Phoenix City Council considering improvements for municipal golf courses

May 14, 2013

Phoenix wants to improve the financial scorecard for the municipal golf courses it owns and operates. Five of the courses lost a combined $2 million in the last fiscal year, and the city council will consider a plan Wednesday to have outside vendors run some of the operations.

Revenues at the five owned and operated courses have been dropping for the last several years. According to the city staff’s figures, no course has finished in the black in the last five years.

The Phoenix area has more golf courses per capita than comparable cities such as San Diego, San Antonio and Dallas. A study by city staff said with so many golf options in Phoenix, raising greens fees would not work, because golfers would go to other lower priced courses.

The council will consider a recommendation today from the Parks and Recreation Department to outsource food and beverage operations and maintenance at the five courses. The department estimates Phoenix could save $500,000 to $900,000 annually with the outsourcing.

The study did not include the city owned Papago golf course which is already operated by a golf management company. Councilman Sal DiCiccio has said the city is negotiating with Arizona State University to take over the east Phoenix course.

EDITOR'S NOTE (5/14/2013 at 4:30 p.m.): This story has been modified to reflect the Phoenix City Council will consider the measure on Wednesday.

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