Lexington government officials are implementing a number of changes in golf operations for its five public courses.
The modifications are aimed at reducing an annual loss of about $1 million.
The golf modifications, planned for early 2018, include increasing the senior discount age requirement to 55, 57, or 60, eliminating the use of frequent-golfer loyalty cards on discounted green fees, and increasing the price for annual range golf ball cards.
General Services Commissioner Geoff Reed says raising rates too much drives down play.
“It has to be a combination of rate changes, reducing our operating costs and increasing the number of players,” said Reed.
There are no plans for any courses to go dark during the winter months as suggested by a golf consultant.
Pro shop inventories are expected to change. Parks Director Monica Conrad says expanded use of golf course properties include a cross country meet at Meadowbrook.
“Students at Deep Springs Elementary visited Lakeside last week and will be at Meadowbrook later this month for a golf instructional day. We’re working with Southern Middle School to host a cross country meet at Meadowbrook and investigating birding at all of our courses as well as astronomy at Kearny with our staff naturalist,” explained Conrad.
The parks officials are not suggesting any of the five public courses be shut down. But, Council Member Kevin Stinnett says, if a decision like that is required sometime, Lakeside golf course might be the best choice.
“We have a demand for lacrosse fields. We have a demand for softball, baseball, soccer, etc. We have a demand for a sports complex. And Lakeside is the perfect spot to do it,” said Stinnett. “I think until we look at that option, we’re just going to be spinning our wheels.”
Stinnett stressed he is not suggesting closing any course now. General Services Commissioner Geoff Reed says the changes should be given a year to see how they affect the bottom line.
Reed admits, more drastic measures like golf course conversion may need to be examined eventually, if financial losses are not lessened.