VIDEO: Seattle’s golf courses are no longer moneymakers, city says, so here’s what’s being done about that

That’s Seattle Channel video of this past week’s meeting of the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners, which included a briefing on a subject of West Seattle interest – a study focusing on the future of the city’s public golf courses/facilities, including the West Seattle Golf Course. As explained in the briefing – which starts 44 minutes into the video – the city’s golf program not only no longer generates extra revenue for Seattle Parks, something it did for a long time, but isn’t even covering its expenses. So the city has commissioned a study to help figure out the public golf facilities’ future.

The study is under way, and at Thursday night’s meeting, the Parks Board got an update on how it’s going so far. The briefing document provided to the board included the following findings from early stakeholder interviews and market research:

Preliminary Feedback from Stakeholder Interviews Conducted to Date and Market Research Findings

Seattle’s municipal golf courses provide benefits beyond the game of golf.

o Public golf is misunderstood and stereotyped in a way that is not consistent with the demographics of who plays at municipal public golf-courses. Nationally, 70% of all rounds nationally are played at public golf courses, not private clubs.

o Expanding access and creating new opportunities to experience golf and Seattle’s public golf facilities is desired.

o There are opportunities to build partnerships and to use Seattle’s municipal golf courses to meet the needs of the growing Seattle population who need open space and recreation opportunities within the City. (Seattle’s population grew by 21,000 from July 1, 2015 – July 1, 2016)

The golf program is not meeting financial policy targets.

o The Golf Master Plan strategy has not been implemented as planned and has contributed to revenue challenges.

o Rising labor and utility expenses in the City were not anticipated in budget projections.

Preliminary Market Research Findings:

o A 2007 State golf economic analysis reported that of 280 courses in the state at that time, 219 were public, and 47 were municipally-owned.

o Nationally interest in golf is declining, especially among millennials; however, golf in Seattle and the State of Washington exceeds the national participation rate. (7% of total population nationally, 10 12% in Seattle.)

o Seattle golf participation rates are in the mid-range of popular recreational activities: walking, picnics, bike riding are the most popular and rugby, surfboarding, lacrosse the least popular.

o The 2017 Parks and Recreation Study conducted by EMC found that 43 percent thought the City should spend less on golf, although the survey did not provided information on the revenue contributed by the golf courses to the City Parks and Recreation Budget.

o Nationally, minority participation is about 20%, primarily among Hispanic and Latino Americans. Seattle has not tracked minority participation rates at its courses; however, the first African American and Asian American golf players clubs in the State were founded at Jefferson and are still active, and First Tee and Bogey Bear programs have successfully introduced the sport to diverse youth in Seattle.

o Seattle’s female participation at its golf courses ranges between 10-17 percent while nationally the average is 23 percent.

You can see the full document from the board briefing here. Beyond the discussion at the Parks Board meeting, it does not appear there are any open feedback opportunities related to the study – and in fact, the board was told “it’s not a big public-outreach (opportunity).” They plan more stakeholder interviews later this month and a “focus group” in March, with the final report to be presented in May, including three potential “scenarios” for the future of the city’s golf program.

79 Replies to "VIDEO: Seattle's golf courses are no longer moneymakers, city says, so here's what's being done about that"

  • Gene February 11, 2018 (2:12 pm)

    So it appears no option for public input?  Say goodbye to Seattle’s Public Golf Courses then- what a shame.

    • TAK February 15, 2018 (8:13 pm)

      The cultural assassination of west seattle continues, funny the socialists  don’t understand that the city golf courses are for socialists with no money. Come on comrades take some golf lessons and enjoy the “peoples parks” Golf for all people !

    • Rick February 15, 2018 (9:53 pm)

      Don’t let the city fool you. They want to tear down parts of all the city courses, and use what they can for homeless shelters and low income housing.  Once these golf courses have been built on, it is only a matter of time before they take even more space off of them, until they are totally gone. City wants to make homelessness an industry. Scoff if you want,   don’t be surprised when it happens, just like everything else stupid greedy local politicians have done to ruin Seattle.

  • brandon 5406 February 11, 2018 (2:41 pm)

    Didn’t watch the video, but does it give stats on which courses are profitable, and what the net shortfall is?  Would it be a management issue (heavens no!!)  Golf can run in cycles, and it would be a shame to let one year (especially when weather can impact a season) get the city reacting prematurely.  Money is flowing through the coffers, and if it means greens increases, so be it.  Parking at WS is pretty poor with the commuters so I think that is a factor also.  Losing such a large green space in WS would be a shame (as it would across the city).  

    • WSB February 11, 2018 (4:07 pm)

      The person who led the briefing indicated that the data is already available and will be in the final report, along with potential recommendations and how those scenarios might affect the financial picture. This was mostly to say “so we’re working on this and here’s how we’re proceeding and do you have any suggestions for people we must talk to, research questions to pursue, etc.”

      • Ed February 14, 2018 (8:49 am)

        They could double income by converting driving ranges in city to Top Golf 

        https://topgolf.com/us/

        I tried to buy franchise with friends a few years back. Very fun – young ,old ,novice , Kids 

  • MJ February 11, 2018 (3:41 pm)

    Factor in the intrinsic value of green space, the golf courses are a jewel worth keeping.  Albeit the users may need to pay a bit more for a round

    • J242 February 12, 2018 (6:23 pm)

      Factor in the intrinsic value of green space, the golf courses are a jewel worth keeping.  Albeit the users may need to pay a bit more for a round”

      Wouldn’t it be even more valuable as a park or public space with licensed food vendors, etc? Sorry, I can’t get behind anyone claiming golf courses are “worth keeping” as while they may have beautiful, manicured greens, they exist for the use of some, not all and the ecological “cost” of keeping those greens manicured is frankly absurd.
      I’ll take a natural forest or even Seattle Center in general over that any day. Just a giant waste of space for people to hit a tiny ball and go walking after it IMO. 

      • Also John February 13, 2018 (11:39 am)

        @J242….  I agree!!!

        • CMT February 13, 2018 (4:54 pm)

          Totally agree.  This is considered West Seattle Junction’s green space, akin to Hiawatha for Admiral Junction and Lincoln Park for Morgan Junction.  There is a glaring difference.  The golf course is only useful for those that have the time and money and/or interest to play golf.

  • Raised in WS February 11, 2018 (3:48 pm)

    Turn them all into parks the public can enjoy. Golf courses are such a waste of valuable green space in cities.

    • K February 12, 2018 (7:14 am)

      That’s exactly what they are. Public golf courses that are affordable to play at. They also allow school golf teams the chance to compete.

  • Profit? February 11, 2018 (4:05 pm)

    Most, if not all, of our other parklands and facilities don’t make a profit.  The point of the system is to provide a wide array of opportunities for people to be outside and get exercise.  Why are golf courses held to a profit-making standard?

    • J242 February 12, 2018 (6:26 pm)

      Why are golf courses held to a profit-making standard?”

      Because they are privately owned and operated by profit-based businesses. If golf courses were publicly owned & operated as non-profits, you can bet in the off seasons you’d see kids camping packages, or outdoor movies on the greens, or music festivals available. But you don’t. Because they are owned and managed by companies looking to profit off of them. 

      • OP February 13, 2018 (1:58 pm)

        They are NOT privately owned; they are owned by the city, J242. Premier helps run them for the city.

    • J242 February 12, 2018 (8:02 pm)

      Sorry, I was thinking of the privately held Trump-esque courses and wasn’t aware that the WSGC was a “public” course. Still, there is a point to be made about the amount of land the course takes up and how much it brings in to compare to how much it costs to operate. 

      I’m all for my taxes going to schools, road improvements, mass transit, equal access to healthcare for all, and so much more but if it’s being spent on a luxury that isn’t drawing enough people to break even? Either change the model and bring in new streams of revenue via community outreach to get more people to pay for the giant lot, add additional revenue sources such as food carts, off season events, etc, or SOMETHING to balance out the cost. Otherwise, I am simply not okay with my tax money paying for a giant, mostly vacant space being maintained so a few dozen, or maybe even hundred, people can hit a ball with a crooked stick then go walking after it. That land is so much more valuable than that and could serve INFINITELY better purposes for the community and local economy. 

      If it’s in dire straits and close to being shut down, how about the supporters rally up a fundraiser on their own time to bring more people in and get involved with it? Seems like a lot of talk being thrown around but no action. 

  • Enid February 11, 2018 (4:15 pm)

    Turn them into parks that don’t guzzle water nor require chemical maintenance.  Convert part of the space into off leash dog parks.  This would be a perfect opportunity to gain recreational space without further destroying more natural spaces, like Lincoln & Discovery.

    • Cat55 February 11, 2018 (9:00 pm)

      I agree. Throw in some par 3, as Green Lake has. 

    • West4life February 12, 2018 (12:35 pm)

      Why do I have to cater do your dog? Turn the golf course into a off leash dog park? No thanks. Plenty of dog parks around here.

      • WSB February 12, 2018 (2:58 pm)

        Just to keep the facts straight (this is not a retort in favor of the idea or any other idea): West Seattle actually does not have “plenty of dog parks” – there’s only one, at Westcrest in Highland Park.

    • Ed February 14, 2018 (6:05 pm)

      Great comment – Doubt Baseball field  – port port of Seattle – Terminal 5 empty for 4 years held at same standard. 

  • West4Life February 11, 2018 (4:30 pm)

    Sorry, I’m confused. So is the panel suggesting shutting down the courses may be one of the options they are exploring?

    You are telling me that in this city of great wealth and beauty, that they are seriously considering closing the golf courses? That just can’t be.

    Are they going to explore maybe DUMPING Premier Golf, which is the 3rd party the city pays a ton of money to run the public courses? Why don’t they explore that?

    • WSB February 11, 2018 (4:45 pm)

      The “panel” is not suggesting anything. The parks board is a citizens’ advisory group (see the link on first reference of their name) and this is something of a progress report being presented to them about the study, which is under way, and will when done (see end of text) present some recommendations. I hadn’t heard much about this at all so thought it might be of interest, given that ours is one of the four Seattle neighborhoods with public golf courses. Only found out about it because the Parks Board is one of the many groups whose agendas we read to keep an eye out for items of interest. Would have gone to the briefing except we were covering a few other things Thursday night; I didn’t realize Seattle Channel was still recording (most of) their meetings and just found the video while drafting a story that was going to just include the briefing document. – TR

  • Rusty February 11, 2018 (4:31 pm)

    “Rising labor and utility expenses in the City were not anticipated in budget projections.”

    Surprising that the $15 minimum wage and war on fossil fuels apparently slipped their minds? That’s weird….

  • M February 11, 2018 (5:05 pm)

    You do realize that the WS course also has a lot of historical value and history for our city? It was build by the same architect as Pebble Beach. It is a local treasure that should be protected. 

    • J242 February 12, 2018 (8:04 pm)

      Maybe bring that up to the assembly? Start a petition to declare it a historical area to protect it? 

  • CRISCO February 11, 2018 (5:54 pm)

    Here is a great idea just raise our property tax to pay for it….yay!

  • OP February 11, 2018 (8:23 pm)

    As an avid golfer and member of the men’s club at WSGC, this shortfall is a simple and obvious fix, one that’s needed to happen for a while. Raise the green fees WHILE upgrading the outdated facilities so they can be used more widely by all.  Just an off the head example would be updating the clubhouse at WSGC as was done to Jefferson and Jackson. A updated facility including expanding the restaurant and bar, building a larger and more desirable banquet room could hold banquets, weddings, small conferences, etc., with incredible views of the city and Rainer. The parking is there already, but the current building is a joke. The point is that the golfing community could absorb a raise in green fees, particularly during peek season when the traffic is heavy. $40 on a weekend is a steal. Bump it to $50 or $55. BUT the golfers better see some improvements, too; after all, we are the ones who not only support it with our dollars but benefit from the green space.

    Importantly, if Seattle’s golf participation levels are higher than across the nation, why would you NOT take advantage of that stat? Instead, in typical short sighted fashion the City apparently sees that as a burden.

    I could really, really go on here, but I’ll leave it at this: What a terrible, terrible idea it would be to get rid of green spaces that many, many enjoy and support. They will get one helluva battle from me.

    • Andy February 11, 2018 (9:32 pm)

      “Raise the green fees WHILE upgrading the outdated facilities so they can be used more widely by all.”

      Lincoln Park can be used by all. Increasing fees only makes it less accessible to people…

      • OP February 11, 2018 (10:37 pm)

        I’m referring to the golf facilities at the current courses, Andy. But I can see where my sentence is confusing here.

  • Brian February 11, 2018 (9:10 pm)

    The city should continue to invest in its municipal courses.  They are a tremendous benifit to local citizenry.  The facilities should be upgraded.  A golf range should be built at WestSeattle.  Those make money. 

    West Seattle Golf Course would see much more play during the winter if more drainage was installed an the more sand used on the fairways. The course is a mud slog through most of the rainy season.

    The city should also dust off the original plans to turn Discovery Park into a world class golf course.

    • Fitz February 17, 2018 (10:11 pm)

      Brian…   100% true.  WS needs a sanding/drainage program and even at $300K, they would pull that money back in 4 years by getting revenue from winter play they aren’t getting now.

      They need marshalls to push pace of play as well.  WS (or any course) shouldn’t be a 5 1/2+ hour round.

      That parks department needs to stop taking the word from Premier that they (premier) are doing everything possible and the lost revenue is what every golf course in America is experiencing.  

  • Delridger February 11, 2018 (9:59 pm)

    The golf courses should be turned into truly public parks that all can enjoy. I live near the West Seattle golf course in Delridge and, for me and my neighbors, the golf course is nothing but a chainlink and barbed-wire barrier. I can see it from my house and have literally never set foot in it. We’d have an easy walk up to the Junction if not for the golf course being closed off to general, non-paying, public use.

    It could be an amazing place to play with my kids. To go for morning walks. To jog. To picnic. To explore Longfellow Creek. To take an evening stroll on the way to one of our great Junction restaurants. Instead, it’s an exclusive, fenced off, playground for the rich. And it’s subsidized by all of us!

    To hear that these courses are money losers for the city only strengthens the argument that they should become true public parks. We should turn these valuable green spaces over to everyone, not just the affluent minority that can currently enjoy them.

    • KR February 15, 2018 (3:00 pm)

      So if you golf you are rich, such a blanket/ignorant statement.  You proved your point however that you have never set foot in the place.   If you had, you might have had the pleasure of meeting some great folks from all types of work and backgrounds.  Some have money, but most are just your average joe/sue that simply enjoy the game of golf.  

      Let’s keep this to what is making it in issue in the first place, being a financially solvent business that does not burden the city from allocating dollars appropriately to  other well deserved opportunities.  Frankly, I’m glad that a discussion has begun and look forward to constructive and creative thinkers coming up with options to hopefully spare a great space in West Seattle.

  • Paul February 11, 2018 (10:03 pm)

    I agree with Brian and Op.  Invest in the facilities, including a driving range.  

  • DH February 11, 2018 (10:56 pm)

    I’m in the camp that says let’s turn it into a public park! 

    • Say what February 12, 2018 (3:40 pm)

      Despite stunning views , impossible to get in out west seattle – insane cost to book events –

      I still say think of the poor homeless that could utilze this space. After all why utilize Terminal 5 for homeless ( sitting empty for years ) when we can utilize over a perfectly good golf course. 

      or 

      This should happen: 

      Sleeping in a park , on the side of the freeway on the sidewalk is not a option in Seattle. 

      You have just one option for the night 

      Terminal 5 (T-5) in a used shipping container – till a affordable housing situation or shelter bed can be arranged -period. 

      Modifying – Terminal 5 for the next generation of container ships is iffy at best. The next generation of ships carry 18,000 TEUs ( twenty foot ) containers. If 1/3 were discharged and loaded back you are talking 12,000 TEU in and out of West Seattle.  That activity would essentially close the lower bridge – now what. Face it those ships are going to Tacoma. Prince Rupert is doubling its size Midwest cargo is going to be syphoned off there.  

      Cargo containers have international  standards that must be met. Used ones ( that can not meet those standards) some insulated can be purchased by the city and place at T-5. They can be patched with 3 m bondo – not a option as a repair ordinarily. They can be secured , easily cleaned retrofitted with power. There is room for RVs. 

      T-5 has fences and restricted access already. Power , Water , bathrooms, warehousing for food , administrative offices for outreach coordination. 

      They could wall off the north side of the Terminal – with the view to city. Put luxury condos in the rents could subsidize the facility. 

      All this till affordable housing gets accomplished.




  • Jon Wright February 12, 2018 (1:19 am)

    It definitely needs a driving range. 

  • Libra February 12, 2018 (2:38 am)

    The “public park” you’re looking for is right next to the golf course.  It’s called Camp Long!  Leave the golf course alone and just improve the clubhouse facilities and raise green fees to generate more income.  For those of you who haven’t already, just go sit on the patio on a summer day, enjoy a cold drink and just marvel at the treasure we have in West Seattle.  

    • West Seattle Hipster February 12, 2018 (7:15 am)

      Thank you for pointing that out.  West Seattle has a wealth of fine parks, including Camp Long, which most of the newbies are probably not aware of.

    • DH February 12, 2018 (7:26 am)

      Due to increasing density we need MORE public green space. The golf courses need to go. It’s an out of date, wasteful, environmentally unfriendly game. BTW I’m over 50 so don’t think this is a young persons belief only. 

  • Rick February 12, 2018 (7:12 am)

    Just raise property taxes and use the “It’s for the kids” slogan. Seems to be acceptable for everything else.

  • Tom V February 12, 2018 (7:15 am)

    When did open space, parks and golf courses owned by municipalities become profitable ventures?  I like the idea of making the open space more accessible to the public, butvI also think that golf recreation still needs to be an option for Seattle residents.   Heck no to development.   We need to preserve the open space that we still have and continue our commitment to the clean air, public spaces and the general welfare of our citizens.

  • Mike February 12, 2018 (7:17 am)

    The cost of upkeep is ridiculous at golf courses.  I can’t imagine any of them will ever be profitable unless they charge fees that will force users to go to nicer private courses instead.  I personally never have understood the fascination with golf, always saw it as the biggest waste of space, but that’s my personal opinion.  Everyone should have a say in how public lands are used.  I’d vote to get rid of them unless they show it can be self sufficient.  I don’t feel it needs to be profitable, but it should not suck up funds from other areas to serve a tiny fraction of the population.

    • Jon Wright February 12, 2018 (10:09 am)

      Fair enough. And I vote to get rid of whatever nichey public amenities that aren’t self sufficient that are near and dear to your heart.

      • Mike February 12, 2018 (12:17 pm)

        Mine is not only self sufficient, but actually cared for by other non-profits that users like myself are funding to ensure I get to do all the awesome stuff I like doing.  ;)   You can vote against us, but we have a lot of lobby power.

        • McFail February 12, 2018 (5:04 pm)

          Please let me know what awesome stuff that you do on public land is self-sufficient?  Curious…

          • J242 February 12, 2018 (8:11 pm)

            How much space does a golf course take up compared to a library? How much does it cost to maintain the WSGF’s greens and equipment compared to that library? Now, let’s consider how many people ACTUALLY use the Admiral library in comparison to the WSGF.
            Seems like a poor argument to make my friend.

          • McFail February 12, 2018 (10:28 pm)

            I look forward to your research, the results might surprise you.  Please also compare the revenue from late fees with the revenue of green fees… (that was a joke)

    • West Seattle Hipster February 12, 2018 (11:24 am)

      Interesting comment “should not suck up funds from other areas to serve a tiny fraction of the population”.   That is how our local politicians have been spending our tax dollars for quite some time now.   Two prime examples would be the proliferation of bike lanes that a fraction of the population uses, as well as the huge amount of money that’s been tossed down the drain trying to solve the “homeless crisis”.

  • artsea February 12, 2018 (8:01 am)

    It seems that anything Seattle operates…..i.e. the Port, which taxpayers have to subsidize,  their rental bikes effort, and now the city golf courses….can’t operate profitably.  I have a feeling all these things could do just fine in private hands.    

    • WSB February 12, 2018 (8:32 am)

      The city does not operate or oversee the port; it’s a separate agency, with its own elected commission.

  • Chris February 12, 2018 (9:18 am)

    Most parks (if not all) do not make money. It’s called tax dollars. That said if they had built that driving range facility in West Seattle that would have been a HUGE money maker. I have a solution:  let’s build a light rail over water where buses already go and then let’s rip out streets and infrastructure to build two stops within a half mile of each other. That will save money. So we can keep the golf courses. 

    • KBear February 12, 2018 (10:57 am)

      If they can solve the funding problem without making the courses inaccessible to people of modest means, I have no objection to public golf courses even though I’ll probably never use them. I also have no objection to taxing everyone for public parks, public schools, and public transit—including the people who don’t use them.

  • McFail February 12, 2018 (10:27 am)

    I think golf course management has evolved significantly with respect to eco-friendly fertilizers, pesticides, watering, and non-motorized equipment… Also to think that open space is cost-free is naïve.

    I’m still disappointed that the WSGC fought against the new driving range because of the course realignments.  Driving ranges are money makers and grow the game. 

    I’m guilty of not listening to the video, but wasn’t there a mini-golf plan in lieu of the range?  I also thought that the club house renovation was a part of the plan (which could also be a revenue stream for events). 

     

  • Kathy February 12, 2018 (10:39 am)

     Dang millenials, get your noses out of your phones and computers, find a friend or three and get out there and  GOLF! And what’s with you, Seattle women? I’m a horrible golfer but I have a girlfriend who’s not so great, too, so we are well matched. We live on opposite ends of the city so we have to meet halfway (Interbay), plus  9 holes is more affordable for us.  We took one cheap group lesson at UW. Bought our golf clubs, bags and carts at Goodwill. I even drag my clubs to the course by bicycle and trailer. We have an enormous amount of fun and exercise and we don’t blow a gasket if we don’t do well.  The economy has been down for quite a while so that could have impacted golf course usage as people couldn’t retire to enjoy the sport for financial reasons. It seems they have taken these data during a huge economic downturn and slow recovery. Golf is not necessarily the elitist sport some people think it, but it will be if they get rid of the public options. How about opening up the perimeters of the West Seattle Golf Course so people can walk around the edges and enjoy the park more  even if they don’t want to golf? I think this was done at Chambers Bay, wasn’t it? That could also give people walking and biking between the Juneau/Delridge area and the Triangle/Junction area a more gradual ascent than is required on Snake Hill or Gennessee Hill and easier access to enjoy Camp Long.

    • bolo February 12, 2018 (7:05 pm)

      Golf requires more patience than most people have.

  • Bogey February 12, 2018 (10:59 am)

    To the “turn it into more green space” crowd…   we have those spaces in West Seattle already:

    1. Camp Long
    2. Lincoln Park
    3. Schmitz Park 
    4. Duwamish Greenbelt 
    5. Me-kwa-Mooks Park 

    The only reason WSGC isn’t making money is mismanagement.  As someone else suggested, a new club house and restaurant with outdoor patio would bring in enough business to turn a profit.    Beyond that, getting creative with a driving range /practice holes that would allow for instruction or even a putting course (AKA mini golf) could bring in more. 

    The problem seems that the city is only allowing Premier Golf to operate the city courses with the mindset to do just enough to keep it afloat and they can’t / won’t put the money into it to make it profitable.    Jefferson club house and driving range are great but the course is beat up.  West Seattle course is great but the facilities are beat up.      Bellevue Muni is also a premier course as are several others in Lynnwood and Everett.   I’d be curious to know if any of them are profitable and how they’re managing that  – I’m guessing Bellevue is and probably because the city has authorized more investment into it.  

  • dsa February 12, 2018 (11:09 am)

    Our golf courses are city treasures, not “treasure chests” to be exploited!   This is coming from someone who has lived here all my life, but only golfed once.

  • weiss February 12, 2018 (11:16 am)

    The clubhouse at West Seattle Golf desperately needs an upgrade. If done right, that is something that would benefit all, even if you’re not a golfer. A nice restaurant, a roof top deck/event space in addition to a driving range would greatly improve the facility. The views would be terrific if done properly.

  • T Rex February 12, 2018 (11:21 am)

    DELRIDGER

     Not all people are rich who play golf, snow skiing is much more expensive in a lot of ways. Before you point the finger, get your facts in order.

    Maybe we have good clubs, and maybe we wear nice clothes for our day out, its all done as respect to the game and the course. However, I have seen people golf in gym shots, barefoot and tank tops. Golfers come in all shapes and sizes and income levels.

  • Gene February 12, 2018 (12:44 pm)

    The notion that all people who Golf are rich is ridiculous. We aren’t rich by any stretch – & have 4 generations of golfers in our family- from dad who just turned 100( no he doesn’t play now- but it hasn’t been that long since he did)  to son to grandson & now 16 year old  great-granddaughter. She plays on her HS Golf team & home course is Jefferson. We have enjoyed playing at all Seattle’s public courses over the years- but have a soft spot for WS & Jefferson. Do the courses & facilities need updating & possibly new management- YES!

    But it’s no reason to eliminate them. As someone else mentioned – putting in the driving range – or mini golf range could be a great money maker- especially during the gray rainy days of winter-

    Have in the past been to functions at WS Golf Course- Anniversary parties & HS Reunions. It can be a great venue- with beautiful views. At one time the restaurant there had  one of the best burgers around.

    WS has many parks & green spaces already- most may as well be off leash dog parks as no one really pays much attention to that law anyway( Fairmount Park &  Me Kwa Mooks are just 2 examples)

    please let’s put some thought & effort into keeping our public courses & if volunteers are needed- to help in any way- pretty sure there will be plenty!

     

  • Bipson February 12, 2018 (3:14 pm)

    the city’s golf program not only no longer generates extra revenue for Seattle Parks, something it did for a long time…

    So what happened to all the extra revenue they used to make?  What might that have been spent on? Were any of it put in reserves?  Oh wait I forgot, this city couldn’t hold onto a nickel to save it’s life.  For those hating on the golf courses, why would we need another park for our coddled homeless to destroy like every other park in this s___hole town?

    Might also find another management company.  Not like Premier Golf is world renowned.

  • brandon 5406 February 12, 2018 (5:32 pm)

    I’m going to tread lightly and try not to step over the line.  But some of the comments about golfing is really funny.  Rich and boorish?  You must spend $100 on your phone to talk, text and surf, not to mention the cost of your fancy device.  And then think spending $40 for 4-5 hours of outside exercise, fresh air, socializing (face to face) is for “rich folk in fenced off, exclusive playground”.   I don’t go to the Opera, but I don’t think it shouldn’t get public funding for the “rich” people who enjoy it.   Same for the Art museum, ballet, zoo, aquarium, football and baseball fields.  Why bag on the people who pay their freight to enjoy those activities?  I got a good chuckle on some of them.    I’ve been waiting for the “it should be a homeless shelter” crowd to chime it.  

    That said, the upgrades at Jefferson have been inspiring.  It would be nice to see a beautiful, tasty eatery move in to WSGC to generate income and traffic.  The clubhouse would make a great banquet facility for special WS events.  There are many successful golf courses in Western Washington.  We could take a few lessons from them.  

    • J242 February 12, 2018 (8:35 pm)

       I don’t go to the Opera, but I don’t think it shouldn’t get public funding for the “rich” people who enjoy it.   Same for the Art museum, ballet, zoo, aquarium, football and baseball fields.”

      The difference is, ALL of those cases you listed sell out consistently. My wife and I are annual members of the Aquarium, Woodland Park Zoo, SAM, MOPOP and Children’s Museum. There is not ONE single day we have gone that each venue has not been packed with either kids from school trips, tourists, locals just having fun or some combination of the three. They are generating revenue even if operating at deficits at times, the good PR. goes miles. The same cannot be said of the WSGC. How many write ups do you see of the neighborhood course in Golf magazines?
      Or mentions on travel blogs? Or anywhere outside of regulars who already know about it?  

      It would be nice to see a beautiful, tasty eatery move in to WSGC to generate income and traffic.”

      I’d be all for that. Make the area an attractive spot that draws in enough people to justify it’s continued existence and start bringing money back into the public coffers? I would 100% support that. 

      • Jon Wright February 13, 2018 (9:34 am)

        So what you are saying is publicly-subsidized activities YOU enjoy are worth keeping, but the publicly-subsidized activities other people enjoy are wasteful and should be curtailed?

  • J242 February 12, 2018 (6:14 pm)

    I’m with George Carlin on this one… Warning, NSFW ;)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4w7H48tBS8

    Not saying everyone who enjoys golf is the kind of person the late, great GC speaks about but he makes solid points on the waste of space.

  • Aaron February 12, 2018 (6:31 pm)

    I think the golf course should stay, but open up the lower section to a Longfellow Creek trail! Such a shame that the creek has been locked up behind barbed wire.

     Send the new elevated train up and over the golf course. It’ll be cheaper than tearing down a whole lot of houses, and it’ll be a nice view from the train! 

  • Rusty February 12, 2018 (10:37 pm)

    WSGC is the best muni course in the city. I’m not rich enough to afford the number of balls i hack into the woods to go often, but the exercise and beauty are worth it when i do go. Peekaboo views of Rainier on the front 9 and city views on the back while walking in a park. I think a trail along the creek could open access for more people, but there’d be a need for netting, at least if i was ‘playing through’. It’s odd that the other courses have seen improvements while the city’s most beautiful course sits un-renovated witb no revenue-generating driving range (after the 2011 disappointment). I know the course is packed in the summertime. I think the city should take a hard look at the management and maybe a modest increase in fees – it’s hard to believe that it’s losing money, and a sign that some creativite changes need to be looked at to fix that.

  • Gene February 13, 2018 (5:50 am)

    So J242- because the golf course isn’t totally packed all the time- it doesn’t justify its existence- like the Zoo- Aquarium  etc? We go often too & while you say there is “ not ONE single day that those venues have not been packed” we have experienced just the opposite- very few people no crowds on days we have gone.. 

    So the WSGC  has to be written up in Golf magazines or Travel  blogs to be worthwhile? Really?

  • Atomicoven February 13, 2018 (9:16 am)

    I predict the city will build public housing in these spaces. Just watch.

  • Dstar February 13, 2018 (11:04 am)

    Please do not shut down West Seattle GC!! I have leaved in West Seattle for 58 years and have played that golf course at least 600 times! Anyone who lives here and plays this course would pay an extra $10.00 a round to keep this beautiful GC!! I DO NOT like how our politicians feel that they know the best interests of West Seattle! Look what happened to 35th and making 4 lanes into 2 lanes and we did not even get to vote on it! Pretty soon they will not us want to drive cars anymore! Please wake up West Seattleites!!

  • Dunno February 13, 2018 (11:11 am)

    Turn this into a public park.  We have many and during the winter,  just like at the golf course, few of you are there.    We need to do more to get more kids into golf.   It’s great exercise for an extended period on time.   For me a great walk ruined.  Maybe if the city ran the course it would do better.   Doubtful.    Raising the fee’s would help, but also getting a lower income program going might get more people interested. 

     To have the creek opened with a path is not feasible right now.   Could you imagine the lawsuits that would occur when people get hit in the head with a golf balls.     These course’s are gems.    I would rather some of my tax dollars go to these than the Ferries which are huge money losers.   Is Amy Yee tennis center making money?   How about many other city funded programs, to numerous to list?  The courses are providing many good paying jobs for city workers and ok paying for Premier employee’s.   I also know the are volunteer’s that help make the course’s go.  I’d love to  know how many jobs are created, and how many visitors spend money in our economy because of the courses.   In the summer, players from all around the country and  the world enjoy our courses and spend money on lodging, transportation, dining, and other activities.   Don’t believe me, talk to downtown front desk help at our hotels.  These are dollars not even considered  here.  That’s another idea that’s used at Chambers Bay south of Tacoma, a locals discount?
      As one writer above wrote, the city could make WSGC even more of a money maker with a driving range and Clubhouse with a fantastic view of Seattle, that could be rented out for special events.

  • ED February 14, 2018 (8:02 am)

    They should connect with Top Golf do golf driving ranges.  Very fun and integrate beginners easily increase revenue at driving ranges. 2x 0r 3 x.     

    https://topgolf.com/us/

    They need more information really – many can not get on when busy so you have to drive miles to play .  It can almost be argued there are not enough public golf courses close.   Build a decent club house have it over look the city (think Weddings) .  Expand Parking ( double deck?) If they can not expand entry right with driving range, get into development arrangement which subsidies the course.  

    I’m sure little league fields are not under same price point (why?), schools are dropping football as kids move to less contact sports.    

        

  • Kelly February 14, 2018 (7:51 pm)

    As a female golfer who attended the State Championship in high school and grew up in West Seattle, I would argue that West Seattle Golf Course is A) needed and B) would be far more successful with a driving range.

    A driving range allows for the revenue of those who may not like golf enough to play a full round, but it also gives golfers the ability to really warm up before they play. 

    I’d also like to know what they’d like to do with this land if it’s not a golf course—are they going to sell it and impose nearly %17 in property taxes? For what?

    Build a driving range and make it a 9-hole course if needed. Build a driving range that people want to go to, even people who don’t like golf. You build it, the people will come.

    Sincerely,

    A 23 year old golfer, who may be in the minority but whose opinion still matters.

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