SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - The National Golf Foundation (NGF) reported more than 200 golf courses closed in 2017. Experts attribute the closures to a simple supply and demand imbalance: too many courses and not enough players. So, are any of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board golf courses in jeopardy of shutting down?
City of Springfield revenue and expense forms show Park Board-owned golf courses operated at a deficit of $652,000 in 2018.
"I see, I think, what a lot of people would see, that the golf courses are operating at a bit of a deficit and it has been increasing over the last three to four years," said Dick Williams, the Director of the School of Accountancy at Missouri State University in Springfield.
“Obviously, the thing you have to do to maintain this is to get more people to play golf, get more rounds," said Williams. The number of rounds of golf played was also one of the lowest seen in a decade, at just 88,790 rounds in 2018. As a comparison, in 2009 there were 102,584 rounds of golf played on Park Board-owned courses.
Park Board representatives said, while the numbers have been down ever since the recession, things are on an upward swing in 2019 and they are in no danger of shutting down.
"At the end of the day, we balance our budget," said Jim Fisher, the Assistant Director of Parks for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. "We can use support from the general fund to balance out the golf fund."
Fisher, alongside Public Information Administrator Jenny Fillmer Edwards and PGA Professional Steve King, said the plan is to keep prices steady and to continue investing in the courses. Some of the most recent investments include an updated concession area at Rivercut Golf Course and flood-resistant bridges. There were two 100-year floods at Rivercut Golf Course within a four year period.
They believe the investments will be worth it as the Ozarks continues to become a hot ticket for golfers across the country.
"Golf is really in a boom stage right now," said King. "I think this area is really making its footprint in the golf world as far as a place to go for golf."
King added that preliminary numbers for 2019 show an increase in rounds of golf by about 7% from the previous year.