandable – the economy was humming along, business was brisk, and these owners had to recoup their substantial investments.  However, perhaps as a precursor to the economic crash of 2008, in 2006 more courses closed than opened.  Undoubtedly, almost all of us have played at a course that is no longer in existence.

Through all of this, the municipal facility continued to survive in relatively healthy numbers.  Of course, some of them closed also, but not in the same proportion as the privately-owned ones.  Municipal courses, for the most part, have fees that are somewhat or even substantially lower than privately-owned facilities.  One could almost argue that municipal golf helped save golf in America.  And generally, the conditions of municipal courses have gotten better.  In Port St. Lucie, Florida (home of the USGTF), for example, the municipal Saints Golf Course just received a renovation, and its greens are now some of the finest you can putt on.

It seems golf has found its balance point between supply vs. demand, rounds played are up compared to its low point, and I believe golf will continue to grow as the economy slowly but surely improves.  And hat’s off to the “muni” – sometimes maligned but always there, ready to provide good golf at an affordable price.

By Mark Harman
USGTF Course Director
Ridgeland, South Carolina

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