City of Detroit weighs options of selling off golf courses

- It looks more like the North Pole than an 18-hole golf course, but check the calendars, bogeys and birdies will be dropping in no time.

Maybe not at the four courses currently owned by the city of Detroit. Right now the courses are maintained and operated on an annual contract - one that is set to expire in one week.

And the city council says they are not happy with the new deal that was just presented to them.

"We wanted to see a long-term contract but we are here with another contract being presented to us with a one-year term," said Councilwoman Mary Sheffield.

That deal would have kept the four courses open with $50,000 to $60,000 to maintain them. 

But Alexis Wiley with Mayor Mike Duggan's office questions whether the city should own golf courses at all. Especially one in Huntington Woods like Rackham. 

"Should we be spending millions of dollars and invest long-term millions of dollars into golf courses that are losing money," said Wiley, Mayor Mike Duggan's chief of staff.

One option, go for the green - meaning money.

"I hope between now and next golf season - we can sell if that's an option," said councilmember Andre Spivey.

That could be easier said than done. Rackham, Rouge and Chandler Park, along with Palmer Woods don't make money and the sport seems to be declining in popularity making it a hard sell.

In the end the city council voted against a one-year deal, saying they still want a long-term plan.

"We are offering a contract for one year," said Wiley.  "To be able to operate these courses so they can open on time. But since the council voted it down, it can't happen."

Council members say if the gates stay closed all season long, the real losers in all this are the golfers, we're talking the young people. Golfing offers scholarships and if the golfers can't play the scholarships go somewhere else.

"If you didn't have Chandler if you didn't have Rouge, the youth and residents of the city of Detroit would not have access to golf," said Councilman Scott Benson.

The council and mayor's office can work out a deal but getting a long-term deal means putting the contract back up for bid. All of which takes time and the snow will gone before we know it.

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