BACK IN THE GREEN: City golf courses see increase in play, revenue

COLUMBUS, Ind. — A year ago, city officials presented the possibility of closing Greenbelt amid financial difficulties with Columbus’s three city-run golf courses.

Now, after several city meetings, countless public comments and a $176,000 subsidy, the course is still open, as are Par 3 and Otter Creek.

City golf courses are likely to be discussed as part of the city’s budgeting process, said Associate Director of Recreation Nikki Murphy with the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department. The department manages Greenbelt and Par 3, whereas Otter Creek is managed by a city-appointed board.

All three courses are doing considerably better than last year in terms of revenue. According to data provided by the parks department, at the end of May, Greenbelt was up about $57,000 in revenue from the same time last year, and Par 3’s revenue was up about $12,000. Otter Creek General Manager Wiley Umphress reported that the course’s revenue, through the end of June, is up almost $300,000 from the same time last year.

Budget discussions will include a culmination of data gathered and reviewed by a city-appointed community golf working group, which was created to “collect data and benchmark other areas in the state of Indiana with similar cities and/or courses to Otter Creek, Greenbelt and Par 3.”

This includes examining their golf subsidy, number of holes, business practices and management structure. The working group was also established to “evaluate golf as a whole for the entire community, as it pertains to city-owned courses” and provide data to help city administrators form a plan, she said.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Republic.