SLC residents speak out in keeping city’s golf courses

Posted at 9:58 PM, Feb 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-03 23:58:23-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Golf is losing popularity nationwide and here in Utah. So much so that some of Salt Lake City's courses are losing money.

Tuesday night, the Salt Lake City Council held a public hearing on the future of the courses.

It was a packed house inside council chambers with dozens of people who felt compelled to share their thoughts. It was unanimous that they wanted the golf courses on the chopping block to stay open.

"I've been playing golf in Salt Lake City since 1962 and to hear there could be some of our courses closed would be one of the deepest -- would be far worse than any death I could ever experience," said Luke Hanson.

Comment after comment echoed similar sentiments; that closing some of the city's courses - Rose Park in particular - would be a detriment to the city.

Rep. Sandra Hollins is a long time west side resident, and declared, "We want the same things in our neighborhood that everyone else wants in their neighborhood. We want a transportation system that works, we want walkable neighborhoods and we want a golf course in our neighborhood also."

Marshall Harris is a senior at West High School and this year's 5A golf champion. He told the council, "I would have never gotten to where I am today with golf if it wasn't for the accessibility of the Salt Lake courses, in particular Rose Park."

Mayor Ralph Becker has said that some of the city's courses are not financially sustainable. After working on this issue for the past seven years in office, he told FOX 13 he sees no way to a balanced budget but to close their doors.

The mayor promised, however, to repurpose them as open recreational space.

"I'm absolutely committed to preserving the golf courses as open space, to continue to make them available for the public for recreational purposes, and I'm not gonna waiver from that," Becker said.

No action was taken by the city council Tuesday night.

Council members have a list of about 20 alternatives they are charged with scoring. Those scores should be released to the public within the week and discussed at the next council meeting.