The City of Madison’s task force on public golf courses will be hosting public meetings and an online forum in March to receive feedback from residents regarding the future of its courses.
Currently, Madison has a total of four public golf courses, all of which are in worsening conditions. A city report that was released this past January found that Glenway, Monona, Odana Hills and Yahara Hills all have substantial issues including aging clubhouses, poor irrigation and underkept bunkers and greens, with no adequate budget to resolve them.
According to a recent assessment by Madison’s Parks Division, between $34.7 and $52.5 million in capital improvements would be needed over the next two decades to successfully improve the conditions of the four public courses.
The Task Force on Municipal Golf in Madison Parks — which was established by Mayor Satya-Rhodes Conway in June 2019 — has been given the job of reviewing research as well as making recommendations regarding the golf course to the Mayor, Common Council, Committees or Commissions.
The task force is seeking to hold “community engagement meetings” for the purpose of speaking with residents and informing them of the potential course closures.
“The Task Force has agreed that affordable and accessible municipal golf within the City of Madison is important to the community,” a city press release stated. “It is working to determine the proper amount and location of holes to be offered, while at the same time considering other users and uses of the public space.”
Yahara Hills’ estimated cost of improvements is between $21 and $32 million — greater than the combined estimated costs for the other three courses.
All four courses have experienced issues with increased rainfall: In the summer of 2018, Madison’s heavy flooding led to the temporary closure of the city’s golf courses. The resulting net loss was $863,320.
The task force will be examining the possibility of closing all four golf courses, in which case the combined 750 acres of land would be repurposed.
However, the task force is encouraging public engagement regarding this issue. A brief survey created by the task force is available until March 31 for anyone to participate in
The meetings to gauge public opinion on the golf course will be held by the parks division on March 5 and 10. Golfers and non-golfers alike are encouraged by the task force to attend and voice their thoughts and concerns.