Duluth Golf Courses Need More City Funding

If my memory serves me correctly I believe the citizens of Duluth just voted to supply some tax dollars to go back into the parks. I just can’t seem to find any information about if any of this money is going to the two city golf courses and if so how much. If it is please let me know because I would love to find out this information some where. If this money is not going to the golf courses, it should.

Lester Park Golf Course and Enger Park Golf course are nice courses but a city this large should be able to make them better. I know that people would argue people pay to play and why aren’t the courses making enough money to be better? It’s because they aren’t making enough money.

As a golfer who tries to find the best deals and keep the cost down for my pocket book, Lester and Enger are up towards the top of this list for public courses. People make their way over to Superior to golf at Nemadji, or drive 30 minutes south to play at Black Bear (which is one of my favorite courses) because the cost and the shape of the courses are just better. It’s that simple.

Duluth has two courses that could be an excellent draw but with limited city funding these courses are just good. I know most times good is good but these courses have excellent potential for more. I’d really like to see these courses get more funding from the city and hopefully it could come from the park fund. If this fund isn’t big enough I’m sure the city can find a way to add to it. I mean voters in this city love to spend tax dollars on parks. And most people like myself unfortunately just can’t afford the fees for Northland Country Club or Ridgeview Country Club.

But again if there is a resource I just can’t find that will help me see how much the city golf courses are receiving I’d love for someone to show me. But I think it’s time for some more tax dollars to improve the two city run golf courses.

Published by

Eddie Bashaw

Living in Duluth, Minnesota and I love writing about it.

4 thoughts on “Duluth Golf Courses Need More City Funding”

  1. There is no money in the park’s fund for golf courses. The money has a different purpose, however, I agree that Enger and Lester should be, and could be, much better conditioned than they are today. It is not really the responsibility of the City to pay more to make them better. I think that players should pay. The problem that the City can fix is the way the courses are managed. It’s only working for the managers who walk away with a lot of cash for a seasonal job — jobs that they are failing at. The City should end its contract with the current management group and replace it with a group that cares about the courses and the people who play them. Can we expect high quality City courses when the two people responsible for the condition of the courses are members of a private golf course? Where do you think they play?

  2. I have been golfing at Lester Park and Enger Park for more than 10 years. To say that the current management group is failing is not a fair statement. Without knowing how the management contract is structured, to say that the current management is making a lot of money and do not care is a guess at best. I play 20 to 25 times a season at these courses, know who the people are that are involved in the current management and find that they do care about the courses, their conditions and would do more if it were possible. My understanding, that prior to the current management group, conditions were not as good as they are today, mostly that the greens would not survive the winters. Now, the greens are better maintained for the winter months to help them survive and the improves course conditions. I would like for the city to comment on how much of the profits that the courses make in a year go to the city coffers and how much of those profits are used to help improve conditions. I know that one of the persons in the current management contract plays a lot of golf at the two course as well as his family. All golfers like to play a variety of courses and if they choose to be members at other local courses, that does not mean they don’t care about the courses they manage. More needs to be know how the profits from the courses go back to the city and how much of that is re-invested in the courses before one came blame the current management group with any issues related to course conditions. I am more than satisfied with their effort and willingness to improve what they can within their budget.

    1. A few facts must be interjected here. Enger and Lester were neglected for many years because of virtually no oversight from the City. Playing conditions deteriorated to the point that when former Mayor Gary Doty brought a few out of town friends to play a round of golf at Enger in the early 2000’s, he was so embarrassed, that the person responsible was fired. Conditions improved dramatically almost overnight and Enger was in extraordinary condition until about five years ago. The course has been in a downward spiral ever since. The decisions made about how to care for the course, or manage it, seem to always be wrong. The greens have been HORRIBLE for five years and they get worse every year. Ask the people in charge and they tell you it was either too cold, too hot, too wet, too dry, or something else, but they ignore the fact that Black Bear, Northland, and Ridgeview greens face the same weather conditions and don’t look like Enger greens. Enger has followed the same course maintenance plan for five years. The same thing every day with little change. And the greens and the course keep getting worse. One of the definitions of madness is to do the same thing over and over again and expect to get a different result. It is time for a BIG CHANGE! I am a reader of Chris Tritabaugh’s blog. Chris wrote about how he maintained Northland Country Club. You could quickly figure out that he knew what he was doing and that Enger folks had no clue how to grow grass any more. Chris was rewarded with the ultimate job in golf — he is now the Superintendent at Hazeltine National Golf Course, one of the premier golf courses in the world. I know that Enger and Lester don’t have the resources Chris has to work with, but you can learn some basic things from his blog that will lead you in the right direction if you CARE.

    2. I forgot in my last reply to comment about your statement that my comments about the City management contract were a “guess at best”. The contracts were included on the City’s website a few years ago when they were brought to the City Council for action. I have a very good memory and I am pretty sure I remember what the key positions were paid in that contract, but because I am not 100% sure, I decided not to say what I think they were then, or are today.

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