Golf Course Use Down; Mayor Eyes Change Again

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It's one of the last few times to tee-off this season for Steve Estle. He goes golfing weekly at Lansing's city-owned Red Cedar course. And Estle hasn't had to wait much to play this year.

"No. You can get right on," he said.

City golf course records show his experience likely isn't unique.

"In general, we're down overall 20 to 25 percent from last year," Golf Manager Don Ballard said.

He says the city is seeing fewer golfers because of weather and the economy. And he says there are roughly as many golfers as there were two years ago.

But that still means, once you factor in the costs of the courses and things like payroll, the city is still losing money on golf.

The numbers have the mayor looking at change for the city courses again.

"Those courses have never made money for us. They're not making money now. And I think there's other activities that families could participate in," Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said.

Bernero's remarks come after he tried to sell the two courses during the last budget battle.

Now, the mayor is talking about turning Red Cedar into a park and the city's other nine hole course, Waverly, into a water park.

And he says Ingham County could take control of both of them.

"They gave us a letter of interest, so I think we need to take a close look at that," Bernero said.

If the mayor does consider transforming the city's two nine-hole courses, he could face opposition from the city council and regular golfers.

"I just think it's awful for them to consider closing any of the city golf courses," golfer Myrtle Buckner said.

Opposition or not, the mayor says the golf course issue will come up in the next city budget.

Groesbeck will remain open until about mid-November. Waverly and Red Cedar will likely stay open until the middle of October.