Lexington Continues to Face Financial Challenges Around Golf

Aug 15, 2018

Putting Green at Tates Creek Golf Course
Credit Stu Johnson

Lexington’s public golf courses continue to carry a cost to government of more than $900,000 a year.  

Members of a council committee got an update this week on changes implemented the first of the year.  That included moving the senior green fee rate from age 50 to 57 and eliminating the loyalty discount card.  Parks and Recreation Director Monica Conrad says six months is not enough time to fully evaluate operational changes. “We’re turning a cruise ship, right?  It’s not going to happen quickly.  We’re not going to see the numbers inpact quickly unfortunately.  Especially when you throw in probably the worst six months of weather than Lexington has seen in a number of years,” said Conrad.

Conrad says revenues and expenses both declined by about 8%, which resulted in a 5% increase in the bottom line for golf.  Council Member Kevin Stinnett asked whether changing the use of golf property had been studied.  Conrad said she doesn’t envision selling off any course and, if anything, golf property would likely be maintained as green space.

Council Member Steve Kay believes golf will likely be a public offering that always carries a cost.  “If somebody wants to make a specific recommendation for change, we ought to entertain it, but my sense is we ought to understand what the situation is, what the status is and that that’s an expense that’s a reasonable expense for the community,” noted Kay.

Lexington Golf Services Manager Curtis Mitchell says extremely bad golfing weather this past spring had a significant impact on play.  He says there was a 36% increase in unplayable days.