Houston's Municipal Golf Courses Struggling to Make Ends Meet

Many cities around the country are facing the question about whether they should subsidize city-owned golf courses as the game's popularity declines. Supporters of "munis" say they provide an affordable location for outdoor recreation.

A group of golfers are attempting to raise $15 million to renovate the historic Gus Wortham Golf Course, but Mayor Annise Parker and others believe the property would be better used as a botanic garden, according to an article by Mike Morris.

"That the city is contemplating giving up golf at Wortham…raises broader questions about whether Houston should be in the golf business at a time when the city is facing serious budget challenges and participation in golf is on the decline," explains Morris.

In fact, "only two of the city's eight golf courses - Memorial Park and Hermann Park - turn a profit."

Former city councilman Jim Greenwood is helping to raise funds for the renovation of Wortham. "If the city cannot properly manage its courses, Greenwood said, officials could consider hiring a nonprofit to take over operations rather than abandoning golf. The city of Baltimore has taken this approach." Municipal golf courses, according to Wortham's supporters, provide golfers with affordable, necessary alternatives to country clubs.

Jeff Ross, president of Houston Botanic Garden, however, "said a golf course is not the best use of Wortham's 151 acres. He pointed to data from the National Golf Foundation that show the game's decline in recent years, with golf participation now at its lowest level in 25 years."

Full Story: City has trouble reaching green on its golf courses


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95