Golfers say goodbye on Wingpointe’s final day

Posted at 6:08 PM, Nov 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-15 23:30:03-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Golfers at a Salt Lake City golf course played one last round Sunday before the land gets handed over to the airport, but some are still hoping this isn’t the end for Wingpointe.

Golfers spent Sunday making their final tee off at Wingpointe Golf Course, which is located at 3602 West 100 North.

"We have 12 guys out here to play, to enjoy it," Bruce Schechinger said.

It was their last chance to make an eagle, birdie or par on the course. Even with gusty winds, they wouldn’t have missed it.

Ray Unrath, one of the 12 in Schechinger’s group, said he has, "played over 500 rounds here."

Another, Gene Arnold, said he’s, "been playing here for 20 years at least."

While the tee times were filled with golfers like Ray and Gene, the pro shop sat empty and cleared out as Wingpointe went through its last day.

“I think they're crazy to let this thing close,” Arnold said.

Wingpointe Head Golf Professional Lynn Landgren said that’s what he’s been hearing since the Salt Lake City Council decided to shut the fairways down.

“They love this place,” he said. “We have such a big following.”

The council made the decision to address a shortage of funds in the city’s golf program.

Plus, the land lease from the airport skyrocketed from just one dollar a year, to about $65,000, following a 2012 Federal Aviation Administration audit.

“Financially, they had to do something,” Landgren said.

He said after the airport takes back over, Wingpointe fairways could morph into parking lots, hotels, shops and businesses. The idea doesn’t bring him much comfort.

“I’ve put my heart and soul into this place for almost 25 years,” he said. “I wanted to hand it over to some young pro, not to a guy in a bulldozer to ruin it.”

But, even with Sunday’s last day and the planned land takeover by the Salt Lake City Department of Airports at the end of this year, Landgren still holds out hope that it’s not yet over.

“I hope we can save it,” he said.

With a new mayor and a new year ahead, the city could go through changes. It has many wondering what that means for the course.

“Hopefully the new mayor will look at the balance,” Schechinger said, “and keep it open next year.”

It could be wishful thinking. But right now, it’s all they have as the golfers grab their clubs and swing goodbye.

“There's no other course around like it,” Unrath said.