Golf course serves useful purposes
To the Editor:
There have been numerous letters to the editor over the past few months that oppose the idea of limited taxpayer funding of the municipal golf course. The taxpayer contribution basically covers the difference between revenues and expenses if there is a shortfall. It is my understanding that the shortfall has been approximately $200,000 per year.
The county budgets about $1.86 million for recreational and cultural pursuits, but I have not heard calls to sell San-Lee Park, nor have I read letters complaining about other youth sports programs for taxpayers who have no children but who are having to pay for the recreational enjoyment of other families who do.
The single biggest reason that the municipal course has had a shortfall is that it has tried to make it affordable for youth, seniors, and lower- and middle-income residents to participate in the sport. Annual fees for a single player or a family are very low. We could just raise the rates and cover the shortfall, but there is a certain cost to that as well, a human cost.
There are many seniors who are on a fixed income who play golf at the municipal course. There are youngsters in our county who have the potential to play at a high level if given the opportunity. There are adults who are new to the game who need a place to play and learn the sport, but who would feel embarrassed or too self conscious to attempt to play at Carolina Trace or Tobacco Road. The municipal course offers this group of golfers a place to go and learn the game so that, eventually, they might become patrons of the other for-profit courses.
In addition to being used as a vehicle to raise money for charitable groups, the municipal course hosts high school matches and practices and conducts a junior golf camp each summer to teach youngsters how to conduct themselves on the course, to be courteous to others, to abide by the rules of the game and to be honest and fair in all aspects of play. Compare this to other taxpayer funded programs.