Louisville’s publicly-owned golf courses are all staying open — at least for now.
Louisville Metro Council approved the six golf management contracts negotiated by Metro government during its regular meeting on Thursday. The government originally sought to negotiate contracts for nine public golf courses.
Metro Parks and Recreation will manage the remaining three courses — Bobby Nichols, Crescent Hill and Cherokee — until the city chooses an outside operator. A tenth golf course, Quail Chase, already has an existing contract which goes through 2024.
The city’s golf courses have struggled to break even in recent years, leading council members to raise greens fees to improve their chances of survival. Some were at risk of being shut down as Louisville enacted budget cuts last year. Further cuts will be possible this year in the face of rising pension costs if lawmakers cannot agree on new tax revenue.
Republican Kevin Kramer of District 11 was one of only two no votes on the contracts resolution. He repeatedly expressed concern that the failure to land contracts for the three outstanding courses puts them at risk.
“If we don’t have a pro in place at those three courses, it doesn’t guarantee their closure, but it certainly doesn’t guarantee their continuing in operation,” Kramer said.
In response, Democrat Bill Hollander of District 9, who represents the area including Crescent Hill Golf Course, pointed out that closing any course would require a majority vote from the council.
“They will open on March 1, the law requires that,” he said. “And the law also requires that they will continue to be in operation unless we vote to close them.”
The contracts reached by the city ensure a 55/45 revenue split between the government and managers based on mutually agreed projections. If those projections are surpassed, the split would drop to 50/50.
In a news release following the vote, Mayor Greg Fischer said he approved of the decision.
“This is a win-win for our city, our employees, our golfers, our pros and the taxpayers,” he said, according to the statement.
The winning contractors are:
- Patrick Vadden for Charlie Vettiner Golf Course
- Greg Basham for Iroquois Golf Course
Tommy Betz for Long Run Golf Course
Kevin Greenwell for Seneca Golf Course
The First Tee of Louisville (Youth Golf Coalition Inc.) for Shawnee Golf Course
Grant Hummel for Sun Valley Golf Course
Also on Thursday, the Council approved a non-binding resolution to transition city operations to clean electricity by 2030. The vote was 15 to 4, with Republicans casting all of the no votes.