Tucson's municipal golf future faces management options - Tucson News Now

Tucson's municipal golf future faces management options

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Tucson golf courses continue to be stuck in the rough.

Some Tucson City Council members are looking to close one or two courses to help get out of the city's $8 million debt, taxpayer money, but there are others who believe they may have found a way to save all the courses.

We picked up a CD from City Hall before it was released to any city council member or others in the city. On it is a list of companies who say they want to come to Tucson to run our golf courses, which are private management companies who say they can do the job better than Tucson does.

Billy Casper Golf is just one of 15 companies which submitted proposals to run Tucson golf with the hopes of making a profit.

Some of the companies, like Kemper Golf, manage more than 100 golf courses and run some of the top municipal golf courses in America.

It's only the first step in the process, but one which some city leaders say now is not the time to talk about closing courses, like the recent discussions about El Rio Golf Course.

"That's all the more reason not to go off load El Rio before we have a chance to assess the respondents to the RFP. Let's see what people bring to the table before we start to off-load our assets."

Those assets have dug the Tucson golf utility into a deep hole, while most agree Tucson golf can make money on a day-to-day basis. It just can't pay for capital expenses and doesn't make enough to pay its debt.

Public opinion on a private mangement option splits even families.

"Most people can't afford to play courses where the greens fees are above $50 and most private courses are at least that or more."

"Anything that would move things forward and keep everybody happy would be good."

But whatever decision is made will not likely make everyone happy.

"We're going down multiple parallel paths, considering all options at the same time. We're not waiting to see if this one will work, so we're looking a multiple options at the same time."

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